Rances Barthelemy suffered the first knockdown of his career but nonetheless retained his title.
Fighting for the first time as defending lightweight champion, Barthelemy successfully defended his International Boxing Federation belt with a hard-fought split decision victory over Mickey Bey late Friday at Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena.
Barthelemy (25-0, 1 NC) applied the pressure throughout the 12-round bout that headlined a 10-fight card. Seeking to reclaim the title he lost because of inactivity last year, Bey (22-2-1) scored with repeated rights to the hand.
But Barthelemy’s pressure convinced judges Rich Green and Rocky Young, who scored the bout for the native of Cuba, 117-110 and 116-111. Hilton Whitaker had Bey winning, 117-110.
Bey, who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and trained by father Floyd Sr., scored with repeated overhand rights to the head in the second round. During a close exchange late in the round, Bey attempted to throw a right to the side of the head but the fighters clashed heads and Barthelemy fell to the canvas. Referee Sam Burgos, however, scored it a knockdown.
The recently-retired Mayweather sat at ringside, encouraging Bey.
“When I heard Mayweather giving him support, I knew I had to keep applying the pressure,” Barthelemy said. “I had to shake off the effects of the knockdown, so that made me eager to go after him.”
Barthelemy intensified the pace in the eight and scored with short lefts to the head and rights to the body. But Barthelemy didn’t maintain similar punch volume in the ninth as Bey landed rights to the head.
Energized by the second-round knockdown, Bey found openings and scored repeatedly with rights to the head and combinations to the body through the middle rounds. Barthelemy continued stalking him and landed left hooks and straight rights to the body.
Barthelemy kept distance and landed a lead left jab to the head and rights to the body in the opening round. Bey attempted to cut into punching range and scored with combinations to the body late in the round.
Earlier, Steve Geffrard continued his separation from the two-losses that started his professional career three years ago.
The Boca Raton resident and three-time national amateur champion won his 14th consecutive bout with a first round knockout over Samuel Miller Friday night at Hard Rock Live Arena. Midway through the round, Geffrard (14-2, 9 KOs) floored Miller with a three-punch combination. Although Miller (31-15) beat the 10-count, Geffrard dropped him again with a right to the body that ended the cruiserweight bout at 2:15 of the round.
In other bouts: super-middleweight Caleb Plant knocked out Carlos Galvan at 1:24 of the fourth round; junior-featherweight Emmanuel Rodriguez won by unanimous decision over Alberto Guevara; Homestead welterweight Courtney Jackson won by unanimous decision over Anthony Woods; lightweight Gervonte Davis knocked out Mario Macias at 41 seconds of the first round; junior-lightweight Dat Nguyen won by unanimous decision over Jesus Lule; junior-lightweight Antonio Williams knocked out Hector Fernandez at 1:50 of the second round; junior-middleweight Latondria Jones won by unanimous decision over Latoya Burton.
SANTOS A. PEREZ
▪ Nova Southeastern 2, Millersville 1: Riding the back of ace Alex Mateo, the No. 5 Sharks (43-16, 18-6 Sunshine State Conference) took down the No. 1 Marauders (52-6, 25-3 PSAC), putting themselves one victory from their first NCAA Division II national championship. Mateo earned his ninth win of the year, tossing eight innings of one run baseball in Cary, North Carolina.
Millersville will need to win two games Saturday to keep the Sharks from hoisting the championship trophy. First pitch is set for 3 p.m., with an if-necessary game to follow an hour after the conclusion of the first game.
▪ Florida Memorial has hired Hialeah Gardens High’s Florentino Burgos as its new baseball coach. Burgos coached at Hialeah Gardens the past eight years and led the Gladiators to district championships in 2012 and this past season, which included the school’s first regional playoff victory. Burgos played college baseball at FIU and coached at North Miami Beach High prior to his stint at Hialeah Gardens.
▪ Florida Memorial senior infielder Cesar Temes, a graduate of Mater Lakes, was named to the 2016 Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete team.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ
Barry University announced the signing of brothers Sawyer Glick and Kooper Glick. Natives of Columbus, Indiana, the Glick brothers will have three years to play together. They spent their freshmen seasons at different schools.
Tyresse Cooper (Class 4A boys), a freshman at American High, Plantation American Heritage’s Anthony Schwartz (Class 2A boys) and Miami Northwestern’s Twanisha Terry (Class 3A girls) were named finalists for the Florida Dairy Farmers Association’s Track Athletes of the Year for Florida. Northwestern’s Carmen Jackson was named the Class 3A Girls’ Coach of the Year after leading the Bulls to their eighth state title in a row and state-record 13th. Heritage coach Greg Barnes was named the Class 2A Boys’ Coach of the Year after leading his team to a state title.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ