By Ryan Burton
Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas - Julian Pollard captured the BKB heavyweight title with an unanimous decision victory over late sub Rodney Hernandez. Pollard was originally slated to face kickboxing legend Throne Spong who pulled out of the fight earlier this week with an injury.
Hernandez brought the crowd to their feet in the first round when he dropped his hands and let Pollard get in a few free punches similarly to what former champion Ricardo Mayorga did on several occasions during his heyday. Pollard drew blood from Hernandez's nose in the third which was his most dominant round of the fight. Pollard's better boxing skills were taking over at the same time as Rodriguez's stamina was starting to diminish.
Rodriguez emptied his tank in the seventh and final round but was too far down on the cards to pull out a victory. Pollard knew he was ahead and was more selective with his punches to make sure he left the pit as the victor. The final tallies were 68-65, 68-65 and 69-64.
Jesus Soto Karass, a seasoned veteran of the squared circle, saw his BKB record fall to 1-1 with a split decision loss to Adrian Granados in their junior middleweight fight. Granados started out fast landing several hard shots to win the first two rounds. The third round ended with both fighters nodding at each other as a sign of respect for the hellacious shots they traded over the last thirty seconds of the round. The fourth round was fought at a more controlled pace before the fifth round returned to a frenetic pace as both fighters rarely took a step back. The final scores were 48-47 for Soto Karass and 49-46 twice for Adrian Granados.
Shane Mosley Jr. made his BKB debut a successful one with a brutal TKO of Jason Kelly. Mosley Jr. dropped Kelly twice in the first round, with the second knockdown prompting referee Jay Nady to stop the fight. Mosley landed two vicious body shots to drop Kelly the first time. He never fully recovered and went down again seconds later. The time of the stoppage was the :51 mark of the 1st round.
Ed Paredes and Janks Trotter traded huge punches throughout their action packed junior middleweight bout that had four total knockdowns. Paredes took control of the fight in the third, dropping Trotter twice. Referee Vic Draculich also went during the first knockdown. Trotter came back strong in the fourth and then in the fifth he was able to drop Paredes and also force a standing right count to secure the win. The final scores were 47-44 twice and 47-45.
In a clash of junior middleweights, Urmat Ryskeldiev defeated Marcus Willis via unanimous decision. Ryskeldiev landed more punches and the harder shots throughout the fight, winning every round in the process. He swept all three scorecards by the scores of 50-45.
Lightweight Arturo Quintero stopped Travis Castellon in the fourth round of their BKB battle. The fighters traded punches early on but Quintero clearly was getting the better of it. Quintero increased his output and was pouring it in the fourth. Castellon never went down but referee Kenny Bayless had seen enough and halted the bout at the 1:42 mark.
Antonio Johnson made an impression with an impressive victory over Anthony Castellon in their junior middleweight bout. The fight was fight on the inside throughout and Johnson won 50-45 on all three cards.
In the evening's opening fight, Chris Spang defeated Samuel Horowitz in a battle of light heavyweights. Spang dominated the 5 rounds of action to pick up the unanimous decision victory.