Photo Credit Steven Rothman Photography & The Fighting News
By Mike Feinberg The Fighting News Reporter
Premier Boxing Champions has done it once again. On Sunday night, PBC entertained its fans with a thrilling 8-fight card. It was held at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Much of the action came in the tournament fights that pitted 4 Super Welterweights against one another in 2 separate bouts. The winners, John Jackson and Jorge Cota-Lugo, are to face off in 3 months in a title elimination bout.
The most exciting bout of the night came in the predecessor to the main bout when Yudel Jhonson (17-1, 9 KOs) faced off against Jorge Cota-Lugo (24-1, 22 KOs). Jhonson pressed the action throughout the fight with fireworks coming almost immediately. Cota was game and had no problem keeping pace with Jhonson. Back and forth they went, trading punches at will. Cota’s corner persisted with rubbing his legs with a bag of ice during the full minute between each round. One could visibly notice water dripping off Cota’s trunks thought the later rounds. This caused a very unsafe, slippery surface. Jhonson paid the price, as he slipped on the wet surface several times, falling to the canvas on at least 3 occasions. One of those occasions was called a knockdown, which it clearly was not. In the end, it didn’t make a difference in the decision, as Cota received scores of 95-92, 96-91, and 96-91. It was a well-deserved victory following a high-octane battle between fighters representing their home countries of Cuba and Mexico.
In the main bout, Cincinnati native Rau’shee “Nuke” Warren challenged current WBA Bantamweight Champion Juan Carlos Payano for his piece of the championship. “Wow” is the best word to use, as had it not been for the previous bout, I would’ve nominated this as “Fight of the Year”. For 12 grueling rounds, both men stood toe-to-toe throwing wildly. It was apparent that Warren landed the harder shots and landed at a higher percentage. Payano was slightly more active and threw 200+ more punches throughout the fight. Points were deducted from both men. 1 was deducted from Payano for punching in the back of the head, while 2 were deducted from Warren for hitting Payano after he was down on the canvas.I never fully agree with point deductions – let alone disqualifications – for punches thrown while an opponent is down on a knee, as it is the referee’s job to break up the action when the fighter touches the canvas. Those 2 points ended up making all the difference, as Payano was victorious in a split-decision victory with scores of 113-111 (P), 113-111 (P), & 115-109 (W). I scored the fight 113-111 for Warren, who should’ve heard the words “…and new” in the end. Following the fight, Warren’s dressing room was in a frenzy. There were a couple of people from his corner yelling and visibly angry. There were several reporters waiting to speak with Warren to get a live reaction.
Notable fighters were on hand, including (Cincinnati native) Adrien Broner and Lamont Peterson, both whom have had recent action-packed fights on Premier Boxing.On another note, there was an undercard bout that didn’t end well. Joshua Conley put forth a valiant effort in his fight against Daquan Arnett. My scorecard had Conley winning the contest 77-75 in what should have been a victory for the undefeated Conley. Unfortunately, it seems some favoritism took place as the San Bernardino native Josh Conley lost a split decision on the judges scorecards to hometown fighter Daquan Arnett with scores of 77-75 (C), 77-75 (A), & 77-75(A). Where two of the judges saw 5 of 8 rounds for Arnett is beyond me.