By Paul R Jones! Sulaiman Segawa (15-3-1, 6 KOs, 1 NC) laid claim to a vacant WBC USNBC (USA) Featherweight title on Saturday night, fending off a game Misael Lopez (14-3, 5 KOs 1 NC) in a pulse-pounding matchup that was easily the Beltway Battles: Round Four fight of the night.
From the opening bell, Segawa and Lopez wasted no time making a beeline to the center of the ring to trade heavy power punches. Lopez targeted Segawa’s body attempting to “steal air”— which Lopez’s trainer repeatedly shouted from his corner— while Segawa chose a more measured approach, throwing thudding counter punches to Lopez’s head and torso.
“I tried to strategize [for] more of a technical fight,” said Segawa in his post-fight interview with East Side Boxing’s Paul R. Jones! “It wasn’t an easy fight,” Segawa added. “[Lopez] was trying to set me up, but I could figure it out so I decided to stay on my pace.”
Both fighters had their moments in the early and middle rounds, but the championship rounds belonged to Segawa.
“I was anticipating everything from [Lopez],” Segawa said. “The only thing was, he started leading with the head [and] I was expecting him to roll with the Philly shell [defense], but he wasn’t using it that much. So, it kind of tricked me,” he added.
“I had to strategize, go back to my drawing board, [and] figure out how to handle it,” Segawa said.
Segawa’s approach would pay off in the 10th round as he landed a barrage of punches that pinned Lopez in the corner. The Uganda native then poured on the pressure and began to tee off on Lopez, which ultimately forced a referee’s stoppage with seconds left in the final round to secure the TKO win for Segawa.
“Winning means everything to me [and] the feeling was great,” said Segawa. “Having a big crowd supporting me, it shows that people appreciate [what] I do.”
Nevertheless, Segawa had a warning for those atop the Featherweight division:
“All the people who are in the top 10 at 126 [pounds], nobody is safe.”
Official Result: Segawa TKO10 Lopez
Rios Busts Up McLaughlin over 6 Rounds
In the co-feature, Mexican-American Bantamweight Rianna Rios (7-0, 1 KO) celebrated Cinco de Mayo weekend in style by picking apart Cara McLaughlin (1-6, 1 KOs), of Northern Ireland, en route to a lopsided, 6-round UD win. Although the rounds were scheduled for 2 minutes apiece, they must have felt like a millennium to the gutsy McLaughlin, who was under constant pressure form Rios and on the business end countless neck-snapping jabs, crosses, and counters. Scores were 60-54 thrice.
Rios is a highly-talented, blue chip prospect worth keeping an eye on in Women’s boxing.
Crowder Makes Quick Work of Portales
If you blinked, you likely missed Dominique “Dimes” Crowder’s (15-0, 10 KOs) demolition of Josue Portales (16-7-1, 7 KOs). Just seconds into their bout, Crowder rushed towards Portales and landed a flurry of punches that backed Portales into a neutral corner. Crowder then followed suit with a combination that landed atop Portales’ head and forced him down. Portales would rise to a knee, but he was unable to beat the referee’s count, which resulted in Crowder earning a knockout victory over his Mexican foe.
When it comes to Crowder, two things are clear. First, blessed with freakish height and reach for a Bantamweight, and armed with an Olympic gold medalist and accomplished trainer Mark Breland in his corner, Crowder is quickly coming into his own as a potential blue-chip prospect. And second, with former undisputed Bantamweight champ, Naoya Inoue, vacating his throne for a dream matchup versus unified Super Bantamweight world champion Stephen Fulton Jr., the 118-pound division is wide open with most of the major World titles up for grabs. Given that state of the division and his talent, I expect Crowder to be a legitimate player in the Bantamweight mix in the near future.
Other Notable Winners at Beltway Battles: Round Four
Wali TKO3 Aiken: Heavyweight Najim “The Afghan Rock” Wali, a former MMA fighter, stopped Jerome Aiken by technical knockout in his pro boxing debut. Wali is now 1-0 with 1 knockout. Aiken falls to 1-9.
Fuller III TKO2 Lucaine: Ervin “Treypound” Fuller III easily dispatched of Antonio Lucaine by technical stoppage in a Super Bantamweight matchup. Fuller, another prospect worth keeping an eye on, moves to 3-0 with 2 Knockouts. Lucaine slides to 0-7.
Daly EXH Rodriguez: Featherweight Shakell “The Answer” Daly (1-0, 1 KO) and Brient Rodriguez (4-0, 2 KOs) fought in a very entertaining 4-round bout. Although the final scorecards were not disclosed, the de facto exhibition revealed that Daly has a shot at developing into a solid fighter at 126 pounds.<
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About Paul R. Jones!
Paul R. Jones! is a longtime writer and photographer for East Side Boxing. His articles, photographs, commentary, and scholarly work have had thousands of views and downloads.
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