Vladimir Hernandez pulled off another big upset.
The free-swinging spoiler outworked former amateur standout Lorenzo ‘Truck’ Simpson over eight rounds to take a majority decision win. One score of 76-76 was overruled by cards of 78-74 and 79-73 for Hernandez in their DAZN-aired main event Friday evening at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hernandez entered the fight best known for his decision victories over Alfredo Angulo and former unified junior middleweight champ Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams in back-to-back fights. The veteran southpaw from Stockton, California by way of Durango, Mexico had been out since a sixth-round knockout loss to red-hot Jesus Ramos last Febraruy 5 in Las Vegas.
Ring rust wasn’t at all a factor for Hernandez in terms of his punch output. Simpson spent most of the opening round working nearly every inch of the compact 18’ ring and force Hernandez to follow him around for much of the frame, though his lack of activity set an early tone for a harsher reality once the scores were read at fight’s end.
The Baltimore southpaw—a stablemate of unbeaten knockout artist and pound-for-pound entrant Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (29-0, 27KOs) found his desired openings in round two and landed several left hands. Hernandez was forced to take an uppercut to the body, which put the normally high-volume puncher on the defensive as Simpson grew bolder in fighting at close range.
Hernandez turned the tide in a big way in round three. A right hook by the Mexican spoiler forced Simpson to cover up, though he relied on slick head movement to avoid any significant follow-up shots. Hernandez landed a couple of left uppercuts that split the tight guard of Simpson, who put his infighting skills to use to slip most of the incoming after tasting Hernandez’s power.
Both boxers landed digging body shots in round five. Simpson moved directly toward Hernandez and launched a right hook downstairs after a hook and left and got through upstairs. Hernandez responded moments later with a sweeping left hand to the body, which Simpson took well when his peek-a-boo defense wasn’t enough to pick off his busier opponent. Simpson landed a left hand late in the round.
Hernandez let his hands go early in round seven, urged by his corner to continue to outwork Simpson. He enjoyed success early in the round but was forced to rely on his chin as Simpson landed a monster right hook midway through the round. Hernandez remained upright and snuck in a shot of his own moments later. Simpson continued to walk down Hernandez and landed a left hand to the chin.
Simpson opened the eighth and final round with a left hand over the top of Hernandez’s guard. Hernandez threw caution to the wind and managed to get through Simpson’s tight defense. Simpson landed a left hand at close quarters, and rode out a volley from Hernandez to land a combination in the closing seconds of an entertaining main event.
A valiant effort by Hernandez propelled his ring mark to 14-5 (6KOs) with perhaps the best win of his journeyman career. Simpson was a decorated, world class amateur and with a lot of hype surrounding his pro career but leaves Atlanta with his record now at 13-1 (7KOs) as loses for the first time since 2018 in the final stage of his amateur career.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox