A pair of intriguing main events went down in the boxing ring on Saturday night, with Alicia Baumgardner outworking Christina Linardatou to remain undisputed super lightweight champion on DAZN and lightweight prospect Frank Martin surviving a legitimate scare against Artem Harutyunyan on Showtime.
The fights likely lead to bigger next steps for the two main event “A-sides.” For Baumgardner, the night featured a stiff challenge but one she was able to turn away with accuracy and aggression. Martin, however, struggled with the pressure of Harutyunyan, needing a late surge to edge out a decision in the WBC lightweight title eliminator over the “international” champion.
Let’s take a look at the results from this night of boxing action.
Baumgardner turns away stiff challenge to remain undisputed
Linardatou holds a 2018 win over Baumgardner, the undisputed champ’s only career loss. Baumgardner is a much better fighter than she was five years ago and that was on display quickly as she spent the first round battering Linardatou with big punches.
Baumgardner’s corner told their fighter that her opponent was ready to go after that impressive opening round. Despite that, it was Linardatou, fighting for the first time since having a child, who brought the majority of the action in the following rounds.
Baumgardner came back strong in Round 4, landing heavy shots to the body and head that clearly had Linardaou stung. Unlike her previous fight, where Baumgardner emptied the tank early in search of a stoppage and faded a bit late, she did not keep her foot on the gas and instead went back to picking her shots.
Linardatou did not back down from Baumgardner’s assault, but Baumgardner had found a key part of her offense with hard shots to the body that opened up the head to some hard uppercuts. By Round 8 Linardatou had her mouthpiece knocked out and looked as though she was on her last legs.
To her credit, Linardatou emptied the tank in the final round, pressing the action and throwing shots for nearly the full two minutes. In the end, that effort was not enough to get the win as Baumgardner took the unanimous decision win by scores of 98-92 across the board.
Martin survives scare from game Harutyunyan
Martin entered as a huge favorite but it was Harutyunyan, a former Olympic bronze medalist from Germany, who brought the pressure in the early rounds, looking to throw Martin off his game by not allowing Martin to set his feet and establish consistent offense. Martin responded by trying to lock in on a big counter left hand to slow Harutunyan’s offensive pressure.
Despite the hype behind Martin as one of the elite contenders in a deep lightweight division, Martin frequently looked befuddled by a basic attack from the Armenian-born German.
It took until Round 6 for Martin to finally get rolling, though he got rolling in a big way, landing heavy power shots that had Harutyunyan reeling around the ring, trying to recover. Despite that sixth-round success from Martin, it was Harutyunyan who seemed to take back over, making defensive adjustments and outlanding Martin with meaningful shots in the following rounds.
Seemingly down on the cards heading into the final rounds, Martin turned things up considerably starting in Round 10. After that round went strongly in Martin’s direction, he really amped up the offense in Round 11, landing some clean shots and nearly sending Harutyunyan to the canvas.
Martin’s jab caused some significant swelling and discomfort for Harutyunyan around his left eye in Round 12. As Martin continued to pour on the pressure, Harutyunyan voluntarily took a knee with less that a minute remaining in the fight. The knockdown proved to be the difference on the CBS Sports unofficial scorecard, which would have had the fight a draw had Harutyunyan not suffered the late knockdown.
The official scorecards read 114-113, 115-112 and 115-112 all for Martin who narrowly avoided disaster as a -1400 favorite.
There will need to be a serious re-evaluation of where Martin stands in a deep and dangerous lightweight division where he was thought of as one of the top contenders for undisputed champion Devin Haney.
Other notable results
- Andy Cruz def. Juan Carlos Burgos via unanimous decision on DAZN — Cruz (1-0, 0 KO) is a former Olympic silver medalist and a true elite prospect. He made his pro debut against Burgos (35-8-3, 21 KO) in an unusually legitimate fight for a debuting prospect. Cruz was up to the task, dominating the action with slick footwork, speed and punches from angles from the opening bell. Burgos has never been stopped, which did not change against Cruz, but the prospect got 10 legitimate rounds against a three-time world title challenger.
- Jermaine Franklin def Isaac Munoz via unanimous decision on DAZN — Despite winning nearly every round, Franklin didn’t exactly impress against an unheralded opponent. Munoz was there to be hit with nearly every shot throughout the fight, but Franklin could not do enough damage to come close to a stoppage and Munoz remained game throughout, forcing Franklin to go the distance and removing any notion of Franklin as a future title challenger.
- Elvis Rodriguez def. Viktor Postol via TKO7 on Showtime — While Postol’s best days are well behind him, this was a fine showing for Rodriguez. After getting the jab working, Rodriguez started to batter Postol, damaging his nose and eventually managing to find the finish in Round 7 after scoring a knockdown in the sixth round.