In a very high action contest "Mexican-Russian" Evgeny Gradovich (17-0, 8) defended the IBF Featherweight title.
Facing former WBC Super Bantamweight title challenger Mauricio Javier Munoz (26-4, 12) of Argentina it's fair to say that Gradovich had a fighter who was very similar to himself. Both men throw the boxing textbook out of the window preferring instead to wage wars and have genuine fights. When you have 2 fighters in the ring together you very rarely have a disappointing contest.
The bout started at the sort of pace fans of both men would have expected as they both threw leather for fun and took it in turns to be the man coming forward. It seemed that either both men were made of granite or neither man could punch but this didn't prevent the round from being thoroughly enjoyable from the off.
Although Munoz entered as a sizable under-dog he refused to act like an under-dog and as the fight went on he started to force the action more and more. Unfortunately for the Argentinian the more he forced the action the more he walked into a storm of counters from Gradovich. Whilst this was a painful looking experience for the challenger it made for great entertainment for the fans.
Through the middle rounds it was obvious that Gradovich had more to his game than just the come forward all action style that he is known for and he was showing off the other dimensions to his game when needed. Of course it was more fun to watch the high octane stuff but it was still good to see that Gradovich did have a plan B in his locker if he needed it.
In round 9 Gradovich managed to raise the crowd as he moved up a gear just as it seemed that Munoz's resolve was starting to drain. Amazingly just as it looked like he was fading the Argentinian seemed to wake up and found energy from somewhere as he again began to press the action and force the fight with Gradovich resorting to using his legs just as much as his hands.
Going in to the final 3 rounds the Gradovich corner were confident that their man was clearly in the lead with trainer Robert Garcia effectively telling his man to make sure he didn't get caught by anything big. He was of course getting caught, it's almost part of his style, but Munoz lacked the power to really trouble the Russian who was rarely blinking after Munoz tagged him.
Unfortunately for Munoz he was starting to struggle with the pace in the final round and seemed to be on the verge of being stopped though showed the toughness and heart to see out the round.
Although neither fighter was notably hurt, other than Munoz in the final round, the fight did at times resemble a very fun to watch though oddly one sided contest with Munoz looking like a prototype of Gradovich. Both men throw lots and enjoyed coming forward though Gradovich was busier, more accurate and more technically gifted with his shorts being straighter and his defense, whilst not great, was better than Munoz's.
With the first defense of his title under his belt Gradovich will likely be looking for his next challenger. With Vasyl Lomachenko having now signed with Top Rank a bout between Lomachenko and Gradovich almost certainly needs to be though about somewhere down the line.
For Munoz it's unlikely that we'll see him in another world title fight I'm afraid.