Artem Dalakian held on his WBA flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Costa Rica’s David Jimenez on the Beterbiev-Yarde bill at Wembley.
Ukrainian Dalakian built up a big lead in the first half of the fight, dominating with the jab and catching Jimenez with sharp shots when he got into range.
And while Jimenez did better in the second half, as he put pressure on Dalakian constantly, the champion found the shots he needed when necessary and was well worth his victory.
Judges Bob Williams and Howard Foster scored it 115-113, while Steve Gray had it 116-112.
The 35-year-old champion was making a successful sixth defence of the title he won in 2018, but it was his first fight since 2021, before the Russian invasion of his homeland.
Both treated the opener as a bit of a range-finding mission, with Dalakian controlling matters with the jab.
Jimenez had his first success early in the second, as he landed a right uppercut while Dalakian was trying to push him off. But Dalakian was in charge, forcing Jimenez back around the ring with the jab and lashing him with a left hook when the Costa Rican stuck around for too long.
Things were already getting urgent for Jimenez in the third as he was being picked off and tied up by Dalakian when he got close. But he had some success in the fourth round, as Dalakian missed and Jimenez chased him across the ring, landing a decent body shot as he had him trapped in a corner.
The action got more frenetic in the fifth as Jimenez, swelling coming up below his right eye, started to go for it and forcing Dalakian to fight at a higher pace.
The sixth was complete control from Dalakian as he stayed at distance and fired left-rights into Jimenez’s face when he stood still.
Jimenez threw everything at Dalakian in the seventh and eighth rounds and had some success at the end of the eight as he caught the champion with a solid right and the Ukrainian tried to duck out of trouble in the corner.
The onslaught forced Dalakian to stand and trade in the ninth round, as both landed decent shots. Dalakian opened up in the tenth, forcing Jimenez backwards, but the Costa Rican covered up and came back well.
Dalakian was starting to look tired in the eleventh, as Jimenez kept coming forward, but the champion’s shots were still sharp as he turned his jab into a good left hook and then landed two quick body shots out of a clinch and a neat right uppercut just before the bell.
Both went for it in the last, Jimenez landing a decent left hook and then a solid left to the body that had the champion backing away, but as he had found in the previous 11 rounds, Dalakian did not stick around long enough for him he fully take advantage. Michael Alexander was the referee.
Khalid Ali made short work of overmatched Croatian Ivaca Gogosevic, who was pulled out after one painful round of a super-welterweight fight ambitiously scheduled for six.
Gogosevic was on the floor three times, one ruled a slip by referee Mark Bates despite Ali landing an uppercut. Fortunately, the Croatian’s corner pulled him out at the end of the first round. Ali is now 5-0.
Indian featherweight Sandeep Singh Bhatti has become a regular in British rings but he never gets an easy fight. It proved so again as Umar Khan, who looked notably bigger, bashed his way to a 60-54 decision from referee Sean McAvoy. Khan is now 6-0, Bhatti 8-6.
Cousins Joshua and Charles Frankham both won, both moving to 7-0 as professionals. Super-welterweight Joshua claimed a 60-54 decision from referee Bates over Joe Hardy, while super-featherweight Charles was handed a 60-54 decision from McAvoy over Joshua Ocampo.
Another unbeaten super-featherweight, Masood Abdulah also claimed a 60-54 decision from McAvoy against Lesther Lara, while Sean Noakes stopped Spain-based Colombian Santiago Garces in the fifth round.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.
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