By Jake Donovan
MACAU, CHINA--Glen Tapia picked up his third consecutive win - all by knockout - after battering Daniel Dawson into submission in three rounds.
Tapia was composed in the early going before tapping into his inner slugger and forcing Dawson to wilt. The deliberate boxing tactic in the first two rounds reflected the continued tutelage under Freddie Roach, whom Tapia enlisted following a violent Dec. '13 knockout loss to James Kirkland.
The boxing display was intended to measure up Dawson before breaking him down, but wound up working much earlier than expected.
"I knew I was going to take my time," Tapia (23-1, 15KOs) revealed after the fight. "People told me I wasn't going to stop him, but I told (them) I would."
Tapia proved prophetic. A hailstorm of punches had Dawson in trouble for the first time in the fight, and to the point of no return. The dramatic shift in action prompted referee Mark Nelson to stop the contest, with Dawson on his feet but defenseless and trapped in a corner.
The official time was 1:42 of round three.
Dawson suffers his second straight loss, falling to 40-5-1 (26KOs). The 37-year old Aussie was able to deliver a major scare to former 154 lb. titlist Austin Trout, dropping him twice but suffering a knockdown of his own in their ESPN2-televised thriller last August.
There was no such drama in this contest.
"I was going to take my time in this fight. But I went and got the knockout, it's cool," Tapia stated, matter of factly.
The win is his third since heading west to Wild Card Gym in Hollywood to join forces with Roach. The New Jersey-bred slugger - aptly nicknamed "The Jersey Boy" - recognized the need to change his ways after brawling led to a disastrous turn in his showing with Kirkland.
Despite the marked improvement and the current win streak, Tapia believes there is way too much work to be done. The junior middleweight division is loaded with star talent, but none of those fighters are on his radar until he settles up unfinished business.
"Outside of (Kirkkand) I can't call anyone out. I'm not going to be sitting here calling anyone out," Tapia openly admits. "I haven't earned anyone else yet. I haven't beaten anyone yet and don't deserve to call anyone out.
"Once I earn it, I want to fight anyone. I don't care the promotional affiliation, I just want to fight everyone."
The win will air later this evening on HBO2, along with the exclusive same-day rebroadcast of the flyweight title fight between Amnat Ruenroeng and Zou Shiming.
UNDERCARD (STREAMING LIVE ON TOPRANK.TV )
Ik Yang moved one step closer towards a major title following a 6th round stoppage of Patomsuk Pathompothong in their junior welterweight eliminator.
The rabid crowd was behind the unbeaten contender from the opening bell. Yang gave them plenty of reason to cheer, as he was bombs away for as long as the fight lasted.
Pathompothong was game for the cause, but couldn't offer much other than playing to the moment, nodding his head and asking for more every time he was tagged. Yang had no problem honoring the request, with the most difficult moments of his night coming with a minor cut suffered in round two and a wedgie in need of adjusting in round three.
The closest Pathompothong ever came to disturbing the peace was when the two fighters stumbled to the ground during an awkward clinch in round four. Yang went in full attack mode from the moment action resumed, bringing the crowd to its feet during a merciless round five that had the visiting Thai fighter in a world of trouble.
Yang closed the show in round six, hinting that he would back off before going all in and punishing Pathompothong. The referee sensed trouble was in the air, and wisely stopped the contest.
The official time of the stoppage was 1:47 of round six.
Yang advances to 19-0 (14KOs) with the win, and now advances to the #2 position in the IBF 140 lb. rankings. Its recognized titlist is Lamont Peterson, who next faces Danny Garcia - who owns two belts in addition to serving as the recognized World junior welterweight champion - but in a non-title fight at a maximum catchweight of 143 lbs.
As long as there is no mandatory challenger awaiting him, Peterson will be free to roam the castle as he pleases. Meanwhile, Yang can expect to fight one more eliminator before moving towards a guaranteed title shot.
Paul Valenzuela scored the undercard's lone upset of the night, earning a split decision over previously unbeaten Zhou Yun Fei in their fun four-round slugfest.
Valenzuela showed no fear making the trek from Mexico to China to take on the local prospect. The visiting super middleweight set the tone early, flooring Yun Fei in the opening round and forcing a hectic pace that played to his advantage.
Yun Fei recovered and did his best to turn things around in his favor, but the high punch output sapped his energy as action headed down the stretch. Valenzuela showed a world-class chin, taking the best his opponent had to offer and swinging away to the bitter end.
Scores were 38-37 in opposite directions for each fighter, with the third judge seeing action 39-37 to give Valenzuela (3-1-1, 2KOs) the upset win. Yun Fei loses for the first time as a pro, falling to 4-1 (1KO).
The always entertaining (and hittable) Rex Tso outbrawled Michael Enriquez over ten rounds, surviving a major scare to take a unanimous decision in their junior bantamweight brawl. Scores were 95-94 (twice) and 96-93.
The difference in the fight was a pivotal sequence in round three. Enriquez was enjoying his best round of the night to that point, catching Tso with combinations upstairs. However, Tso - a huge crowd favorite from Hong Kong - managed to survive the attack long enough to launch a compact left hand, putting Enriquez on the canvas for the bout's lone knockdown.
That single shot - and the immediate follow-up - was enough to turn a 10-9 round for Enriquez into a 10-8 score for Tso. Without that single left hand shot, Tso suffers his first loss.
Instead, the rail thin junior bantamweight remains unbeaten, advancing to 16-0 (9KOs). Enriquez - valiant in defeat - falls to 10-3-1 ( 6KOs).
Kuok Kun 'K.K.' Ng (7-0, 3KOs) overcame an early knockdown to score two of his own before knocking out Chingchai Kiatpracha (7-3, 3KOs) in the 3rd round of their junior middleweight brawl.
Ng's confident was apparent from the beginning, throwing every punch with knockout intentions. He momentarily paid the price, as Kiatpracha survived a hailstorm of punches to land a single shot of his own, a left hand to put Ng on the mat.
Momentum shifted back in favor of the local prospect in round two, with Ng never seizing control for the remainder of the contest. Kiatpracha was floored twice in the deciding 3rd round, the latter knockdown putting him down for the full ten count.
Official time was 2:35 of round three.
Jose Felix Jr. (29-1-1, 24KOs) picked up his third consecutive win after stopping Raymond Sermona in the opening round of their lightweight bout. Felix Jr. connected with a right hand to put Sermona (17-5-5, 8KOs) down and out at 1:46 of round one.
Felix Jr.'s win will air via tape delay on UniMas in the United States.
Aston Palicte (17-1, 15KOs) had his way with Mexico's Ismael Garnica (13-6-1, 5KOs) before forcing a 7th round stoppage in the evening's curtain raiser. Palicte - a once-beaten super flyweight from Philippines - was in control from jump, battering Garnica, who suffered a busted nose to the point of forcing the stoppage at 2:19 of round seven.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox