Miami resident Rances Barthelemy moved closer to a world title fight but at a very physical toll.
Barthelemy won a hard-fought unanimous decision against Canada’s Arash Usmanee in the main event of Friday night’s show at Magic City Casino.
With the fight’s outcome possibly in the balance, Usmanee attacked Barthelemy at a furious pace in an entertaining 12th round. Usmanee scored repeatedly with rights to the head. A tired and bruised Barthelemy survived Usmanee’s late flurry.
Usmanee’s final round assault was not enough to convince judges Ric Bays, Rich Green and Valerie Dorsett. Bays scored the fight for Barthelemy, 115-113, while Green and Dorsett both had Barthelemy winning, 116-112.
The victory earned Barthelemy the No. 2 junior-lightweight ranking by the International Boxing Federation.
“I had never fought past eight rounds so this was an experience for me,” Barthelemy said. “Thankfully, I have overcome a difficult test.”
The taller Barthelemy (18-0) utilized a lead left jab that frustrated Usmanee from the opening round. As he walked down Usmanee (20-1) with the jab in the first two rounds, Barthelemy also scored with left hooks to the head and combinations to the body when shortening punching range.
Usmanee stepped up his attack and Barthelemy stopped throwing jabs in the third round. Usmanee was effective with combinations to the body and rights to the head.
Barthelemy and Usmanee clashed heads in the fourth round, opening a cut on the bridge of Usmanee’s nose.
Barthelemy established distance in the fifth round and again scored with the left jab to the head. Midway through the round, Barthelemy landed a solid left-right combination to Usmanee’s head. Usmanee fought back later in the round, scoring with combinations to the body.
Usmanee had a busier seventh round, landing right to the head. Barthelemy opted to fight at a closer range and Usmanee also scored with combinations to the body.
Strengthened by a successful sixth round, Usmanee increased his punch output in the seventh. Usmanee pressured a seemingly tiring Barthelemy and remained busy with rights to the head and combinations to the body.
Both fighters had a busy eighth round as Usmanee continued to chase Barthelemy, who also was willing to trade at short range.
Barthelemy and Usmanee accidentally clashed heads in the 10th, opening a cut near Usmanee’s right eye. The cut momentarily slowed Usmanee as Barthelemy re-established his left jab and also scored with left hooks to the head.
Hairon Socarras took advantage of his debut appearance on ESPN2.
Fighting in the opening bout of the network’s first telecast of the year, Socarras proved he maintains a lethal punch despite a relatively inactive 2012. Socarras scored a one-punch, third-round knockout over Josh Bowles Friday night at the Magic City Casino.
Socarras’ fight-winning shot earns fighters additional TV dates. Carefully measuring his opponent but landing the telling blows through the first two-and-a-half rounds, Socarras found his opening and Bowles never recovered.
Midway through the third round, Socarras (6-0-1, 5 KOs) scored with a left to the head but followed with a potent right to the head that dropped Bowles (6-1) hard to the canvas. Bowles, of Harrisburg, Pa., failed to beat referee Max Parker’s 10-count, ending the junior-featherweight bout at 2:11 of the round.