Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lopez tops Lontchi in Atlantic City

Atlantic City, NJ (The Phanatic Magazine) - Boxing needs new stars and Juan Manuel Lopez hopes to help fill the void.

The rising Puerto Rican fighter was certainly dominant Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom when he retained his 122-pound title for the fourth time with a ninth-round TKO victory over the previously undefeated Olivier Lontchi.

Lopez (26-0, 24 KOs) sent Lontchi (18-1-2, 8 KOs) to the canvas in both the second and ninth rounds before the Cameroon native, who fights out of Montreal, retired on his stool after the ninth with sore ribs.

There were some chinks in the armor, however.

Lontchi may have been out of his league against Lopez but he was clearly the quicker fighter and frustrated Lopez by trying to get tight to the body by leading with his head. In fact, Lopez spent most of the first round complaining to referee Ala Huggins.

A right hook midway through Round 2 floored Lontchi for the first time but Lopez failed to follow up. Lontchi started to gain confidence from there but seemed content to play defense, counter
Lopez when he could and jump on his bicycle. It wasn't winning Lontchi rounds but he was winning over the partisan crowd a bit since most expected him to check out early.

A big exchange on the ropes in Round 7 generated a standing ovation from the sparse crowd of under 1,000.

A hard left by Lopez sent Lontchi back to the canvas in the ninth but he was unable to finish him again.

Lontchi, however, couldn't answer the bell for the 10th round.

"I knew it would be difficult because I knew he was a very awkward fighter and he showed that," Lopez said. "I think he was not really fighting and not really boxing. He wasn't throwing punches and I felt like he was running and I was chasing him. I knew my strength could eventually get to him. I knew eventually my power would slow him down."

Lopez, a 2004 Puerto Rican Olympian, led 89-80 on all three scorecards when the fight was stopped.

"I got hit real hard in Round 4," said Lontchi. "He hit me really hard in the ribs. It really hurt me. He has very good combinations. He's very powerful, he hits hard and I have to give him a lot of credit."

In other action, Mexican veteran Jorge Arce (52-5-1, 40 KOs) retained his IBF International super flyweight crown when he dropped Fernando Lumacad (19-2-2) with a right cross, 35 seconds into the third round.

Yuri Foreman and Cornelius Bundrage fought to a no-contest in a 12-round IBF junior middleweight eliminator matchup when Foreman ran into an accidental head butt from Bundrage. The blow opened up a huge gash over Foreman's eye and the ringside physician was forced to stop the fight after the third round. A fight must go four full rounds before it goes to the scorecards.

Also, US Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (25-0, 15 KOs) remained undefeated after opening up a cut over the left eye of Andrey Tsurkan (26-5) in the fourth round. Martirosyan pounded Tsurkan with rights as the Ukrainian had trouble seeing out of his left eye. The fight was stopped after the sixth round.

In preliminary action, the stars were Russian middleweight Matt Korobov and powerful Puerto Rican cruiserweight Carlos Negron.

Korobov (7-0, 6KOs) crumbled California native Benjamin Diaz (9-3-2) with a vicious body shot at 1:22 of the first round. Negron (3-0, 3KOs) bested that by three seconds, dispatching Kenneth George (9-3-1) with a pair of left hooks and a straight right hand in just 1:18. George left the ring shaking his head over Negron's power.

In other bouts, Puerto Rican lightweight Hector Marengo (5-0-3) went to a draw with Angel Rodriguez (3-3-2) of Houston. Rodriguez hit harder, pressed the action and probably deserved the win, however.

North Jersey's Miguel Torres (13-0) stayed undefeated with a lackluster unanimous decision over Mexico's Humberto Tapia (13-11-1) in a super lightweight bout, while another North Jersey super lightweight, Jeremy Bryan (11-0), also stayed unblemished with a unanimous decision over Josh Beeman (4-3-2) of Providence.

Also, Puerto Rican featherweight Mario Santiago (20-1-1) outpointed Gilbert Sanchez-Leon of Mexico (21-7-2).

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