Richardson Hitchens (17-0, 7 KOs) won a clear unanimous decision over Jose Zepeda (37-4, 28 KOs, 2 NCs) in their fight at the Caribe Royal Orlando in Florida. The clash headlined a Matchroom Boxing card that was broadcast live on DAZN around the world. Hitchens won with scores of 120-108 (x2) and 119-109.
The fight began with both men staying at range. Hitchins established his jab early on which gave Zepeda some problems. Zepeda would come forward but struggled to land clean throughout the fight. As the fight went on, Zepeda’s struggles would continue as Hitchins continued to land the cleaner shots from range, even bloodying Zepeda’s face. Zepeda continued to press forward in hopes of landing a punch that would dent his opponent till the final bell. Hitchins, defensively sound throughout, did not let that happen as he went on to win a clear decision.
“This was my first main event and I told ya’ll that I was the type of fighter that could make a veteran fighter look like an ordinary fighter,” Hitchins said in a post-fight interview. “I think I dominated him just like I dominated my last fight.”
During the interview, Hitchins spoke about potentially fighting once more before the end of the year. When and where that would take place remains unknown at the moment. Although he said that he is prepared to face anyone, Hitchins expressed a desire to face the winner of a potential Regis Prograis-Devin Haney fight. He also called for a clash against fellow New Yorker and WBO super lightweight champion Teófimo López.
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) September 24, 2023
Conor Benn returns
After failing two Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) drug tests going into a proposed fight with Chris Eubank Jr., Conor Benn (22-0, 14 KOs) returned to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Rodolfo Orozco (32-4-3, 24 KOs). Two judges had the contest 99-91 while the third scored it 96-94.
In October of last year, Benn himself admitted to failing two VADA drug tests months apart in an interview with The Sun. At present, Benn cannot get a licence in the UK. For this fight, he was licensed by the Florida Athletic Commission after the Association of Boxing Commissions removed him from the national suspension list. As a result, he was able to obtain a license to box in the state of Florida.
Orozco proved to be a durable opponent. Despite getting hit with a number of hard shots to the body and head, he continued to push forward and also landed some good punches of his own. In the end, it was not enough as Benn out landed Orozco en route to his first win since a 2022 second round TKO of Chris van Heerden. A December return in the UK was brought up during the post-fight interview. However, that would be contingent on the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) licensing Benn.
Jessica McCaskill-Sandy Ryan recap
In a fight for the WBC, WBO and WBA welterweight titles, Jessica McCaskill (12-3-1, 5 KOs) and Sandy Ryan (6-1-1, 2 KOs) fought to a split draw. Scores were 97-93 for McCaskill, 96-94 for Ryan, and 95-95. With the result, McCaskill retains her WBC and WBA titles while Ryan holds onto her WBO belt.
The result was audibly booed by those in attendance as well as by ringside commentators. Sunny Edwards, who takes on Jesse “Bam” Rodríguez on December 16 for the unified flyweight championship, called the result a “robbery.” Issue was taken with the 97-93 scorecard for McCaskill with many viewing the fight as a clear win for Ryan.
Throughout the fight, McCaskill had her moments of success but it was Ryan who landed the cleaner work over ten rounds. Ryan used her jab to set up right hands and shots to the body of McCaskill. For most of the fight, McCaskill threw one shot at a time. A fast-paced round nine saw her close the gap and land to the head of Ryan. However, Ryan responded with power shots of her own to make the round competitive.
Many expected Ryan to have her hand raised once the final bell rang. It was not to be as the judges had the fight a split draw, a decision that will garner significant debate in the coming days. Ryan expressed a desire for a rematch in a post-fight interview. Whether one takes place remains to be seen.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) September 24, 2023
Hitchins-Zepeda undercard results
Opening the main telecast on DAZN, Austin Williams (15-0, 10 KOs) defeated Steve Rolls (22-3, 12 KOs) via unanimous decision in a middleweight bout. All three judges scored the fight 97-93.
In a super lightweight fight, Orestes Velazquez (8-0, 7 KOs) stopped Mohamed Soumaoro (13-2, 6 KOs) in round eight. The time of stoppage was 2:19.
Khalil Coe (7-0-1, 5 KOs) won via second round TKO against Kenmon Evans (10-2-1, 3 KOs). The time of stoppage for this light heavyweight clash was 1:21.
Jeovanny Estela (13-0, 4 KOs) stopped Luis Ramos in the opening round. The time of stoppage was 2:10 for this super welterweight bout.
Jasmine Artiga (11-0-1, 5 KOs) won a unanimous decision against Josefina Vega (9-7, 4 KOs) in a super flyweight bout. All judges scored the fight 80-71.