Richard Abril got lured into a toe-to-toe braw against Sharif Bogere at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on March 2, but still controlled the action for the majority of the fight and successfully defended the WBA Lightweight Championship by a unanimous decision. Bogere of Uganda tried to get on the inside of the taller Abril of Cuba, and it worked for the first few rounds, but Abril figured things out after that and took charge.
It definitely wasn’t a pretty affair, but it was exciting and filled with drama. There was a lot of holding going on courtesy of Abril, while Bogere wasn’t shy about using his head as a weapon. The champion had a point taken away from him by referee Russell Mora in the eighth round for excessive holding and Bogere had one docked from him in the 12th round for continuing to lead with his head.
Abril suffered a large cut over his right eye in the sixth round, but his corner men managed to keep it under control. After the fight he said he thought he won it, but admitted that it was hard to concentrate because it was quite a dirty battle. He added that the cut didn’t bother him and he knew his cut man would be able to stem the bleeding.
The fight seemed to change direction after Abril was docked a point as he stopped holding and starting punching. He landed some crisp, clean combinations to the head of Bogere and used his superior reach to keep the oncoming challenger at bay. The judges basically all saw the fight the same way and Abril was awarded the decision by scores of 116-110, 116-110, and 115-111.
Bogere also said he thought he did enough to win the bout and accused Abril of using his elbows on more than one occasion. It was an entertaining fight, but there was no talk of a rematch, at least by Abril. He said he’d like to unify the lightweight division and prefers to start by taking on the undefeated WBC champion Adrien Broner.
The 30-year-old Abril is used to getting the raw end of the deal when it comes to close decisions as he dropped a highly-controversial split decision to Brandon Rios last April in a bout for the vacant title. He’s also lost two other split decisions in his career. There was a silver lining in the loss to Rios though since Rios came in to the bout overweight and couldn’t win the title. Abril was given the interim WBA championship and was just recently promoted to the full champion before taking on Bogere.
With the win, Abril raised his record to 18-3-1 with 8 Kos and the 24-year-old Bogere saw his drop to 23-1 with 15 Kos.
On the undercard, American featherweight Gary Russell Jr. kept his undefeated streak going with a 10-round unanimous against Vyacheslav Gusev of Russia. The southpaw Russell dropped Gusev in the third round, but couldn’t put away his tough opponent. However, he rarely used his left hand in the last half of the fight since he thought he might have broken it.
The 24-year-old dominated the bout though and raised his record to 22-0 with 13 Kos as all three of the judges awarded him the fight by scores of 100-89. The 27-year-old Gusev saw his record fall to 20-3 with 5 Kos after the loss.