Garrett Wilson did what every good pinch hitter does if they strike out: He went down swinging.
Wilson filled in for Tomasz Adamek on just two days’ notice, and gave Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov hell for 10 rounds, though the lopsided scores wouldn’t indicate it. The Ukrainian heavyweight took a unanimous decision by scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 99-91.
Glazkov (16-0-1, 11 KOs) most certainly deserved to win every round, but Wilson made him work for every second of them. In reality, “The Ultimate Warrior” only landed 75 punches all night according to CompuBox (to Glazkov’s 238), but he swung for the fences on every one of them.
“I was preparing for Adamek, but he’s a different opponent. He’s small, and I had to change my game plan to deal with it,” said Glazkov.
Throughout the night, Wilson stomped forward and uncorked haymakers that excited the live crowd at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y., and had them chanting his name.
The vast majority of the punches fell short or were thrown high, but the tempo forced Glazkov into an uncomfortable fight. Nonetheless, “Czar” responded well and peppered Wilson with stinging jabs, sharp right hands, and plenty of left hooks to the body.
“Even if they said it was a loss, I think it was a little closer than they said it was. I was a little wild, I’ll give you that. But I’ll go back to the drawing board,” said Wilson, 31, of Philadelphia.
The drawing board appears to include a whole lot more than previously thought.
"He will be back on the NBC Sports Network early next year, we've already told him that," said Main Events CEO Kathy Duva.
Wilson (13-7-1, 7 KOs) told RingTV.com that he is open to a return to cruiserweight providing he can find fights. Recent scheduled bouts with Troy Ross and Denton Daley fell through, leaving him skeptical about the viability of a career as a fighter below 200 pounds. If nothing else, he’s proven he can take a shot from a full-fledged heavyweight if he wants to make the jump.
“I’ve been boxing Bryant Jennings, Steve Cunningham, Eddie Chambers, I’ve sparred with lots of heavyweights,” said Wilson. “He hit me with one of his hardest punches, and I was still standing, so I was like, 'alright, I’m good, I can take it.'”
In the broadcast opener, lightweight prospect Karl Dargan cruised past Michael Brooks via unanimous decision. Scores were 98-92, 99-91 and 99-91.
Dargan (14-0, 7 KOs) was simply in another league in terms of skill, and never allowed Brooks in the fight at any point.
That wasn’t for a lack of effort on Brooks’ end, however. The Long Island native grunted, snorted and yelled at Dargan as he marched forward continuously throughout the fight. Unfortunately, Brooks (10-1-1, 2 KOs) wasn’t able to deal with the lateral movement of Dargan, and was reduced to throwing haymakers that fell short as his opponent slipped and moved away.
Dargan showed a very accurate straight right hand and, on a few occasions, a beautiful counter uppercut along the ropes. Though he didn’t show anything close to fight-ending power, his dominance of a fellow undefeated fighter was certainly impressive.
“It was another learning experience. You still haven’t got to see the best of me yet,” said Dargan. “I was trying to keep busy, keep a solid pace. Most guys in this weight division can’t keep that pace.”
According to CompuBox, Dargan outthrew Brooks 632 to 432 (slightly below the lightweight average), and outlanded him 178 to 96.
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Early in the night, RING No. 7-rated light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba got back in the win column with a lopsided eight-round unanimous decision over Michael Gbenga, by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 79-73.
Chilemba’s leisurely bounce back after a loss to Tony Bellew in May was only briefly tumultuous, when Gbenga landed a big looping right hand that shook him at the end of Round 5. Otherwise, the South African calmly outmaneuvered and outboxed his opponent from the outside, countering Gbenga’s wild rights with quick chopping ones of his own. In fact, after being hurt in the fifth, Chilemba (21-2-2, 9 KOs) outlanded Gbenga 68-20 overall, and 44-7 in terms of jabs, according to CompuBox.
Gbenga (16-10, 16 KOs) has chosen a rather difficult path of late, offering himself up for division stalwarts such as Chilemba and Andre Dirrell, prospects Badou Jack and Lennox Allen, and even cruiserweight contender Junior Makubu.
To kick off the evening, the still-assembling crowd in Verona watched as 2008 U.S. Olympian Quantis Graves received the first blemish on his pro record. Graves was in a six-round life and death battle with Sevdail Sherifi, of Albania, that resulted in a majority draw. Scores were 58-56 Graves and 57-57 twice.
When Graves was on the outside and utilizing his jab, he had plenty of success and appeared to buzz Sherifi (9-2-3, 8 KOs) on a few occasions. Unfortunately, his lack of persistence and possible stamina issues forced him to the inside where the scrappy Sherifi simply outworked him.
With the draw, the Texas cruiserweight prospect’s record moves to 9-0-1, with four knockouts.