Coming off of a loss against WBC Super Featherweight Champion Oscar Valdez this past summer, Robson Conceição (17-1) earned a unanimous decision victory over Xavier Martinez (17-1). All three judges had this fight wide (99-91, 100-90 & 98-92) as Robson was the clear victor in this WBC title eliminator.
In the first round, both fighters came out aggressive as they tried to establish their presence in the fight. Although Martinez was doing some good work on the inside, the space creation and punch combinations dictated the first two rounds for Conceição.
Towards the end of the third round, which was close, Martinez landed a left hook to the temple, buckling Conceição’s legs, but towards the end of the round. Martinez then pressed some the next round but allowed Conceição to regain his legs and rhythm.
Conceição came right back and started to work the jab from a distance and not allow Martinez to get within the mid-range. Martinez was looking for another big shot but couldn’t find it in the fourth round.
Xavier Martinez buzzing Conceição in the third round was the worst thing that could have happened, as it seemed as if he was just looking for that one punch the rest of the night. While that was occurring, Conceição continued working his jab and tried his best to avoid those close exchanges that were getting him in trouble.
In the sixth round, Martinez consistently landed an overhand right and followed it with a left hook to the body, but it wasn’t enough. As we got into rounds seven through ten, you can see that Conceição’s confidence was growing, and he wasn’t worried about anything Martinez had to offer.
Robson Conceição had this to say after his unanimous decision victory “I learned a lot from that Oscar Valdez loss, and that’s why I was able to dedicate myself. I wasn’t discouraged by what happened that evening. I know who I am, and I knew if I put in the work, I could have this type of performance. But my mind is set on Valdez, and I definitely want that shot.”
Conceicao continued, “To be honest, I think Xavier Martinez punches harder than Oscar Valdez. I felt his punches, but I know this is the type of fight I needed to prepare myself because I’m a world champion level fighter. And I definitely want Oscar Valdez.”
Giovanni Cabrera victorious in a less than entertaining fight.
The old saying goes that “styles make fights,” and in this case, it did not make for an enjoyable fight. To the defense of the matchmaker, Rene Tellez Giron (16-2) was a last-minute replacement as the original opponent came five pounds overweight. Giovanni Cabrera (19-0) dominated from start to finish in this one. He was the bigger, longer fighter and used every bit of that to his advantage.
Cabrera stayed on the outside, with his hands low, but he kept his feet moving. He consistently used his right jab to keep Giron at a distance and picked him off when Giron pressured. The eight rounds of action consisted of Cabrera dictating the action, holding when Giron got inside, and then popped right back out to restart his offense.
It wasn’t a great fight and may have turned off those waiting on the main event. In the end, the judges had this one 77-75,78-74 and 78-74 for Giovanni Cabrera. Let’s see if Cabrera can stay active this year and get his name buzzing within the lightweight division.
“Tiger” Johnson scores unanimous decision victory.
Delante “Tiger” Johnson (2-0) is a young welterweight with a ton of upside. In tonight’s fight against Xavier Madrid (3-1), he showed his speed and quick-twitch counter-punching ability to make him a future contender. His 1-2 punch combo, which started with a left jab and ended with a straight right hand, worked throughout the four-round fight. For all of the things that Tiger did right, some things showed up in this fight that he needs to work on. His defense wasn’t as tight as it should be, with his left hand being too low most of the time and leaving himself wide open in spots. Madrid was placing smart pressure, and it just didn’t seem like Tiger was handling that part of it well.
The fight went to the scorecards, and all three judges had it 40-36 for Delante “Tiger” Johnson, who picked up his second career victory.
ESPN+ Undercard Standouts
Nico Ali Walsh came into this fight with a new trainer (Richard Slone) and built upon the foundation laid by former trainer Sugar Hill Steward. The first round was interesting as Walsh was landing some right hands but catching some clean ones right back from his opponent. In the second round, Walsh landed a beautiful left hook, sending Jeremiah Yeager (1-2-1) to the canvas for the fight's first knockdown. Once Yeager got up, Walsh landed another left hook, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Nico Ali Walsh improved to 4-0 and had this to say after the fight “It's been a super tough time. That's no excuse. When you get in the ring, everything zones out with me. I'm just very happy with this performance.”
Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington has my full attention! Coming from Brooklyn,NY, he came into Tulsa, OK, to make a statement, and that he did. Carrington showed good defense, fast combinations, and impressive timing. In the second round, after some exchanges, “Shu Shu” Carrington landed a straight right hand, left hook, left uppercut, and then another left hook which knocked out Steven Brown. Impressive knockout win by Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington. Put him on your prospect radar immediately.
My Three Cents
Tonight's nationally televised card was decent however the undercard on ESPN+, outshined them on this Saturday night. In case you missed it, Top Rank has two good young prospects in Delante “Tiger” Johnson and Bruce Carrington who have real potential so put them both on fighters to watch in the future.
As the page on the calendar flips top February, lets hope we start getting more of the top tier fights so that we can get this year really going.