Tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Premier Boxing Champions returns to Chicago with local favorite Andrzej Fonfara in the main event against Joe Smith Jr, in a 10-round light heavyweight bout.
Fonfara (28-3, 16 KO) is the clear favorite here, as Smith (21-1, 17 KO) is an unproven and largely unknown commodity, a veteran of the New York club scene. The 26-year-old Smith is coming in looking to surprise everyone, and to establish himself as a new contender in the division, but Fonfara, 28, is on a good run, beating Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Nathan Cleverly in 2015.
In the co-feature, WBA bantamweight titleholder Juan Carlos Payano (17-0, 8 KO) will defend in a rematch against Rau’shee Warren (13-1, 4 KO). The two had a close and disputed fight last August in Florida, with Payano winning a split decision in what was a dirty and spirited affair.
Also on the card will be top junior middleweight prospect Erickson Lubin (14-0, 10 KO), who will face Daniel Sandoval (38-3, 35 KO) in a 10-round fight.
For more on the matchups, check out our preview.
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Joe Smith Jr def. Andrzej Fonfara by TKO (2:32 of round 1)
Erickson Lubin def. Daniel Sandoval by TKO (2:36 of round 3)
Rau'shee Warren def. Juan Carlos Payano by majority decision (114-114, 115-113, 115-113)
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ROUND BY ROUND
ANDRZEJ FONFARA vs JOE SMITH JR
Round 1: Smith coming out working, letting his hands go, and hooking to the body. Gotta like the approach. Fonfara has the crowd behind him, obviously. Chicago's really his town in boxing these days. Fonfara opening up a bit halfway into the round. Lands an uppercut. HUGE SHOT AND DOWN GOES FONFARA! Fonfara is up but he’s not in good shape! Smith firing away! Fonfara ina bad way! Big hook down again!!! IT'S OVER! BIG UPSET!!! Smith TKO-1
ERICKSON LUBIN vs DANIEL SANDOVAL
Round 1: Sandoval was well overweight, so let's see if that matters, good or bad. Lubin with a shot to the body early. Sandoval trying to keep distance and jab. Lubin looks good here, though. He's becoming very patient and that is really encouraging. He's got all the natural gifts, it's a question now of temperament. Lubin 10-9
Round 2: Lubin going body and head here, taking advantage of Sandoval's technical flaws. Lubin battering Sandoval on the ropes a bit, but taking his time, too. Lubin 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Lubin staying on the body a good bit. Sandoval's not rolling over here, but he's outclassed in terms of skill. Sandoval throwing lots of jabs, but mostly for show. Great body shot and Lubin has Sandoval hurt with about 40 seconds left in the round. Lubin keeps firing, landing thudding blows, and Sandoval is stopped by the referee. Lubin TKO-3
JUAN CARLOS PAYANO vs RAU'SHEE WARREN
Round 1: Warren unleashing hooks right away, clips Payano with a pretty good one very quickly. Warren just firing the hooks in two, three, even four shot bursts. It's flashier than it is effective, but it's setting a tone. Payano throws a wild shot and misses. Warren makes Payano miss three straight after that, and catches him with another hook. Another hook on the counter. Warren looking very confident, like he feels he knows everything Payano can and wants to do. Sharp start from Warren. Warren 10-9
Round 2: Payano stalking a bit better here in the first minute, Warren moving around and trying to land his hooks still, Payano getting the glove up to catch them more now. Payano with a body shot, Warren with a shot upstairs. A lot of movement but not a lot of clean shots landing. Payano lands a shot, Warren lands in return. Payano jabbing to the body some this round, too. Scrappier this round. Much closer round. Payano 10-9, 19-19
Round 3: Warren back to attacking a bit more to start the third, he got away from that in the second. So far I'm liking the guy dictating the tempo in these rounds. In the first and third, that's been Warren. In the second, I felt it was Payano more. Without a lot of really clean punches landing, tempo starts to matter more to me. Worth noting that Warren faded a bit late in both of the two rounds I've given him, too. Warren 10-9, 29-28
Round 4: Eric Raskin gave the third to Payano, and the second to Warren, and I can see that. Warren attacking again here, turns Payano around and clips him with a shot that gives Rau'shee a moment extra, but Payano resets. Payano with a good hook that puts Warren on the run. Body shot from Payano. Warren has looked a bit off since getting caught, a little unfocused and sort of without purpose. Not hurt, just like it knocked him off the rails a bit. Payano 10-9, 38-38
Round 5: Warren's trainer Mike Stafford getting on him to use the jab more. It's definitely been missing, and not missing like not landing, but absent. Slower round here, Payano doing OK, but then it kicks up in the final minute and Payano is the one doing the work. Warren making faces. And warned to stop holding. Payano 10-9, 48-47
Round 6: Payano potshotting some. I don't like Warren's habit of pulling back and avoiding action. But he's throwing counters. Warren with a good, thudding counter hook. Payano is crowding him more as this wears on. Good clean shot again from Warren. Warren 10-9, 57-57
Round 7: If anything, I figure I've shaded more to Payano than most have. 4-2, even 5-1 for Warren wouldn't surprise me. And Rau'shee's having another nice round here, moving around, landing some decent shots, not letting Payano really build rhythm. Warren closes the round strong, too, nice to see. Warren 10-9, 67-66
Round 8: Payano getting a bit more work done this round, Warren laying back this round. He may be up enough to afford it, even if I don't have it that way. But this is a good round for Payano, once again Warren looking lost at moments. Payano 10-9, 76-76
Round 9: Payano doing some decent work again, but Warren picks up the pace after taking a good shot and storms with a nice little flurry in the corner, including a good counter and a nice body shot. But I liked Payano again here. He's doing the more consistent work now. This is a close fight. Payano 10-9, 86-85
Round 10: This has turned into a fight that's going to be debated again, which is not unexpected. I liked Payano again here and I think Warren really needs to pick it up. Payano 10-9, 96-94
Round 11: Warren's corner may have told him to get going, because he's coming out strong here and has hurt Payano. Warren pressing, Payano surviving. Payano's legs still not great but he's avoiding anything at distance, tying up, and Warren just kinda, like, letting him. Much better round for Warren. Warren 10-9, Payano 105-104
Round 12: Warren again starting fast in the 12th. Payano sticking with him, looking to land something big himself. Warren with a nice body flurry, and he's letting it ALL go here in the 12th. Good combinations. Payano with a clubbing overhand left. Warren 10-9, 114-114