By Keith Idec
Anthony Dirrell was well on his way to knocking out Denis Douglin on Friday night.
Ultimately, though, the former WBC super middleweight champion and his hometown fans had to settle for winning by a technical unanimous decision. Dirrell suffered a nasty cut over his left eye in the sixth round, which caused a ringside doctor to stop their scheduled 10-round super middleweight match.
Because an accidental clash of heads opened Dirrell’s cut, the fight went to the scorecards. Each of the judges Ansel Stewart (49-46), John Belise (48-47) and Ben Rochester (48-47) scored the fight for Dirrell.
The bout was broadcast by FS1 as the main event of a tripleheader from the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint, Michigan.
The 33-year-old Dirrell improved to 31-1-1. The 29-year-old Douglin, of Marlboro, New Jersey, slipped to 20-6.
Dirrell drilled Douglin with a right hand that hurt him late in the first round. Douglin held on to survive the trouble and made it to the second round.
The left-handed Douglin tried his best to fend off the better, stronger Dirrell for much of the rest of the fight. Dirrell hurt Douglin multiple times in the fourth round, most noticeably with a right uppercut with 1:08 to go in it.
Referee Frank Garza took a point away from Douglin early the sixth round for flinging Dirrell to the canvas. Douglin had been warned for questionable tactics in each of the five previous rounds.
Moments later, Dirrell sustained the fight-ending cut. He indicated to a ringside physician that he was having difficulty seeing before the fight was stopped.
His fight Friday night was the first for Douglin since newly crowned WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) stopped him in the 10th round of their August 2016 bout in Philadelphia.
Dirrell fought for the first time in 10 months. He last boxed January 13, the night he stopped an overmatched opponent, Hungary’s Norbert Nemesapati (25-7, 18 KOs), in Hialeah, Florida.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.