Albert Bell used a fast start to power his way to his latest victory, scoring an eight-round unanimous decision over Manuel Ray Rojas.
Scores were 78-74 across the board in favor of Bell in an ESPN+ televised junior lightweight bout Saturday on ESPN+ from Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Bell hasn’t scored a knockout since Nov. 2018, which happened to be his last trip to Oklahoma. The unbeaten prospect from Toledo looked to make it an early night, catching a cold Rojas with right hands in the opening round as he forced a furious pace. Action eventually settled down as the fight progressed, with Bell in control through cleaner boxing though often forced to fight in reverse against an aggressive Rojas.
A clash of heads left Rojas with a long cut along his forehead in round three. The sequence briefly affected both boxers though never became a threat to stop the contest. Bell changed up his attack in round four, landing an uppercut from the southpaw stance before switching back to conventional and landing a right hand.
Rojas did his best to make things uncomfortable for Bell in the second half of the contest. Bell saw his punch output decrease, working to the benefit of Rojas who was able to bully his way inside even if not always effective once there.
Bell dug in with his right hands in the eighth and final round, though seeing momentum stalled after losing his mouthpiece late in the frame. Rojas was determined but unable to turn the tide to the point of pulling off the upset.
Bell improves to 18-0 (5KOs) with the win, his first since last July in a10-round nod that left him with an injured hand. Rojas falls to (20-5, 6KOs)
Jeremiah Milton couldn’t wait to return home, even if he didn’t stick around for very long once he made his way to the ring.
The Tulsa-bred heavyweight newcomer picked up his third straight knockout win in as many pro fights, the latest coming in a 1st round stoppage of Jayvone Dafney (2-3, 2KOs). A right hand left Dafney frozen along the ropes, producing the ending midway through the opening round.
Milton—who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—established his dominance early in the fight. Both heavyweights have scored knockouts in all of their wins, though their difference in skill level was apparent.
Dafney was in over his head, something even Milton sensed during the brief affair including the fight-ending sequence. An overhand right left Dafney frozen along the ropes, prompting Milton (3-0, KOs) to take a step back and glare at the referee, who was slow to move in and wave off the contest.
Cincinnati's Duke Ragan (4-0, 1KO) picked up his first win outside of the Las Vegas Bubble, scoring a six-round shutout of Dallas' Charles Clark (3-7, 1KO). All three judges scored the contest 60-54 in favor of Ragan, a blue-chip talent and former amateur standout who signed with Top Rank prior to turning pro last summer.
All three bouts served in supporting capacity to a seven-fight preliminary undercard on ESPN+. The show precedes an ESPN telecast, headlined by the vacant WBO light heavyweight title fight between Joe Smith Jr. (26-3, 21KOs) and Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox