Former two-division world titlist Carl Frampton punched his way into a shot at a belt in a third weight class on Saturday night inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Former junior featherweight and featherweight titlist Frampton moved up to junior lightweight, dropped Tyler McCreary twice with body shots and soundly defeated his inexperienced opponent in the co-feature of the Oscar Valdez-Adam Lopez bout that headlined the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card. The judges all had it as a shutout, 100-88 on all three scorecards.
Frampton, in a bout contracted at 128 pounds (two below the junior lightweight division limit), came into his first fight since signing a co-promotional deal with Top Rank knowing that a win likely would propel him into a shot at 130-pound world titlist Jamel Herring (21-2, 10 KOs), 34, of Coram, New York, in his next fight. It's a fight that Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said he planned to make next as long as Frampton defeated McCreary.
Herring was ringside and then joined Frampton in the ring following the bout to talk up the fight with Arum between them.
"It's the first time I've met Jamel. My impression of him before I met him is that he's a nice guy, and he lived up to my impression," said Frampton, who aims to become the first Irish fighter to win titles in three weight classes. "I just want to fight for a world title next. I want them big fights. I would love the opportunity to fight Jamel. If it happens in Belfast, great. If I have to go to New York, I'm also up for that."
Herring is also up for the fight, but it might have to wait a bit because Frampton said he thinks he again fractured his left hand and also hurt his right.
"He performed like a champion. He did what he had to do coming off a year layoff and a hand injury," Herring said. "We don't turn down no smoke. I would love the fight. We can make it happen. Let's do it."
Frampton (27-2, 15 KOs), 32, of Northern Ireland, was fighting for the first time since a competitive decision loss challenging featherweight titlist Josh Warrington. Frampton was supposed to have the first fight of his Top Rank deal on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia against Emmanuel Dominguez. However, Frampton was forced to drop out the week of the fight because of a freak accident in which a concrete pillar in the fight hotel lobby fell on his left hand and broke a metacarpal bone.
"That was the plan from the start, to target the body," Frampton said. "Tyler's pretty tall. My hand wasn't great coming into the camp, as well, so it's a bit softer hitting the body than the head. I knew a lot of people were coming here to support me, so there was no way I wasn't fighting. I feel like I hurt [the left hand] again in the second round. I had to fight."
Frampton dominated the fight. According to CompuBox statistics, Frampton landed 141 of 461 punches (31%), and McCreary connected with 77 of 412 (19%). Of Frampton's connects, 67 were to the body.
Frampton took control of the fight right away with his jab and body punching against McCreary, who was in his first scheduled 10-round fight against by far his best opponent.
In the second and third rounds, Frampton landed several clean straight right hands down the middle that McCreary had no answers for despite an 8½-inch reach advantage.
Lamar Wright, McCreary's trainer, implored McCreary to throw more punches following the fourth round, but not much changed. Frampton forced him back and landed body shots and right hands, while McCreary threw only occasional left hooks.
Frampton continued to go to the body; and in the opening seconds of the sixth round, he landed a right and a left to the body, and McCreary went down to a knee.
McCreary made it through the round and took a tongue-lashing from Wright in the corner. He came out strong early in the seventh and landed several strong punches, including a good left hook, but it was a short-lived rally.
Frampton, the 2016 consensus fighter of the year who has only lost decisions to Leo Santa Cruz and Warrington, continued to pound McCreary (16-1-1, 7 KOs), 26, of Toledo, Ohio, to the body. Frampton landed two left hooks to the liver in the ninth round that made McCreary take a step back and go down to a knee to put him in an even deeper hole in the one-sided fight.
Teixeira upsets Adames for interim title
Junior middleweight Patrick Teixeira, with his face a bloody mess, won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Carlos Adames to win a vacant interim world title.
The judges scored the fight 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113 for Teixeira, who earned the winning margin on two scorecards on the strength of a knockdown in the final moments of the seventh round.
"It was tough with the cuts, but I was able to get through it because of my experience," Teixeira said. "It was a little harder, but my corner did an excellent job on the cuts. I am very happy to bring a world title back to Brazil. I want to make boxing bigger in Brazil. Soccer is our biggest sport, and this is a great moment for boxing in my country."
It was an action-packed battle that began as a boxing match as Teixeira, a southpaw, gave Adames trouble with his movement and jab in the early going. But the aggressive Adames got into the fight in the third round when he found a home for his body shots. He also landed stiff, straight right hands and looked like he would be able to overpower Teixeira.
The Robert Garcia-trained Adames (18-1, 14 KOs), 25, of the Dominican Republic, opened a cut under Teixeira's swelling left eye in the fourth round and continued to force him back with heavy shots. He opened a cut under his right eye in the fifth round even though Teixeira rebounded in the round to land combinations that had Adames a little shaky.
The seventh round was a wild one. Adames was pounding Teixeira and landed three tremendous uppercuts that rocked his head back. It looked like he might stop Teixeira at any moment when the Golden Boy-promoted Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs), 28, a southpaw from Brazil, suddenly rebounded to connect with multiple rights hooks and then a left hand to the chin that dropped Adames to his rear end along the ropes in the final seconds of the round. It was the first time Adames had been knocked down, and it ultimately cost him the fight.
They continued to battle on seemingly even terms, with Adames the heavier hitter but Teixeira's movement and punches from unusual angles giving Adames problems.
"We are so proud of Patrick Teixeira," Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. "It was a brutal and bloody war, but Teixeira really dug deep to earn himself the most important win of his career against a very dangerous fighter. We look forward to starting the new year with yet another champion in our stable."
Teixeira won his fifth fight in a row since his only defeat, a second-round knockout to former world title challenger Curtis Stevens in May 2016.
The fight was initially slated to be a title eliminator for the right to become the mandatory challenger for 154-pound world titleholder Jaime Munguia, but on Tuesday, the WBO sanctioned the bout for its interim belt because Munguia announced his next fight would be at middleweight. Munguia likely will vacate the junior middleweight belt, and Teixeira is expected to be upgraded to the full titleholder during next week's annual WBO convention in Tokyo.
Barboza KO's Silva with body shot
Junior welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr. (23-0, 10 KOs), 27, of South El Monte, California, scored a wicked body-shot knockout of William Silva (27-3, 15 KOs), 32, of Brazil, in the fifth round.
Barboza scored the first knockdown of the fight midway through the third round when he landed a left-right combination that dropped Silva flat on his back. He beat the count and then almost immediately buzzed Barboza with a right hand.
In the fifth round, Barboza, who was in control for most of the fight, nailed Silva with a right hand to the body, and Silva crumpled to the canvas. Silva, whose only previous losses had come to top prospects Teofimo Lopez Jr. by sixth-round knockout and Felix Verdejo by 10-round decision, took out his mouthpiece as referee Jay Nady counted him out at 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
Zayas stops Windfield in first round
Welterweight prospect and high school senior Xander Zayas (2-0, 2 KO), 17, a Puerto Rican from Plantation, Florida, scored two knockdowns in an easy first-round knockout of Virgel Windfield (2-3-1, 2 KOs), 22, of Concord, North Carolina.
Zayas, who was an 11-time national amateur champion, was 16 when he became the youngest fighter to sign with Top Rank in the company's 53-year history. He was 17 when he made his professional debut on Oct. 26 and won by first-round knockout. His second fight was also quick.
Zayas went to the body and head and eventually dropped Windfield to one knee with an overhand right about a minute into the fight. Moments later, he nailed Windfield with another overhand right to send him to a knee again, and referee Russell Mora waved off the fight at 1 minute, 48 seconds.
"I felt ready to finish the fight early and came out very aggressively to do exactly that," Zayas said. "I knew he was taller, so I wanted to pressure him to shorten the distance. I kept focused on working on the inside and managed to finish him quickly. This is just the beginning. I will remain focused and training hard to continue learning and gaining experience that will make me look better with every fight that passes."
Gomez outslugs Mendoza
Welterweight Larry Gomez (10-1, 8 KOs), 26, of West Jordan, Utah, slugged it out with Albuquerque, New Mexico, native Brian Mendoza (18-1, 13 KOs), 25, and won a split decision in a grueling battle. Two judges scored the bout 77-75 for Gomez, and one judge had it 77-75 for Mendoza.
Gomez landed several solid left hooks, but Mendoza walked through them and landed his own blows in a rough fight. Gomez landed a left-right combination in the fifth round that appeared to have Mendoza in some trouble, but Mendoza bounced back. By the seventh round, Mendoza's face was a bloody mess, and he also took major punishment in the eighth round.
Vianello wipes out Madison
Heavyweight prospect Guido "The Gladiator" Vianello (6-0, 6 KOs), 25, a 2016 Italian Olympian, blew out Colby Madison (8-2-2, 5 KOs), 36, of Owings Mills, Maryland, in just 44 seconds of their scheduled six-round fight.
Vianello found his range with his jab and eventually nailed Madison behind the ear with an overhand right that dropped him to all fours. Madison tried to get up, but referee Jay Nady counted him out.
Hiraoka wins American debut
Japanese junior welterweight contender Andy Hiraoka (15-0, 10 KOs), 23, of Japan, who is a stablemate of unified bantamweight world titleholder and recent Top Rank signee Naoya Inoue, made his United States debut with an impressive, second-round TKO victory over Rogelio Casarez (13-9, 5 KOs), 29, of Batesville, Arkansas.
Hiraoka, a southpaw, dominated and landed several powerful shots. When he put together a combination in the second round, including a clean right hook that shook Casarez, referee Robert Hoyle stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 16 seconds.