Lightweight Andy Cruz of Miami (2-0, 1 KO) has the Cuban amateur pedigree, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and PanAm Games gold medals, and world amateur titles to prove it. But he understands the professional game demands more. Cruz delighted the Chase Center crowd with an offensive attack against challenger Jovanni Straffon of Mexico City (26-6-1, 19 KOs).
Andy Cruz is on the fast track to a title shot after just two professional fights. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
Cruz couldn’t miss, and Straffon’s chin could only hold up so long. To be exact, until 53 seconds in the third round when the referee stepped in between Cruz and Straffon to stop the onslaught.
Cruz said his team’s objective was to work on sitting down on his punches, and it’s clear he’s making good progress.
“I’m very excited. It’s a new style of boxing to get the victory in this way,” said Cruz. “When I saw he was starting to make mistakes, I took advantage of this.”
Put Andy Cruz on the Fast Track to a Title
Put him in, coach. After just two pro fights, Andy Cruz says he is ready for a title fight. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
Much like Vasiliy Lomachenko before him, Andy Cruz is on the fast track to a world title. Cruz says by demonstrating his skills, he’s showing he wants to face the best. “This is a small step on a long, long journey,” said Cruz.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn was nowhere near as humble. “We’re watching a generational great in Andy Cruz,” said Hearn, who claimed none of the top lightweights would want to face Cruz, naming the man he beat in Tokyo, Keyshawn Davis. “That was his second professional fight. Remember his name, Andy “Diamante” Cruz.”
And The New: Miyo Yoshida Scores Upset Over Ebanie Bridges
Miyo Yoshida celebrates her upset win over Ebanie Bridges. She is now the IBF world bantamweight champion. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
When matchmakers get desperate, strange things can happen. In an upset victory, Miyo Yoshida of New York via Japan (17-4, 0 KOs) defeated the popular Ebanie Bridges (9-2, 4 KOs), winning Bridges’ IBF World Bantamweight Title. Scores were 99-91 twice and 97-93 for the new champion.
Yoshida lept in the air, hearing the magic words “And the new!” which need no translation. Her daughter ran into the ring, hugging her mom to join the celebration.
Miyo Yoshida crowded Ebanie Bridges and was the aggressor throughout their title fight. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
Yoshida, a late replacement, fought and lost an IBF title elimination fight in New York just a month ago. But with opponents falling out, Yoshida was the one who answered the call just weeks prior to Saturday’s bout.
Bridges took a few rounds to warm up, having been out of the ring a year after working her way back from injury. Yoshida, who has never scored a knockout, crowded her way in on Bridges to prevent her from getting leverage on her power punches. It worked for her. Fighting inside, Yoshida was the more accurate puncher, frustrating Bridges, who couldn’t get the busy Yoshida off her.
Miyo Yoshida’s daughter jumped into the ring to celebrate her mom’s win. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
As the two-minute rounds quickly rolled along, Yoshida dug a big hole for Bridges. In the later rounds, Bridges surely was aware she needed a knockdown or knockout to win, but Yoshida stood her ground. There’s a lot to be said for fighters staying busy and Yoshida proved it.
Ebanie Bridges must regroup and think about her boxing future after her loss on Saturday. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
Bridges acknowledges she makes far more money from sponsorships, modeling, and her Only Fans enterprise than she does from boxing. She admits she sometimes questions why she trains so hard when she doesn’t need the money. Bridges will need to ask herself these questions in a new light after her loss to Yoshida.
Paro Remains Undefeated With Win Over Love
Liam Paro drops Montana Love for the first of two knockdowns in the sixth and final round of their WBO intercontinental super lightweight title fight. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
After enjoying two entertaining scraps, the co-main event between super lightweights Liam Paro and Montana Love was uninspired through the first five rounds. The lack of action drew boos from the Chase Center fans. But Paro had been out of the ring 14 months, and he admitted to plenty of ring rust.
Once he shook it off, Paro of Brisbane, Australia (24-0, 15 KOs) drilled Loveof Cleveland (18-2-1, 9 KOs) with power shots to the head, dropping him to the canvas twice in the space of 15 seconds to start the sixth round. Now fully warmed up and engaged, Paro went after Love like a heat-seeking missile. Paro unloaded, and Love couldn’t backpedal fast enough. Paro pinned Love against the ropes. Once nothing was coming back from Love, referee Thomas Taylor waved off the bout at 1:49 of round six.
Paro remains undefeated and picks up the WBO Global Super Lightweight title.
Montana Love will need to reassess after his loss to Liam Paro. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom.
“It was a slow start, after 14 months out of the ring,” said Paro. “He was a good boxer. He started slowing down and I kept turning the screws.
Love’s trunks read “Love Hurts.” Love didn’t dish out the hurt, and now it’s his career future in boxing hurting. He’ll need to rethink his approach before a return to the ring.