Rances Barthélemy vs Kiryl Relikh II
Cuba's Rances Barthelemy and Belarus's Kiryl Relikh battle it out in San Antonio, having fought once before, 10 months earlier, the rematch is for the vacant WBA light welterweight world title.
Barthélemy, undefeated, is the favourite, but after a competitive first fight, Relikh clearly has a chance.
Relikh is the aggressor from the start, Barthélemy, much less active, but more accurate and landing with more power in the opnening round.
As the early rounds tick by, Barthélemy's feet are slow, and his work rate is not high, Relikh's work ethic is winning him rounds, as almost all the punches come from him.
As the mid rounds progress, Barthélemy has short time periods of aggression, landing a big shot or two, but with this, Relikh always has the last word, and round after round, only increases his output, and a difference in punch variety proves a real challenge for a seemingly demotivated Barthélemy. Barthélemy becomes frustrated, but disappointingly, very wrongly, instead of being more active, trying to make the fight better, he resorts to dirty fighting, he hits Relikh below the belt on numerous occasions, losing a generous, single amount, of one point for his fouls.
In the late rounds, Barthélemy doesn't seem to want to push himself, Relikh seems hellbent on going above and beyond to win every single round, and when they are both tired, it is Relikh witn the extra fitness, desire, and it is always him who is able to get off a few extra punches, drag more energy out of himself.
The fight finishes with an extremely vicious lowblow from Barthélemy, frustrated, seemingly embarrassed, violating the conduct of the sport. Relikh, suffering the illegal damage inflicted on him by his dirty opponent, gets through a painful final few seconds, and celebrates with his corner, whilst Barthélemy, after a pathetic, disgraceful showing, walks to his team, seeming to be feeling sorry for himself.
All three judges score Relikh a winner by lopsided margins, and the Belarus fighter becomes a world champion, handing Barthélemy his first defeat.