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Charles Conwell makes a successful return on the Haney-Garcia undercard

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by Joseph Santoliquito | 

NEW YORK, NY — If there were any nerves, Charles Conwell hid them well. He walked into his dressing room in the bowels of Barclays Center on Saturday afternoon with an easy demeanor, as calm as he could be. If he were any more relaxed, he would have been asleep.

It had been 16 months, going back to November 26, 2022, since Conwell, the former U.S. Olympian, was in the ring throwing fists for money.

On Saturday night, on the Devin Haney-Ryan Garcia undercard at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, Conwell (19-0, 14 knockouts) snapped his inactive spell with a sixth-round stoppage over tough veteran Nathaniel Gallimore (22-8-1, 17 KOs).

Charles Conwell made good use of the uppercut against Nathaniel Gallimore (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy).

It took some time for Conwell to find a rhythm, but when it arrived, it came in torrents.

“I feel good,” Conwell said. “It was the coming back party. I thought he was a tough-game fighter. He came with a lot of experience, but I did what no other fighter has done. I stopped him in the sixth round. I don’t think any other fighter has beat him as bad as I did.

“He was a tough fighter and I appreciate him for taking the fight. We’re looking to get back in the ring asap, sometime in July or August. I’m back in the gym getting better. The ring rust is off. We’re ready for what’s next.”

In the third Conwell really opened up, slamming Gallimore to the body, and the head. But Gallimore came back to have a good fourth, landing a few uppercuts on Conwell.

In the fifth, Conwell, his left eye swollen, crowded Gallimore and had him against the ropes with 1:10 left in the round. Gallimore’s nose was bleeding, and he was on the retreat, with referee Arthur Mercante Jr. looking on closely.

Conwell opened the sixth leveling a heavy dose of uppercuts through Gallimore’s guard, when Mercante saw enough and ended it :52 of the sixth.

David Jimenez takes the WBA Interim Junior Bantam Title

David Jimenez plows John “Scrappy” Ramirez (Photo by Cris Esqueda-Golden Boy)

It was John “Scrappy” Ramirez who was carrying the flashy torch, with hair larger than himself, carrying the hype train, but it was David Jimenez who wound up winning on substance, taking the interim WBA interim junior bantamweight title by unanimous decision, winning 117-111 on two scorecards and 116-112 on the other.

“I am very happy to become a champion again. I want to thank Golden Boy for the opportunity,” said Jimenez, who outlanded Ramriez 191-142 on total punches. “I am ready to plan for what’s next. I felt great in the ring, and I felt like I was controlling the fight from the second round. Scrappy has a good punch and is a good boxer. Like all fighters, I want to become undisputed.”

Through six rounds, it was a fairly even fight. Ramirez began taking a page from what Jimenez had been doing early on, digging to the body. Neither fighter was willing to give way.

Jimenez was punching with more volume, tapping Ramirez inside. He was outworking Ramirez, working the body and the head.

In the ninth, the two literally butted foreheads, leaning on each other, as they slammed inside. Referee Benji Esteves was getting a work out of his own, constantly separating the fighters.

As the 10th opened, Jimenez went into attack mode again, ripping shots into Ramirez’s sides. Jimenez kept coming forward and Ramirez kept taking shots. Scrappy’s face was cut up, Jimenez looked clean going into the championship rounds.

Between the 10th and 11th, Ramirez’s corner implored him to close strong, though there seemed no concern whether or not he was losing.

With 1:39 left in the last round, Jimenez popped Ramirez with an uppercut, and a cut opened on Ramirez’s right eyebrow, possibly by a headbutt, though the opening left blotches of blood on Jimenez’s cheek. While Ramirez’s corner pushed for the big close, it was Jimenez who closed strong.

Bektemir Melikuziev hands Pierre Dibombe his first loss

Bektemir Melikuziev and Pierre Dibombe engaged in a bloody war (Photo by Cris Esqueda-Golden Boy).

Southpaw super middleweight Bektemir Melikuziev (14-1, 10 KOs) notched possibly his biggest victory to date, handing Pierre Dibombe (22-1-1,12 KOs) his first loss on a unanimous eight-round technical decision victory by scores of 79-73 (2) and 78-74 in a scheduled 10-rounder.

In the first round, Dibombe suffered a cut on the right eyebrow. It was the start of things to come. The cut opened like a mini spigot of blood, which dribbled down his face as he returned to his corner after the first. The cut, it was later determined, the cut was caused by an accidental headbutt.

Melikuziev kept attacking, and punishing Dibombe, pushing him back with a constant, strong jab. Even though it seemed Melikuziev was dominating, he had only outlanded Dibombe through four, 20-18. Dibombe tried firing back at Melikuziev in the last 20 seconds of the fourth, but Melikuziev came striking back with the heavier hands.

With 2:16 left in the fifth, Melikuziev knocked down Dibombe with a left, even though it seemed Dibombe tripped over his own feet. Melikuziev had suffered a major cut on his left eye.

In the sixth, both fighters went winging shots at each other.

Through six, Melikuziev outlanded Dibombe, 62-49.

Melikuziev had a strong, overwhelming seventh, where he was all over Dibombe. He landed a nice one-two and had Dibombe backing up.

As the fighters were about to begin the eighth, referee Ricky Gonzalez called for the ringside doctor to take a look at Melikuziev’s cut, which was also caused by an accidental headbutt.

The ringside doctor opted to stop it and go to the scorecards.

Arnold Barboza Jr. lands a right into Sean McComb (Photo by Cris Esqueda-Golden Boy)

Arnold Barboza Jr. just gets by Sean McComb

Team Arnold Barboza Jr.’s confidence was so high that they wore 30-0 on the back of their shirts in the corner before The Ring’s No. 8 140-pound contender faced lanky Irish southpaw Sean McComb.

Barboza Jr. wants to serve notice to the 140-pound division that he is belt hunting this year.

This was not the way to do it.

Barboza Jr. (30-0, 11 KOs) won a 10-round split-decision over McComb (18-2, 5 KOs), winning 97-93 and 96-94 on two scorecards, overruling the one McComb 98-92 card.

McComb, who entered the fight on a seven-fight winning streak, started well. He kept Barboza Jr. away with a jab. He did landed some decent shots, though nothing extremely effective, tapping Barboza Jr. to the body a few times.

In the second, Barboza Jr. began finding a good distance. He tagged McComb a few times up top, connecting rights over McComb’s left. In the last 20 seconds of the fourth, Barboza Jr. had McComb pinned against the ropes, though could not do much.

Through five, Barboza Jr. was not as dominant over McComb as many thought he would be. If his intention was to take aim at the world’s best 140-pounders, this was not a good advertisement for that.

As the rounds began to pile it up, McComb was rising as a major threat to upset the 140.

In the last round, McComb once again kept Barboza Jr. away, while connecting each time the previously undefeated junior welterweight neared. McComb did not allow Barboza Jr. to find a rhythm, prevented Barboza Jr. from setting up. A spattering of boos came from the crowd as McComb jabbed his way to frustrate Barboza Jr.

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JSantoliquito

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