Ivan Redkach (19-1-1, 15 KOs) and Luis Cruz (22-4-1, 16 KOs) fought to a split draw and both scored knockdowns Tuesday night in an exciting main event on Premier Boxing Champions Toe to Toe Tuesdays from Sands Bethlehem Events Center in Bethlehem, Pa.
In early action, Cruz began to establish his straight right hand when he knocked Redkach off balance and sent him to the canvas in round two. The Puerto Rican veteran controlled much of the early rounds with that right hand, great movement and overall boxing ability.
Redkach was aggressive throughout, throwing 602 punches over the 10-round bout to Cruz’s 485. However, Cruz’s 33 percent connect rate was good enough for him to dominate the first half of the fight.
The 2008 Ukranian Olympian began to find a landing zone for his big left hand as the fight wore on and late in round eight he landed one cleanly on Cruz that dropped him hard. Redkach was then awarded a controversial knockdown in an explosive ninth round when Cruz fell to the mat on what he said was a slip as a result of a push.
Both men emptied the tank in the final round knowing that one punch could change the outcome of the fight and ended with several flurries. The scores after 10 rounds were razor thin at 94-93 for Redkach, 94-93 Cruz and 94-94, resulting in the split draw.
The co-main event of the evening featured a fast pace brawl that saw unbeaten prospect Immanuwel Aleem (16-0, 9 KOs) earn a hard fought victory over Jonathan Cepeda (17-2, 15 KOs) in their eight-round middleweight contest.
Aleem and Cepeda traded power punches all fight long, with Cepeda taking the brunt of the punishment as he was out landed 272 to 107. Aleem was superior in all regards as he also landed an impressive 42 percent of his total punches.
Cepeda refused to surrender however and used a powerful right hook to occasionally stun Aleem. The still unbeaten prospect was always able to return any punishment and then some, winning by the score of 79-73 on all three judges’ scorecards.
In the televised opener unbeaten middleweight prospects collided as Junior Castillo (10-0, 9 KOs) earned a unanimous decision over Kyrone Davis (10-1, 4 KOs) in a competitive eight-round affair.
The Delaware-native Davis was impressive early with his movement and boxing abilities but the southpaw Castillo was soon able to time his opponent and land left hands to the head and body.
In the fourth round, Castillo hurt and dropped Davis in the middle of the round with a left hand after an exchange. Neither man allowed the other to gain too much momentum throughout the remainder of the fight, but it was Castillo’s output advantage of 117-92 that bettered Davis’ accuracy advantage of 36 percent to 30 percent.
Castillo won the decision by scores of 78-73, 77-74 and 76-75.
Here is what the fighters had to say Tuesday:
“I think I won, but it was a good fight.
“The knockdown I suffered was me losing my balance. I felt I controlled the fight because I knocked him down twice. I thought I could have stopped him after the first knockdown.
“I am not going to argue with the decision but I feel I won the fight.”
“I thought the last knockdown was a slip. That was the difference between the draw and my win.
“I hurt him. I had the power. I tried to work round-by-round. I feel that I won six rounds and that the knockdown cost me the win.
“I thought I fought well. The draw was better than a loss. Why not a rematch? He is strong and dangerous. He hits hard but I know I am better than him.”
“He was a tough guy. I hit him with some good shots but he kept his ground. I respect that.
“I was trying to take my time to get him out. I was being hasty. I was trying to get him every chance I got but he was tough. I am a student of the game and I was taking my time.
“My manager George Peterson has a resume of building up Paul Williams and I trust what he has in store for me. He knows what I am capable of doing. We will go after everybody, just like Paul did.”
“It was a very good fight. I had some difficulty at first but I felt confident that I would be victorious.
“I kept consistent with my game plan and I was able to knock him down. I thought I would be able to finish him but I got too wild.
“It feels good to defeat an undefeated prospect and also go the distance. I have never gone the distance before.
“I want some kind of title fight. My confidence is much higher right.”
“I felt like it was a good fight. I feel like I won. I thought the crowd swayed the judges. I felt like I won but that’s how it goes sometimes.
“78-73 was too wide. I controlled the first two rounds. He crossed over and hit me with a good shot. He may have won the knockdown round and the last round.
“If he gives me a rematch, I would love it. This is just a minor setback. I will improve after this fight and I will move forward.”