Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
Former Cuban amateur standout Yordenis Ugas (16-3, 7 KOs) pulled off a massive upset on Friday at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, handing Jamal “Shango” James (20-1, 9 KOs) his first professional loss.
Ugas, who hadn’t competed in a professional fight since May of 2014, pummeled the body of his lanky opponent, and knocked out James’ mouthpiece at the end of Round 6.
— RoundByRoundBoxing (@RBRBoxing) August 13, 2016
“We focused on the body because (James) was tall. So we planned on chopping him down, and that’s what I did,” said Ugas.
Despite being listed as a considerable favorite–James was featured with -1000 odds on some sportsbooks–“Shango” appeared lethargic, often serving as a stationary target for Ugas’ slick combinations.
“I thought it was a good fight. (Ugas) brought it tonight. I was fighting his fight unfortunately. I started to outpoint him late, so I should have started earlier with my combinations and countering. I was trying to knock him out and I should have just boxed,” said James.
Taking the fight on just three days’ notice, James’ stock will drop considerably with Friday’s defeat.
Alternatively, Ugas’ career has received new life with his unexpected win.
Ugas represented Cuba in the 2008 Olympic games, taking a Bronze medal in the lightweight division.
Having recovered nicely from a prolonged layoff, the 30-year-old Ugas looks to be a better fighter than his 16-3 record would indicate.
“After the long layoff, this is a new beginning for me, and now I am looking for a big opportunity in my next fight. It felt good to get back to fighting,” said Ugas.
Milo Taibi is a freelance journalist from Brooklyn, NY. His work has been featured in SLAM Magazine, Complex, Yahoo! Sports, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @MiloTaibi.