We probably won’t get an authentic borderline contender from the latest editions of the ESPN’s Boxcino tournament format like we did the previous two, but on Friday night we at least got something worth watching in all four bouts, or three, depending on how much you can tolerate grotesquely swollen ears that lead to a rare “Knockout, Because Ear.”
The gross ear thing happened in the final match of the evening on Friday Night Fights, when Brandon Adams dominated Vito Gasparyan en route to the junior middleweight final. Adams and Gasparyan slugged it out for seven rounds, but Adams was stronger, faster, landing flusher and hurting Gasparyan at times. Gasparyan might’ve won the 4th, but it didn’t matter, because his ear became badly injured — by the time he turned away and quit in the 7th, it looked like it was about to pop. See for yourself, if you can deal. Gasparyan could not deal, so he lost.
Adams will meet John Thompson, who crashes the 154-pound final as a late replacement. He boxed and moved against Stanyslav Skorokhod in a bout that was difficult to score, as Skorokhod would occasionally get aggressive flinging right hands and staying up close, only for Johnson to again reestablish his movement, turning and punching, turning and punching. Most people on Twitter, though, thought Thompson won. So did most of the judges, two of whom scored it for him to overrule the third one, who gave it to Skorokhod. Adams is going to be a heavy favorite to beat Thompson (who, for all his movement and such, is a vulnerable boxer type who literally thrusts his chin up when he jabs), but then, Thompson has been counted out before.
As for the heavyweights, we got two knockouts, one of them a huge one. That huge one came via Donovan Dennis, who caught Razvan Cojanu with a massive counter right in the 2nd. It was one of those real one punch KOs, although Cojanu revived enough to try to get up toward the end of the 10 count. Dennis will probably be favored to win this one now thanks to that big shot, and what his potential opponent didn’t do for his own reputation.
Andrey Fedosov had to climb off the canvas in the 1st round to defeat Lenroy Thomas. Thomas was one of the least qualified guys in the tourneys, Fedosov one of the most, so it was surprising to see him walk into that left hand. But he recovered well enough at the end of the round to convince you he’d stay in the fight. Thomas fought well for a while longer, dodging punches, staying off the ropes and working his left uppercut to the body and head. Then, in the 3rd, Fedosov caught Thomas with a combo along the ropes that slumped him to one knee. Thomas seemed like he could get up, but didn’t; afterward, he was acting as though he’d suffered a low blow, not that one was obvious. Still, Thomas did harm to Fedosov’s esteem.
Whoever comes out among this foursome doesn’t figure to duplicate the success of Willie Monroe, Jr. (next fighting Gennady Golovkin on middleweight) or Petr Petrov (who briefly climbed into the lightweight top 10). Whatever the finals look like, we got some memorable boxing from the semifinals.