Twenty-three-year-old WBC Lightweight Champion Adrien Broner of Cincinnati successfully defended his crown against 32-year-old Gavin Rees of Wales on Sat. Beb.16. Broner came from behind to stop the game challenger with a second to go in the fifth round when Rees’ corner threw in the towel. However, he had his hands full with Rees while the boxing match lasted at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Rees came out flying when the opening bell sounded and surprised Broner with his hand speed and aggressiveness. Rees dug into the champion’s body and followed up with effective head shots at will. However, things changed in the latter half of the third round when Broner finally started to mount a decent attack and fight back.
Rees, who is a former world junior welterweight champion, showed a lot of heart and his gutsy effort won over many fans in the arena as well as those watching around the world on television. Broner had at least a tree-inch height advantage over the challenger as well as several inches in reach. Rees found his mark though and didn’t have any problem connecting on the champion during the first two rounds.
Broner’s superior boxing skills and his size finally started to make the difference in the third round and he trapped Rees on the ropes and worked him over. The challenger withstood the barrage though and had regained his senses by the time the fourth round got underway. Broner continued his attack though and he dropped Rees with a superb right uppercut to the head.
Rees’ trainer Gary Lockett wanted to stop the fight between rounds, but Rees talked him out of it. Rees then came out with renewed energy in the fifth round to prove that he was right, but Broner caught up with him in the last minute of the stanza and sent him crashing to the canvas again with a powerful left hand that dug into Rees’ body. Rees beat the count and was ready to continue, but Lockett threw in the towel after Broner resumed his attack. The official time was 2:59 of the fifth round.
After the bout Rees said he got a little too reckless and carried away during the third and fourth rounds, but he felt Lockett should have let him continue, as did many fans who were enjoying the exciting bout. He added that he should have been allowed to continue until he was hurt or knocked out and was disappointed in his overall performance.
It was Broner’s second bout as a lightweight after the former junior lightweight champion decided to move up a weight class last November. He beat former champion Antonio DeMarco by an eighth-round knockout in his first bout at 135 lbs. to win the title. Broner may not hang around the lightweight division for too long since it’s devoid of any big-money fighters. He’ll likely move up to the 140 lb. junior welterweight in the near future.
Rees said Broner has a lot of power for a lightweight and he’ll be hard to beat. He wished him luck in his career and admitted that he’s definitely the best boxer he’s ever faced. Broner said Rees was a tough nut to crack and is a world-class boxer. He added that Rees was throwing every punch with bad intentions and gave him credit for going toe-to-toe with him.
Broner landed 149 out of 309 thrown for a connect percentage of 48 while Rees threw 262 shots and landed 88 of them for a 34 per cent connect ratio. With the win, the undefeated Broner moves to 26-0 with 22 Kos while Rees drops to 37-2-1 with 18 Kos. Rees’ performance showed that Broner can be hit cleanly, hard, and often, and the champion might count himself lucky that he wasn’t facing a bigger puncher than the determined Welshman.
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