Jordan Shimmell wasn't given much of a chance tonight against the rising Murat Gassiev, but I don't think anyone expected this.
Shimmell (20-2, 16 KO) got off to a solid start with his jab and volume as Gassiev (23-0, 17 KO) stalked him around the ring. For about two minutes, he looked like he could actually make a fight out of it.
Then Gassiev caught him with the 3 of a 1-2-3 and knocked him silly. You're going to want to find a GIF of this.
Shimmell went down like he'd been hit by a meteor, though he thankfully regained consciousness after some oxygen and was lucid enough to congratulate Gassiev afterwards.
Gassiev is now, if I'm not mistaken, the mandatory challenger for the winner of Saturday's fight between Denis Lebedev and Victor Ramirez. I smell fireworks.
Rances Barthelemy's brother, Leduan Barthelemy, turned in a solid performance in the swing bout with an injury stoppage of Rafael Reyes. Barthelemy (10-0, 6 KO) worked at range with a sharp southpaw jab, targeting the left uppercut on the hard-charging Reyes (7-8) and avoiding most return fire.
Reyes enjoyed sporadic success in the first two rounds, though not nearly enough to offset Barthelemy's work, until he turned an ankle following a right hook. The doctor called a halt to proceedings to extend Barthelemy's stoppage streak to three.
Veteran Joey Abell tore apart previously-unbeaten Wes Nofire in the heavyweight c-feature, dropping the towering Cherokee three times in three rounds to earn the stoppage. Nofire (19-1, 15 KO) struggled to avoid Abell's (32-9, 30 KO) straight left no matter how many times he threw it and seemed content to just jab in return. Worse, he gave Abell way too much room to operate in the clinch, allowing him to slam home murderous punches at close range.
Left hands inside scored the first knockdown in the second round, while a righ)t hook as Nofire tried to disengage send him down for the second time one round later. Nofire's desperation
The six-round opening feature saw twenty-three-year-old heavyweight Stephan Shaw cruise past fellow youngster Danny Kelly, handily controlling a relatively sedate affair. Shaw (7-0, 5 KO) worked behind a solid jab and put together combinations on Kelly (9-3-1, 8 KO), whose plan of attack seemed to consist of "jab until something good happens."
Something good did not happen.
Shaw, who lost just one round combined on the cards, showed solid handspeed and strung together some quality combos. The announcers hyped his agility, which did look decent for a 250-pound man, but he was also content to plod between bursts. Still, I expect some decent work out of him in a few years, especially if he can drop some weight.
For quick results and round-by-round coverage of the night's proceedings, click here.