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Boxing Results: Russell Jr. beats Nyambayar; & Rigondeaux decisions Solis

Image: Boxing Results: Russell Jr. beats Nyambayar; & Rigondeaux decisions Solis

By Dan Ambrose: Gary Russell Jr. defeated Tugstsogt Nyambayar by a closer than expected 12 round unanimous decision in the main event, and Guillermo Rigondeaux edged Liborio Solis by a 12 round split decision in the co-feature bout on Saturday night at the PPL Center, in Allentown, Penn.

In what could be the last title defense for WBC 126-lb champion Russell Jr. (31-1, 18 KOs) before he moves up 2 weight classes to lightweight, he had to battle hard to defeat previously unbeaten Nyambayar (11-1, 9 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision. The fight was a lot closer than the scores handed down. You can argue that it could have been scored a draw or a narrow 115-113 win for Russell.

The scores were 116-112, 117-111, 118-110. Boxing News 24 scored it 115-113 for Russell Jr. He did barely enough to win.

The fight showed that Russell Jr. needs to seriously think hard before he moves up to lightweight, because he doesn’t have the punching power or the size to compete against the top 135-lb fighters. As it is, Russell Jr. would have his hands full against the top featherweights in Shakur Stevenson, Josh Warrington and Kid Galahad.

Russell Jr. got the better of Nyambayar in most of the first six rounds, but the fight changed in the second half. That’s when the Mongolian fighter Nyambayar, 27, started walking Russell Jr. down, and landing heavy shots.

Russell was busier with his lighter shots in many of the rounds, but the harder punches from Nyambayar were the more effective ones. The judges were more impressed with Russell’s more numerous shots, and so they gave him most of the rounds.

“I made a mistake by waiting for him during the fight. I’d love the rematch if I can get it,” said Nyambayar.

It would be nice if Russell Jr. gave Nyambayar a second shot, but that’s not going to happen. Russell Jr. wants to fight Leo Santa Cruz, which isn’t likely going to happen either, or else he’ll be moving up in weight to 135. After tonight’s performance, it wouldn’t be surprising if Russell Jr. changes his mind about moving up, and decides to stay at 126 where it’s safe.

“If we have to move up in weight for these top fighters to feel like they have an advantage and take the fight, then we’ll do it,” said Russell Jr.

As you can see, Russell Jr is no longer sounding like he’s moving up. What might have given Russell the confidence to think about moving up in the first place was all the weak opposition he’s been facing since he won the WBC belt five years ago. Russell Jr. hasn’t fought anyone that you can call a good fighter, and he’s had a lot of easy wins.

Tonight, when facing a good basic featherweight in Nyambayar, Russell was really tested, and found himself in a dog fight. The way Russell looked, he wouldn’t do well at 135 or 130 if he fought the quality guys.

The scores were 115-112, 116-111 for Rigondeaux and 115-112 for Solis. Boxing News 24 scored it for Rigondeaux 116-111. Solis didn’t do nearly enough to win the fight. It’s unclear what the judges saw that scored it for Solis. It was an odd score given the fact that he was getting completely out-boxed by Rigondeaux from round 2 to 12.

After an uneventful first six rounds in which neither fighter landed anything of substance, Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) knocked the 37-year-old Solis (30-6-1, 14 KOs) down in the 7th, and then edged the majority of the remaining rounds to capture the vacant WBA world bantamweight title.

The former WBA/WBO 122-lb champion Rigondeaux was tentative through most of the first six rounds in throwing mostly jabs, and only a rare power shot here and there.

Solis initially fought aggressively in the 1st, but after getting a taste of Rigondeaux’s power in round 2, he fought cautiously, realizing that he couldn’t just rush forward into the teeth of Rigondeaux’s offense without putting himself in great harm. Rigondeaux’s power was formidable when he fought at super bantamweight, but now that he’s at 118, it’s even more devastating.

The two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Rigondeaux caught Solis with a perfect uppercut that put Solid down. He was hurt badly enough to stay down until the count of eight before he rose to his feet to continue fighting,

After the knockdown, Solis wasn’t nearly as daring as he’d been before, and Rigondeaux was able to control him largely with his jab from that point forward. The fight slipped into a dull chess-match that the crowd hated, as they booed the lack of action, but they should have known that Rigondeaux is a careful boxer, who doesn’t take a lot of chances.

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