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Abril Retains WBA Title, Russell Wins

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It may not have been an artistic success, but WBA Lightweight World Champion Richar “El Tigre” Abril will take it in 36 minutes of jungle warfare with lots of holding, grabbing, head-butts and wrestling. After warning each fighter several times, referee Russell Mora deducted a point from each of them with the 5-foot-11 Abril losing a point for holding in the eighth round and the 5-foot-6½-inch Bogere one for leading with his head in the 12th. There were no knockdowns, but both took turns tackling each other to the canvas.

“I am very happy to get the win, but I’m not happy at all with the way the fight went,” said Abril after retaining his WBA 135-pound title with a unanimous 12-round decision over previously undefeated Sharif “The Lion” Bogere in the main event of Saturday’s SHOWTIME BOXING – Special Edition live on SHOWTIME® from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

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In the opening bout of the telecast, unbeaten, world-rated southpaw Gary Russell Jr. (24-0, 15 KO’s), of Capitol Heights, Md., scored one knockdown en route to a lopsided 10-round decision over Russia’s Vyacheslav Gusev (20-3, 5 KO’s). Despite hurting both his hands during the fight, featherweight Russell hurled a shutout by the lopsided score of 100-89 on all three judges’ scorecards.

The talented Russell fought the last several rounds with a bruised left hand. “I think I hurt it in the third round,” he said. “The last few rounds I was tentative with it and only showed it to him. My corner knew I’d hurt it and did a great job between rounds coming up with different strategies, like starting off with a stiff jab and maintaining it, and slowing down the pace.

“My right hand is bruised too, but I don’t think it is anything serious. I fully expect to fight again in three months.”

According to SHOSTATS, Russell landed 229 of 797 punches (29 percent). Gusev, making his second start in the United States, connected on just 15 percent. Of the 214 punches he delivered, he landed only 33 times, the lowest total in the history of CompuBox for a 10-round fight.

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In Saturday’s bouts on SHOWTIME EXTREME. hard-hitting middleweight Jorge Melendez (26-2-1, 25 KO’s), of Manati, P.R., knocked out Ryan Davis (24-10-3), of Granite City, Ill., in the fourth round; undefeated light heavyweight Thomas Williams (13-0, 10 KO’s), of Fort Washington, Md., registered a third-round TKO over Kevin Engel (20-8, 16 KO’s), of St. Louis; and unbeaten lightweight Jeffrey Fontanez (11-0, 9 KO’s) of Caguas, P.R., took a six-round unanimous decision over Daniel Attah (27-14-1, 10 KO’s), of Washington, D.C.

All Photos by Tom Casino

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