David Light’s trip halfway around the world was well worthwhile.
The cruiserweight contender from New Zealand scored an upset Friday night by beating Brandon Glanton in their entertaining 10-round elimination match at White Sands Events Center in Plant City Florida. Light (20-0, 12 KOs) took Glanton’s power well until the 10th round, when he was knocked down, displayed craft while working mostly from short distances and out-pointed the previously unbeaten Glanton by split decision in a proverbial phone-booth bout.
Judges Brian Gary (95-94) and Thomas Nardone (97-92) scored their tight fight for Light. Judge James O’Connor scored Glanton a 95-94 winner in this ProBox TV main event.
Light, the WBO’s sixth-rated contender, moved closer to a shot at its junior heavyweight (cruiserweight) champion, Lawrence Okolie (18-0, 14 KOs). Atlanta’s Glanton (17-1, 14 KOs), who was a 3-1 favorite according to DraftKings’ sportsbook, entered the ring ranked seventh by the WBO.
“It feels pretty good,” Light told ProBox TV’s Paulie Malignaggi during his post-fight interview in the ring. “You know, like I always believed in myself. I always knew I had it in me, so it’s good to get that vindication.”
The hard-hitting Glanton and Light landed various clean punches while working almost exclusively on the inside throughout a fast-paced fight that was tough to score. Light explained to Malignaggi that he basically abandoned his jab and fought differently from how he normally boxes because of Glanton’s aggressive style.
“Yeah, well, you know, we were just looking at the kind of opponent that we had and what we had to do to face that kind of opponent, and it worked out in the end,” Light said. “Well, you know, we know that he likes slipping inside the jab. We know that he was expecting that from us. We know that we can stay in there and we can bang just as well as he can. So, I knew that he was gonna try and put the pressure on. I knew I could give it back just as well.”
Glanton clearly sensed that their fight would be close on the scorecards entering the 10th round and unloaded a barrage of power punches in its opening minute. His left to the body eventually sent a fatigued Light to the canvas with just over 1:50 remaining in their bout.
Light answered the count at six and attempted to hold his way toward recovering from that troublesome moment. Glanton later landed a left hook that knocked Light into the ropes with just under 40 seconds on the clock in the 10th round.
Glanton couldn’t drop Light again, however, and their back-and-forth fight went to the scorecards.
A left-right combination by Glanton made Light hold him tightly with just under 50 seconds remaining in the ninth round. Glanton snapped back Light’s head with a right uppercut about 25 seconds later.
An overhand right by Glanton drilled Light and moved him into the ropes with just over a minute to go in the eighth round. Light took a step back and caught Glanton with a left hook at exactly the midway mark of the eighth round.
A right-left combination by Light connected with just under a minute to go in the seventh round. Light landed a right uppercut as Glanton pressed forward with 1:25 to go in the seventh round.
Light landed a straight right just before the bell rang to end the sixth round.
A right uppercut by Glanton snapped back Light’s head with around 1:15 on the clock in the sixth round. Light’s right hand knocked Glanton off balance about 1:05 into the sixth round.
Light’s right to Glanton’s body landed clean with just over 1:45 remaining in the fifth round. Light cracked Glanton with a right hand about 30 seconds later.
Light responded with an overhand right barely 1:20 into the fourth round, just after Glanton connected with a right uppercut. Light’s left uppercut caught Glanton with about 15 seconds on the clock in the fourth round.
Light landed a right and then a left hook with just under a minute to go in the fourth round. With just under 20 seconds on the clock in the fourth, Glanton caught Light with a left hook.
Glanton blasted Light with a straight right as Light backed into the ropes 30 seconds into the second round. Light and Glanton spent much of the remainder of the second round wrestling for position and throwing short shots on the inside.
Light landed a right uppercut with just under a minute to go in the first round. A little less than 30 seconds later, Glanton caught Light with an overhand right.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.