Mikaela Mayer captured the WBO junior lightweight world title by conclusively outboxing Ewa Brodnicka Saturday night on the Naoya Inoue-Jason Moloney undercard at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
After 10 rounds all three judges had Mayer up by the scores of 99-89, 100-88 and 100-88. Brodnicka had come into this bout as the defending champion, but she was stripped of the title after failing to make the 130-pound limit on Friday and was ineligible to win the belt in this fight.
The action wasn't all that dramatic. Mayer (14-0, 5 KOs) was able to steadily box round after round, and she was never really threatened. Fighting a smart, tactical fight, she controlled the action behind her long left jab and the occasional right hand.
Brodnicka (19-1, 2 KOs), who suffered her first professional loss, never mounted much of a sustained attack. And given her lack of KO power, once she fell behind early, it was clear that this was not going to be her night. It didn't help that she had two points deducted for excessive holding, but those deductions were academic as she tried to slow down the pace of Mayer, a 2016 Olympian who easily dominated the action.
"Like [head trainer] Coach Al [Mitchell] said, her holding and her movement was a little tricky for me to catch on to," Mayer said after the fight. "I still feel like I did win every round. There were definitely some things I could've done a little bit better, but ultimately it was a good learning fight."
With this victory, Mayer says that she has her sights set on unification bouts in her division.
"I definitely want to unify this division," Mayer said. "I don't want to wait around. I don't want to take a couple of years to do it. I want to do it right away. So, [WBC champion] Terri Harper told me to get a belt. Eddie Hearn told me to get a belt. I have the WBO belt now, so let's make that fight happen. I want Terri Harper next." -- Steve Kim
Barrios KOs Karl to retain junior welterweight title
Mario Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) defended his secondary WBA junior welterweight title with a sixth-round KO of Ryan Karl (18-3, 12 KOs), in an action-packed bout full of high-volume punching rounds on the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz undercard Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Barrios dropped Karl in Round 6 with a clean straight right hand, and that was the beginning of the end. Karl was bloodied by an accidental head-butt in the sixth round, which made matters worse as he fought back and desperately tried to stay in the fight. Barrios dropped him again with another right hand, and then the referee called it off.
The title defense was extra sweet for Barrios because he did it in his hometown of San Antonio. Barrios continues to build his reputation as one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the junior welterweight division. He landed 54% of his power punches (101 of 187), and eventually overwhelmed a game Karl. -- Cameron Wolfe
Prograis returns with impressive TKO victory
Former junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis (25-1, 21 KOs) cruised to a dominant third-round TKO victory over previously undefeated, but outclassed, prospect Juan Heraldez (16-1-1, 10 KOs), after a barrage of blows forced the referee to end the bout.
Prograis showed off power in his left hand, consistently hurting Heraldez with it and then using it to knock Heraldez down in Round 3. Heraldez's survival from that point on was short-lived, as Prograis finished him for good about 30 seconds later.
Prograis came in 1½ pounds over the 140-pound weight limit, but the fight remained on after the fighters and their teams settled the issue with a financial agreement in favor of Heraldez. Prograis blamed missing weight on his long layoff.
Prograis returned to the ring after a yearlong hiatus in his first contest since suffering his lone loss -- a majority decision to Josh Taylor in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final in October 2019, a bout that was a fight of the year contender. Saturday's performance was Prograis' statement that he deserves to be back in the title mix once Taylor and Jose Ramirez settle the long-awaited unification bout sometime in 2021. -- Cameron Wolfe
Cruz KOs Magdaleno in first round
Lightweight prospect Isaac Cruz jumped on Diego Magdaleno like he had somewhere to be -- knocking him down with relentless power blows 30 seconds into the fight, and then following up with a beautiful double-uppercut finish that sent Magdaleno crumpling to the ground a second time as the referee waved the bout off.
Cruz (20-1-1, 15 KOs) won the IBF lightweight eliminator in dominant fashion, showing off eye-opening power as he nailed Magdaleno with equal blows to the head and the body, and quickly forcing Magdaleno up against the ropes, where he was finished. On the second knockdown, Magdaleno landed in the bottom ropes and needed several moments to regain his bearings after the TKO.
Magdaleno (32-4, 13 KOs) has now been knocked out twice in his past three fights, with the first coming at the hands of lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr. in the seventh round of their fight. Cruz, the man some call mini-Tyson, did little to disrespect the heavyweight legend with his lightning-quick first-round KO of Magdaleno. -- Cameron Wolfe
Conceicao gets up from canvas to defeat Coria
Robson Conceicao overcame an early trip to the canvas and two point deductions for low blows to defeat Luis Coria by unanimous decision in a bruising and physical 10-round slugfest.
Despite all the hardships, Conceicao was ruled the winner on all three cards: 94-93, 95-92 and 95-92.
A left hook from Coria sent Conceicao to the canvas in the second round, and it was no flash knockdown -- he was legitimately hurt. But Conceicao finished the round fairly strong, and in the next few rounds he was more than willing to stand and trade with Coria.
Both Conceicao and Coria were landing hard combinations on one another, and for much of the night, Conceicao had blood coming from his mouth. Conceicao was docked a point in both the fourth round and the sixth round for low blows.
The action in this bout featured plenty of prolonged exchanges, and neither man gave an inch. And while it seemed as though that Coria might have had the edge, especially with Conceicao losing two points, the judges preferred the activity of Conceicao. -- Steve Kim
Rodriguez demolishes Lopez in four rounds
Junior welterweight prospect Julian Rodriguez put forth a strong outing, sending veteran Jose Lopez to the canvas four times to win a TKO victory in Round 4.
The fight could've been stopped in the first round when a well-placed left hook to the body sent Lopez (29-8-2, 15 KOs) to the canvas. Referee Robert Hoyle gave Lopez plenty of time to think about whether he wanted to continue after he got up at the count of nine.
In the following round, a Rodriguez right hook from the southpaw stance sent Lopez down for the second time. In the third round, a left jab sent Lopez down again. Finally, after a series of body blows sent Lopez to the canvas one more time, Hoyle stopped the fight at 2:10 of the fourth round.
Rodriguez (21-0, 16 KOs), who stopped Anthony Laureano in one round in August, is quickly developing into a contender in the 140-pound division. -- Steve Kim
Anderson wins again
Highly touted heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson made quick work of Luis Pena, scoring a first-round TKO victory.
From the very onset, Anderson (7-0, 7 KOs) came out letting both hands go liberally with left hooks to the body and hard right hands over the top, and it was clear that his intent was to finish Pena (6-2, 6 KOs) as soon as possible.
Pena took numerous punches to both the body and head, but as he stumbled away after taking a prolonged beating in the corner near the end of the first round, the fight was waved off. This was Anderson's fourth victory in 2020 inside the Top Rank bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. -- Steve Kim
Hiraoka stops Edwards in Round 4
Junior welterweight Andy Hiraoka scored a fourth-round TKO of Rickey Edwards in the first contest of the night at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Japan's Hiraoka (16-0, 11 KOs) needed a round or two to get a bead on Edwards (12-5, 3 KOs), who proved to be athletic and quick. Hiraoka sent Edwards down for the first time in the third round with a nice combination, and that helped him take full control of the proceedings.
In the following round, Hiraoka kept up his attack on Edwards, and after sending him down twice, referee Celestino Ruiz waved off the fight at 2:20 of the fourth round. -- Steve Kim