VERONA, NY — For 11 rounds, Oscar Rivas fell into the frustrating pattern of falling into clinches whenever Bryant Jennings went to the ropes. But a light bulb went off before the 12th and Rivas surprised his foe with an explosion of power shots to score a knockdown and a dramatic TKO.
The fight was on the table for both men headed into the final three minutes. Rivas had a narrowed lead on two cards (106-103, 105-104) and trailed on the third (103-106). Rivas began his assault seconds into the round with a left hook followed by a guard-piercing straight right that staggered Jennings. Rivas followed up with several cuffing shots for the knockdown. Jennings was coherent and rose at nine. Rivas pounced again and Jennings failed to clinch, resulting in him absorbing neck snapping shots that forced the referee stoppage.
The win is the biggest of Rivas’s career, giving him two more regional titles (IBF International, WBO NABO) and a path to a world title shot.
This was a disastrous setback for Jennings. 2018 was his most active in over five years and Top Rank was firmly behind his push. Now he goes from Top 10 to probably the lower half of the Top 20. He was still rebuilding his standing from the back to back 2115 losses to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz. Now he faces a bigger road back and potentially being relegated to gatekeeper status against younger and more dangerous foes.
On the undercard, prospect Shakur Stevenson displayed an efficient inside game stopping Jessie Cris Rosales in round four.