WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade dropped mandatory challenger Liam Williams early, then outclassed the Welshman en route to a dominant title defense
Super Middleweight Carlos Gongora Remains Undefeated After Stopping Christopher Pearson Late To Earn First IBO Title Defense
Hollywood, Florida (April 17, 2021) — Undefeated WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade entered another unheralded title defense, versus a mandatory opponent, needing badly to change the narrative about his career. The United Kingdom’s two-loss Liam Williams arrived at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood fully expecting to take a world title, and Andrade’s “0”, back to Wales. Williams came into his first title shot riding a seven-fight knockout streak since going 0-2 versus Liam Smith in 2017.
The two squared off for 12 rounds of action in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card that streamed live worldwide on DAZN.
Andrade, a 31-year old from Providence, Rhode Island, got off to a surprisingly fast start. His fluid lateral movement allowed him to seamlessly change direction and run Williams (23-3-1, 18 KOs) into some vicious punches to the head. Williams’ legs were shaky almost immediately into the bout. The Welshman weathered the storm.
Williams tried to execute his game plan the rest of the way, and capitalize on the advantage he felt he had in having superior will. However, Andrade rarely remained stationary long enough for the challenger to land in meaningful combinations. The 33-year old southpaw champion dropped Williams in Round 2, as he came forward while Andrade’s feet were perfectly set up to deliver a powerful 1-2 combination.
The determined Welshman gradually fought his way back into the fight. But he failed to overcome the daunting combination of Andrade’s timing, craftiness and footwork. When Williams managed to land some telling shots Andrade’s awkwardness kept the challenger from fully committing.
The Rhode Island native’s movement possibly left him exhausted late, and paired with some effective punches from Williams, Andrade slowed down noticeably at the fight’s end. However, the champion rose to the occasion in the championship rounds, closed out the 12th round convincingly and earned another wide unanimous decision. The victory keeps Andrade firmly in the champion picture at Middleweight – one of boxing’s few divisions without any real urgency for unification.
The champion’s movement and pace seemed to lap Williams at times. Andrade (30-0, 18 KOs) set up several wide-arcing right uppercuts that Williams had to honor. With about 30 seconds left in Round 2, immediately after being motioned to fight by the referee, Andrade dropped Williams with a right jab-straight left hand combination. Williams beat the count.
Williams found a way to steady himself in Round 3. He marched forward looking to pressure the champion. Williams found success while in close proximity. Andrade fought with confidence, knowing he had a variety of ways to find openings for fight-changing punches.
Williams worked his way to the champion’s chest early in Round 4. He found few openings versus Andrade’s awkwardness. The Welshman started to be able to work, especially with Andrade not utilizing his jab. The challenger made contact often, jabbing and attempting to hook around Andrade’s guard. The action was a bit wild.
Andrade’s uppercut returned in Round 5. Williams found himself close and squared up often for the shot. The champion’s aggressive punching offset Williams’ momentum in Round 5.
The champion stayed on the move in Round 6. His circling and side-to-side changes of direction continued to thwart Williams’ strengths. The Welshman was unable to set his feet to land much behind a jab, or a single right hand in there. Few of his power punches were set up properly.
Into the second half of the fight, Williams followed the champion mainly pawing with his jab. He pressed the action, but the champion set up another powerful uppercut at the end of the round.
Williams tracked Andrade in Round 8. The champion moved away coming forward in a split second to land a solid punch. Chasing big punches, Williams got caught on the wrong foot here and there.
With a minute to go, Williams connected with a straight right hand that appeared to get Andrade’s attention. The champion reached out to the nearby top rope to steady himself. Moments later the champion was back dipping low to set up his right uppercut.
In rounds 9 and 10, Williams fully established some momentum. Andrade often held the challenger at different moments. In the first championship round opened the frame with his lateral movement, getting the space he wanted while also changing levels while Williams started waiting again. The two exchanged a right uppercut for a left hook to the body to close the 11th – the challenger landing the latter.
The fighters tapped gloves to start the 12th. Andrade operated from outside. Williams faced a familiar problem. Once he got close, instead of naturally throwing punches, Andrade’s style forced him to first brace for a punch. Andrade landed a flush left hook on the chin at around 1:30. The fighters came together and seconds later Andrade was on his back on the canvas with Williams on top of him.
They got to their feet and the action resumed. Williams stood at midrange, Andrade’s craftiness basically froze the Welshman and the fight ended without another significant outburst.
Williams competed throughout the majority of the rounds, after willing himself through the early adversity. Unfortunately, he didn’t have quite the right tools necessary to deal with one of boxing’s enigmas. There was understandable disappointment in Williams’ body language, but the scorecards were pretty fair in 116-111 and 118-109 in the eyes of two judges.
In the co-main event, Ecuador’s undefeated IBO Super Middleweight champion Carlos Gongora (19-0, 14 KOs) faced Christopher Pearson (17-2, 1 NC, 12 KOs). Pearson, a southpaw, hadn’t fought since May 2019, in an upset victory at Middleweight.
The champion controlled the first round, repeatedly setting up left hands to Pearson’s body behind his right jab. Pearson fired his jab early in the subsequent stanza – he landed a straight left to the waistline. Gongora responded over the second half of the round with solid punches to the head.
Into Round 3, Gongora pounded away at Pearson as the Dayton, Ohio native stood behind his guard. Some shots pierced Pearson’s gloves. The fight was accepted with just over three weeks of camp for which to prepare for the champion.
Very little changed, regarding control of the action, in the fourth frame. Gongora continued to land the most significant punches.
Gongora let heavier punches go in short bursts again in Round 5. Pearson took some big swings in a couple moments, but minimal effect.
Gongora forced the action through the first half of Round 6. He moved inside and stepped up the physicality. Pearson expressed some frustration with the tactics to the referee. Pearson’s right eye started swelling over the second half of the round as Gongora’s pressure came on strongly.
Pearson landed a few solid jabs over the first half of Round 7. Gongora appeared to coast through much of the frame.
After a powerful punch from Pearson landed early in Round, Gongora pressed forward to get onto Pearson’s chest. Shortly after that Gongora landed a right hook, that Pearson ducked right into, that bothered the American’s eye enough that he backed out before dropping down to a knee. Pearson stood up quickly, signaled he was experiencing a serious issue with his swollen eye to his corner, and then went back down to a knee until the referee reached the count of 10.
Also In Action
Super Middleweight Alexis Espino (8-0, 5 KOs) faced Ty McCleod (6-1, 6 KOs) in a bout scheduled for six rounds. Espino controlled the action through the first two rounds but McCleod, who also fights as a kickboxer, fought his way back into the fight in Round 3.
McCleod fought tentatively through the majority of Round 5. While blood trickled from Espino’s nose, McCleod dealt with blood from a lengthy cut above his left eye. He’d also endured an early body attack from Espino.
The bout moved into the final round, Despite there seemingly being several opportunities for the 21-year old Las Vegas, Nevada native to capitalize on the damage that accumulated on McCleod, the fight resulted in a decision. Espino won the fight unanimously behind score totals of 60-54, 59-55 and 59-55.
Following a lengthy hiatus from boxing, Russia’s Andrey Fedesov (32-3, 26 KOs) stunned heavy favorite Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-1, 3 KOs) in the first round. Fedesov dropped Majidov with a flush right hand. Majidov went down with his right foot underneath his body weight, and the 34-year old suffered a bad ankle injury after the ankle finally came up off the canvas. He tried to fight on, but before Fedesov could land another clean punch Majidov went down to the canvas where he was counted out.
All photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing