By Keith Idec
BUSHKILL, Pa. — Denis Grachev never stopped trying Saturday night, but Isaac Chilemba was better, busier and exploited Grachev’s defensive deficiencies on his way to a winning a 10-round unanimous decision in an entertaining light heavyweigh fight at Sands Event Center.
Judge Julie Lederman scored the mostly one-sided fight 100-90 for Chilemba, while Kevin Morgan and Ron McNair had it 99-91 for him. South Africa’s Chilemba improved to 22-2-2. Russia’s Grachev slipped to 13-3-1.
NBC Sports Network televised the Chilemba-Grachev bout before a main event that matched heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek against Vyacheslav “Czar” Glaskov.
“We knew that he was going to come hard,” said Chilemba, who opened a cut around Grachev’s left eye. “He was tough.”
On the non-televised portion of the card, former IBF welterweight champ Kermit Cintron scored a 10-round unanimous-decision victory over Ronald Cruz in a battle between area fan favorites. There weren’t any knockdowns during the competitive bout, which Cintron (35-5-2, 28 KOs) won by the same score, 96-94, on the scorecards of Lederman, Morgan and John Porturaj.
According to unofficial CompuBox statistics, Cintron, a native of Reading, Pa., landed 154 of 703 overall punches (just 22 percent) and 121 of 399 power punches (30 percent). CompuBox credited Cruz, of Bethlehem, Pa., with connecting on 152 of 453 punches overall (34 percent) and 131 of 337 power punches (39 percent).
Cruz (20-3, 15 KOs) also sustained a cut around his right eye and another laceration near his hairline during the fight.
“Ronald Cruz is a very tough guy,” Cintron said. “He’ll give anybody problems.”
Earlier Saturday night, Philadelphia lightweight prospect Karl Dargan (15-0, 7 KOs) remained unbeaten by recording an eight-round unanimous decision over Chazz McDowell (6-5-1, 1 KO), of Hartford, Conn. Lightweights Jerome Rodriguez (6-0-3, 2 KOs), of Allentown, Pa., and Brandon Williams (3-0-1), of Rochester, N.Y., also battled to a six-round split draw on the undercard.
In the first fight on the seven-bout card, junior welterweight Nathaniel Rivas (3-0, 1 KO) stopped Philadelphia’s Terrell James (1-2-1) at 2:37 of the third round in a scheduled four-rounder.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.