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Jaron Ennis Crushes Clayton To Earn Welterweight Title Shot

Jaron Ennis Crushes Clayton To Earn Welterweight Title Shot

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Jaron Ennis Crushes Clayton To Earn Welterweight Title Shot

Jaron Ennis Crushes Clayton To Earn Welterweight Title Shot

Welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, the 2020 prospect of the year, destroyed Custio Clayton in the second round on Saturday night to earn a mandatory title shot.

The fight was the co-feature of the Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano undisputed junior middleweight championship fight on Showtime at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Ennis said he wanted to make a statement during the pre-fight build up and he did just that in the IBF welterweight final eliminator. With the victory Ennis becomes one of the mandatory challengers for three-belt world titleholder Errol Spence Jr., who watched from ringside.

“I’m just trying to perfect my craft, get better and better each and every time and that’s what I’ve been doing,” Ennis said. “Working on things and doing what I need to do and that’s getting that knockout We don’t get paid for overtime.”

Ennis dominated the opening round with his jab and made quick work of Clayton, a 2012 Canadian Olympian, in the second round.

Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs), 24, of Philadelphia, landed a jab and then a right hand near the ear/temple area that sent Ennis to the canvas. He barely beat the count but was in bad shape. However, when he trued to respond to referee Ray Corona’s instructions to step to the side, he stumbled into the ropes and Corona waved off the fight at 2 minutes 49 seconds. The knockout was Ennis’ 19th in a row.

“He had a high guard, so I was trying to come around with the right hook and he leaned down and I just threw an overhand,” Ennis said. “I thought he was going to get up. He was durable. Tough guy. Nobody ever stopped him. I see he got up, but it was over.”

Clayton (19-1-1, 12 KOs), 34, previously had only one blemish on his record, a draw with former junior welterweight titlist Sergey Lipinets two fights ago in October 2020. Ennis knocked out Lipinets in spectacular fashion in the sixth round in 13 months ago.

Although there is a chance Spence may next meet WBO titlist Terence Crawford for the undisputed title in a long-awaited fight, Ennis knew Spence was ringside and said he wants to fight him.

“Anyone can get it right now, but I am the IBF No.1 contender,” Ennis said. “I think Mr. Big Fish (Spence) is here so it’s time to go fishing.”

In the televised opener, junior featherweight Kevin Gonzalez (26-0-1, 13 KOs), 24, of Mexico, won a lackluster decision over fellow southpaw Emanuel Rivera (19-3, 12 KOs), 32, of Puerto Rico.

Gonzalez won 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 as Rivera dropped to 2-2 in his past four bouts.

“We were able to accomplish our objective and win in the end,” said Gonzalez, who got off to a bit of a slow start. “Rivera was a quality opponent. Bring on all the champions. I’m gonna fight as soon as my promoter tells me to in order to become the world champion I want to be.”

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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