Toka Kahn Clary picked up a second straight win tonight in Mashantucket, Connecticut, beating Irvin Gonzalez comfortably over 10 rounds in the Broadway Boxing main event on UFC Fight Pass.
Clary (27-2, 18 KO) handed Gonzalez (12-2, 9 KO) a second straight loss with a wide decision victory on scores of 98-92, 99-91, and 99-91. Bad Left Hook had it 99-91 for Clary, as well.
The 27-year-old Clary had a featherweight eliminator fight last October, losing to Kid Galahad, and has since moved up in weight, looking sharp in two fights this year. The 23-year-old Gonzalez was upset on May 17, but tried to be aggressive with taking this fight, which turned out to be something of a tactical error.
For the most part, Gonzalez just had no real answers for Clary, who was able to box pretty much as he pleased. In the fifth round, Clary got into an exchange with Gonzalez, who landed some good shots. After that, Clary went back to a more controlled effort, and cruised through the second half of the bout. Gonzalez just didn’t have much to offer Clary in terms of a real test, not throwing enough punches and rarely trying to lead any of the action.
“Gonzalez is a tough dude,” Clary said, adding that he knew him fairly well from the gym. “I didn’t really want to fight him. I don’t know why he wanted to fight me, but that’s the game.”
Asked about staying at 130 or going back down to 126, Clary replied, “I’ve still got a six-pack at 130, I’m staying here. 126 kills me. I’m staying here.”
“He fought a very good fight. He was in and out,” trainer Freddie Roach said. “A couple rounds he took off there and let the guy steal a couple rounds. We’ll work on that, but he fought a very good fight. Gonzalez couldn’t handle his speed, his speed is a great asset.”
Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa TKO-4 Schemelle Baldwin
Being fair, word is that ANE and her team tried to get a better opponent for this fight, and just couldn’t. So we wound up with Baldwin (3-1-1, 2 KO), a 33-year-old novice who had never faced someone with a professional win before, in a world title fight. Part of it is that the pool is extremely shallow at 168 for the women, too, but still. Napoleon-Espinosa (12-1, 7 KO) felt it out for a couple of rounds, then just started unloading, pounding away on Baldwin in the third and fourth rounds until the referee finally stepped in. After the fight Napoleon-Espinosa kinda-sorta called out Claressa Shields, who no longer fights at 168, but to be fair, ANE can make 154 or 160, too, so why not? Of course she wants the biggest fight out there, and she’s every bit as qualified as Ivana Habazin, whom Shields fights on Oct. 5.
Hurshidbek Normatov UD-8 Walter Wright
Normatov, who was a decent amateur for Uzbekistan but hardly a superstar or anything, won on scores here of 79-73, 80-72, and 80-72. I don’t know what round Wright (17-7, 8 KO) could be argued as having won, but whatever. Normatov (9-0, 3 KO) is what he is — he’s a 27-year-old, 6’2” junior middleweight, a southpaw with solid boxing ability but he’s got a dull style and doesn’t generate the power you might expect out of his frame. If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on him becoming a real contender at any point. The 38-year-old Wright did his job giving Normatov rounds, but that’s about it.
Kali Reis UD-6 Patricia Juarez
Reis (16-7-1, 5 KO) had no trouble in this one, as Juarez (4-2, 0 KO) just wasn’t in her league. The 33-year-old Reis is a good contender, gave Cecilia Braekhus a decent fight last year, and might be headed back to another world title shot sooner than later. Scores here were easy for the judges, 60-54 across the board.
Stephan Shaw TKO-4 Willie Jake Jr
Shaw is a 26-year-old heavyweight prospect out of St. Louis, improves to 12-0 (9 KO) with this win. Jake (8-3-1, 2 KO) doesn’t take the best punch, but all the same Shaw put him down once in the first and twice in the third, and early in the fourth, with Shaw unloading more shots, referee Johnny Callas made the right call to step in. As commentator Brian Adams put it, Jake didn’t take too much, but he took enough. Shaw was in total control, Jake wasn’t really competitive, and there was nothing much more to show here.