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Caleb Plant KOs Dirrell With Single Punch

Caleb Plant KOs Dirrell With Single Punch

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Caleb Plant KOs Dirrell With Single Punch

Stephanie Trapp- TGB Promotions

Caleb Plant KOs Dirrell With Single Punch

NEW YORK- For eight-plus rounds, former super middleweight titleholders Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell put on a sloppy, messy, slow-paced fight that had the crowd booing on Saturday night, but then Plant scored a massive one-punch knockout in the ninth round of their WBC title elimination bout.

Plant went to the body with a left hook and then followed with a clean hook that landed on the chin and knocked Dirrell out in the middle of the ring in the co-feature of the Premier Boxing Champions Fox Sports pay-per-view card headlined by the Deontay Wilder-Robert Helenius heavyweight fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Though the crowd suddenly perked up, Plant did not endear himself by pretending to use a shovel to throw dirt on former two-time WBC titlist Dirrell, who was still down.

Other than the big knockout blow the fight disappointed despite constant trash talk between them leading up to the fight.

“The win felt good. You’ve heard about how much he hates me, but my head and my heart is what won me this fight,” Plant said. “I was in control the whole time. My coach told me to stay patient and ease in and that’s what we did. Then, boom!

“I’m ready for whatever. I’m going to spend some time with my family, but then I’m ready for the biggest fights that we can make.”

It was fought at a slow and deliberate pace but Plant initiated more of the contact, landed more punches and seemed to get the better of the few exchanges.

At one point they tackled each other and landed on the canvas but there was also lot posing and feinting, which had the crowd booing in the fourth round. Perhaps the fighters heard it because the action picked up late in the round.

More posing, some holding and few punches led to another cascade of booing in the seventh and eighth rounds. Later in the eighth, Plant pushed Dirrell (34-3-2, 25 KOs) to the mat and was warned by referee Harvey Dock.

Then out of nowhere, Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) ended it with one shot at 2 minutes, 57 seconds of the ninth.

Plant, 30, of Las Vegas, was fighting for the first time in 11 months since losing the IBF title to Canelo Alvarez by one-sided 11th-round knockout in their four-belt unification fight for the undisputed 168-pound title last November. He was also in his first fight since parting ways with longtime trainer Justin Gamber to go with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards.

Dirrell, 37, of Flint, Michigan, dropped to 1-2-1 in his last three fights but was coming off a fourth-round knockout of Marcos Hernandez in November on the Alvarez-Plant undercard.

Sanchez stops Negron

Heavyweight contender Frank Sanchez beat and battered Carlos Negron before stopping him in the ninth round.

Miami-based Cuban Sanchez (21-0, 14 KOs), 30, displayed a strong jab – his calling card – to keep Negron at bay while also mixing in many solid right hands. Negron was game but could not deal with the speed and variety of punches from Sanchez.

“We knew that Negron was going to be tough and he definitely gave it his all,” Sanchez said. “He was tough for nine rounds, but the knockout was inevitable. I have nothing but respect for Negron, he fought a good fight. I just did what I had to do.

“I knew that the last three rounds I was going to step on the gas and knock him out late. I’m a highly-rated fighter, so I feel like a mandatory shot for the world title is coming. I’m just looking forward to fighting the best that the division has to offer. Hopefully, the fans will get to see me in those big fights next year”
In the sixth round Sanchez rocked Negron (25-4, 20 KOs) with a two-handed attack. Negron, whose nose was bloody, responded by motioning to Sanchez to come at him.

Sanchez was in total control in the ninth round when he dropped Negron, who beat the count but was bloody and in rough shape. Sanchez went right at him and unleashed several punches, including a head-snapping right and a follow-up left that had Negron defenseless on the ropes when referee Ricky Gonzalez stopped it at 1 minute, 36 seconds.

Negron, 35, of Puerto Rico, had a five-fight winning streak against low-level opponents end. He was taken to Lutheran Hospital for evaluation following the bout.

Rodriguez wins tech. decision

Former IBF bantamweight titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez earned another shot at that belt with a 10th-round technical decision over Gary Antonio Russell in a rematch.

Rodriguez was sent to the mat after taking the worst of a vicious accidental head butt in the final seconds of the ninth round.

After much discussion between referee Benjy Esteves, ringside medical personnel and Rodriguez, he was deemed unable to continue and the fight was stopped at 2 seconds of the 10th round and sent too the scorecards. Rodriguez had dominated the fight and won 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93 to earn another IBF 118-pound title shot.

Naoya Inoue, who knocked out Rodriguez in the second round to take that title from him in 2019, still holds the title but there is unlikely to be a rematch. Inoue said this week that following his December undisputed title fight with Paul Butler he is moving up in weight, meaning Rodriguez would fight for the vacant title.
Rodriguez and Russell, the younger brother of former featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr., first met in August 2021. That fight ended in just 16 seconds due to an immediate accidental head butt that also left Rodriguez unable to continue. The fight was declared a no decision.

Each man had won one fight since as they went into the rematch, which was Russell’s first fight since the death of his father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr.

Rodriguez (21-2, 13 KOs), 30, of Puerto Rico, got off to a good start when he connected on Russell’s chin with a clean right hand in the first round. He found a home that punch and many others throughout the fight.
“He was the better fighter today. I felt like he outpointed me,” Russell said. “I thought I started to pick it up after the fifth round but it wasn’t enough.”

Just as the bell ended the eighth round, Rodriguez landed a right hand on the chin that dropped Russell (19-1, 12 KOs), 29, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, in the middle of the ring. He was unsteady when he beat the count but the round ended and he had the rest period to try to recover.

Russell’s legs were shaky thereafter as he tumbled the mat in the ninth round without being hit. Later in the ninth they banged heads and the fight was stopped.

“I knew that I was dominating the fight. When I knocked him down, I thought his corner should have stopped the fight He wasn’t right at that moment,” Rodriguez said. “The head butt definitely hurt, but I feel like I could have fought on. I’ll get it checked out, but I’m OK. I’m going to get a little rest now, then I want to come back and fight for the world title.”

FS1 preliminary bouts
In the final preliminary bout on FS1 before the beginning of the pay-per-view, Roseland, New Jersey, junior middleweight Vito Mielnicki Jr. (13-1, 8 KOs), 20, cruised to a one-sided decision over Limberth Ponce (19-5, 11 KOs), 31, a Mexico native fighting out of Rock Island, Illinois. Mielnicki threw a lot of combinations, jabbed well and attacked the body to beat Ponce easily, 99-91, 99-91 and 998-92.

Lightweight contender Michel Rivera (24-0, 14 KOs), 24, a Dominican Republic native fighting out of Miami, punctuated a near-shutout decision over Jerry Perez (14-2, 11 KOs), 29, of Oak Hills, California, with a knockdown in the final seconds of the fight. Rivera, who landed many body shots, dominated all the way and won 80-71, 79-72 and 79-72.

Heavyweight Gurgen Hovhannisyan (4-0, 4 KOs), 24, an Armenia native based in Los Angeles and trained by Joe Goossen, stopped Bronx native Michael Coffie (13-3, 10 KOs ), 36, at the end of the sixth round of a slow-paced fight. Coffie had taken a pounding and fight was called off on the advice of the ringside doctor.

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Since 2000, award-winning reporter Dan Rafael has covered boxing full time and been ringside for thousands of fights, first for five years at USA Today and then for 15 years at ESPN, where he wrote and appeared on various television, radio and streaming programs. In 2013, Dan was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America with the Nat Fleischer award for career excellence in boxing journalism. Dan brings his great insight to the Big Fight Weekend site, podcast and more!

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