PHILADELPHIA — Welterweight contender “Mean Machine” Egidijus Kavaliauskas, hoping to maintain his position for an eventual world title fight, fought to a disappointing draw with Ray Robinson on Saturday night at the 2300 Arena.
Fighting in Robinson’s hometown in the co-feature of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card headlined by the Oleksandr Gvozdyk-Doudou Ngumbu light heavyweight world championship fight, two judges scored the lackluster fight 95-95 and one judge had Robinson ahead 97-93, apparently giving him credit for throwing more punches but landing fewer and not with the kind of power Kavaliauskas did. ESPN had Kavaliauskas winning 98-92.
Kavaliauskas might still get the title shot because he is the mandatory challenger for the 147-pound world title held by Terence Crawford and did not lose. Crawford is scheduled to defend his title against Amir Khan on April 20 at Madison Square Garden and is a heavy favorite. Kavaliauskas could still get the shot later in the year.
“I won the fight and I won it clearly,” Kavaliauskas said. “The judges did not agree and I can’t control what fight they were watching. I still want to fight for a world title because I consider this fight a victory. I am still undefeated, and I know I can beat all of the champions in the welterweight division.”
Even if Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs), 30, a two-time Olympian from Lithuania, gets that fight, he didn’t exactly impress against Robinson, who was selected as the opponent because not only did he bring some fans to the arena but because he is also a southpaw, the fighting stance Crawford often switches to fight in.
For Robinson (24-3-1, 12 KOs), 33, it was a rebound from a seventh-round knockout loss to Yordenis Ugas in a welterweight world title elimination fight in February 2018.
He said he now wants Crawford.
“I think everyone in Philadelphia knows I won this fight,” Robinson said. “At the end of the night, I know I beat him. I’m the last person to beat Terence Crawford in the amateurs, and that’s the fight I want.”
According to CompuBox statistics, Kavaliauskas landed 88 of 432 punches (20 percent) and Robinson was credited with landing 70 of 527 blows (13 percent). Kavaliauskas outlanded him in eight of the 10 rounds.
It was a slow-paced fight, but Kavaliauskas moved forward and threw punches while Robinson spent long stretches back up, moving along the ropes and throwing a jab here and there. He barely landed any meaningful shots while Kavaliauskas went straight ahead and banged him over and over to the body. And when Kavaliauskas went to the head, his punches were much heavier than Robinson’s.
In the eighth round, Kavaliauskas landed one of his better combinations when he landed a right hand and left down the middle and caught Robinson clean, knocking him back.
Abdukakhorov earns shot at Spence
Welterweight Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, known as “The Punisher,” punished Keita Obara en route to a unanimous decision victory in their world title elimination fight.
Abdukakhorov won 118-110, 117-111 and 115-113 in a fight that appeared quite wide to earn a mandatory title shot against Errol Spence Jr.
Abdukakhorov (16-0, 9 KOs), 25, an Uzbekistan native based in Malaysia and, like Obara, boxing in the United States for the first time, took control from the outset and landed many thudding punches that rattled Obara, who was seeking to earn a second world title opportunity. In 2016 he challenged then-junior welterweight titlist Eduard Troyanovsky in Moscow and suffered a second-round knockout.
He stood up to Abdukakhorov’s punches better than he did in that fight but was no match for Abdukakhorov, who landed regularly to the head and body and shook off the return fire.
Abdukakhorov punished Obara (20-4-1, 18 KOs), 32, of Japan, and nearly dropped him in the 10th as he pounded him with both hands.
More undercard results
- Philadelphia heavyweight Sonny Conto (2-0, 2 KO), 23, had the crowd going wild for his first-round knockout of Omar Acosta (1-6, 1 KO), 32, of Hereford, Texas, who took several shots in the corner, including a left hook to the head that floored him. He barely beat the count, but referee Gary Rosato waved it off at 1 minute, 15 seconds. Conto’s next fight will be June 15 on the Tyson Fury undercard in Las Vegas.
- Junior featherweight Jeremy Adorno (1-0, 0 KOs), 18, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, the younger brother of lightweight prospect Joseph Adorno, made his professional debut with a shutout decision – 40-36 on all three scorecards — over Sebastian Baltazar (1-4, 0 KOs), 26, of Tacoma, Washington.
- Junior welterweight Jose Lopez (12-1, 10 KOs), 27, of Puerto Rico, stopped Askhat Ualikhanov (4-2, 2 KOs), 28, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Oxnard, California, after the sixth round of their scheduled eight-rounder. It was a rough fight, but Lopez continually got the better of the exchanges before Ualikhanov’s stopped the fight. Lopez rebounded from a second-round knockout loss in August.
- Junior lightweight Joshafat Ortiz (6-0, 4 KOs), 23, of Reading, Pennsylvania, who had a big cheering section, knocked out James Thomas (6-5, 6 KOs), 34, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the first round of their six-rounder. They exchanged hard punches, but Ortiz finally got him with a left hook that sent him to the mat for referee Eric Dali’s full count at 2 minutes, 53 seconds. Thomas lost his third fight in a row.
Welterweight Juan Ruiz (22-4, 14 KOs), 32, of Mexico, upset Fredrick Lawson (27-2, 21 KOs), 29, of Ghana, by fourth-round knockout. Ruiz landed a big punch but also pushed Lawson to the mat and he hit his head hard on the mat. But referee Gary Rosato did not call a knockdown. When Lawson got to his feet he was unsteady and Ruiz was all over him in when the fight resumed, forcing Rosato to wave it off at 1 minute, 16 seconds. Ruiz came into the fight having lost two fights in a row by knockout inside two rounds.
- Super middleweight Christian Mbilli (14-0, 13 KOs), 23, of Montreal, cruised to a one-sided decision over Humberto Gutierrez (33-8-2, 22 KOs), 30, of Mexico. Mbilli pounded the game Gutierrez en route to winning 80-72, 79-73 and 79-73.
- Heavyweight Cassius Chaney (15-0, 9 KOs), 31, of New London, Connecticut, dropped Christian Mariscal (12-3, 5 KOs), 38, of Mexico, twice in the opening round of their six-rounder and referee Rosato called it off at 2 minutes, 16 seconds.
- Junior lightweight Donald Smith (9-0, 6 KOs), 26, of Philadelphia, scored a punishing fourth-round knockout of Jose Antonio Martinez (11-18, 6 KOs), 35, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Smith leveled him with a left hook and referee Benjy Esteves waved it off without a count at 2 minutes, 1 seconds. Martinez was down for a couple of minutes getting medical attention but appeared OK when he left the ring. Smith also knocked him down in the first round.