Unbeaten welterweight Jaron Ennis scored yet another knockout in his return to national television Saturday on SHOWTIME with a third round TKO of Demian Fernandez at Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint, Mich.
Ennis, widely considered one of the top prospects in boxing, wasted no time in his first fight under the national spotlight in nearly a year. The Philadelphia native, who had scored two highlight reel KOs in 2018 on ShoBox: The New Generation, now has 22 knockouts in 24 professional fights.
Ennis was aggressive from the opening bell, landing 43 percent of his power shots as he switched from orthodox to southpaw. Two warnings for low blows in the first minute of the fight did not stop the speedy Ennis from attacking the body. In the third, Ennis backed Fernandez into the corner and unleashed an onslaught of unanswered power shots that forced the Argentine to take a knee. Fernandez beat the count but told referee Frank Garza that he couldn’t see and the fight was immediately ended.
“It feels good to be back in the spotlight and get another win,” Ennis said. “I showed a little of my skills. I wanted to show more, but my dad said go get him and get him out of there, so that’s what I did.
“I’ve been ready for a big fight for a while. I want to go to the next level. I just have to keep putting on shows like this and keep doing my thing and hopefully my title shot will come sometime next year. The big names had better start running. I would even go down to 140 to get one of them.”
After the fight, Fernandez (12-2, 5 KOs) was transported to a local hospital with a suspected orbital injury.
In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION telecast, undefeated American heavyweight prospect Jermaine Franklin scored two knockdowns en route to a 10-round unanimous decision over Pavel Sour, scored 97-91, 98-91, 98-90.
Fighting less than an hour from his hometown of Saginaw, Mich., Franklin (20-0, 13 KOs) scored knockdowns in the sixth and 10th rounds. The 24-year-old was making his third consecutive SHOWTIME appearance of 2019 and showed significant improvement from his prior televised bouts, particularly in his speed, mobility and power.
“I was trying to get the knockout, I wanted it real bad, but it feels great to get the W,” said Franklin, who landed 50 percent of his power shots. “I wasn’t looking for a knockdown the first time he went down. I was trying to be quick and catch him with a counter and I caught him. It surprised me that he went down because it wasn’t meant to be a power punch.”
“I didn’t think I finished him on the second knockdown. I wanted to, but I slowed down and got a little too relaxed instead. I should have stayed on him.”
“There are just some minor things I still need to work on, like fighting on the inside, grappling and knowing when to punch on the inside – minor things. Once I get that down, I’ll be doing well.”
Sour (11-2, 6 KOs), who was making his U.S. debut, was frustrated with his opponent.
“I couldn’t free up my punches and I didn’t let my hands go,” Sour said. “I was too tight in there. I was never really hurt by Franklin’s punches. He is very strong, but I could handle it. I was trying to catch him with a strong right hand.”
The Ennis vs. Fernandez bout was elevated to main event status after the Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin fight was called off following an altercation prior to Friday’s official weigh-in that resulted in an injury to Habazin’s trainer, James Ali Bashir.
Tonight’s live event was promoted by Salita Promotions.
An encore presentation of tonight’s doubleheader will air Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and will be available via the network’s On Demand platforms.
Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins called the action alongside fellow Hall of Fame analyst Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez. World-renowned ring announcer and Hall of Famer Jimmy Lennon Jr. rounded out the telecast. The Executive Producer of SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION was Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.