By Frank Bartolini (Veteran Journalist and Contributor) | Hulu Theater, NY | October 28, 2018
Eddie Hearn and his band at MatchRoom Boxing Promotions are not the Beatles or The Rolling Stones, still his pugilistic British invasion resembles an inaugural rock tour of the USA. Things got started in early October in middle of America (Chicago); a couple weeks later Boston; seven days “The Big Apple” New York City. All these nights featured championship fights and numerous world class boxers.
On this fight night, excited boxing fans from around the five boroughs, filled all the fifty six hundred seats in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Whether their warrior won or lost, every one of them departed knowing they got a bang for their buck.
A stirring main event pitted former WBA Middleweight Champion Daniel Jacobs (Brooklyn, NY) against Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko (now residing in Brooklyn, NY) for the vacant IBF Middleweight Championship of the world.
Some people may have looked at this matchup as Jacobs being spoon fed a title. Derevyanchenko only had a dozen bouts entering the contest without much exposure. Insiders were whispering the outcome was a toss-up.
Wasting little time both fighters began feeling each other out. Lighting their fuses, both released bombs with Derevyanchenko getting the better of the exchanges. Gaining momentum Derevyanchenko had round one won when with seconds left, an overhand right to the head from Jacobs (159.6 lbs.) had the Ukrainian hitting the floor.
Jacobs carries one hundred sixty pounds in a big way with his biceps looking like they belong to a heavyweight. Leaving his corner for the second round, Derevyanchenko (159.4 lbs.) showed no ill effects from his fall. Having mastered the art of cutting off the ring, Derevyanchenko kept cornering or backing Jacobs against the ropes, scoring shots.
Derevyanchenko continued to hit Jacobs to body throughout bout. Offsetting the offensive in front of him, Jacobs bounced hard leather off his foes head. Ten rounds of roaring cheers left the alacritous throng wanting to witness the championship sessions. Not disappointing the faithful, both soldiers willingly engaged in a slugfest in the final six minutes of the championship bout. Once the final second ticked off, the house cleared their lungs with a booming loud approval.
Sometimes a tenseness is felt when waiting to hear a decision in a close match. Those moments slow down the clock as each second feels longer. At that moment, Ring Announcer Miguel Flores put the microphone close to his mouth “Ladies and Gentlemen……” and went on the announce Danny Jacobs as the new IBF Middleweight Champion by split decision (Julie Lederman 114-113 Derevyanchenko, overruled by Tom Shreck and Steve Weisfeld 115-112).
Following after giving kudos to Derevyanchenko, Jacobs said:
“We absolutely want Canelo. It’s a fight the fans want. Now that I have the belt there will be more in the pudding for everyone.”
Even though Derevyanchenko lost, he has proved himself amongst the elite in the talent laden middleweight division. Suffering his first loss Derevyanchenko’s record is now 12-1 (10 KOs). With a new belt to hold up his pants Jacobs marches forward with a 35-2 (29 KOs) slate.
Lou DiBella’s of DiBella Entertainment partnered with MatchRoom Boxing to promote the show. Negotiating a big dollar deal with DAZN to promote thirty two fights a year, Hearn has decided to enter the American market. With Canelo and Jacobs both connected to streaming sports network the DAZN, the middleweight unification match can happen, hopefully sooner than later.
On the undercard of this what was previously announced as the last televised bout on HBO Boxing, there was a sensational knockout delivered by the current WBA Super Featherweight Champion Alberto Machado against formerly unbeaten Yaundale Evans along with the long awaited rematch between 2016 Fight of The Year Heather “The Heat” Hardy vs Shelito “Shelly’s Way” Vincent for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title.
Machado blasted Evans with three devastating knockdowns in the first round, with the first and second knockdown seemingly already doing the damage to secure a victory. After rising from the canvass for the second time, unsteady on his legs, Machado quickly put closed the night for Evans as he landed a tremendous left upper-cut and right-hook combination in a match between undefeated southpaws.
After the knockout, Machado, promoted by future Hall of Fame Inductee Miguel Cotto, made it clear that he wants to unify his title against Mexico’s WBC Super Featherweight Champion Miguel Berchelt.
The rematch between Hardy vs Vincent did not disappoint as both women, with tons of fans on hand for support, gave their best effort, fighting to the end. Once again it was Hardy who won a hard-fought fight, winning the vacant WBO Featherweight Championship by unanimous decision (Glenn Feldman, 97-93, Kevin Morgan 97-93; Alan Rubenstein 99-91).
All photos courtesy of William Thomas Photography