Junior welterweights Kenneth Sims Jr. and Batyr Akhmedov slugged it out in a tremendous battle that Sims, whose right eye was nearly swollen closed for the final four rounds, won by majority decision in a WBA title eliminator on the Rolando Romero-Ismael Barroso undercard on Saturday night at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Sims won 116-112 and 115-113 while one judge scored it 114-114 in a fight that was action packed from the start and never relented.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 14, 2023
“I’m not supposed to be here right now. That’s what they say. Ain’t nobody thought I would be here right now,” Sims said. “And I know that I’m the best, so at 140 it’s whatever. I’m ready for anyone.”
Sims, who easily switched between right-handed and southpaw, relied heavily on counter punches while Akhmedov applied extreme pressure. Both found success with body punching.
The fight was close all the way as they traded back and forth.
“This is what I expected,” Sims said. “This is what I expected of him but I’m a savage. I’m a dog. I have that dog in me. And that’s what I was saying during this whole time leading up to this that I had that dog in me and I was going to show them. My eye wasn’t bothering me. I don’t care. Like I said, I’m a savage. I don’t care.”
Akhmedov landed a series of combinations in the eighth round as he forced Sims to the ropes. Sims hurt Akhmedov with a left hand late in the ninth round and had another good round in the 10th as he landed a powerful uppercut followed by a clean left.
According to CompuBox, they combined to land 640 punches, the most in a fight tracked by CompuBox so far in 2023. Sims landed 309 of 832 punches (37 percent) and Akhmedov landed 331 of 933 (36 percent).
For Sims (20-2-1, 7 KOs), 29, of Chicago, it was easily the biggest win of his career and his seventh in a row since an upset eight-round decision to journeyman Samuel Teah in 2018. Now he wants a shot at the title against the main event winner.
“This is the fight that I expected. This is what I’ve been waiting on for years,” Sims said. “I thought he won the title in his last fight so I thought he should be a world champion. So this just showed I’m ready for whatever. I’m ready to be world champion.
“I want the winner of the main event. I want that title. That’s it. Whoever wins the main event that’s who I want.”
It was a tough loss for Akhmedov (9-3, 8 KOs), 32, a southpaw from Uzbekistan fighting out of Los Angeles, who dropped his second fight in a row. In his previous fight he lost a disputed split decision to Alberto Puello for the vacant WBA title in August.
“I felt confident that I was winning the fight,” Akhmedov said. “I felt confident that I’m winning the fight. But it’s like every time I don’t stop my opponent it’s like they win. It seems like it’s a goal against me. If they reach the 12th round it’s like they already won and they’re already celebrating because the judges give it to them.
“Look at the punch stats. I won again. I’m winning rounds, I’m throwing more, I’m hurting him more. “It’s tough because I give all my life to this sport. I’ve been participating in this sport all my life. But it’s really unfortunate. I believe that I’m winning but I don’t get the decision so I want to ask the people who won the fight.”