LAS VEGAS — Bektemir Melikuziev continues to rack up thumping wins as he out-foxed Alantez Fox at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday.
Bek 'The Bully' has been on a rebuilding mission ever since he suffered a third-round upset to Gabriel Rosado in in 2021, rebounding with six wins on the spin.
Against Fox, Melikuziev showed great pop in his punches as he made the growing Nevada crowd "oh" and "ah," rousing them all in time for the main event between Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez and Joe Smith Jr.
Melikuziev bounced his knuckles off of Fox's forehead and zipped out of range before his opponent really knew what had hit him. He'd work the body, absorb a one-two hook shot combo in return, and attack his opponent's ribs while remaining in the pocket.
Melikuziev had a reliable left hand over the top, pivoted nicely on his rear foot, and shuffled for good measure.
The 27-year-old is an interesting fighter. He clearly has an abundance of power, and possesses flashy footwork, but he gets hit a lot — enough for it to be an issue as he climbs back up the ranks.
But, for now, his assets alone are enough to get him past Fox, whom he beat in the fourth round after dropping him with a body shot.
"He's a bully, strong, and fast on his feet," Golden Boy Promotions boss Oscar de la Hoya said. Melikuziev, meanwhile, said he wanted a world title shot soon.
An inside war broke out just before Melikuziev and Fox's super middleweight bout as Darius Fulghum and Alan Campa fought in a phone booth until an early finish, caused by Fulgham's left hook to the liver.
"Statement made," Fulghum said after sending Campa to the canvas. "I'm Golden Boy’s next superstar."
Fulghum's finishing punch was exactly the kind of knockout shot one would expect a fighter with a flawless finishing record to have, as he seemed to effortlessly advance his pro record to eight wins (eight knockouts).
It was also the first time in the night when a fighter's record lived up to the promise as Mexican boxers on the undercard, some of whom had multiple losses if not losing records entirely, caused complete chaos earlier in the evening.
In the televised opener, Jose Sanchez gave unbeaten Eric Tudor the business in a bruising win.
Despite three losses, Sanchez gave Tudor hell, forced swelling over numerous parts of his face because of a power punch strategy that included an unrelenting willingness to punish Tudor's body.
The judges rewarded Sanchez's work by giving him the decision win, and so he advanced his pro boxing record to 14 wins (three knockouts) against three losses and one draw.
Drama unfolded on the untelevised part of the card
If you want a brute who appears as powerful as he is athletic, then Tristan Kalkreuth may well be the cruiserweight for you.
Kalkreuth relied on upper body movement to avoid Aaron Casper's punches while punishing his opponent's rib cage with body shots, loading up with power by thudding him with a straight right and then hook shots, until all Casper could do was wilt to a knee.
The Texan scored two knockdowns in total and forced the opposite corner to withdraw their fighter, so the referee awarded him the stoppage win at the end of the fifth round, with Casper on the stool.
Earlier in the night, Daniel Luna — who was 3-0 — looked like he could have been a promising prospect with a thudding left hook but came unstuck, mostly because he didn't know how to move away from the ropes, thus allowing his mauler of an opponent Erick Benitez to blow him away with a comfortable four-round win.
Benitez, prior to the fight, had a 4-5 losing record but being a Mexican, was likely better than his record suggested. Victory advanced Benitez's record to .500, as he earned a well-deserved win on points.
Victor Toney beat Jahyae Brown in an upset in the very first fight of the seven-bout card.