LAS, VEGAS, NV — Lucas Matthysse captured the interm WBC super lightweight title with bruising, highly entertaining 10th round TKO win over previously undefeated Olusegun Ajose last night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Learning from his close and controversial decision losses to previous speedy southpaws in Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, Lucas Matthysse started fast in the opening round by cornering Ajose and digging hard left hooks to the body and doubling the shot upstairs. By the second, it appeared a short night was on the table as Ajose was forced to hold after being staggered by a right hook and cracked with additional left hooks to the body. However, Ajose displayed one of the defining characteristics of this fight; when hurt, the Nigerian fired back with short, fast hooks inside to survive.
Despite a severe power disadvantage, Ajose never shied away from exchanges. This misplaced bravado lead to Ajose almost always being on the bad side of punishing blows, but also made for a dramatic, brutal contest. Rounds 3-4 featured a relentless Matthysse driving Ajose to the ropes and never wavering with left hooks downstairs. Ajose had one shining moment in the latter round where he briefly backed off Matthysse with a hard counter right hook.
The beating intensified during the middle rounds. Matthysse would land over 20 flush left hooks in fifth, wobbled Ajose with the same punch in the sixth, and still landed a hard 1-2 in a seventh round where both men showed the first signs of fatigue. Ajose took his first clear round in the eighth by utilizing his legs. He stopped banging inside with Matthysse and fired off quick clusters of hooks before skating back out of range. Matthysse scored a double left hook, but Ajose clearly outworked his tormentor. Ajose carried that momentum into the ninth, but had the round stolen in the last 30 seconds when Matthysse succeeded in driving him to the ropes and inflicting significant damage with three successive left hooks.
The rounds of abuse finally broke Ajose in the 10th. After numerous left hooks, it would be two thunderous straight rights that snapped back Ajose’s head for the bout’s only knockdown. Ajose careened off the ropes and fell like a rag doll, prompting referee Russell Mora to call off the bout. And yet, Ajose would still try in vain to rise for more.
On the undercard, J’Leon Love scored an easy DQ win over Roman Valenzuela. Love dominated the bout with his faster hands as the slower, shorter Valenzuela tried to box on the outside and began fouling out of frustration. After a warnings for hip punches, forearms and a point deduction at the end of the seventh, Valenzuela was disqualified in the eighth by referee Jay Nady after attempting an MMA-style takedown.
As I said last night, Ajose deserves much praise for the inhuman amount of punishment he took. He made good on his vow to fight his heart out and make the most of his first title opportunity. As for Matthysse, that man fought like the Devil incarnate; he showed no mercy until Ajose was broken at his feet. Despite being one-sided in rounds, this was an action-packed fight well worth watching. Fight of the Night, without question. For those with the time, check out the full fight below.