Friday, May 24, 2024

Franklin Stops Vargas In 6 On Big Time Boxing USA

Heavyweight contender Jermaine Franklin continued his winning ways by scoring a sixth round stoppage of veteran Devin Vargas on Thursday night at the Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit, MI. A fight where Franklin was able to showcase both his punching power and combination punching, he frequently had Vargas, a former Olympian in the 2004 games in Athans,Greece on the defensive. As has been a trait throughout his career, Vargas was able to withstand much of what Franklin dished out, which more often than not consisted of hard, thudding punches with both hands and did try to make a fight of it in spots throughout. 

The effects of the punishment however, gradually took its toll on Vargas who was knocked down in the fourth round and again in the sixth round. Both knockdowns were from accumulated punishment. Although Vargas was able to get up both times, after the second knockdown in round six where he was able to finish the round, he told his corner that he had, had enough and the bout was stopped at the conclusion of round six. Jermaine Franklin advances to 23-2, with 15 Knockouts. Devin Vargas falls to 22-11, with 9 Knockouts.

 Also on this card:

In a battle of unbeaten Jr. Welterweights Joshua Pagan overcame a bad cut in the opening seconds of the first round over his left eye in the first round as well as consistent pressure from his opponent Roger Hilley to earn a convincing eight round unanimous decision. Official scores were: 78-74 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Pagan. Joshua Pagan advances to 10-0, with 4 Knockouts. Roger Hilley falls to 13-1, with 8 Knockouts.

An encounter between former Middleweight sparring partners saw Josiah Shackleford pound out a four round decision over a very “Game” Ja'shar Banks, who was making his professional debut. Official scores were: 40-36 (On all three scorecards) for Shackleford. Josiah Shackleford advances to 3-1, with 2 Knockouts.  Ja'shar Banks falls to 0-1, with 0 Knockouts. 

In a Super-Middleweigh bout that began the evening, Ali Akhmedov scored the fifth win of his comeback following a loss to Carlos Gongora in December 2020, by scoring a second round knockout of Encarnacion Diaz. Akhmedov spent the first round gradually stalking Diaz and in the second round dropped him with a short left hook to the head. Diaz was able to get up, but moments later was dropped with a barrage of punches highlighted by a right hand to the head. Diaz from his knees nodded his head in resignation and took the full ten count. Official time of the stoppage was 2:14 of round two. Ali Akhmedov advances to 21-1, with 16 Knockouts. Encarnacion Diaz. falls to 18-5, with 11 Knockouts.

This card, which was promoted by former world title challenger and now promoter Dmitry Salita’s Salita Promotions as part of its recently introduced Big Time Boxing USA series broadcast globally by digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN was in many was reminiscent of the classic Tuesday and Thursday night Boxing series, which ran weekly on the USA Network here in the United States in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The series, which took it's final bow in 1998 at the legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, PA has left a void in the sport in the years since its closure. Though ESPN did fill that void for several years through it's Friday Night Fights series, which eventually became seasonal due to the network’s commitments to College Football in the days that predated digital streaming, which seemed to solve the issue of scheduling conflicts while putting more options and control in the hands of the consumer, the need for series like this new Big Time Boxing USA series is still there.

Not only does a series like this allow fighters in various stages of their careers including contenders like Jermaine Franklin the opportunity to stay active, not only an opportunity for increased exposure, but also an opportunity for promoters like Salita to showcase their stable of fighters all while bringing the sport to cities and states big and small, which should open Boxing to new eyes. Something that both USA Network and ESPN accomplished with their respective series. As cable/satellite appears to be on the way out in the traditional way we know it, it is refreshing to see a series like this trying to fill the void in the era of digital streaming. It is something that should be supported.

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