Saturday, March 2, 2013
Tonight at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, The Joint, in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the WBA Lightweight World title on the line, the 30 year-old, defending champion Richard “El Tigre” Abril (18-3-1, 8 KO’s) of Miami, Florida, by way of Cuba, made the first defense of his title against the 24-year-old, unbeaten Sharif “The Lion” Bogere (23-1, 15 KO’s) of Las Vegas (a five year residency) by way of Uganda by gaining an unanimous decision victory in their 12-round bout broadcast on Showtime Boxing.
As expected, Bogere became the aggressor from the outset, turning the fight into a brawl to frustrate the taller Abril. With Abril often wrapping Bogere up, both fighters tumbled to the canvas more than once. In the eighth round, Abril was docked a point for holding. In the 12th, Bogere was penalized a point for leading with his head.
What was called an accidental head-butt opened up a large gash over Abril’s right eye in the sixth round. Instead of impairing the champion’s ability, the injury did the opposite. Perhaps enraged by the gash, the momentum swung in the champion’s favor.
With Abril's increased activity, he was able to create more distance; the distance needed to benefit from his reach advantage. The resulting combinations by Abril kept the hard charging Bogere at bay.
The judges scored the bout: 115-111, 116-110 and 116-110 all for Abril. While Abril improves to 18-3-1 (8 KOs), Bogere suffers his first loss and drops to 23-1 (15 KOs).
In the Co-feature, the highly rated southpaw, 24 year-old “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr. (22-0, 13 KOs), from Capitol Heights, MD, had a reasonably easy time of it facing Russia’s Vyacheslav Gusev (20-3, 5 KO’s) in a 10-round featherweight bout. All three judges saw it the same way: 100-89 for Russell.
Gusev, fighting for the first time in 11 months, entered the contest as a 20-1 betting underdog. Those are some mighty high odds. Note well: Gusev was knocked off his feet in the third round and Russell hurt his left hand. This is the same Russell who visited San Diego back on January 28, 2011 to fight Feider Viloria on a Bobby D Presents fight card at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in San Diego.
On the undercard: an eight-round bout featuring Jorge Melendez (26-2-1, 25 KOs) of Manati, Puerto Rico. Melendez ko’d Ryan Davis (24-10-3, 9 KOs) of Granite City, Illinois, in their middleweight tilt. Thomas Williams (13-0-0, 10 KOs) of Fort Washington, Maryland, got himself a TKO victory in the 3rd Round win over Kevin Engel (20-8-0, 16 KOs) from St. Louis, Missouri in a light heavyweight scrap. Lightweight Jeffrey Fontanez (11-0-0, 9 KOs) of Caguas, Puerto Rico got a six round unanimous decision victory over Daniel Attah (28-14-1, 11 KOs) of Washington, D.C. Welterweight Samuel Vasquez (7-0-0, 5 KOs) got a TKO victory in the second round over Leandro Damian Albornoz (16-3-1, 5 KOs) and finally, super middleweight Luis Arias (4-0-0, 3 KOs) ko’d Arsenio Terrazas (9-4-0, 8 KOs) at the 1:55 mark of Round one in their scheduled six rounder.