Friday, August 25, 2023

Slaveski Wins World Welterweight Championship At BKFC 49

Undefeated Welterweight Gorjan Slaveski successfully went from contender to world champion by scoring a hard fought five round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Jake Lindsey to win the vacant Bareknuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) Welterweight world championship on Friday night at the Miami-Dade Fairgrounds in Miami, FL. The main event of BKFC 49 turned out to be an ugly, grueling, and great fight all in one. 

A fight that began almost exclusively with both fighters trying to tee off on each other on the inside including trying to fight and grapple in the clinch, similar to what you would see in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), but not something that is legal in Boxing including Bareknuckle Boxing. As the bout went on however, both fighters had their share of moments in what became a seesaw battle in terms of momentum as both fighters landed hard, thudding punches to the head that frankly would have dropped many of fighters. Despite suffering an injury to his right hand as the fight was entering the latter rounds where his knuckles were bleeding heavily, Lindsey managed to seemingly keep the fight close, but it was the harder punches of Slaveski that ultimately prevailed in a grueling back and forth contest as he would win the fight and the world championship via unanimous decision.Official scores were: 49-46, and 48-47 (On two scorecards)  in favor of Slaveski.

Gorjan Slaveski advances to 6-0, with 4 Knockouts. Jake Lindsey falls to 4-1, with 4 Knockouts. 

Also on this card:

Unbeaten Lightweight Bryce Henry scored a first round knockout of  Tom Shoaff. A right hook followed by a barrage of punches put Shoaff down. Shoaff signaled to Referee Sam Burgos as he was counting that he did not want to continue. Official time of the stoppage was 1:29 of round one. Bryce Henry advances to 3-0, with 3 KO’s. Tom Shoaff falls to 4-5, with 4 Knockouts.

Undefeated Featherweight Bryan Duran scored a first round knockout of Dakota Highpine. A fight where both fighters threw punches with knockout intentions, a perfectly timed counter right hook that landed on the forehead of Highpine sent him down and out on the canvas. Official time of the stoppage was :48 of round one. Bryan Duran advances to 5-0, with 5 Knockouts. Dakota Highpine falls to 1-2, with 0 Knockouts.  

In a battle of unbeaten Bantamweights, Justin Sanchez scored a five round unanimous decision over Quinton Foye. A closely fought bout from the opening bell, Sanchez landed more punches, particularly to the body of Foye down the stretch to earn a unanimous decision victory. Official scores were: 48-47, 49-46, and 48-47 in favor of Sanchez. Justin Sancez advances to 2-0, with 0 Knockouts. Quinton Foye falls to 1-1, with 0 Knockouts.

Also in the Bantamweight division, unbeaten Alberto Rodriguez scored a first round knockout of a debuting Jaoa Guerra. A right hand, left hook combination quickly dropped Guerra. Rodriguez closed the show with a follow up combination, which sent Guerra down for a second time. Although Guerra got up, he took his mouthpiece out and shook his head as the ten count was reached. Official time of the stoppage was :51 of round one. Alberto Rodriguez advances to 3-0, with 3 Knockouts. Jaoa Guerra falls to 0-1, with 0 Knockout.

Featherweight Howard Davis scored a first round knockout of Jeff Chiffens. Davis opened a gash on the left side of Chiffens’ head with a right hook immediately upon the fight starting. A right uppercut to the face sent Chiffens down. As Chiffens was being counted out, he was shaking his head, which resulted in the bout being stopped before the count was completed.  Official time of the stoppage was 1:12 of round one. Howard Davis advances to 6-1-1, with 5 Knockouts. Jeff Chiffens falls to 4-6, with 1 Knockout.

Lightweight Joshua Alvarez scored a first round knockout of a debuting Aaron Sutterfield. A left uppercut to the head sent Sutterfield down on his hands and knees in the middle of the ring. Sutterfield was very “Game” and tried to get up, but was unable to beat the count. Official time of the stoppage was 1:29 of round one. Joshua Alvarez advances to 4-3, with 3 Knockouts. Aaron Sutterfield falls to 0-1, with 0 Knockouts. 

Women’s Strawweight Laddy Mejia pounded out a five round split decision over Sarah Click to successfully make her professional Bareknuckle Boxing debut. A competitive fight that was fought at a surprising tactical pace for a Bareknuckle fight, Mejia was able to land the harder punches over the final three rounds to earn the decision victory.  Official scores were: 48-47 (Click), and 49-46, 48-47 for Laddy Mejia. Laddy Meija advances to 1-0, with 0 Knockouts. Sarah Click falls to 0-3, with 0 Knockouts. 

Undefeated Bantamweight Matthew Russo scored a first round knockout of a debuting  Jaymes Hyder. An overhand right to the head staggered Hyder, which Russo followed by a right hook to the jaw that sent Hyder down on his back for the ten count. Official time of the stoppage was 1:16 of round one. Matthew Russo advances to 2-0, with 2 Knockouts Jaymes Hyder falls to 0-1, with 0 Knockouts. 

In a Featherweight rematch from April of this year, Freddy Masabo avenged his only loss by scoring a five round unanimous decision over Bovar Khanakov. The story of this fight was the movement and combination punching of Masabo as he frequently beat Khanakov to the punch. Khanakov suffered two severe cuts over his right eye and on the bridge of his nose in the first round and he was unable to get the ebb and flow of the combat to shift in his favor.  Official scores were: 48-47 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Masabo. Freddy Masabo advances to 3-1, with 2 Knockouts. Bovar Khanakov falls to 3-2, with 0 Knockouts.

Cruiserweight action began the evening as John Escoboza scored a hard fought five round majority decision over previously undefeated Esteban Rodriguez. A high pace slugfest from the opening bell, Escoboza’s cleaner punches, particularly in landing his right hand to the head of Rodriguez, which opened a bad cut over his left eye in the first round ultimately gave him the edge. Escoboza scored a knockdown of Rodriguez with a right hand that appeared to land on the side of the head in the second round. Official scores were: 47-47, (Even) 48-46 (On two scorecards) in favor of Escoboza. John Escoboza advances to 8-1, with 4 Knockouts. Esteban Rodriguez falls to 2-1, with 2 Knockouts.

BKFC 49 brought to a close two nights of Bareknuckle Boxing cards promoted by the Bareknuckle Fighting Championship and its founder David Feldman. A modernized form of Bareknuckle Boxing that is still growing, as the promotion prepares for its fiftieth numbered card next month, a successful debut of its prospects series on August 24th, and continued international expansion including in Bulgaria later this year, the BKFC has laid out what this observer believes is a successful blueprint for other Bareknuckle promoters to try and follow including, but not limited to the adaption of a universal rules standard as approved by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). 

In many ways, the rate at which the Bareknuckle portion of the sport of Boxing has been able to grow has in some ways not faced as much opposition and resistance as the sport of MMA did for many years after it's inception here in the United States in organized form in the early 1990's. It is something that should be seen as a positive in a sport that is always the subject of ridicule for its negatives. Especially, if not only safety standards continue to be followed and improve, but also if it continues to provide more options to fighters across all combat sports. 

"And That's The Boxing Truth."

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