IBF junior lightweight champion Argenis “La Tormenta” Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) retained his title after battling challenger Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs) to an exciting 12-round majority draw during Friday’s “Tyson Is Back!” event, live on the ESPN Friday Night Fights 2013 season finale, at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Neither fighter hit the canvas in the main event as the momentum switched back and forth throughout the fight. The crowd was on its collective feet in the second-half of the bout as Mendez displayed superior hand speed and powerful counter punching, while IBF No. 13-rated Usmanee was the aggressor and doggedly determined
“I’m very grateful,” promoter Mike Tyson said about his company’s first promotional event. “We had two sensational championship fights. We got a bad break in the co-feature but it as an exciting fight and good for boxing. I thought my fighter (Mendez) won his fight. It was a sensational fight, good for boxing, but horrible for my boxer. He’s a great boxer. We’d like to get (Roman) Martinez of (Yuriorkis) Gamboa next for him.”
A media poll heavily favored Mendez in scoring.
“I’m really disappointed in the decision,” Mendez remarked. “I’m the champion and I thought I won.”
“It was a very close fight,” Usmanee commented. “It depends on how you judge a fight. I was the aggressor. It could have gone either way.”
In the co-feature, Argentinean Jesus Andres Cueller (23-1, 18 KOs) won a hard fought 12-round decision (116-111, 115-112, 114-113) over previously undefeated Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero (14-1, 11 KOs) in a back-and-forth action fight for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) Interim Featherweight Championship.
The Robert Garcia-trained Cueller dropped the 24-year-old Marrero in the sixth round and the seventh was a Round of the Year candidate. “I’m very happy to be champion,” an emotional Cueller said after the fight. “It was a very hard fight. I’ll rest and then go back to train.”
World-rated welterweight Eddie “The Lion” Paredes (34-3-1, 22 KOs) rolled to his12th consecutive victory, winning nine of 10 rounds on all three judges’ scorecards to earn 10-round unanimous decision over Mexican-invader Noe “Platnanito” Bolanos (24-9-1, 16 KOs). Paredes is one of only two 147-pounders rated among the top 15 in the four major governing bodies, as high as No. 3 in the World Boxing Council (WBC) and WBA.
Cuban knockout artist Alexei “The Mexican-Cuban” Collado (17-0, 16 KOs) kept his perfect record intact as he broke-down junior lightweight Guillermo Sanchez (13-10-1, 5 KOs) and finished off the game Puerto-Rican fighter in the fifth round. Collado is rated No. 14 by the WBA and No. 15 by the IBF.
Heavyweight Dorsett Barnwell (10-0, 5 KOs) remained unbeaten, stopping Marlon Hayes (23-13, 11 KOs) in the third round. Undefeated Antoine Douglas (9-0, 6 KOs) won all six rounds against super middleweight Edgar Perez (5-6, 3 KOs) for a win by unanimous decision.
Complete Results (winners listed first)
(10-0, 5 KOs), Newport News, VA WTKO3 (2:48)
(23-13, 11 KOs), Newark, NJ
(9-0, 6 KOs), Burke, VAWDEC6 (60-53, 60-54, 60-54)
(5-6, 3 KOs), Chicago, IL
(34-3-1, 22 KOs), Hollywood, FLWDEC10 (99-91, 99-91, 99-91)
(24-9-1, 16 KOs), Ciudad Obregon, Mexico
(21-2-1, 11 KOs), Champion, Miami, FL via Dominican Republic D12 (113-115, 114-114, 114-114)
(20-1-1, 10 KOs), Challenger, Edmonton, Canada via Afghanistan (Mendez retains IBF Junior Lightweight title)
(17-0, 16 KOs), Miami, FL via CubaWTKO5 (2:25)
(13-10-1, 5 KOs), Buffalo, NY via Puerto Rico
JESUS ANDRES CUELLER
(23-1, 18 KOs), Buenos Aires, Argentina WDEC12 (116-111, 115-112, 114-113)
(14-1, 11 KOs), Miami, FL via Dominican Republic (Cueller won vacant WBA Interim Featherweight title)