By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Later Saturday night, heavyweights Robert Alfonso and Iago Kiladze battled to an eight-round split draw.
One judge scored their competitive fight for Cuba’s Alfonso, 77-75. Another judge had it for Kiladze by the same score.
The third judge scored it even (76-76).
Los Angeles’ Kiladze (26-4-1, 18 KOs) had lost each of his three previous bouts by knockout, to Adam Kownacki, Michael Hunter and Joe Joyce. Despite that streak of knockout defeats, Kiladze was a step up in competition for the 32-year-old Alfonso (18-0-1, 8 KOs).
Three rounds were all Alejandro Munera’s trainer needed to see Saturday night.
Junior welterweight prospect Richardson Hitchins spent essentially nine minutes battering Munera on the Deontay Wilder-Dominic Breazeale undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Hitchins couldn’t miss Munera with his right hand and looked like he would score a knockout late in the first round.
Munera managed to withstand that assault. The Colombian boxer exhibited toughness in the following two rounds, yet little else as the sharp, strong Hitchins landed an array of straight right hands and left hooks.
Munera’s trainer decided to stop the scheduled eight-rounder after the third round.
Brooklyn’s Hitchins, 21, moved to 9-0 and recorded his fifth knockout. Munera, 29, slipped to 4-2-3.
In the bout before Hitchins’ win, Dylan Price bounced back from the worst of his first eight pro performances.
Price, a bantamweight from Sicklerville, New Jersey, stopped Mexico’s Manuel Manzo in the fifth round of their scheduled six-rounder. The 20-year-old Price (8-0, 6 KOs) completely controlled the action until Manzo’s trainer threw in the towel.
When the fight was stopped, Price, a fast-handed southpaw, was landing hard shots to Manzo’s head as they stood in the center of the ring. Manzo (4-7-2, 2 KOs) disagreed with his trainer’s decision to halt the action at 1:34 of the fifth round.
Price remains unbeaten because the result of his last fight, a six-round, split-decision defeat to Pedro Rodriguez, was changed to a no-contest. Mexico’s Rodriguez (14-23-3, 6 KOs, 1 NC) won that fight on two scorecards January 17 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but he failed an undisclosed post-fight test.
Earlier Saturday night, bantamweight prospect Gary Antonio Russell remained unbeaten by stopping Saul Hernandez in the sixth round of a bout scheduled for eight rounds.
A hard, accidental clash of heads during the sixth round caused Hernandez to fall the canvas. The Mexican veteran was so disoriented by the head-butt, he couldn’t continue.
The fight was stopped at 2:38 of the sixth round.
The 26-year-old Russell, a younger brother of WBC featherweight champ Gary Russell Jr., improved to 14-0 and produced his 12th knockout. The 23-year-old Hernandez (13-13-1, 8 KOs) lost by technical knockout for the fourth time in his seven-year pro career.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.