Jeremiah Milton provided his hometown fans with another victory—just not a particularly memorable one.
The undefeated heavyweight prospect outboxed a reluctant Fabio Maldonado over eight lethargic rounds to take a lopsided unanimous decision. Judges Chris Ritter (78-72), Henry Ellick (80-70) and Chris Flores (80-70) awarded the bout to the Tulsa-bred Milton in their ESPN+ aired heavyweight contest Saturday evening from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Milton took his time to develop his offensive attack. The unbeaten local favorite—who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—threw one punch at a time during the early rounds, mostly single right hands. Maldonado bought plenty of theatrics—even belting out a battle cry late in round two—but little in the way of a competitive fight.
Maldonado repeatedly fell to the canvas through the first seven minutes of the fight. None of the occasions were ruled as official knockdowns, instead entirely attributable to poor balance by Maldonado—a 43-year-old club-level boxer with prior MMA experience.
The lone moment of adversity presented to Milton came in round three. A clash of heads left a cut just outside his right eye. Referee Gary Ritter warned Maldonado for frequently leading with his head, even threatening to disqualify the Brazilian if he continued the infraction.
Maldonado was dealt that lesson in round six, when Ritter marched the Brazilian around the ring and instructed the three judges to deduct one point from his total score. It mattered little, as Maldonado did not at all come to fight. Milton didn’t help matters with his methodical approach versus a middle-aged, undersized heavyweight who has been stopped by Michael Hunter Jr. and lesser talented fighters. He was urged by head trainer Eric Belanger to close the show. Milton finally picked up the pace in the final 90 seconds of the fight, landing a left hook that rocked Maldonado midway through the final round.
Maldonado (29-7, 28KOs) suffered another point deduction with one minute to go, this time for holding. Milton went on the attack once action resumed, sending Maldonado across the ring and into retreat mode which allowed him to survive and last the eight-round distance.
Milton (9-0, 6KOs) goes the distance for the first time in Tulsa after having delivered knockout victories in his three previous local appearances. It was also his first time going eight rounds.
Headlining the show, Robeisy Ramirez (11-1, 7KOs) and Isaac Dogboe (24-2, 15KOs) meet in a scheduled 12-round vacant WBO featherweight title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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