ANGELO LEO WINS VACANT WBO TITLE; ALEEM HALTS BATES IN ELIMINATOR

PHOTO BY AMANDA WESTCOTT/SHOWTIME
Story by:  Chip Mitchell

Angelo Leo captured the vacant WBO junior featherweight (super bantamweight) title Saturday night with a dominant unanimous decision over Tramaine Williams from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The fight represented Showtime’s first live boxing event in close to four months.  Williams was a replacement for (WBO #1 contender) Stephen Fulton, Jr., who was originally scheduled to for the vacant title.  Fulton Jr tested positive for for Covid-19.  Williams was game early on, however,  he couldn’t overcome the pressure by Leo, who won by scores of 118-110 twice, and 117-111. 

 

Leo landed 39% of his power shots.  The WBO #2 Leo, an Albuquerque native, drew inspiration from the late Johnny Tapia, also from the same hometown.   

 

Leo’s first title defense won’t be easy as he is slated to face Fulton, Jr, within the 180 days.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet, it just feels surreal,” said Leo. “The first few rounds I was just feeling him out, getting his timing, getting the feel of him. I felt him kind of loosening up and breaking down, and that’s when I started putting the pressure on him a little more.

“Congratulations to Leo, he did it,” said the Philadelphia Fulton by way of video conference on  the network. “But listen, I’m ready for him. I’ve been ready. Just be ready to face me when it’s time. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

 

In the co-feature, Raeese Aleem won by TKO over late replacement Marcus Bates in a WBA eliminator.  Aleem was previously  scheduled to fight Williams before Williams jumped into the main event against Leo.  This fight was a rematch of a 2018 battle between the two combatants,  also won by Aleem (UD-8).

 

Bates suffered an injured right wrist and tried his best to work through the agony.  However, between in the 10th round, referee Gary Rosato  stopped the fight due to Bates turning his back on Aleem while in pain.  Aleem out-landed Bates 193 – 86 in total punches.  With the win, Aleem will likely get a title shot against Brandon Figueroa or another titleholder.

In the opener, light heavyweight Joe George scored a vicious ninth-round KO of Marco Escudero in another bout that served as a rematch.  George won a controversial decision last year on ShoBox in a bout most observers thought he lost.

There was no controversy in this bout as George, trailing on two cards, landed a left uppercut to end the show.  Escudero missed with a lead right.  George followed and missed a lead right of his own.  As Escudeo ducked while still in range,  George landed the big shot to finish Escudero.  This will certainly be a finalist for KO of the Year.

The next related card will be August 8 as Jamal James takes on Thomas Dulorme in a solid matchup.  The fight originally was scheduled for April 11 at the Armory in Minneapolis, but it was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The card is scheduled to be aired on FOX.

After the Fox broadcast, Fox Sports1 will televise bouts featuring prospects Mykal Fox, Vito Mielnicki Jr. and Luis Pena in separate fights.