Rances Barthelemy W10 Omar Juarez ... In the PBC co-feature on Showtime's broadcast from Las Vegas, Rances Barthelemy (30-2-1, 15 KOs) bounced back from a stoppage loss last July to Gary Antuanne Russell to pick up an unpopular majority decision against Omar Juarez (14-2, 5 KOs). A former champion at 130 and 135 pounds, Cuba’s Barthelemy started quickly and ended this 140-pound bout the same way: he won the first and second round and the ninth and tenth rounds on all three judges’ cards. The scores were 95-95, 97-93 and 98-92 in favor of Barthelemy. The crowd at The Chelsea rained down boos after the decision was read as many thought that Juarez had done enough to win the fight. “I understand that most of the fans are Mexican here and they were going for Juarez,” Barthelemy said. “But I also had my Cuban fans and they were cheering.”
It was a close fight based on the punch stats with Barthelemy winning the power punch category decidedly, 49% to 33%. “I tried to win this fight intelligently with my brains against a young fighter and that’s what I did,” Barthelemy said. Barthelemy said he would love nothing more than a rematch with Russell. “I want a rematch even more than a title shot,” he said. “I want that rematch with Gary Antuanne Russell. I want it badly.”
The 23-year-old Juarez had his three-fight winning streak halted. “It is what it is,” he said. “I honestly thought I did enough to win, but all That’s left is keep working hard for next time. My one mistake was not staying on top of him. I should have been more aggressive.”
Kenneth Sims Jr. W12 Batyr Akhmedov ... In the telecast opener, Kenneth Sims Jr., (20-2-1, 7 KOs) moved one step closer to a first world title shot as he out\dueled Batyr Akhmedov (9-3, 8 KOs) in a thrilling WBA juniuor welterweight eliminator. The bout ended in a majority decision in favor of Sims, 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114. After the verdict was read by Jimmy Lennon Jr., Sims collapsed to the canvas and then sobbed into his father and trainer Kenneth Sims Sr.’s, chest following the biggest win of the 29-year-old’s career. The Chicago-born Sims now training in Las Vegas and the Los Angeles resident and Uzbekistan’s Akhmedov combined to land 640 punches, the most thus far in 2023. “This is what I’ve been waiting on for years,” said Sims, who won for the seventh straight fight. “I’m not supposed to be here right now. That’s what they say. Ain’t nobody thought I would be here right now. And I know that I’m the best so at 140 it’s whatever. I’m ready for anyone.”
Akhmedov landed 331 punches to 309 for Sims in the close contest. Sims landed 46% of his power punches, compared to an equally impressive 40% for Akhmedov. In the championship rounds, Sims landed 87 power punches to Akhmedov’s 82.
Both fighters continued to push the pace entering the 10th round with Sims’ suffering swelling around his right eye that closed up as the all-action fight concluded.
“This is what I expected,” said Sims, whose only two career losses came on SHOBOX: The New Generation® prospect series. “This is what I expected of him but I’m a savage. I’m a dog. I have that dog in me. And that’s what I was saying during this whole time leading up to this that I had that dog in me and I was going to show them. My eye wasn’t bothering me. I don’t care. Like I said, ‘I’m a savage.’ I don’t care.
“I want the winner of the main event. I want that title. That’s it. Whoever wins the main event that’s who I want.”
Akhmedov thought he won the fight after suffering another close loss on the judges’ cards. His previous two losses were also narrow defeats on points. “It’s like every time I don’t stop my opponent it’s like they win,” he said. “It seems like it’s a goal against me. If they reach the 12th round it’s like they already won and they’re already celebrating because the judges give it to them. Look at the punch stats. It’s the third time in a row. I won again. I’m winning rounds, I’m throwing more, I’m hurting him more. He’s surviving seven rounds out of 12.”
Prior to the telecast, Starling Castillo (18-1-1, 13 KOs) handed junior welterweight Esteuri “El Puma” Suero (12-1, 9 KOs) his first pro loss in a bizarre ten-round unanimous decision victory. Castillo won on all three scorecards, 94-93 and 95-92 (twice), and benefitted from Suero being penalized three points, including two in round ten for biting Castillo on the shoulder... Rising bantamweight Michael Angeletti (8-0, 7 KOs) from New Orleans knocked down Venezuela’s Michell Banquez (20-4, 14 KOs) and referee Chris Flores stepped in to stop the bout a minute later earning Angeletti the TKO in the eighth and final round at 1:15 of the frame... With a large contingent of supporters in attendance, Justin Viloria (2-0, 2 KO) won his second fight since turning pro last month as the 18-year-old from Whittier looked solid in a fourth-round TKO stoppage (1:41) against Colombian Pedro Pinillo (5-2, 5 KOs) in a scheduled six-round super featherweight bout.