Russell Jr vs Hyland will be headlining in Connecticut tonightRussell Jr vs Hyland was expected to be a mismatch as soon as it was announced, and WBC Featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr confirmed that notion by drumming Patrick Hyland en route to a 2nd round TKO at the Foxwoods Resort, Connecticut. Russell Jr now bulks to 27 wins, 1 defeat, 16 knockouts, while Hyland falls to 31 wins, 2 defeats, 15 knockouts.

Russell demonstrated his dangerous speed and power advantages in the opener, tagging his overmatched foe with plenty of telling blows. Soon, just half a minute into the 2nd, Hyland was decked for the first time after getting nailed with a hellacious right hook. With Hyland in serious trouble, Russell poured on the pressure, managing to score another two knockdowns before the referee decided he had seen enough.

Post fight, Russell spoke of his strong desire to rematch conqueror Vasyl Lomachenko, but with Lomachenko reportedly moving up to Junior Lightweight, that fight – whatever weight it may present itself at – might not happen for quite some time. Whether it comes to fruition or not, hopefully we’ll be seeing Russell in much more tantalizing fight before 2016 is through, preferably against a Top 10 126-pounder. Lee Selby and Leo Santa Cruz, who both hold pieces of the Featherweight crown, are nipping at the heels of Russel right now. So, it of course goes without saying that these potential scraps would be warmly embraced by the majority of fight fans.

Russell Jr vs Hyland Undercard

Jose Pedraza vs Stephen Smith

Russel Jr vs Hyland may have been an illegitimate world title encounter, but the action wasn’t so one-sided in the night’s co-main event. Jose Pedraza shared the ring with a tough and game challenger in Stephen Smith, but worked to a sound Unanimous Decision following twelve lively rounds, leaving Connecticut with his IBF Junior Lightweight title intact. Final scorecards came in at 111-116 twice and 110-117. Here at Boxing Base we saw the action 117-110.

Pedraza’s longer reach, slick style and often impenetrable defense was key to winning this fight. The Puerto Rican bagged the early sessions and finished strong in the championship rounds. Smith didn’t shame himself tonight; in fact, if anything, it was just a case of the better man winning. Pedraza fired plenty of troubling jabs and counters on the end of his long levers which, when combined with his economical, accurate attacks, would have made him a real tough nut for any 130-pounder to crack. Pedraza scored the sole knockdown of the fight in the 9th round courtesy of a right hand counter, which proved to be a pivotal moment in this affair. The action didn’t become lopsided from that point on per se, but Pedraza certainly upped the ante and caught the eye with his superior skill set.

Pedraza vs Smith was a decent scrap and you’ve got to respect Smith for stepping up to the plate here. Following this performance, I’m sure he’ll be sticking around at world level, maybe even fighting stateside once again in the near future. Jose Pedraza now plumps his flawless record to 22 wins, 12 knockouts, while  Stephen Smith drops to 23 wins, 2 defeats, 13 knockouts.


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