Highlights and results: Frank Martin dominates Michel Rivera in the WBA
Frank Martin ended 2022 with a dominant win over Michelle Rivera tonight on Showtime, winning by clear decision over 12 rounds in a match that wasn’t really in question.
Martin took the fight on unanimous decision scores of 117-110, 118-109, and 120-107. Bad left hook unofficially had a 120-107 as well. The fight was a WBA disqualification, so Martin will be in line for a shot at one of the belts currently held by Devin Haney.
Martin (17-0, 12 KO) has picked up some good momentum this year, beating Romero Duno, Jackson Marines and Alan Rivera, each fighting a bit more of a test on paper than before, and also none of them winding up much sweat in the ring for the 28-year-old “The Ghost,” promoted by Errol Spence Jr. and coached by Derrick James.
And if Martin passes his test with flying colors tonight, it must be admitted that Rivera (24-1, 14 KOs) fails badly. This is not to disqualify the 24-year-old Dominican forever, but he was making major tactical errors early in the match that he never got right, and was looking a little shocked by Martin’s speed and timing just through the first two rounds.
Any round Rivera had an argument for may have been more about Martin not throwing than anything special Rivera did, or any notable success he actually had. Rivera was also knocked down in the seventh round, and it never looked like he was in this fight. It’s small enough to definitely improve, but there have to be some changes.
It’s also possible that Martin is simply special, speaking as if he thinks this is the case in 2023.
“There were some things I saw there that I didn’t take advantage of, but I went in there and got the job done,” Martin said. “I could have done a lot more, but what we did tonight worked for us. But there is a lot of room for improvement for the sake of improvement, and we will keep working.”
“I believe in myself. I believe in my team. I believe in my team. We are constantly working,” Martin answered when asked why he was willing to take on a challenge instead of fighting easier on paper. We believed in it and believe that we are ready for any of the best fighters. Give them to us, we’re ready to eat.”
When asked if he had a straight call to make, Martin just said, “We want them all. We can get Gervonta Davis, we can get Devin Haney, we can get any of these big guys. We’re ready. I see Rolly (Romero) here, He can have it too. Let’s make it happen, man.”
Summary of the match between Rivera and Martin
Undercard highlights and results
- Vladimir Shishkin UD-12 Jose Uzcategui: This was an IBF outlier, though a Showtime broadcast hinted at the idea of Shishkin (14-0, 8 KO) fighting WBA minor guard David Morrell Jr, which could be a good fight. Of course Canelo Alvarez holds all the real belts at 168. The scores here were 115-113, 117-111 and 117-111. It was a good fight, and Shishkin was generally the best man; I think 115-113 is a round or so much closer than really reasonable, but it’s not the worst card you’ll see. I had a 118-110, so it was a bit wider than the judges, but 116-112 also seems quite fair to me. Shishkin outsold Uzcategui (32-5, 27 KOs) by a healthy margin and never looked at any problem from the veteran’s strength, working out on him and landing the cleanest, most consistent shots through most of the fight. It was a really strong performance from the Detroit-based Russian, who is now “official”, as you might put it, in the super middleweight mix.
- Vincent Astrolabio KO-6 Nikolai Potapov: A really good show for Astrolabio, as he dominated fairly well this fight, and is now in line for the IBF title, which should soon become vacant when Naoya Inoue moves up to 122lbs. The most likely fight out there seems to be Astrolabio vs Emmanuel Rodriguez, something that could be done internally at PBC for sure. The astrolabe (18-3, 13 KOs) put Potapov (23-3-1, 11 KOs) in the first round, it would have been twice but one of them was ruled a slide. Every time he came clean, it seemed to take its toll on Potapov, who at thirty-two might have worked his way out of the bantamweight catch. Potapov fell again in the fifth round, then finished in the sixth, taking the number 10 from referee Robert Hoyle. Astrolabeu, 25, seems to have just collected it, which he does sometimes, and he’s in the running at 118 now.
- Omar Juarez UD-10 Austin Dooley: A strange fight, in which Juarez (14-1, 5 KO) lost three points — two in the second, one in the fourth — against repeated low blows, and it was well earned, frankly. He got off. I don’t think he was trying to, but he did, and I also don’t think Dulay (15-4, 11 KO) was looking for a DQ win here, because some of the other shots were a little low that he could or would have reacted to more dramatically had he was trying it. It’s legit just keep hitting a low. The scores finished 94-93, 96-91, and 96-91 for Juarez, and I had a 96-91 for him as well, giving Dulay only the 10th round. Mistakes aside, it was a really solid outing for Juarez, and I thought he was pretty much the better fighter all night, including the rounds he was pinned.
- Elia Garcia TKO-2 Cruz Stewart: A nice win for 19-year-old Garcia, the middleweight, who went 13-0 (11 KO). He knocked Stewart down (8-2, 6 KO) about halfway into the second round, stopping referee Robert Byrd – who will retire after the night – with Stewart still unplaced. Garcia came up to fight, Stewart tried to meet him directly, and Stewart stopped.
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