Angelo Leo captured the vacant WBO-Super Bantamweight title with a unanimous points win against Tramaine WIlliams, as Showtime returned in Connecticut on Saturday.
The entire card, held behind closed doors at the Mohegan Sun Resort had been thrown into doubt in midweek, as number one contender Stephen Fulton Jr, who was originally due to meet number two ranked Leo tested positive for Coronavirus, forcing an immediate withdrawal.
This left ’The Mighty Midget’ to step in and he was elevated from his fight which was meant to be an eliminator for the same WBO belt against Raeese Aleem to face Leo instead.
Floyd Mayweather-promoted Leo (20-0, 9 KOs) picked up the crown vacated by Emmanuel Navarrete by making the necessary adjustments to overcome Williams on the night.
Williams (19-1, 6 KOs) began brightly and displayed smart boxing skills from distance to arguably take both of the first two rounds.
From then on though, Leo began to make the adjustments to close the gap and from the third onwards, the 26-year-old turned the fight into a close quarters affair, punching relentlessly to Williams’ body, as he banked round after round.
‘El Chinito’ had made the contest a phone booth type fight and took Williams out of his comfort zone to pull away down the stretch as the bout went to the cards.
Scores of 118-110 twice, and a third verdict of 117-111 proclaimed Albuquerque-native, Leo the new champion. Thoughts now turn to a meeting down the line with Fulton.
— PBC (@premierboxing) August 2, 2020
“Just be ready,” Leo said to Fulton on Showtime post-fight.
“Just be ready, we are going to make it a war. He said he’s going to bring it and I’m going to bring it too.
“The fans want it, so why not bring it on?.”
Fulton was also brought in on the telecast for comment, and said: “I’m ready for whatever, but just be ready for me when it’s time, that’s all I have to say.”
In the rearranged WBO title eliminator, it was repeat and not revenge as Raeese Aleem (17-0, 11 KOs) stopped Marcus Bates (11-2-1, 8 KOs) in ten one-sided rounds.
‘The Beast’ had beaten Bates comfortably over eight rounds in April 2018 and the latter stepped in at just three days notice here with Aleem’s original opponent Tremaine Williams, promoted to main event status.
The 30-year-old had no trouble with the change of opposition, as he dominated for nine rounds before Bates injured his wrist, forcing him to withdraw from throwing his right hand.
He didn’t use it at all in the tenth and turned his back on his opponent when struck to the body, forcing the referee to wave the contest off, as Aleem remained unbeaten.
In another rematch on the card, Joe George (11-0, 7 KOs) came from behind on the cards to chillingly knockout Marcos Escudero (10-2, 9 KOs) in the ninth of their ten round Light-Heavyweight attraction.
#SHOBoxingReturns with a BANG 💥
Joe George KOs Marcos Escudero with a massive uppercut in Round 9. pic.twitter.com/dVdWogdfwe
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 2, 2020
The Texan edged Escudero by split decision in November last year, and was behind on two of three scorecards this time round before unleashing a monster left uppercut that left the 27-year-old prone on the canvas.
The referee inexplicably administered a count, but the Argentine was out cold.