Sport

Mama falls to Edwards; Nietes-Jimenez bout ends in draw

Mama falls to Edwards; Nietes-Jimenez bout ends in draw

Filipino flyweight boxer Jayson Mama yielded to IBF champion Sunny Edwards of England in the main event while WBO International junior-bantamweight titlist Donnie Nietes and Norbelto Jimenez of Dominican Republic traded fiery blows only to end up in a draw in their respective bouts at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai Saturday, Dec. 11 (Sunday, early morning in Manila).

Jayson Mama (left) dodges the right jab of Sunny Edwards during their IBF flyweight title bout at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai Saturday, Dec. 11 (Sunday, early morning in Manila). (Probellum)

Edwards scored a convincing unanimous decision win over Mama, 118-109, 118-109, 117-110, as the London-born boxer unloaded solid right hands to outclass the Filipino fighter.

Edwards set the tone as early as the first round and kept the momentum until the sixth round with Mama emerging as the stagnant fighter but connecting a couple of rights as well.

It was at the eighth round where Mama finally found his groove and landed body shots midway but still left the defending champion unscathed and composed from a distance.

The 25-year-old Edwards then retaliated in the tenth as he sent Mama to the canvas with a booming straight left followed by a right hand with a minute down the clock, a combination that most likely sealed the deal for the defending IBF flyweight champion.

Edwards remained undefeated in 17 matches on top of four knockouts while Mama suffered the first defeat of his career with 16 wins.

In the co-main event presented by Probellum, Nietes and Jimenez showcased a classic slugfest as both fighters end up in last-second brawls almost every round.

Donnie Nietes attempts to land a right jab on Norbelto Jimenez during their 10-round junior bantamweight world title eliminator at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai Saturday, Dec. 11 (Sunday, early morning in Manila). (Probellum)

Despite the action-packed boxing, the judges called for a draw with the final scores of 96-94-96-94, 95-95.

The match ended up with drama and controversy as Jimenez was frustrated knowing that the bout only lasted for 10 rounds but all is well for both boxers despite a few cheap shots here and there throughout the course of the world title eliminator.

Intensity began as early as the fourth round where Nietes accidentally landed a low blow to Jimenez by the end of the fourth after trading solid combinations earlier.

The ensuing rounds displayed the same tension as both Nietes and Jimenez exchanged punches from all angles and also ended up with a last-second brawl.

Fans were displeased when Jimenez attempted a cheap shot on Nietes after the sixth round before going over the same level of boxing in the next few rounds.

It was at the eight round where Nietes, a four-division world boxing champion, seemed to exploit Jimenez’s slowing movement as he connected a strong right hand but the Dominican boxer showed tenacity while transitioning more into defense.

Nietes, however, wasn’t necessarily happy that Jimenez showed “dirty” tactics in the fight.

“At the very first round, I feel that I’m very well. I was able to make the first round and going up to the seventh, I’m starting to notice that he’s running around already,” said Nietes through the help of a translator. “I really noticed that he fights really dirty.”

The 39-year-old Nietes ended up with a 43-1-6 record on top of his 23 KOs while Jimenez yielded a 30-9-5 slate with 16 KOs.