Tony Harrison looked good early, but Jarrett Hurd stuck with the grind-it-out plan and eventually wore his opponent down, scoring a ninth round TKO to win the vacant IBF junior middleweight title tonight in Birmingham, Alabama.
Hurd (20-0, 14 KO) found Harrison slippery early in the fight, and struggled to establish any rhythm in the first four rounds. But at the tail end of the fifth, he rocked Harrison (24-2, 20 KO) with an uppercut, and after that, the momentum was his.
Hurd took it to Harrison from that point on, getting in his kitchen and roughing him up inside, able to do damage against a fading opponent. Harrison did his best to replicate the success he had early in the bout, and really both fighters had a good game plan, but it was Hurd’s that proved successful in the end.
In the ninth round, Hurd caught Harrison with a clean right hand, dropping him to the canvas. Harrison did get up and told referee Jim Korb he was OK to continue, then spit his mouthpiece out in an attempt, it seemed, to buy extra recovery time. Korb saw that for what it was, and waved off the fight, which would have been defensible anyway.
It’s the first world title for Hurd, a 26-year-old fighter still sort of learning on the job, and making improvements each time out. We don’t yet know what his ceiling might be, but it’s a huge step for his career, obviously.