By Joseph Herron – Last night at the Sands Resort & Casino in Bethlehem, PA, Junior Middleweight contender “King” Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs) knocked out crafty, 19 year fight veteran Charles Whittaker (38-13-2, 23 KOs) in ten entertaining rounds.
After having some stylistic problems early with Whittaker’s lateral movement and hard left hook, Rosado was forced to display his ability to adapt and overcome. Gabriel’s initial strategy of fighting from the outside wasn’t terribly effective against the wily old hand, so the Junior Middleweight prospect was forced to tighten up his defense and fight Whittaker on the inside.
Rosado showed his technical skills in getting the better of the more experienced fighter; setting up short, compact hooks underneath Whittaker’s defense and continuously landing the right hook over the top.
“King” Gabriel eventually dominated the 38 year old fighter and handed him his first loss in eight years; dropping him four times throughout the ten rounds of action. The big victory makes the 26 year old Philly native the IBF mandatory challenger to current 154 pound title holder Cornelius “K9” Bundrage.
Despite becoming the IBF title challenger, the hungry young fighter was adamant about who he wanted to face next.
“I want Canelo,” proclaimed Gabriel Rosado. “I’m ready for anyone at 154 pounds, but I want a fight with Canelo Alvarez. It’s time that he stops fighting 140 pounders and faces the best fighters at Junior Middleweight.”
“I fought a game fighter tonight who hadn’t lost in nine years and I earned my shot. It wasn’t given to me…I did it the hard way. I came up the old-school Philly way! I want any champion in the division. Canelo, Bundrage…I’m ready for anyone!!”
On the undercard of the NBC Sports Network televised event, Welterweight prospect Ronald Cruz (17-1, 12 KOs) was handed his first professional loss by “heavy” Welterweight Antwone Smith (22-4-1, 12 KOs).
Although Cruz suffered his first defeat via split decision, the Puerto Rican born fighter was able to hold on to his WBC Continetal Americas Welterweight title. Smith was unable to make the Welterweight limit and weighed in at 150 pounds on Friday afternoon, so the minor title was not made available.
In the co-main event of the evening, undefeated Light Heavyweight prospect Sergei Kovalev (19-0, 17 KOs) remained perfect after brutally knocking out last minute opponent Lionell Thompson (12-2, 8 KOs) in three impressive rounds.
Kovalev was originally slated in the main event of the evening, but was presented in the co-main because his initial opposition, former Light Heavyweight Champion Gabriel Campillo, was sidelined due to injury.
IBF Junior Middleweight mandatory challenger “King” Gabriel Rosado will be featured this Tuesday night at 9PM EST/6 PM PST on “The Pugilist KOrner” radio show, hosted by Eastsideboxing.com writer Joseph Herron.