Matchroom Boxing delivered a solid lineup of undercard fights supporting the Devin Haney vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. main event Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. NYFights.com has your full recap with undercard results.
Montana Love takes a big bite out of Carlos Diaz in three rounds
Poppy, the French bulldog, accompanied his master Montana “Too Pretty” Love of Cleveland (17-0-1, 9 KOs) on his ring walk to the ring for his bout against Carlos Diaz of Guadalajara (29-2, 14 KOs). The pup didn’t have to wait long for his master.
As Diaz pressed the action, he walked right into a perfectly timed left hand countershot from Love a minute into the second round. With Love getting his timing down, Diaz got floored again seconds later. Round three wasn’t looking good. Love kept up the offense and blasted Diaz backward into the ropes on his backside for the third knockout. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. continued with seconds left to the bell, and Diaz made it out of the round. In the third, Love’s goal was to put on a show for the fans. He said to Diaz in the ring, “Here it comes, here it comes. No talking!” said Love in the ring to Diaz and followed up with a straight left down the middle. Referee Caiz Jr. waved off the fight. Diaz was irate while Love celebrated with a victory dance at 1;22 of round three.
Love said he thought Caiz Jr. would call the fight earlier. “I thought he was going to stop it the round before. I expected him to be out then. He was falling in. We knew what type of fighter he was, wild and aggressive. We just had to find the timing. I started breaking him down. My coach said keep boxing, breaking him down … he was taking some very big shots.”
Love hasn’t been known as a power puncher. He explained he’s only now making the complete shift from his accomplished amateur career. “Now I’m learning to sit down on my shots. 2022 will be a very big year. We just woke up the world this year.” Love, who missed weight by four pounds and admitted to a vicious, sweet tooth, said he would continue to fight in the super lightweight division. “It was just a little hiccup. I learned a lesson; we’re locked in,” said Love. It was Love’s first fight signed with Matchroom Boxing. He said he signed with Matchroom because he wants promoter Eddie Hearn to keep him busy.
Jessica McCaskill crushes Kandi Wyatt in seven
Nineteen seconds into round seven, referee Celestino Ruiz had to save Kandi “Candy Crush” Wyatt from her own bravery after undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill of Chicago battered her round after round. The relentless power punching of McCaskill broke Wyatt down round by round. After both the fifth and sixth, Ruiz warned Wyatt to show him something. In the seventh, he pulled the plug. McCaskill landed 198 of 468 punches thrown (42%) against just 70 of 251 (28%) for Wyatt.
“I said you’re tough as balls, man,” McCaskill shared she told Wyatt after the fight. “She kept coming with good punches, too. Throwing punches with every step forward she took. She can definitely take some shots. After a certain point, you get concerned because you know what this sport does,” and McCaskill said she was grateful for the stoppage. “You just have to keep going until they stop it.”
McCaskill, who no longer has to work full-time as an investment banker, said nevertheless she’ll be back “at work” Monday in the gym and is anxious to get right back in action, hoping her originally scheduled opponent Victoria Bustos can straighten out her travel issues and be available to reschedule early in 2022. “Fighters hate waiting!” said McCaskill.
Filip Hrgovic hungry for more formidable opponents
Heavyweight Filip Hrgovic of Croatia (14-0, 12 KOs) shut down his game but outmatched late replacement opponent Emir Ahmatovic of Germany (10-1, 7 KOs) with a second-round TKO win. The Serbian native Ahmatovic gave a solid effort, aggressively blasting punches at Hrgovic to take advantage of a porous defense. No matter, though, Hrgovic has fast hands for a heavyweight and delivers his chopping left hook in combination. The taller Hrgovic took advantage of his stature to deliver blows at Ahmatoic to both sides of the temple. He scored two knockdowns in round one and one more 30 seconds into the second round. Referee Alan Huggins was quick to wave it off.
We say bring on countryman Alen Babic for an epic Croatian trash-talking showdown with Hrgovic.
Marc Castro continues to impress
Super featherweight Marc Castro of Fresno (5-0, 5 KOs) is backing up the buzz about himself as a rising star. He came right at Ronaldo Solis of Cancun, Mexico (4-2-1, 3 KOs) aggressively from the opening bell and scored a knockdown with a right to the head at the end of a combination halfway through round one. Solis carried on while taking power shots from Castro. Castro made it stick in round two with a snapping right cross, sending Solis into the ropes. Referee Robert Hoyle swooped in to save Solis at 43 seconds of the round.
Middleweight Austin Williams on the rise
Austin “Ammo” Williams of Dallas (9-0, 7 KOs) unleashed a hard left hand and rocked Quatavious Cash of Atlanta (14-3, 8 KOs) in round two of their middleweight bout. With Cash in bad shape, the bout was waved off, giving Williams another stoppage win. Williams is being developed to perfection by the first-class team of trainer Dwight Pratchett, manager team Peter Berg, and Sam Katkovski, with the backing of promoter Eddie Hearn.
Super middleweight Alexis Espino of Las Vegas (9-0-1, 6 KOs) battled Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-5-2, 10 KOs) of Laredo, Texas, to a majority draw in their eight-round bout. Scores were 76-76 X 2, and the third card 77-75 for Gomez Jr. It was competitive and exciting throughout. Espino will benefit from the work down the road as he faces more skilled opponents.
Middleweight Amari Jones of Las Vegas (5-0, 5 KOs) made it five knockouts in a row, stopping Timothy Lee of Las Vegas (5-2, 4 KOs) in the sixth and final round. Jones, who dropped Jones in round one, was well ahead on the scorecards when he pinned Lee to the ropes. The referee didn’t give Lee much rope, stopping the fight quickly before Lee took any unnecessary punishment at 2:38 of the round.