ESPN Friday Night Fights kicked off its lightweight Boxcino tournament tonight from Laughlin, Nev., with four bouts between hungry fighters looking for exposure and an opportunity. Here's the rundown of what we saw this evening:
Chris Rudd UD-7 Yakubu Amidu
This one was a draw after the scheduled six rounds, which meant we went into the draw-breaker round right off the bat in the tournament. Rudd (13-1, 8 KO) was very impressive, particularly considering he was an unknown fighter who had lost his last bout, which was his only fight since 2011. Amidu (21-5-2, 9 KO) was outboxed at range in the decisive round.
Petr Petrov UD-6 Fedor Papazov
"Mr. Knockout" Papazov lost his undefeated record here, falling to 14-1 (9 KO) in a damn good fight with Petrov, who improves to 33-4-2 (15 KO). Both guys were on the receiving end of some hard shots, but the 30-year-old Petrov was simply the more accurate and consistent fighter. BLH had it 59-55 for Petrov, who previously had been best known for a KO-4 loss to Marcos Maidana in 2011.
Miguel Gonzalez SD-6 Miguel Mendoza
FNF regular "Silky Smooth" Gonzalez won on scores of 58-56, 58-56, and 56-58, drawing some boos from the live crowd. Gonzalez (23-3, 16 KO) doesn't always have the most crowd-pleasing style, so that's understandable. BLH had it 58-56 for Gonzalez.
Fernando Carcamo TKO-2 Samuel Neequaye
Neequaye (21-1, 15 KO) was put down in the first round and complained that it was an illegal blow (it wasn't), then was rocked around the ring in the second until Jay Nady stepped in and stopped it. He looked stiff and way out of his depth. Carcamo (16-5, 13 KO) has some real-looking power for sure, but Miguel Gonzalez is a different test in the semifinals, so don't crown him just yet.
The lightweights will continue on March 28 with the semifinals (Rudd vs Petrov, Gonzalez vs Carcamo) and conclude on May 23 with the finals of their tournament. There will also be a middleweight Boxcino tournament, which starts on February 28 in Hammond, Indiana.