By Jake Donovan
Not only did Joshua Greer have to dig deeper than ever before to pull out his latest win, but also had to climb off the canvas in order to prevail.
The streaking bantamweight prospect survived a rocky start and a 3rd round knockdown in halting a game Giovanni Escaner in eight rounds. A right hand to Escaner's midsection was enough to bring a sudden close to their ESPN-televised opener Friday evening at Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota.
Greer and his team knew heading into the contest that he was taking on a significant leap in competition, but that reality perhaps didn't fully set in until the opening bell. The Chicago-bred bantamweight looked to establish his presence early, but instead found an upset minded challenger in Philippines' Escaner who thrived in the underdog role.
Action was competitive early but thoughts of an upset began to brew in round three, one where Escaner ended the frame with the bout's first knockdown. Replays indicated that the punch possibly landed just after the bell, but nevertheless resulted in a 10-8 round and Greer having to dig his way out of a hole.
Frustration was evident in his corner, particularly within the boxer himself. The 24-year old managed to compose himself, slowly turning the tide and avoid becoming the latest entry in an already growing list of major upsets just two months into the year.
Greer removed that threat altogether in round eight, as a right hand body shot put Escaner down and out. The Filipino was counted out, with the official time 2:33 of round eight.
The minor scare will go a long way towards the continued development of Greer, who improves to 20-1-1 (12KOs), The win is his 17th straight, dating back to 2016 after stumbling out to a 3-1-1 career start.
Escaner suffers his first loss since 2014, falling to 19-4 (12KOs). An eight-fight win streak is snapped in the process.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox