LAS VEGAS – Jamontay Clark didn’t differentiate himself much from Aaron Coley on Saturday night, but he narrowly won their eight-round battle between southpaws.

Cincinnati’s Clark won a highly competitive junior middleweight fight that seemingly could’ve gone the other way by split decision. Judges Tim Cheatham and Max De Luca both scored Clark a 77-75 winner, but judge Chris Migliore scored the action by the same score, 77-75, for Coley on the non-televised portion of the Erickson Lubin-Sebastian Fundora undercard at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Cincinnati’s Clark (16-2-1, 7 KOs) desperately needed a win because 154-pound contender Terrell Gausha stopped him in the second round of his previous fight, which took place in March 2021 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Coley (16-4-1, 7 KOs), of Patterson, California, dropped a second straight split decision. Mexican southpaw Vladimir Hernandez barely beat him in Coley’s previous appearance, a 10-rounder in July 2020 in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Clark, who was Lubin’s primary sparring partner for his fight against Fundora in Showtime Championship Boxing’s main event, finished the fight strong in the eighth round.

Clark connected with back-to-back right hooks in the middle minute of the final round. Clark completed the round strong, too, by landing a straight left hand about 10 seconds before it ended.

Coley landed a straight left that led to an awkward entanglement early in the seventh round. Coley caught Clark with a stiff jab and followed up with a right hook later in the seventh round.

Clark came back toward the end of the seventh round, when he landed a hard jab and quickly followed up with a straight left hand.

Clark and Coley engaged in a competitive but unremarkable sixth round, when they mostly worked off their jabs and missed their power attempts.

Coley clocked Clark with a left hand early in the fifth round that seemed to affect Clark, who held Coley. Clark gathered himself and landed a straight left of his own in the middle minute of the fifth round.

Coley came back and landed a straight left toward the end of the fifth that made Clark retreat.

Coley connected with a right-left combination a little less than 40 seconds into the fourth round. Clark fired back and landed a straight left of his own.

Clark countered Coley with a left hand that got his attention with just over 30 seconds on the clock in the fourth round.

Neither fighter established any superiority during a relatively even third round. Both boxers defended themselves well in those three minutes, though Coley did sneak in a right hook just before the third round concluded.

These two southpaws picked up their jabbing battle in the second round. Coley connected with a right hook toward the end of the second round, but Clark countered him with a straight left hand.

In what had been a battle of jabs for the first two minutes of this fight, Coley landed a left hand with about a minute remaining in the first round.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.