Last weekend, I went to the great city of Newark, New Jersey to take in the Top Rank card at Prudential Center which was headlined by a doubleheader. In an IBF 118 eliminator co main event, Joshua Greer faced Nikolai Potapov. In the main event was hometown hero Shakur Stevenson facing Alberto Guevara. The untelevised undercard was a joy to watch with several Top Rank prospects on the card.
In the opener local favorite Joseph Adorno overwhelmed Adriano Ramirez in only 2 rounds. Vijender Singh had the crowd going “Ooh!!” scoring a brutal 4th TKO over Mike Snider. The ref stopped Snider, who was cowered in his corner taking repeated right hands to the head. John Bauza and Angel Sarinara put on a spectacular slugfest that went the distance with Bauza winning the decision. Julian Rodriguez after a 22-month layoff got rid of Hevinson Herrera in the opening round. The knockout combination was thrown so swiftly if you blinked you would have missed it. Top Rank would have a star making debut as Vito Mielnicki making his pro debut at. The local fan support for Vito was crazy. The crowd would also go crazy at the knockout of Tamarcus Smith. A highlight reel knockout if I ever saw one. It made the ESPN Sportscenter top 10 sports plays segment. In the final undercard fight, Josue Vargas would score a 7th round TKO over a game Manuel Lopez with a barrage of uppercuts and right hands on the ropes.
The main televised card opened with Joshua Greer Jr vs Nikolai Potapov with winner taking on the winner of the WBSS 140 final between Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue later this year. The undercard was a pretty lively affair which the crowd had got accustomed to. This fight was anything but that and the crowd throughout the fight voiced its displeasure. It was a very slow-paced fight in the early going with both men feeling each other and going on the defensive. The action picked up in the middle rounds, particularly in the 5th and 6th rounds after some incessant booing from the crowd. Greer, who had knocked out 7 of his last 8 opponents, looked very tentative but did hit Potapov with consistent body shots. The fight still remained close going into the later rounds although neither appeared to have a sense of urgency. When the final bell rang, the feeling was Potapov did more than enough to win the fight. Judges said otherwise as Greer won an unpopular majority decision with scores of 116-112, 115-113, and 114-114. Potapov and his promoter Dmitry Salita in the post-fight interview said they would appeal the decision, which they felt was unjust.
The main event, Stevenson vs Guevara, was a fight that almost never came to pass. Guevara was the third schedule opponent since the card was first announced. Shakur had previously been signed to fight undefeated Hairon Soccaras and then Franklin Manzanilla but they both would pull out of the fight for differing reasons. The fight ended being nothing but a showcase to the Newark crowd who cheered loudly for their hometown son. Guevara was never in the fight at all. He shied away from the action and fought negative. When Shakur decided to increase the pressure, Guevara melted instantly. 2 knockdowns in the second round and 1 knockdown in round 3. The last knockdown the ref would issue the full 10 count while Guevara pretended he wanted to continue on. In the post-fight interview, Shakur called out all the current featherweight champions, excluding Gary Russell Jr.
Written by Patscorpio for Ring Gang Radio