By Keith Idec
Yordenis Ugas won’t overpower opponents the way his childhood friend, Aroldis Chapman, can do on the baseball field.
With the Yankees’ hard-throwing closer cheering him on from ringside, Ugas won his way Thursday night in Robinsonville, Mississippi. The former Olympian from Cuba didn’t do anything spectacular, but boxed well enough to fend off Levan Ghvamichava and won a split decision in a televised, 10-round welterweight fight.
Ugas built up an early lead against Ghvamichava, but the game Ghvamichava came back in the final few rounds to create some drama as the final scorecards were read.
The 30-year-old Ugas (18-3, 8 KOs) won on two of the three scorecards, 97-94 and 99-90, a wider score than what appeared to occur in the ring. Georgia’s Ghvamichava (17-3-1, 13 KOs) won on one scorecard, 95-94.
The Ugas-Ghvamichava match was one of four fights broadcast by FS1 from Horseshoe Tunica Casino Hotel. The main event was a welterweight bout between Sammy Vasquez and former WBA 147-pound champ Luis Collazo.
Ugas and Ghvamichava traded punches for much of the bout, but neither fighter appeared to hurt his opponent at any point in this competitive contest.
Referee Bill Clancy took away a point from Ugas late in the eighth round for repeated low blows. Clancy had warned Ugas for low blows twice during the fifth round.
Ugas won a third straight fight following back-to-back losses to Emmanuel Robles and Amir Imam in 2014. Ghvamichava stopped Colombia’s Breidis Prescott in the seventh round of his previous fight, which helped him overcome his fifth-round knockout loss to hard-hitting Kazakh prospect Sergey Lipinets last March 15.
Before Ugas overcame Ghvamichava, 140-pound prospect Eddie Ramirez remained unbeaten thanks to a technical knockout victory over Ryan Karl.
Ramirez (16-0, 11 KOs), of Aurora, Illinois, was declared the winner when trainer Ronnie Shields wouldn’t allow Karl to come out for the start of the 10th and final round of this junior welterweight fight. The 24-year-old Ramirez hurt Karl badly late in the ninth round, and Shields wasn’t about to let Karl take any more punishment.
Houston’s Karl (13-1, 9 KOs) was the second straight unbeaten opponent Ramirez has stopped.
Ramirez’s advantages in speed and power were obvious early in the fight against the courageous Karl.
Ramirez hurt Karl with a stiff jab early in the second round, which Ramirez dominated by landing an array of power punches that consistently stung his slower opponent. Karl got back in the fight during the third round, most notably with a left hook to the head that got Ramirez’s attention.
The bout remained competitive in the fourth round, as Karl and Ramirez each landed his fair share of effective punches.
Ramirez regained control of the fight in the fifth round. He landed several body shots in the fifth that affected Karl.
The 25-year-old Karl kept coming in the sixth and seventh rounds, but Ramirez overcame some obvious fatigue to land power punches to Karl’s head and body. A clean overhand right opened a cut over Karl’s left eye during the seventh round.
Ramirez hurt Karl again with a right-left-right combination in a corner late in the ninth round. Karl held and survived until the bell rang, but Shields had seen enough and stopped the fight before the 10th round started.
In the first of four fights FS1 televised Thursday night, Mexican junior welterweight prospect Jose Miguel Morrego stopped the Dominican Republic’s Tomas Mendez in the first round of a fight that was scheduled for 10 rounds.
Morrego buzzed Mendez several times before a left hook to Mendez’s ribs forced Mendez to take a knee. Referee Bill Clancy stopped the fight 2:25 into the first round.
The 18-year-old Morrego, who made his pro debut when he was 17, improved to 11-0 and recorded his 10th knockout, also his ninth in a row. Mendez slipped to 23-9 (16 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.