Brandon Adams made his ring walk dressed as the Mortal Kombat character Scorpion, and the fighter nicknamed “The Cannon” promptly stung and blasted knockout artist Serhii Bohachuk in dramatic fashion.
The 25-year-old undefeated Ukrainian suffered his first career loss Thursday when Adams scored a come-from-behind combination that emphatically led to a technical knockout when a debilitating and crushing Adams left hook abruptly ended Bohachuk’s night at 2 minutes and 47 seconds of the eighth round.
Adams (23-3, 15 KOs) was down 69-63. 68-64 and 68-64 on all three judges cards at the time of the stoppage on a 77-degree night outdoors at the Felix Pintor Gym in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
“I just had to dig in deep, and regardless of what was happening, it was me against them. I had to connect with one of those punches,” Adams said afterward.
“It was really tough fighting in there tonight, the ring was wet and it was an uphill mountain. But I’m a professional and I had to get that win. The minute I landed some real punches, I did what I had to do. He was a tough guy. This is what it takes to be a champion. I’m grateful.”
With the loss, Bohachuk’s (18-1, 18 KOs) impressive consecutive stoppage streak to kick off his career, winning his first 18 career bout by KO, came to an end.
It surely didn’t look like Bohachuk would be the fighter who would end up on the losing end.
The opening frame was a feeling-out round that was closely edged by Adams.
The second picked up considerably with both boxers standing shoulder-to-shoulder and banging. Adams did not appear to respect the power of Bohachuk, pressing forward with his head down and wailing away. One of Adams’ punches was barely below the beltline, but referee Ramón Peña considered it too close for comfort and offered a warning in the 50/50 frame.
Adams came out in the third, recommitted to combat at close range, winning exchanges inside and getting the attention of Bohachuk. But it was another shot barely below the belt that defined the round, as Peña took a point away this time.
The six-foot-tall Bohachuk owned a three-inch height and reach advantage, but that didn’t deter Adams from continuing to press the action even though he had trouble finding his footing on the slippery canvas.
Peña felt compelled to forcefully mop the floor before the start of the fifth round until the mop head broke off.
Adams’ corner, led by trainer Christopher Camacho, a coach who replaced longtime trainer Dub Huntley, who stayed back home due to COVID-19 concerns, kept calling for Peña to take away a point for Bohachuk’s fouls to no avail in a closely-contested fifth.
Bohachuk fought a clean sixth, and won the round clearly with chopping, overhand rights and body shots as he started to walk down Adams. The tide of the fight appeared to be turning toward Bohachuk.
The South Central Los Angeles fighter Adams, winner of the fifth season of The Contender, showed his first signs of fatigue after eating the meaningful punches.
The seventh-round marked the first time the Manny Robles-trained, Tom Loeffler-promoted Bohachuk made it past the sixth round in his four-year pro career. By this point Adams had mostly abandoned his body attack, perhaps afraid that he’d be deducted another point in a close fight.
Bohachuk instead was bullying Adams by chasing him around the ring from corner to corner, connecting whenever he could stop his opponent in his tracks.
Bohachuk appeared to be pulling away with his blue-collar approach in the eighth round, landing a left hook that got Adams’ attention midway through.
But it was Adams who would eventually muster off the massive theatrics when he landed the left hook out of nowhere to score the latest stoppage win of his career.
The meeting was definitely worth the wait for Adams.
A bout between Bohachuk and Adams was supposed to take place in December as a Ring City USA headlining fight, but Bohachuk was knocked down after contracting COVID-19. Adams knocked out replacement opponent Sanny Duversonne instead in the second round.
The fight Thursday headlined the Ring City USA show on NBC Sports Network, and it was just Puerto Rico’s second boxing event since the start of the pandemic.
Ring City USA will host two more shows on March 18 and 25 from Puerto Rico.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com