Showtime’s main event lived up to its billing with 12 rounds of hard-fought action between bantamweight titleholders Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa. At the end of it all, it was Fulton who took a majority decision on official scores of 114-114, 116-112, 116-112 to become unified WBC and WBO junior featherweight titles.
BLH scored the fight 116-112 in favor of Fulton in a fight that was largely about the enormous volume and aggression of Figueroa against the clean and clear counter shots landed by Fulton.
From the opening bell both fighters got right to it and didn’t let up on the pace which made it a thrilling action fight. I largely saw Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs) placing nice counters punches that were the cleaner punches. That, unfortunately, didn’t satisfy Figueroa, who in the post-fight press conference called the majority decision the biggest robbery of the year (which it clearly wasn’t).
Both fighters shared some post-fight tension with Figueroa (22-1-1, 17 KOs) confronting Fulton during his interview to question whether he truly believed he won — which Fulton said he did — and the two fighters would continue to go tit-for-tat during a brief verbal exchange. Fulton and Figueroa agreed to rematch to settle their differences, but Figueroa also seemed to shy away from that shortly after, indicating that he might need to move up in weight after this fight.
Ra’eese Aleem MD-10 Eduardo Baez
In the co-featured bout Ra’eese Aleem (19-0, 12 KOs) was in an action-packed battle with Eduardo Baez (20-1-3, 7 KOs), ultimately taking a majority decision on official scores of 95-95, 96-94, and 98-92. BLH scored the fight 98-92 in favor of Aleem, largely based on his ridiculous punch output that most opponents just can’t keep up with.
That’s largely what the story of this fight was, as Aleem was firing both hands early and often and Baez simply had to resort to trying to time counters in between Aleem’s shots. The only problem with that was that Aleem was largely prepared to counter Baez’s counters with even more combinations and he just racked up a lot of points off sheer volume, even if his defense was lacking at moments.
In the post-fight press conference Aleem said he’s ready to take on the winner of Brandon Figueroa and Stephen Fulton, saying despite the punches he took in this fight he’ll always come out on top.
Gary Antonio Russell MD-10 Alexandro Santiago
In the Showtime opener Gary Antonio Russell (19-0, 12 KOs) just barely nicked a win over Alexandro Santiago (24-3-5, 13 KOs) in what was a very fun and competitive bout. Russell started the fight pretty quickly using his jab early and often which had him up on the cards early, but Santiago picked up the pace in the middle rounds and started doing a lot of great body work, wearing on Russell.
Russell was able to fight his way through adversity in those tough moments but it that didn’t deter Santiago from putting up a stern effort, pushing Russell every moment down the stretch of the fight. In the end of a close fight the official judges turned in a majority decision win in favor of Russell on scores of 95-95, 96-94, and 96-94. BLH scored the fight a 95-95 draw.
In the post-fight Russell made it seem like he clearly won the bout and said he’s ready to take on a champion like John Riel Casimero, saying he’s ready for the next step in his development.