by Cliff Rold
With a mandatory title shot on the line, 26-year old Cuban Jr. Lightweight Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KO) of Miami, Florida, scored his first knockout since November 2011, with a vicious right uppercut to the body of 31-year old Fahsai Sakkreerin (39-4-1, 21 KO) of Chiang Mai, Thailand, in round two on Friday night at the Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was only the second stoppage loss of Sakkreerin’s career, the other coming in his sixth start in 2005
Both men came below the division limit of 130 lbs., Barthelemy at 128 ¾ and Sakkreerin at 129. The referee was Mark Nelson.
The length of Barthelemy was evident in the first round, his 5’11 frame allowing forcing Sakkreerin to step hard with his jab to cross the distance. The Thai handled the task well, getting close enough to land some early left hooks. It turned out Barthelemy was merely getting his measure.
In the second, Barthelemy had his gloves in place to defend against the hook and was ready, countering with short hooks and crosses before returning to his jab to keep Sakkreerin outside. Leaning back as Sakkreerin attempted a right hand, Barthelemy turned a right uppercut into the solar plexus area. The action froze in time for just a second, Sakkreerin collapsing in a delayed reaction, his face a mask of pain. There was no attempt to rise,
Translated in the ring after the fight, Barthelemy was asked about the shift and outcomes since his last fight, a controversial decision over Arash Usmanee. Barthelemy stated that fight left him a lot of learning experiences and those were lessons he could apply on Friday night. Looking forward, Barthelemy expressed excitement about a looming title chance, a reflection of why he sacrificed to defect from Cuba to the U.S.
With the victory, the former Cuban Amateur Jr. National Champion Barthelemy rises to the mandatory position in the IBF ratings. The current IBF titlist at 130 lbs. is Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11 KO).
It wouldn’t be the only crushing finish on the night.
Picking up his fourth win in a row since a loss to former Middleweight Champion last April, 29-year old Super Middleweight Caleb Truax (22-1-1, 13 KO), 162, of Osseo, Minnesota, started strong and stayed there en route to scoring a sixth round knockout of 28-year old Don George (24-4-2, 21 KO), 161 ¾, of Chicago, Illinois.
Truax had him rocked badly in the final minute of round one and did some excellent, clear contact work in the third to seize early control of the contest. George, who seemed flat from the outset, did little to get back into the fight in the next two rounds. Truax, sharp and lively, kept his jab working and exploited multiple holes in the defense in front of him.
In the sixth, a crushing right hand in the final minute brought matters to an end. George went down, his face towards the floor. One could see the part of him that wanted to rise being overruled by the rest of his beaten body. Referee Gary Miezwa halted his count at eight and waved the fight closed at 2:24 of round six.
The fight was only the second knockout loss in the career of George following a knockout loss in the final round to then-future lineal World Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson last October. George is 2-3-1 in his last six starts.
Jr. Middleweight: Ken Glenn (3-0, 1 KO) UD4 Gavin Quinn (1-1)
The contest was televised in the U.S. on ESPN2 as part of its “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by Seconds Out and Warriors Promotion.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]