In an IBF Junior Welterweight eliminator, Ivan Baranchyk (17-0, 11 KOs) thrilled fans at The Deadwood Mountain Grand with his all-action style, stopping Petr Petrov (38-6-2, 18 KOs) at 1:12 of round number eight. (photos by Stephanie Trapp).
Baranchyk, making his sixth appearance on SHOWTIME, was the much stronger, more aggressive fighter than his game but ultimately overmatched opponent, who showed commendable toughness and resiliency to stay in the fight. Baranchyk knocked Petrov to the canvas with the very first punch of the fight, and scored a second knockdown in the second round with a barrage of powerful punches.
With a bruised and battered Petrov trapped against the ropes in the eighth round, referee Mark Nelson stopped the fight. With the win, Baranchyk moves a step closer to becoming the mandatory challenger for the winner of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event on Saturday night between 140-pound IBF world titlist Sergey Lipinets and lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia.
Baranchyk, who out-landed Petrov 159-118 in total punches and 94-76 in power punches, was pleased with the improvements he showcased tonight.
“I thought I fought a more controlled than in the past and something my new coach has been helping me with,” said Baranchyk, who is currently ranked No. 4 in the IBF 140-pound division. “I knew I had to keep punching to the body, punching to the body. And I did that well tonight.
“I was surprised they stopped the fight when they did. I felt like I won every round and controlled the fight. I knew I won the fight. It was a good fight for me.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, heavyweight prospect Junior Fa (14-0, 8 KOs), of Auckland, New Zealand, kept his unbeaten record intact with a majority decision victory over Detroit’s Craig Lewis (14-2-1, 8 KOs). The judges scored the eight-round fight 76-76, 78-74, 79-73.
Fa, who twice beat fellow New Zealand native and current WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in the amateurs, was the more active fighter against the 33-year-old former collegiate basketball player Lewis, who took the fight on just two weeks’ notice. Fa started the fight quickly, throwing a fight-high 53 punches in round one and a 24-13 lead in overall connects in the first two rounds. As the fight wore on, Fa’s pace slowed and Lewis was able to grow into the fight, out-landing Fa 50-45 in rounds five through eight, to close the overall gap to 82-81 in favor of Fa.
Fa, who made his SHOWTIME debut in November with a first-round knockout of Freddy Latham, was unhappy with his performance despite the win.
“I’m happy I was able to get the decision, but I wasn’t happy with my performance at all,” said Fa. “If I had to give myself a grade, it would be an F. I fought with too much emotion the first few rounds and that threw me off a little bit.
“I was pretty surprised with the one judge who saw it even. I saw him getting tired but I was just flat tonight. I can learn a lot from this fight and where I went wrong and what not to do in my next fight.”
Lewis felt that taking the fight on short notice played a role in the outcome.
"I needed a little more time to train as my conditioning fell off a bit towards the end,” said the former National Golden Gloves gold medalist Lewis. “But overall, I was happy with my performance, I thought it was probably a draw.”