Crawford vs Postol Undercard Ryoto Murata, Ik Yang, Stanyslav Skorokhod & More
BY KID HERSH
From the MGM Grand in Las Vegas came a Top Rank PPV that many people were having a hard time dishing out the $$$ for. Not that it is not a great matchup between the two best in the division, it's just more so that neither man has warranted a PPV yet and so it is a stretch to say we should be paying for this one. Bob Arum, on the other hand, says that he had no choice but to make it a PPV because HBO only set two dates for Terence Crawford this year and he wants his man to stay busy, so making the fight with Viktor Postol could only happen on a PPV platform - so fans have to understand that it was this or nothing.
Colonel Bob Sheridan was announcing his 1000th world championship fight tonight and got a cake before the PPV kicked off.
First up was Hakim Bryant (6-0, 4KO's) vs Stanyslav Skorokhod (10-1, 8KO's). Hall of Famer Colonel Bob Sheridan was announcing and future HOF'er Kenny Bayless was refereeing. In the first round both men looked warm and were firing sharp punches. Skorokhod looked like he got into a rhythm a bit quicker though as he was on his toes and drawing Bryant to him in the range he wanted to fight at. Midway through the round he drew Bryant into a beautiful left hook that cracked home on his chin and dropped him hard. Bryant rose on very wobbly legs and it looked like it was going to be a quick night but Bayless let the fight continue while he took a few more punches and was trying to keep Skorokhod off of him. He somehow heard his corner telling him to hold and he grabbed Skorokhod around the waist and drug him to the canvas as he tried to back away. Between that and getting warned for hitting low he bought himself enough time to make it through the round. Bayless ruled the dragging to the canvas episode as a second knockdown but the more so than worrying about the score it was a bit amazing that Bryant made it through the round. In the second round Bryant "willed" himself through the round, as Sheridan said at the end of it. To me he showed that he is only capable of fighting one way, but that one way started to inch into success as the third round came to a close. "Success" should be put in quotes, however, due to Bryant's face swelling up from being pasted with all kinds of punches. Skorokhod was throwing fluid jabs and following up with right hands frequently. Skorokhod completely took back over in the fourth round by plastering Bryants already swollen face with everything in the book. Bryant had a look of pure misery but continued coming forward to take more punishment throughout the remainder of the fight which lasted all six rounds. Skorokhod would win the near shutout unanimous decision. Very, very surprising that Bryants team would put him in such a dangerous fight against a puncher with a vast amount of amateur experience like this.
Next up was Christon Edwards (6-1, 3KO's) vs Edward Williams (11-1-1, 3KO's). Williams had a heck of a ring entrance from the fraternity that he is a member of. Russell Mora was the referee. Williams kept the fight on the outside for the first round while Edwards was trying to figure out how to work his way inside. In the second round Williams was not looking as slick on his feet as he did in the first round - looking less athletic and more clumsy with his lanky frame. Edwards still could not figure out how to get inside on the taller man and never did really figure it out. Williams would get back into a rhythm in the fourth round and would box both from the outside but then either tie up or hit and tie up Edwards on the inside. You could tell that Edwards was frustrated but just did not have the experience of the older man in front of him and lost the unanimous decision. Williams is...a bit of an oddity to me. He nearly cried after winning the unanimous decision despite the lack of emotion in the fight and then he started to dance with his fraternity...at 32 years old. Just all seems a bit off.
Next up was Leonardo Zappavigna (34-2, 24KO's) vs Lianhui Ik Yang (18-1, 13KO's). Referee wqas Vic Drakulich. Yang was not a natural boxer as we could clearly see in the first round. He is wide open defensively and stands more like a kickboxer or some sort of martial artist. Zappa teed off on Yang easily in the first but had some trouble in the second round as Yang was showboating and doing "weird business" in the ring as he is known for, such as looking off at angles while firing punches and making odd grunts and talking to his opponents as well as going for weird walks in the ring. He is a strange one. Zappa was starting to break down Yang in the third. I am not sure whether Yang was already getting fatigued or if Zappa was figuring him out but perhaps it was a combination of the two because I will say one thing; it was only a matter of time. All the antics int he world are not going to make up for the skills and experience gap between these two. In the fourth round Zappa came right out and blasted Yang, who was standing straight up like a statue and had zero head movement. He nearly went down but managed to catch himself and recover to make it through the round. He also opened up a cut on Zappa from a headbutt that was bleeding profusely and making it look a much closer fight than it actually was. In the fifth round it was all over when Zappa landed a left hand early on that buzzed Yang into standing even taller - which I did not think was possible - and so a couple of right hands followed up and the fight was over.
Next up was George Tahdooahnippah (34-2-3, 24KO's) vs Ryota Murata (10-1, 7KO's). Referee was Benjy Esteves. Murata was so calm it was nearly creepy but what wasn't creepy is the manner in which he won - first round knockout. He dropped George with a left to the body and then blasted him into submission afterwards before Esteves called the fight off. Can't wait to see more of Murata, he looks good every time out.