Artur Beterbiev defended his IBF light-heavyweight title for the first time with a fourth-round knockout of England’s Callum Johnson in Chicago on Saturday.
After spells of inactivity and crippling promotional disputes outside of the ring, some were wondering whether the beast-like destroyer was still able to put away opponents with his usual precision and ferocity. The answer was a resounding yes – although this bout was not without its challenges.
Tangled in the ropes in the first and on the receiving end of a Beterbiev right hand, Johnson was stunned and dropped for a count. Lulled into a false sense of security the heavy-handed Russian was pawing a little in the second, and Johnson extended a left hook over Beterbiev’s lowered right hand that surprisingly dropped the feared Russian.
Johnson was cut over the left eye and caught himself by a left hook in the third as Beterbiev started ramping up the pressure. Lured into the corner at the end of the fourth Johnson ate a right hand to the temple that caught him by surprise and dropped the Boston man to the canvas. Clearly hurt and trying desperately to recover, Callum’s brave effort was waved off.
In a one-sided beatdown Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller put every ounce of his considerable bulk behind the shots to stop faded veteran Tomasz Adamek in two rounds. Once a proud former light-heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, Adamek was drafted in to lure Polish fans to the venue and needs to hang up the gloves based on this display.
Classy WBA super-bantamweight champion Daniel Roman finally pounded the resistance out of Doncaster’s game Gavin McDonnell. There was an argument to be made for the challenger seeing out the round, but he did not debate Mark Nelson’s call and will live to fight another day after his second commendable loss in a world title effort.
Jessie Vargas had to settle for two back-to-back draws after boxing to a majority stalemate against Thomas Dulorme. Vargas was held to a draw by the enigmatic Adrien Broner in Brooklyn earlier this year. The Las Vegas native was on his way to eking out a win against talented but flawed Dulorme before getting dropped in the final seconds by the Puerto Rican.
That skewed the cards to a 115-111 in Vargas’s favour, overruled by two matching 113-113 totals that meant the esteemed WBC Silver welterweight remained vacant and both men continue in career stasis.
Touted New York-based heavyweight Nkosi Solomon had a debut to forget when he was dropped a couple of times by lightly-regarded Matt Cameron en route to a wide points loss. Solomon, 23, was also deducted two points against plucky Cameron who was well worth his upset victory. Solomon will undoubtedly need to return to the drawing board to see where he went wrong.