Posted on 12/23/2023
By: Sean Crose
Saturday’s highly anticipated, Saudi Arabian hosted supercard got off to a quick start, as the first four fights all ended within the distance, two of those four within the first round. Things kicked off with the 23-0 heavyweight Frank Sanchez taking on the 20-2 Junior Fa in a scheduled 10 round affair. While it’s true the fight got off to a sluggish start, once Sanchez put the figurative pedal to the medal, he was able to wrap things up in style. Fa was dropped at the end of the six. He was able to make it to round seven, but Sanchez dropped him two more times, and the referee wisely stopped the fight.
Heavyweight Filip Hrgovic, 16-0, was up next, taking on a clearly overmatched Mark De Mori, 41-2-2, in a battle scheduled for 10. Suffice to say, the bout was total destruction. While it certainly looked like Hrgovic was landing some shots behind the head, there was no doubt De Mori was in over his head. Before the first was over, the man was turning his back on Hrgovic. The referee stopped the fight before the bell rang to stop the opening round.
The following bout, however, showcased a truly impressive talent, one that was willing to give up his IBF cruiserweight title in order to face his opponent on Saturday. The decision to give up that belt proved to be a wise choice, for the 23-0 Jai Opetaia dropped the 17-0 Ellis Zorro in the very first round of the fight. Suffice to say, Zorro didn’t beat the count – because there was no count. The referee simply knew that it was best to just stop the fight.
The next fight proved to be an upset. The 18-0 Arslanbek Makhmudov was a highly touted heavyweight as he entered the ring to take on the 23-0 Agit Kabayel in a bout scheduled for 10. It didn’t go past four. Indeed, Kabayel broke his plodding opponent down effectively. In the fourth, Kabayel dropped his man not once, not twice, but three times before the referee put an end to things.