Former title challenger Edner Cherry (35-7-2, 19 KOs) defeated contender Lydell Rhodes (23-2-1, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision (98-92, 97-93 X 2) in a 10-round super featherweight main event of Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES from Sands Bethlehem Events Center in Bethlehem, Pa.
Cherry, of Wauchula, Fla. who trains out of St. Pete Boxing Club with welterweight champion Keith Thurman, got off to an early lead in the second round, landing a left that stumbled Rhodes briefly.
A former football standout and wrestler in high school, who has competed in both boxing and mixed martial arts professionally, Oklahoma City’s Rhodes made the fight physical and ugly early.
Rhodes said, “He held and a lot which made it tough to get in a rhythm.”
“He was slick,” answered Cherry. “So I held because I didn’t want him to get in those quick shots.”
A sloppy round five saw both fighters slip to the canvas, but neither was ruled a knockdown. What became a wrestling match continued rounds six through 10, with clinching and grappling throughout.
Moments before the final bell, Cherry stunned Rhodes, cementing what would become his unanimous victory.
Cherry said, “I thought it was a great fight. I was in a tough fight tonight and I am glad to come out with the victory.”
A discontented Rhodes expressed, “It was a heck of a fight. I wanted to back him up in the later rounds but he was strong. It was an ugly fight, but I believe I won. I don’t agree with the decision. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Cherry concluded, “Training and sparring with Keith (Thurman) was great. He’s so strong and it helped me in this fight. We were both training for big fights at the same time and it helped me increase my strength and pick up this win tonight, without a doubt.”
Televised coverage kicked off with unbeaten Omar “Super O” Douglas (17-0, 12 KOs) stopping Cuban Alexei “The Hurricane” Collado (19-2, 17 KOs) in the seventh round of their scheduled 10-round super featherweight bout.
A fast-rising star out of Wilmington, Delaware, Douglas jumped out to an early lead, controlling the action in the first frame. Douglas continued moving Collado around the ring in round two, forcing a frustrated Collado to clinch, which resulted in both fighters awkwardly stumbling to the canvas.
The Miami native Collado came out aggressive in rounds three and four, outworking Douglas and winning him the pair of rounds on all three judges’ scorecards.
However, Douglas settled in throughout rounds five and six. His jabs to the body proving an effective deterrent to Collado’s aggression and furious pace he displayed in the earlier rounds.
The end came in the seventh round as Douglas landed a left hook to Collado’s head that stumbled Collado, forcing him to take a knee and never get back up.
“I noticed that he has his head in the middle and that is unusual for a tall guy,” said Douglas. “So I was focusing on the right hand up the middle. I was able to finish him with a hard right, left, right combination.”
Collado acknowledged, “He hit me with a good left hook and that broke my nose. I feel it was a close fight though, and I was in the fight up until he got me, but he is a good fighter.”
Douglas agreed with Collado’s assessment of the competition adding, “It was a tough fight, but I had a great camp and that showed tonight. I think I need one or two more of these kinds of fights and I will be ready for a title shot.”
The second televised bout showcased unbeaten prospect Antonio Russell (7-0, 5 KOs) securing a unanimous decision (60-54, 59-55 X 2) victory over Jamaica’s Rudolph Hedge (10-4-3, 4 KOs) in a six-round super bantamweight showdown.