Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis saw his planned 2020 breakout campaign come to an unfortunate close.
A clash of heads left South Africa’s Chris van Heerden with a massive cut atop his forehead, forcing an anti-climactic ending to their Showtime-televised chief support Saturday evening at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Both fighters were rocked from the sequence, with the severity of the cut forcing the ringside physician to inform referee to stop the contest at 2:39 of round one.
Philadelphia’s Ennis didn’t waste any time initiating the action, despite van Heerden’s pre-fight promise to slow things down to his desired pace. The unbeaten welterweight contender was relentless with his combination punching, connecting with left hands and right hooks while van Heerden—who relocated to Santa Monica, California in 2013—was left to cover up along the ropes.
The threat of racking up his 17th consecutive knockout instead ended in a far more disappointing manner. The two fighters clashed heads, forcing Ennis to stagger backwards and van Heerden to lean over the top rope as blood poured from the wide cut. Time was called and with the fight stopped soon thereafter.
Because the fight did not last four rounds, the official verdict was a No-Decision.
The official verdict ends Ennis’ knockout streak at 16, as his record moves to 26-0 (24KOs) with 1ND. The bout came three months after scoring his most significant win to date, a 6th round stoppage of Juan Carlos Abreu in this very venue this past September. Hopes of racking up a trio of wins in 2020 are vanquished, though he remains a contender to watch in the year ahead.
Van Heerden—no stranger to fights ending in cuts—is now 28-2-1 (12KOs) with 1ND.
The bout served as the chief support of a televised tripleheader, headlined by Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12KOs) and Reymart Gaballo (23-0, 20KOs)
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox