Welterweight contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-1-1, 18 KOs) put himself back in position to challenge for a world title in beating Mikael Zewski (34-2, 23 KOs) by an 8th round knockout on Saturday night in a thrilling rally at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fighting without a crowd, ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas hurt Zewski with a big shot in the 7th round and then flattened him. Zewski made it up time for the bell to sound to end the round.
But in the 8th, Kavaliauskas finished the job by knocking Zewski down for a second time. The fight was then waived off by referee Kenny Bayless.
Kavaliauskas came into tonight’s fight ranked #13 with the World Boxing Organization, which was well below the #1 ranking he had last December when he challenged WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, for his title.
It didn’t go Kavaliauskas’s way that night, as Crawford knocked him out in the 9th, but he did, he put Crawford on the canvas in the fifth.
Kavaliauskas was losing the fight going into the 8th round. Indeed, two of the judges had Zewski up at the time of the stoppage. Fortunately for the two-time Olympian Kavaliauskas, his power bailed him out of a tight spot.
Zewski got a little careless in the 7th and was dropped. He was fighting incredibly well in the first six rounds, and it appeared that he was heading to a certain victory, but he blew it. Zewski didn’t keep his guard up in the seventh round, and he paid dearly for his mistake.
After the knockdown, Zewski was far too hurt for him to recover 100% in between rounds. His corner might have done better if they had pulled him out of the fight rather than sending him out to the 8th round for a certain knockout.
Kavaliauskas now wants a rematch with Crawford. We’ll have to see if Top Rank is open to that idea.
Joet Gonzalez dominates Miguel Marriaga
In a surprisingly one-sided win, Joet Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KOs) took former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-4, 25 KOs) to school in beating him by a 10 round unanimous decision in the co-feature bout on the card.
The 26-year-old Gonzalez used his youth and a high volume attack to get the better of the powerful Marriaga in outworking him through the full 10 rounds. The scores were 97-93, 99-91, and 99-91.
It was a much better effort from Gonzalez than we’d seen in his previous fight against Shakur Stevenson in getting embarrassed by the 2016 Olympic silver medalist last October.
Gonzalez is hoping to get a title shot against whoever winds up with the vacant WBO featherweight strap. Emanuel Navarrete and Ruben Villa will be fighting for the belt, and Gonzalez could face the winner of that fight.
The defeat for the 33-year-old Marriaga is a tough pill for him to swallow because he’s won his last four fights and he was hoping to get in position to challenge for a world title.
Those plans have dashed with this defeat, and he’s going to have to try and find a way to build himself back up to where he was.