Detroit via Uzbekistan’s Shohjahon Ergashev (23-0, 20 KOs) showed why he’s the IBF #6-, WBA #12-, WBO #8- and RING #8-ranked super lightweight in the world with an impressive fifth-round stoppage of Baja California, Mexico’s Angel “El Furioso” Martinez Hernandez (14-2-2, 14 KOs).
Fighting in the main event of Salita Promotions’ “Detroit Brawl” and with the ESPN Knockout cameras rolling at the historic Garden Theater in Midtown Detroit, Ergashev appeared to hurt Martinez Hernandez to the body in the opening round and dropped him for a flash knockdown in round four with a short right hand.
The razor-sharp Ergashev dropped Martinez Hernandez twice more in round five and had him trapped in the corner unloading another pulverizing barrage when Referee Frank Garza indicated he’d seen enough at 1:24 and awarded Ergashev the TKO win.
“What up Detroit!” yelled the happy Ergashev, post-fight. “I’m happy to have beaten a good opponent, thank you to my team. I want big fights. I want the world title!” he added to his promoter Dmitriy Salita.
WBO #12-, IBF #11-, WBC #7-ranked light heavyweight bulldozer Ali Izmailov (9-0, 6 KOs), now fighting out of Detroit, overcame a spirited challenge by formerly undefeated Californian Eric Murguia (now 14-1, 12 KOs) to win the USBA Light Heavyweight Championship by entertaining 10-round unanimous decision.
A thudding puncher, Izmailov needed a few rounds to solve the style of the quick-fisted and slippery Murguia. The pair also clanked heads repeatedly and both were marked up by the end of the battle.
Izmailov and Murguia exchanged freely throughout the enjoyable contest. Scores of 100-90, 98-92 and 99-91 were debatably wide, but the right man had his hand raised. Izmailov showed he can outbox and walk down a slickster with the title-winning victory, while Murguia deserves another look with his gritty stand against possibly the world’s best 175-lb contender.
Accra, Ghana’s Prince Dzanie (23-0, 19 KOs), a highly touted bantamweight prospect, made his United States debut a successful one with a second-round knockout of La Romana, Dominican Republic’s Juan Gabriel Medina (14-12, 12 KOs). Dzanie, pronounced like Zany, showed patience in the first, as he circled and studied his shorter foe. In round two, the studying was over and Dzanie stepped in with a clubbing right hand that dazed and dropped the Dominican for the full count from Referee Frank Garza.
Undefeated Grand Rapids, Michigan-based former amateur champion Joseph Hicks Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) kept his record perfect record intact with a first-round demolition of former prospect Jonathan Batista (19-17, 12 KOs) of The Dominican Republic. Hicks, the 2020 US Olympic Team captain, made his intention to hurt Batista clear at the weigh-in for their six-round middleweight bout and made good on the promise by dropping Batista first with a body jab and again with a follow up left hook, again to the sternum. Referee Gerard Butler had finally seen enough when a clubbing Hicks right hand dropped the Dominican for the final time at 2:30 of the opener. The lethal Hicks looks to have excellent .
Undefeated Detroiter Da’Velle Smith (4-0, 3 KOs), the WBC’s Big Belt Championship Tournament winner, felt some pushback from Wenatchee, Washington’s Devontae McDonald (now 2-2, 1 KO), who came to Smith’s backyard to win, but eventually Smith pulled away with a unanimous four-round decision in their middleweight showdown. Taller and longer, Smith kept the southpaw McDonald at bay for most of the fight with jabs and well-placed right hands, but McDonald was able to work inside to unload some of his own shots in spurts. The two warriors went to war in round four with both landing haymakers to the crowd’s delight. The scores were 40-36 by all three judges for Smith.
Former amateur star Joshua Pagan (3-0, 2 KOs) passed a surprisingly stern four-round test against Brazilian journeyman Maycon Oller Da Silva (1-5) while scoring a unanimous decision victory. The Grand Rapids-based Pagan looked to be in for an easy night against the now 1-6 Da Silva, but someone forget to give the South American the script. Fighting behind a high guard and constantly moving forward, the Brazilian pressured his younger foe over all four super lightweight rounds. To his credit, Pagan kept moving and throwing combinations and controlled the affair from range with his superior speed and younger legs. Good four-round scrap. The scores were 40-36 by all three judges
Undefeated Houston-based light heavyweight Darius “DFG” Fulghum (3-0, 3 KOs) made quick work of Delaware’s normally capable David Murray (10-4-1, 6 KOs), knocking him out at 1:49 of round two. Murray had a plan and tried using his jab and moving, but the stronger Fulghum walked him down and unleashed hell. After a pedestrian first round, a quick series of head shots against the ropes convinced the outgunned and badly wobbled Murray to stay kneeling for the entire count.