WILL Tomlinson has lost his perfect professional record in tough circumstances, losing a unanimous points decision to the durable yet equally tricky Jerry Belmontes earlier today in a hard-fought contest on the untelevised portion of the Canelo-Angulo undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
After ten rounds, the judges crowned Belmontes the victor by scores of 98-92 (twice) and 99-91.
Tomlinson, 27, who was making his highly anticipated US debut, began to slowly pour on the pressure after a quiet and cautious opening round, forcing his lighter-punching opponent on the back foot for the majority of each round. Belmontes, 25, had his moments – blooding Tomlinson’s nose in the opening stanza – but both fighter’s appeared somewhat overawed by the occasion.
Fighting for the first time in almost a year, Tomlinson showed glimpses of true form and despite his recent inactivity, was able to press the evasive Belmontes in each of the ten rounds.
Backed by new head trainer Manny Robles, Tomlinson (now 21-1-1, 12 KOs) showed a new-found patience, taking his time and carefully placing his shots – far removed from the entertaining albeit reckless performance he offered against Malcolm Klassen in his last outing – almost twelve months earlier. That said, Belmontes pushed Tomlinson for the entirety of ten rounds, regularly making the Australian miss as he fought primarily off the back-foot and landed counters with succcess.
Throughout the fast paced fight, scheduled for ten rounds, Tomlinson applied a lot of pressure while landing some crisp combinations – albeit failing to stun Belmontes – Tomlinson was cut in the seventh round and battled through the testing circumstances. As expected, Belmontes, 25, (now 19-3, 5 KOs) provided Tomlinson with rounds and was a game challenger, despite many insiders expecting him to be out of his depth, he was able to make Tomlinson miss a majority of his fluid attacks.
Overall, the bout served it’s purpose for Tomlinson, who was looking for rounds in a break-out performance on a card that will be televised from all corners of the globe, despite the fight not making the live telecast. Although it wasn’t televised in Australia, the card was expected to be broadcasted live on Showtime Extreme, a US cable channel that airs the preliminary fights on most significant Golden Boy pay-per-view events – however, this time around it never happened.
Even in defeat, Tomlinson’s stock remains promising as he now looks to re-stake his claim amongst the best fighters in the super featherweight division – alongside divisional leaders Mikey Garcia and Takashi Uchiyama. Consequently, the boxing fraternity is now consciously aware of Tomlinson’s talent as he looks to respond with a victory on another marquee opportunity on the seemingness endless line of high calibre cards promoted by boxing’s biggest promoter.
Although his fight was given significantly less attention, another Aussie in Steve ‘Tough Love’ Lovett made a successful US debut, scoring a one-sided second round stoppage win over Francisco Molina in the opening bout of the nine-fight card.
Fighting under the expert tutelage of respect boxing trainer Ronnie Shields, Lovett, 28, showed plenty of composure and was systematic in his taking apart of Molina (now 1-3, 1 KO). Lovett looked at ease in a victory that will hopefully lead to regular activity for the promising prospect – who has lacked competitive opposition as a professional.
Lovett improves to 8-0 (5 KOs) – and will look to capitalise on the momentum earned with the stoppage victory.
Photography by Louie Abigail.
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