NEW YORK – Richardson Hitchins showed John Bauza on Saturday night that he indeed does have some power.
Two days after Bauza questioned his heart and strength at a press conference, the Brooklyn native dropped Bauza in the fourth round and won their 10-round junior welterweight fight by unanimous decision on the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz undercard at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Hitchins – whose hand speed, movement and skill befuddled Bauza – regularly landed the flusher punches and won by the same score, 100-88, on the cards of judges Ken Ezzo, Max De Luca and Tom Carisone.
Hitchins (18-0, 7 KOs) was credited with a first-round knockdown, though that was the result of him stepping on Bauza’s foot. Bauza (17-1, 7 KOs), a southpaw from North Bergen, New Jersey, lost in the first 10-round bout of his six-year professional career.
All that was left to determine by the time the 10th round began was whether the brave Bauza would make it to the final bell. Hitchins blasted Bauza with a right-left combination that connected with just over a minute to go in their bout, but Bauza continued to take flush punches without going down again.
Bauza landed a left hand early in the ninth round, but Hitchins took it well. Hitchins came back to land two right-left combinations less than a minute into the ninth round.
Bauza was aggressive in the eighth round, but Hitchins often made him pay with counter shots.
Hitchins’ hand speed and accuracy enabled him to batter Bauza for much of the seventh round. Bauza fought back, but he didn’t have as much snap on his punches as Hitchins.
Hitchins blasted Bauza with a straight right with just under 1:20 on the clock in the sixth round. He landed several right hands earlier in the sixth round as well.
Bauza began the fifth round talking trash to Hitchins, who dropped him in the previous round.
A straight right hand by Hitchins sent Bauza to the seat of his trunks with just under 1:40 remaining in the fourth round. Bauza answered Fitch’s count at six and tried to go toe-to-toe with Hitchins for the remainder of the round.
Bauza made it to the end of the fourth round, but by then there was significant swelling around his right eye.
Hitchins’ straight right snapped back Bauza’s head with about 15 seconds to go in the third round.
A sweeping right hand by Hitchins landed with just over a minute on the clock in the third round. A straight right hand by Hitchins stopped Bauza in his tracks just after the midway mark of the third round.
Hitchins drilled Bauza with a straight right hand when there was just over a minute to go in the second round.
Bauza went down with just over a minute to go in the first round. Fitch counted it as a knockdown, but Hitchins stepped on Bauza’s foot to send him down.
Bauza landed a left to the body barely a minute into their fight, but Hitchins countered him with a right hand up top several seconds later.
In the bout before Hitchinson’s win, Puerto Rican flyweight prospect Yankiel Rivera defeated Fernando Diaz by unanimous decision in an eight-rounder.
The 25-year-old Rivera, a southpaw who fought at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, won comfortably on the scorecards of judges Tom Schreck (79-73), Kevin Morgan (79-73) and Ron McNair (78-74).
Rivera improved to 3-0 (2 KOs). Diaz, of Riverside, California, fell to 11-3-1 (3 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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