Two point deductions were not sufficient to derail Rances Barthelemy’s second bid at a junior-lightweight title.
Barthelemy’s aggression for the majority of the bout proved pivotal in his title-winning performance late Thursday. The native of Cuba and Miami resident won a unanimous decision against defending champion Argenis Mendez and won the International Boxing Federation 130-pound title at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The victory before a crowd of approximately 4,500, gives Barthelemy the second experience of a title celebration. In January, Barthelemy was declared a second-round knockout winner over Mendez but the result was later reversed to a no-contest after Barthelemy’s fight-winning punches occurred after the bell.
“This was a difficult fight,” Barthelemy said. “I faced an Argenis Mendez, who risked it all to keep his title. Thankfully, I knew how to overcome all obstacles.”
Barthelemy won the fight on all three judges’ scorecards, 115-111.
Barthelemy (20-0) charged at Mendez early in the first round and scored with rights to the head and body. Mendez (21-3-1) withstood the early attack and increased his punch volume in the third and fourth rounds as he scored with short left hooks and rights to the head.
The bout’s pace slowed dramatically in the middle rounds as both fighters landed single shots but lacked follow-up combinations. The frequent moments of inaction prompted jeers from the crowd.
Mendez increased punch volume in the eighth as he scored with combinations to the body.
Barthelemy also applied pressure with body shots but two landed below the belt, forcing referee Tellis Assimenios to deduct points from Barthelemy in the ninth and 10th rounds.
The infractions forced Barthelemy to again increase the pressure in the final two rounds. Barthelemy pressured Mendez and pinned him on the ropes with short combinations to the head.
“After those point deductions I became a bit frustrated,” Barthelemy said. “But I returned to and my trainer Ronnie Shields told me not to worry about the points. My corner lifted me and I managed to overcome that frustration.”
Earlier, Miami resident Yunier Dorticos won a unanimous decision over Colombia’s Edison Miranda.
Landing the sharper punches and busier with his shots throughout the 10-round bout, Dorticos (18-0) took an additional step in his quest toward cruiserweight title contention. Two judges scored the fight for Dorticos, 100-90, while the third judge also had him winning, 99-91.
“I would have wanted to knock him out but he was a cagey, tricky fighter,” Dorticos said on his way to the dressing room. “It was good experience for me fighting 10 rounds.”
Dorticos, whose first 17 wins ended in knockout, set the pace from the opening round as he landed repeatedly with rights to the head, often following a lead left jab. Midway through the first, Dorticos temporarily stunned Miranda with a straight right and right uppercut.
In the second, Miranda caught Dorticos’ attention when he connected with a left uppercut. But Dorticos quickly resumed his arsenal of rights to the head and body against the former middleweight and super-middleweight contender.
Dorticos hurt Miranda again midway through the fourth with a left uppercut and immediately followed with multiple combinations to the head and body. Miranda gamely withstood Dorticos’ shots but offered minimal response save for sporadic rights to the head.
Miranda stepped up the attack in the fifth and scored with combinations to the head and body. Dorticos’ punch volume dropped in the sixth as Miranda scored with left hooks and rights to the head.
Miranda’s success in the middle rounds couldn’t carry into the closing rounds. Dorticos, who had never fought past six rounds, resumed his timely shots of lead jabs and straight rights to the head that nearly shut Miranda’s right eye by the end of the 10th round.
In bouts following the Dorticos-Miranda match, welterweight Erickson Lubin won by a unanimous decision over Noe Bolaños while Miami resident Humberto Savigne scored a second-round technical knockout victory over former super-middleweight champion and U.S. Olympian Jeff Lacy.
Saviigne (13-1, 10 KOs) dropped Lacy (26-5, 1 NC) with a right to the head in the first round and finished him with a flurry of unanswered combinations that forced referee Sam Burgos to stop the light-heavyweight bout at 2:04 of the second.
In other bouts: cruiserweight Dakota Dawson won by disqualification at 2:20 of the first round against Ramon Nicholas. Dawson injured his shoulder and could not continue fighting after Nicholas landed a punch while Dawson lay on the canvas following a knockdown-scoring combination from Nicholas; featherweight Dennis Galarza knocked out Cody Walker at 58 seconds of the first round; light-heavyweight Leo Hall scored a TKO over Juan Ortega at 2:33 of the second round; junior-lightweight Albert Bell won by unanimous decision over Joshua Ross.