Kavaliauskas down in the seventh round!
Crawford does not look sharp tonight. Kavaliauskas is landing a bunch of shots to the head and body. Then out of nowhere Crawford connects with a pair of big shots upstairs that send Kavaliauskas crashing backward toward the ropes. Kavaliauskas valiantly throws back and lands with a powerful one-two combo to the head, but Crawford unloads another flurry in response that sends Kavaliauskas to the floor. Kavaliauskas beats the count and fends off a Crawford onslaught until he’s saved by the bell. What a turnaround!
Guardian’s unofficial score: Crawford 10-8 Kavaliauskas (Crawford 68-64 Kavaliauskas)
The sixth round is a return to Crawford’s preferred pace. He’s got back to keeping Kavaliauskas at bay with the jab and measuring the distance perfectly. It’s not the two-way action the crowd wants, but it’s an easy round for the champion.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Crawford 10-9 Kavaliauskas (Crawford 58-56 Kavaliauskas)
Kavaliauskas is setting traps on Crawford in an unexpected spot of role reversal and he’s enjoying a bit of success! But now Crawford is starting to open up and really put it on the challenger. He’s picking away with straight rights and left hooks and beating the Lithuanian to the punch. Crawford is taking punches as well, but giving it worse than he’s getting. Very unusual to see Crawford take this many punches, but that was a clear round for the American.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Crawford 10-9 Kavaliauskas (Crawford 48-47 Kavaliauskas)
Crawford takes another big right hand around the guard from Kavaliauskas early in the fourth and now looks like he’s trying to set the Lithuanian up with the left. Can’t remember the last time Crawford looked this easy to hit and Kavaliauskas is taking full advantage. Crawford is a pitbull but he’s feeling his opponent’s power, that’s for certain. Another round for the underdog, who’s scoring at will with the right, as Crawford looks to figure things out while remaining in the southpaw stance.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Crawford 9-10 Kavaliauskas (Crawford 38-38 Kavaliauskas)
The crowd is getting a bit restless at the lack of action early in the third. Then Kavaliauskas absolutely rocks Crawford with a big right hand in the center of the right, leaving the American to hold on. Crawford goes to the canvas out of the clinch and the referee rules it a slip, but that should have been ruled a knockdown. Crawford appears to be OK, but that certainly got his attention. Now Kavaliauskas lands a few more nice shots right before the bell and the underdog is very much in the fight!
Guardian’s unofficial score: Crawford 9-10 Kavaliauskas (Crawford 29-28 Kavaliauskas)
Another cagey round, this time with Kavaliauskas looking to work the body. Crawford isn’t giving him a stationary target, using slippery lateral movement and working off the jab. The fighters burst into a exchange and Kavaliauskas catches Crawford with a counter right to the jaw, but the American takes it well.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Crawford 10-9 Kavaliauskas (Crawford 10-9 Kavaliauskas)
Here we go into the main event! Crawford comes out in a southpaw stance. Kavaliauskas enters a cautious pursuit, throwing straight lefts to the hand and body and landing a couple. Crawford lands a sharp counter left and a bunch of right jabs, mostly upstairs. Not a whole lot of action, but an unmistakable air of menace.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Crawford 10-9 Kavaliauskas (Crawford 10-9 Kavaliauskas)
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” López says after winning the IBF lightweight title. “This a dream come true. [Commey] is a bad man. His shot could’ve done the same to me if he hit me with that shot.”
He adds: “You all know who I want to fight next. 2020 is going to be a big year. ‘The Takeover’ has arrived, and you haven’t seen anything yet.”
Lomachenko, who holds the WBA and WBO lightweight titles, said he’s keen on meeting López in a unification fight.
“Now he’s a world champion and now he’s interesting to me, because he has the title,” Lomachenko told the Guardian at ringside in the moments after López’s TKO win. “We want to ‘unificate’ all four titles.”
López knocks out Commey for IBF lightweight title!
Teófimo López is a world champion in only his 15th professional fight after a dazzling second-round TKO of Richard Commey. After measuring his opponent throughout a cagey, tactical opening round, López drops his opponent with a heat-seeking right hand that leaves Commey staggering as he attempts to get up. The champion manages to beat the count, but López swarms Commey along the ropes until the referee correctly intervenes at 1:13 of the second round to capture Commey’s IBF lightweight title. Afterward, López pulls on the jersey of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (who won the Heisman Trophy a couple of hours ago) then sticks the landing on his trademark backflip. It’s a star-making performance for the Brooklyn prodigy and sets the stage for a must-see showdown against Vasyl Lomachenko next year.
“I just needed to get that one back,” Conlan says after avenging his nightmarish Rio exit. “It was a lot of pressure going into that fight, but it’s nice to get it done.”
The Belfast man continues: “I needed to right this wrong. Full credit to Nikitin, who fought his heart out. There’s no bad blood. There was never was. Now, we can put this chapter of my career behind me.”
“Who do I want? I want a Christmas dinner with ham and all the trimmings I want to enjoy this.”
Conlan defeats Nikitin by unanimous decision!
Conlan improves to 13 wins in as many professional fights with a unanimous-decision win over Vladimir Nikitin. The ringside judges’ scores of 98-92, 99-91 and 100-90 (!) are laughable, but this was a breakthrough performance of sorts by Conlan, who showed the finishing kick of a seasoned pro in the ninth and 10th rounds in beating back a fierce rally by Nikitin, who came on so strong in the middle act.
Conlan’s revenge bid has gotten a bit hairy in the later stages. A crowd-pleasing eighth round descended into the Irishman and Niktin simply trading leather in the center of the ring. Conlan got it back on the rails a bit in the ninth, winning a cagier round on superior body work and taking an 86-85 edge on the Guardian’s card. And now Conlan appears to have done enough in the crowd-pleasing 10th to finish the task. We’ll see if the judges agree.
Michael Conlan came out sharp in his revenge match with Vladimir Nikitin. The two-time Irish Olympian boxed beautifully from the opening bell, circling the cruder Niktin and tagging him with one-two combinations upstairs to win four of the first five rounds. But Niktin has come on strong in round six and seven, finding range with the left hook as Conlan has started to slow down a bit and present a more stationary target. Three more rounds to go.
Hello and welcome to Madison Square Garden for tonight’s WBO welterweight title fight between Terence Crawford and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) is returning to action for the first time since a sixth-round technical knockout of Amir Khan in this same building. But rather than a big-money fight with Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence Jr or any one of the other big names at 147lbs, the Omaha native has been forced to settle for the WBO’s mandatory challenger in Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs), a two-time Olympian for Lithuania fighting out of Oxnard, California.
Before that, however, a pair of intriguing co-features. First it’s Ireland’s Michael Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs), who is out to avenge a pair of amateur losses to Vladimir Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) – including his nightmarish Rio “defeat” at the hands of the Russian. Then highly regarded contender Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) will face off with Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) for Commey’s IBF lightweight title.
Tonight’s rolling order
Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s a look at tonight’s order of play in reverse order.
- Terence Crawford v Egidijus Kavaliauskas, 12 rounds, for Crawford’s WBO welterweight title
- Richard Commey v Teofimo Lopez Jr, 12 rounds, for Commey’s IBF lightweight title
- Michael Conlan v Vladimir Nikitin, 10 rounds, featherweights
- Josue Vargas v Noel Murphy, 10 rounds, junior welterweights
- Edgar Berlanga v Cesar Nunez, 8 rounds, super middleweights
- Julian Rodriguez v Manuel Mendez, 8 rounds, junior welterweights
- George Kambosos Jr v Mickey Bey, 10 rounds, lightweights