By Joe Harrison
Hitz Boxing Entertainment produced an evening filled with fireworks in front of a packed house as middleweight contender Andy Lee (26-1, 19 KOs) defeated Alex Bunema (15-3-1, 6 KOs) by a unanimous decision. The ten-round bout was the headliner of “Rosemont Rumble” at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. With the victory, Lee won the vacant NABF and NABA middleweight titles.
Throughout the contest, 6’2 tall southpaw Lee used his height and reach to control his opponent. Lee constantly threw his jab as Bunema slowly circled the ring. Only in short spurts would Bunema jump forward and throw a punch, but he was relatively ineffective. If Bunema’s plan was to weather Lee’s storm until the sixth and then go for the attack, it was a plan that failed drastically.
During the first five rounds, Lee dictated the action, using his jab to set up right-left combinations. Other times, Lee threw downstairs and then landed upstairs with a hard right hand. Meanwhile, Bunema showed little fight as he often stood in a corner while attempting to dodge and block Lee’s punches.
In the sixth round, Lee picked up the pace and began to land more frequently. Suddenly, Bunema began to land punches of his own while countering Lee. The momentum was only temporary as Lee continued to swing and land, controlling the rest of the round.
As the seventh round began, Bunema moved forward and landed with a strong right hand. It would be the first time during the contest that Bunema was the aggressor as Lee found himself circling the ring. Then Lee moved forward and began to strike back, but Bunema countered with another straight right hand.
Bunema landed punches early in the eighth round, but Lee continued to throw and land his jab. As the round progressed, Lee landed with a straight left hand often.
By the ninth round, Lee was in full control as he landed his jabs and straight left hands. Bunema was back to square one, jumping forward in spurts while attempting to land, but with little effect.
There was no drama in the final round as Lee continued to land his straight left and right punches. Lee seemed to pick up the tempo, possibly to go for a knockout, but Bunema would survive until the end. All three judges had scores of 100-90.
“When the guy just wants to survive, it was very hard to knock him out,” said Lee. “I kept telling my corner I want a KO, but they said I was boxing beautifully.”
Also on the card, lightweight Yakubu Amidu (18-2-1, 16 KOs) scored a third-round TKO over Damon Antoine (9-31-2, 4 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round bout.
Antoine dictated the pace in the first round by throwing punches often. The second round was different as Amidu took the fight to Antoine, forcing him into the corner and punishing him.
In round three, Amidu began to batter Antoine against the ropes until referee Geno Rodriguez gave him a standing eight count since the ropes kept him up. When the action resumed, a left hand to the body dropped Antoine to the canvas. Antoine opted to continue, but was sent down again from another punch to the body. At that moment, the contest was called off at the time of 2:13.
In addition, lightweight Russell Fiore (5-1-1, 5 KOs) stopped Aaron Lucky (0-2) in the first round. After being dropped inside the first minute, Fiore staggered Lucky with a strong right hand. Moments later, Fiore backed Lucky against the ropes and landed a hard left-right combination that had Lucky down and out momentarily. The official time of stoppage was 1:52.
In the card’s first bout, heavyweight Felix Abner (3-2, 2 KOs) defeated Keyonn Graham (2-6) by a second-round TKO. Only seconds after the opening bell, Abner wobbled Graham with a lead left hook and later followed up with a straight right hand. Graham made it out of the round, but was dropped by an overhand right in the second round. Referee John O’Brien had seen enough and halted the contest at the time of 1:10.
In other results, heavyweight David Latoria (9-0, 5 KOs) earned a third-round stoppage over Philip Jewel (4-7-1, 3 KOs). Latoria was dropped by a right hook in the third round but came back to knock Jewel out badly in round five. The stoppage happened at 0:55.
Middleweight Henry Coyle (15-2, 12 KOs) defeated Keith Collins (3-11, 1 KO) by a second-round TKO. The official time was 2:22.
Junior welterweight George Esho (1-1) earned his first victor over Nalo Leal (3-11-1) by a four-round unanimous decision. The scores were 39-37, and 40-36 twice.