By Chris Williams: After 19 years as a pro, Raymundo Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) finally captured a world title in defeating 39-year-old Paulus Moses (40-4, 25 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on Friday night to capture the vacant WBO lightweight title at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.
The scores were 117-111, 117-111, and 116-112. Boxing News 24 scored it 115-113. Beltran, 37, won the fight, but it was a lot closer than the scores handed down by the judges.
Many of the rounds were close with both guys having their moments. Moses seemed to fade in the 11th and 12th rounds, and this allowed Beltran to take them. But with the wide scoring by the judges, Beltran would have still won the fight even if he lost the last 3 rounds. Beltran’s right eye was badly swollen up. Moses rearranged Beltran’s face with his heavy shots. Beltran took the shots and able to outwork Moses down the stretch, but it wasn’t as one-sided a fight as the ridiculous scores would have you believe. Beltran was the A-side in the fight due to his promoters at Top Rank being the one that was putting on the card.
Beltran is now in position to defend his WBO 135 lb. title against Vasyl Lomachenko next on May 12. Whether Beltran gets the fight or not could come down to how quickly his face heals from the punishment he took from Moses. It’s asking a lot of the 37-year-old Beltran to heal fast enough to return to the ring in just 3 months for a fight against Lomachenko.
Beltran’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank might need to look in another direction for Lomachenko’s next fight unless he wants to have Beltran take the fight with his face still cut up. I won’t be surprised if that’s the case. Arum would like to match Lomachenko against WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares on the May 12th, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen because the date interferes with the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘GGG” Golovkin 2 replay on HBO that will be televised on the same night. Beltran could be the lucky guy in getting the Lomachenko fight.
For Beltran, this was his 4th world title shot. In Beltran’s 3 previous attempts at winning a world title, he fought Ricky Burns, Terence Crawford and Takahiro Ao.
In other boxing results on the card, unbeaten welterweight contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas (19-0, 16 KOs) defeated former WBA World welterweight champion David Avanesyan (23-3-1, 11 KOs) by a 6th round knockout. The heavy-handed 29-year-old Kavaliauskas hurt Avanesyan with a right hand in round 6. Avanesyan had his hands down when he got nailed by a big right from Kavaliauskas. At that point, Kavaliauskas unloaded on Avanesyan with a storm of shots that led to referee Tony Weeks stopping the fight. The official time of the stoppage was at 1:55 of round 6. Kavaliauskas could be a future opponent for the winner or loser of the Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford fight on April 14.
Former heavyweight world title challenger Bryant Jennings (21-2, 12 KOs) stopped an over-matched and flabby looking Akhror Akhror Muralimov (16-4, 13 KOs) in a 3rd round knockout. The fight was halted in round 3 after the 33-year-old Jennings knocked Muralimov down with a right hand to the head. Jennings had already knocked Muralimov previously in the same round. Jennings also dropped Muralimov twice in round 1 and once in round 2. All total, Jennings knocked Muralimov down 5 times in the fight with all the knockdowns coming from right hands to the head. Despite getting the win, Jennings didn’t look all that impressive. Muralimov was able to hit Jennings a lot in the fight. If Muralimov had any kind of power, he likely would have knocked Jennings out the same way Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz did in stopping him in the 7th round in their fight in December 2017. Jennings can dish out the punishment fine, but he’s so easy to hit and he doesn’t take a shot too well when he’s facing opposition with power. Former IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko beat Jennings by a 12 round unanimous decision in April 2015. Jennings is ranked WBO #9 and WBA #12. His promoters at Top Rank are trying to slowly move him up to get him a title shot against IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. If Jennings can get a fight against Joshua, he’ll make a lot of money with that fight. Until then, don’t expect Jennings to be put in with anyone with any kind of talent. We’re likely going to continue to see Jennings put in record padding fights so he can slowly get pushed up the rankings until he gets his title shot against Joshua. The win for Jennings was his third straight since he launched his comeback in 2017 after being out of the ring for 2 years. Since coming back, Jennings had wins over Daniel Martz, Don Haynesworth and Muralimov. Top Rank doesn’t appear to be making any effort at increasing the level of opposition for Jennings. All 3 of his last opponents have been poor and on the same level.
Featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (5-0, 2 KOs) defeated Juan Tapia (8-2, 3 KOs) by an 8 round unanimous decision. The scores were 80-72, 80-72 and 80-72. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist Stevenson was using Tapia as target practice in landing shots and making a lot of noise. While Stevenson did look good in winning, his lack of punching power is worrisome. Since turning pro in 2017, Stevenson has shown no power whatsoever Why that’s a problem is because it means he’s going to have to take a lot of hard shots when he eventually faces better opposition. When Stevenson starts fighting the better opposition, he’s going to find himself getting hammered. If Stevenson doesn’t have the power to knockout his opponents, it means he’s going to need to take many punches for him to go the full 12 rounds to get the win. When you’re facing guys with a lot of power like Oscar Valdez and Leo Santa Cruz, you don’t want to be taking their big punches for 12 rounds.
In other boxing results on tonight’s card:
Robson Conceicao UD 6 Ignacio Holguin
Sagadat Rakhmankulov TKO 5 Noel Esqueda
Alexander Besputin TKO 5 Wesley Tucker