by James Slater – Last night, in Anaheim, CA, 23-year-old Tijuana fighter Antonio “Tony” DeMarco scored his biggest win to date, as he forced rival lightweight Almazbek Raiymkulov – better known, of course as “Kid Diamond” – to admit defeat after 9 hard rounds of fighting. Las Vegas-based Diamond, born in Kyrgyzstan, was unable to come out for the 10th round, having taken a real going over at the end of the 9th round. Officially winning via corner retirement, southpaw DeMarco improved to 21-1-1(15). Diamond, now aged 31, fell to 27-2-1(15)..
A good and entertaining fight all the way, the fight followed a pattern whereby both guys took turns in scoring with power shots. A two-way battle throughout, it was unclear who was going to prevail at times. Diamond was pretty much the aggressor for the first eight rounds, with the noticeably taller DeMarco holding his hands very high in the early going. The older man was far more reckless in his attacks, which were often of the lunging variety, while the Mexican up-and-comer looked the more composed and relaxed fighter – popping out his right jab, and firing his own power punches.
Diamond was really going for the stoppage win, but he never really looked like getting it. He was using up a lot of energy with his constant movement – some of this movement being of the upper body variety as he bobbed and weaved away from shots – and pretty soon he was feeling the pace. The fight had a couple of accidental head-clashes, too; one at the end of the 1st round, another in the 5th. And by the middle rounds Diamond was bloodied and his face was somewhat busted up.
Still, no-one knew which way the fight would go, as both guys continued to take turns landing shots. Diamond was almost always on the front foot, but by around the 8th round it seemed as though DeMarco had taken his best and knew he had. The 8th and 9th rounds were the best action rounds of a very good fight. Diamond won the 8th, and scored with a notable left hook to the head near the end of the session, but this proved to be his last good attack.
Coming out fast in the 9th, DeMarco unloaded with a lot of accurate shots, among which was a body punch that really hurt Diamond. A war was shaping up, as the older man fired back – but, with the crowd roaring its approval, the man from Tijuana slammed more hurtful punches into his rival in the last 30-seconds or so of the round. A right hook to the head hurt Diamond, and DeMarco followed up with a stunning barrage. Referee Jerry Cantu was looking closely at the man taking punishment, but the bell rang, saving Diamond.
There was much concern in the 31-year-old’s corner now, and, after a delay DeMarco and his team complained about, the fight was stopped. The 23-year-old, who has now arrived on the big stage, was overcome with joy and emotion as the fight came to an end. He had just scored the biggest win of his promising career.
Beaten just once, on points in a 4-rounder back in early 2006, the tall southpaw is definitely one to watch in the future. As for Diamond, though he only lost for the second time, it’s tough to see where he goes from here.