Joshua Greer Jr. wanted nothing more than for his most recent bout to be for a major title. The in-ring defeat he instead suffered certainly won’t bring him closer to that goal but it did reveal the championship mentality he has always carried.
Two knockdowns proved far too much to overcome for the streaking bantamweight contender, whom suffered a 10-round majority decision defeat to Philippines’ Mike Plania. Their bout—which aired live on ESPN from the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas—marked the first significant upset since boxing has returned to the United States after a three-month shutdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Chicago’s Greer was dropped midway through the opening round again towards the end of round six, both times courtesy of left hooks. A strong finish came far too late, as it merely pulled him even on the 94-94 scorecard turned in by judge Dave Moretti. Greer lost 97-91 and 96-92 on the scorecards of judges Patricia Morse Jarman and Tim Cheatham, respectively, thus snapping a 19-fight win streak dating back more than four years.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” Greer (22-2-2, 12KOs) told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna after Tuesday evening’s main event. “I did get caught with some shots that I didn’t see but… I gotta take my losses like I take my wins. I gotta go back to the drawing board, figure some things out with my team and work even harder.
“I’m gonna make a push again, you know. It was just Mike Plania’s night (Tuesday). He done a great job… I take my hat off to him, but I’ll be back.”
Greer’s lone other career defeat came in his 5th pro fight, dropping a four-round decision to Stephen Fulton—now a top-rated 122-pound contender—in December 2015.
Plania (24-1, 12KOs) accepted the assignment on roughly four weeks’ notice, coming down from junior featherweight and agreeing to meet Greer—a top-ranked bantamweight contender—in the middle for a 120-pound catchweight bout.
Greer agreed to the fight, simply for the sake of remaining active. He was previously due to face Australia’s Jason Moloney (20-1, 17KOs) on an April 25 show to have been headlined by a three-belt unification clash between unified WBA and IBF bantamweight titlist Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16KOs) and WBO title claimant John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20KOs).
The show was canceled due to the ongoing global health crisis, with Greer and Moloney scheduled for separate ESPN headliners in June.
“It didn’t affect me at all,” Greer said of the switch in opponents. “There’s no excuses from me. Mike Plania was just the better man. He was the smarter man in the end.
“No excuses, man. He won, I take my hat off to the winner. I gotta go back to the drawing board.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox