By Francisco Salazar
In a battle of heavyweight contenders that do serious damage with power, it was boxing that allowed Bermane Stiverne to win a decisive victory.
In a hard-fought and action-filled bout, Stiverne won a 12 round unanimous decision over Chris Arreola before a vocal crowd of about 4,200 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA.
The bout was taking place after the fight had been postponed from its original March 9th date, when Arreola had to pull out of the fight because he had a case of bronchitis.
Arreola had not fought since February of last year, when he knocked out Eric Molina in the first round. Stiverne was coming off an eight round unanimous decision over Willie Herring last April.
Arreola was able to win the first two rounds by beating Stiverne to the punch. Working from the center of the ring, Arreola consistently landed right hands to the head.
Stiverne came on in the third round, landing lead or counter right hands to the head of Arreola. Right before the bell sounded to end the round, a counter overhand right dropped Arreola to the canvas. As referee Jack Reiss was countering, one of Stiverne's cornermen entered the ring, which could have resulted in Stiverne getting disqualified.
From the fourth round on, Arreola had to deal with a bloody nose, which looked broken and because of the amount of blood that flowed out of it. That looked as though it spurred Stiverne to go on the attack in the fourth and fifth rounds, attacking Arreola to the body and continued to land counter right hands to the head.
Arreola came on in the sixth round, pinning Stiverne against the ropes and landing right hands to the head. However, Stiverne went back to what worked well for him in the earlier rounds: throwing and landing hooks to the body and right hands to the head.
At times, it appeared as though Arreola was favoring his right hand as if he had hurt or broke it. He rarely threw the right hand in the eighth round, but came on in the ninth round, putting that assumption to bed.
Stiverne was content to back up and box as Arreola came on in the 10th and 11th rounds. Sensing he was down, Arreola came out aggressively in the 12th round. However, he looked tired halfway through the round, especially when Stiverne landed vicious left hooks to the body. Arreola seemed to stop throwing right before the final bell sounded, more than like because it looked as though he had a hard time breathing because of the blood entering his mouth.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Stiverne, 117-110, 117-110, and 118-109. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 114-113 for Stiverne.
With the victory, Stiverne becomes the mandatory challenger for Vitali Klitschko.
The Haitian-born Stiverne, from Las Vegas, NV by way of Miami, FL, improves to 23-1-1, 20 KOs. Arreola, from Riverside, CA, falls to 35-3, 30 KOs.
Heavyweight Eric Molina won a 12 round unanimous decision over Tony Grano. In the process, Molina won the NABF heavyweight title.
There was little action in the opening three times, talking more in those stanzas than throwing punches.
The action picked up in the middle rounds, even though the action was sloppy at times. Molina dropped Grano with a counter right hand to the head at the end of the fifth round.
Molina would beat Grano to the punch in the seventh and eighth rounds, landing repeated right hands to the head.
Sensing he was down on the cards, Grano picked up the aggression, stalking Molina around the ring. Molina looked tired by the 10th round, throwing less punches than in the fight.
In the 12th round, Grano landed a hard, counter right hand to the head, dropping Molina hard to the canvas. Molina got up on shaky legs and was able to hang on until the final bell, despite Grano attempting to land that one punch to stop Molina.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Molina, 116-110, 116-110, and 114-112. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 115-111 for Molina.
Molina, from Raymondville, TX, goes to 20-2, 14 KOs. Grano, from Hartford, CT, falls to 20-3-1, 16 KOs.
2012 Mexican Olympian Oscar Molina (5-0, 4 KOs) scored a first round knockout over Jose Martell in a scheduled four round bout. Molina dropped Martell (2-8-1, 2 KOs) with a left hook to the body, followed by a left hook to the head. Referee Pat Russell counted Martell out at 55 seconds.
Featherweight Juan Funez (2-0, 1 KO) stopped Christian Cartier in the second round of a scheduled four round bout. Cartier, who was making his professional debut, was able to land straight right and left hands to the head and body of Funez. However, in the second round, the southpaw Funez hurt Cartier with a left uppercut to the head. Funez followed up on a defenseless Cartier until referee Pat Russell stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:14.
Featherweight Charles Huerta knocked out normally-durable Jonathan Alcantara in the first round of a scheduled six round bout. A well-timed straight right hand by Huerta to Alcantara's head dropped him to the canvas. After getting up, Alcantara lost his balance and fell down again to the canvas. Referee Raul Caiz, Jr. waved the fight over at 1:30.
Featherweight Jose Garcia (2-6-1, 2 KOs) pulled off the minor upset, stopping Vladimir Gavrilov in the third round of a scheduled four round bout. Garcia dropped Gavrilov with a right hand in the first round. After the knockdown, Garcia was on the offensive, at times backing the Russian-born fighter up. In the third round, Garcia dropped Gavrilov (1-1) with another right hand to the head. After Gavrilov stood up, Garcia went in for the kill. Once he saw Gavrilov was unable to defend himself, referee Raul Caiz, Jr. stepped in to stop the fight at 2:20.
Francisco A. Salazar has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper. He could be reached at [email protected] or on twitter at Salazar_soccer