The co-main event to Adam Kownacki v Chris Arreola saw former world champion Jean Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs) earn a narrow technical decision over previously unbeaten Marcus Browne (23-1, 16 KOs).
Pascal captured the WBA interim light heavyweight title after an accidental headbutt ended the fight in round eight.
“Boxing is boxing,” said Pascal. “We clashed heads, but at the end of the day, I was winning the round. I dropped him three times. It was a close fight, but I believe I was winning.”
Browne appeared to be in control early, using his jab effectively and finishing his combos with power punches. Throughout the fight, Browne would land 52% of his power punches according to CompuBox.
In round four, Pascal broke through landing a perfect right hand that connected with Browne as he threw his own right hook. Browne hit the canvas for the third time in his career, but was able to make it through the round.
Browne looked to have regained control of the fight until late in round seven when Pascal again connected on a powerful right hook that caught Browne during an exchange. Pascal jumped on Browne after he got to his feet and knocked him down a third time right before the bell ended round seven.
Montreal’s Pascal was looking to finish Browne in round eight, while Browne looked to effectively navigate the ring while recovering from the previous round. It was midway through the round that Pascal hit Browne with an accidental headbutt on the ropes that opened a cut over Browne’s left eye.
Referee Gary Rosato halted the bout 1:49 into the round, on the advice of the ringside physician, meaning the fight went to the scorecards. By winning the shortened eighth round on all three judges’ cards, Pascal won the fight by the score of 75-74 three times.
“I could hear my daughter ringside and that was motivation for me,” said Pascal. “She was yelling my name all night long. I’m going to go home and talk to my team to see what is next. Canada has Drake, the NBA Champions and now I’m bringing the belt home.”
Browne was unavailable for post fight comments as he was taken to NYU Lutheran Medical Center due to the cut.
The opening bout on FOX saw Wale Omotoso (28-4, 22 KOs) drop Curtis Stevens (30-7, 22 KOs) three times on his way to a third round stoppage victory in their super welterweight clash.
For Stevens it was his first fight at 154-pounds, and he was tested at the new weight from the outset. Omotoso began moving and jabbing around the ring as Stevens stalked him and tried to throw power punches to slow his movement. Late in the first round, Omotoso broke through with a right hand to the side of Stevens’ head that dropped him in the middle of the ring.
“My coach told me to keep my hands up, be patient, box him and jab,” said Omotoso. “He told me I shouldn’t push it and that when the opening was there, I’d take it. That’s exactly what happened.”
“He hit me with an overhand right in the first round that knocked my equilibrium,” said Stevens. “But that didn’t really affect me too much. I wasn’t stepping enough into my punches, I was reaching. I got caught when I was reaching.”
In round two Omotoso landed a perfect jab on Stevens, as his opponent was throwing a left hook, that sent him down for the second time in the fight. Stevens again made it through the round, and began the next frame trapping Omotoso in the corner and connecting on power punches.
“I was just letting my hands go,” said Omotoso. “On the second knockdown my confidence grew. I was glad to get the victory by knockout.”
While Stevens was able to own the early moments of the third round, Omotoso hit him with a three punch combo that featured left hook, left uppercut and then straight right hand that put Stevens down for the third time. Stevens got to his feet but referee Johnny Callas halted the bout at 1:28 of the third round.
“I was okay but the referee has to do his job,” said Stevens. “In the fight I was down three times so I know he was looking out for my best interests.”
“I didn’t expect it to go exactly like that,” said Omotoso. “I was just listening to my coach. The second knockdown was actually with my jab. I have to talk to my team about what’s next. I’m thankful for this opportunity. I’m so happy to have this win. Give me anybody next, I’m ready.”