Marlon Tapales Shocks Akhmadaliev To Become Unified Champion, wins for Ford and Mattice Ahead Of Rodriguez Return

Thomas Mattice (20-3-1) claimed a distasteful stoppage in the tenth round of a scheduled tenth against the entertaining Ramiro Cesena (16-0-1) to maintain his WBC super-featherweight ranking. Cesena made a fast start to the contest by pressurising Mattice and leading off with several flurries and big heavy shots in the opening four rounds. Mattice struggled to cope under pressure in all reality for the first half of the contest. Rounds five and six saw Mattice regain some of the momenta away from the Mexican with straight right hands, knocking Cesena backwards.

The final rounds saw both fighters have moments, particularly Cesena, who was cutting off the ring efficiently and working well with Mattice on the ropes. The stoppage came following a corkscrew right hand which snapped back the head of Cesena onto the ropes. Mattice looked to close the show with a flurry of shots, and Cesena threw a straight right onto the chin of Mattice, which Mattice took well. Mattice then flurried Cesena however, his punches landed on the gloves of Cesena with very little landing on the head of Cesena. 

Referee, Rafael Ramos, saw fit to wave off the contest controversially, much to the distaste and displeasure of those in attendance and Cesena himself. The official time of the stoppage was called at 1:31 of the final round.

Raymond Ford (13-0-1) took a considerable leap in solidifying his position within the featherweight rankings with an impressive and dominating victory over former world champion Jessie Magdaleno (29-1). Ford would claim two knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision points verdict. Ford would claim scorecards of 116-110 & two scores of 119-107. 

Ford would score knockdowns in rounds four and eleven. The first lockdown came following a left and a right hand over the top of the guard of Magdaleno, which could have been called a shot behind the head, but Luis Pabon ruled it a knockdown. The second knockdown came as a fatigued Magdaleno was on the receiving end of a three-punch combination which finished on a right hook from Ford. Magadaleno looked shaken yet rose to his feet to see out the remaining and final rounds. 

Immediately post-fight, Ford, gave himself a B+ and called out for a contest with the rematch winner between Mauricio Lara and Leigh Wood. Ford immediately ruled himself out of a fight with former IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington and dismissed him as a potential opponent when being interviewed by broadcaster DAZN.

In the co-main event, Marlon Tapales (36-3) scored a split decision upset victory over WBA & IBF super-bantamweight over Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0). Tapales capitalised on a slow start to the fight for Akhmadaliev, took the fight to the unified champion, and dominated the opening half. Ahkmadaliev looked apprehensive and aimed to counter Tapales, who was boxing behind the jab but was always following up with various shots. However, in the second half of the contest, Akhmadaliev forced action, particularly in the championship rounds. Tapales looked at times all of his work could unravel with the champion seeking and frankly needing a stoppage to retain his titles. The angles and speed which Akhmadaliev is known for coming to the fore, pummelling Tapales onto the ropes, especially in round twelve. Tapales would ultimately survive the round and would claim a famous victory. After twelve rounds of boxing, Tapales would claim two scores of 115-113 against a score of 118-110 in favour of Akhmadaliev.

The contests formed the DAZN broadcast undercard for Jesse Rodriguez's WBO world flyweight title challenge against Cristian Rodriguez held at the Boeing Center, San Antonio, Texas. The event is promoted by Matchroom Boxing.

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