PICKERING — Josh ‘The Boss’ Wagner closed the show in fine fashion on Saturday night, stopping Abraham Juarez in the Main Event with an eighth-round flurry, while the energetic crowd at the Pickering Casino Resort was also treated to electrifying knockouts courtesy of Shakeel ‘The Jamaican Juggernaut’ Phinn, debutant Milad Zareian, and Gisu ‘Terminator’ Lee.
MAIN EVENT: WAGNER TKO’S JUAREZ
Orangeville’s Josh ‘The Boss’ Wagner moved to 17-0 and recorded his ninth knockout in the process, stopping Abraham Juarez in the eighth round.
Wagner set the tone early, but Juarez rallied to survive into the late rounds before an onslaught punctuated by two heavy left hands prompted the Mexican’s corner to throw in the towel.
The win was Wagner’s third of 2023, and while he personally stated in an in-ring interview that he was not thrilled with his own performance, the stoppage victory keeps his arrow firmly up heading into the new year.
CO-MAIN EVENT: PHINN SPARKS BATTLE-TESTED VETERAN
Brossard, Que.’s Shakeel ‘The Jamaican Juggernaut’ Phinn lived up to his name, scoring the 17th knockout of his career with a stunning first-round, single-punch effort to hand veteran Rafael Sosa Pintos an early shower in the Co-Main Event.
Phinn has now won four straight contests since signing with United in 2022, and his record (26-3-1, 17 KO) should ensure that his phone continues to ring with international opportunities in the new year.
For Sosa Pintos, an 83-fight veteran known for his strong chin, the manner of the defeat stung — with the Uruguayan apologizing to Phinn and fans as he exited the ring.
HAGHIGHAT-JOO CONTINUES TO ROLL
Already ranked internationally by two governing bodies, Sara Haghighat-Joo should draw the attention of the remaining ones following a shutout unanimous decision victory over Esmeralda Gaona — the WBO’s number-five ranked contender — on Saturday evening.
Haghighat-Joo (3-0) cruised through an eight-round victory against the game but overmatched Gaona, and was emotional following the win; the light flyweight contender made her ring walk in a memorial shirt honouring her late brother, who passed away recently.
The win should propel the Etobicoke, Ont. resident, currently ranked ninth by the WBA and tenth by the IBF, firmly up the world rankings.
FRAZER TESTED IN SPLIT DECISION WIN
Joshua ‘Hell Razor’ Frazer had to put on his work boots to remain undefeated, as Mexico’s Carlos Mohamed Rodriguez not only stretched him the eight-round distance but pushed him in a competitive fight.
The towering super welterweight prospect scored a knockdown early in the fight, and ultimately earned a split decision win in what was the toughest test of his professional career to date.
Saturday’s contest between Frazer (9-0, 6 KO) and Rodriguez (15-12-1, 6 KO) brought the crowd to its feet repeatedly, and the split decision proved to be the evening’s most dramatic moment.
ZAREIAN DEBUTS IN STYLE
Cruiserweight Milad Zareian announced his arrival on the Canadian professional boxing scene on Saturday, requiring just 103 seconds to finish off Mexico’s Vicente Santiago in the opening round.
Zareian (1-0, 1 KO) pounded Santiago (1-1) to the body, scoring knockdown after knockdown before referee Mark Simmons finally waved off the contest at the 1:43 mark.
The Sunderland, Ont. product has his eyes set on challenging for a Canadian championship, and already boasts an impressive legion of fans; his progress into 2024 will be something to watch.
TERMINATOR LIVES UP TO NICKNAME
Former South Korean champion Gisu ‘Terminator’ Lee was once again dominant, scoring his second knockout in as many fights on Canadian soil on Saturday with a third-round stoppage of Mexico’s Andres Sanchez.
Lee (10-4, 3 KO) landed a pair of monstrous left hands to floor Sanchez (6-8-3, 2 KO) in the second round, before ending the fight early in round three with a vicious body shot.
With two statement stoppage victories in his pocket, Lee’s stock is on the rise and 2024 could be a significant year for the renascent former Korean champion.
United Boxing Promotions will return to the Pickering Casino Resort on December 2nd, on a card headlined by Brandon ‘Bad Boy’ Cook and Sukhdeep ‘Chakria’ Singh. Tickets are available at unitedpromotions.ca.