In a fight that saw both fighters hit the deck four times, Jose “Chon” Zepeda (33-2, 25 KOs) beat former IBF 140-lb Champion Ivan Baranchyk (20-2, 13 KOs) by a terrific 5th round knockout in a WBC light welterweight title eliminator on Saturday night at the Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Initially, things looked bleak for the 31-year-old Zepeda, as he was knocked down two times in round one. But instead of the knockdowns discouraging Zepeda, they motivated him, as he came roaring back in round two to knock ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk down.
Baranchyk, 27, wasn’t to be dissuaded by the knockdown because he came to drop Zepeda in the second round.
In round three, Zepeda caught Baranchyk with a beautiful shot that put him don. Baranchyk got a little sloppy and was knocked down by Zepeda.
In the fourth round, Zepeda caught an overly aggressively Baranchyk with another tremendous punch that put him down. Baranchyk looked like he was starting to wear down from the punishment he was taking.
Zepeda was making Baranchyk pay for everything he landed, and it was clear after the fourth round that the contest wasn’t going to last much longer.
Baranchyk showed that he had a little bit left in the tank in the 5th in dropping Zepeda, 31, to the canvas. Zepeda came back right away to knock Baranchyk out to end the fight.
What an excellent war this was between these two fighters. It’s too bad we can’t see Baranchyk and Zepeda do it again, but that probably won’t happen. Zepeda is now the WBC 140-lb mandatory for champion Jose Ramirez. If things work out well for Zepeda, he could be challenging for the WBC title by the second half of 2021.
WBC/WBO champion Ramirez is facing IBF/WBA champion Josh Taylor next in early 2021, and then both guys could move up to 147. That would free up all their belts, and we’ll see Zepeda go after the WBC title against #1 Regis Prograis. That’s a match-up that promises to be a war as well.
“I feel great because I won the fight. It was a hard fight, and I’m thinking, ‘Man, boxing is hard. It’s no easy game.’ Boxing, it’s tough, and you have to give it 100 percent because it’s a hard sport,” said Zepeda.
Well, hopefully, Zepeda has enough left after this to fight for the WBC light welterweight title against Prograis or perhaps the winner of the Ramirez vs. Taylor fight if they don’t vacate immediately and go up to 147 next year.