Reigning women’s welterweight champion Jorina Baars made it look almost too easy in the Lion Fight 31 main event Friday night as she dominated the hard-charging Puerto Rican Angela Whitley. The lanky Dutch star used her massive reach and experience to offset the challenger throughout and easily won a lopsided unanimous decision in front of a rabid crowd inside the famed Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Conn.
Baars (41-0-3, 14 KOs) opened a nasty gash above Whitley’s left eye in the third from a sizzling elbow on the inside and once the blood flowed freely, Whitley seemed tentative. Baars continued to pound on her adversary with a plethora of kicks to the body and legs, coupled with crisp elbows in the clinch. Whitley (14-1, 2 KOs) hung in there until the bitter end, but she just couldn’t match the champ down the stretch. Baars wound up winning via tallies of 50-45 on all three scorecards.
In the co-main event, Thailand’s Tum Sityodtong became the first man to defeat Gaston Bolanos in the pros as he out-dueled him over five rounds to win a unanimous decision. The fight was largely a tactical affair, but there were bursts of dramatic action scattered throughout the contest.
After an opening two rounds that were as close they come, Bolanos (8-1, 7 KOs) was tagged by an elbow from Sityodtong (89-6-6, 5 KOs) a split second after the bell ended the stanza, which warranted a point deduction against the Thai veteran. The infraction caused the score of the third to be 9-9 but Sityodtong got that point back in the fourth when he floored Bolanos with a sizzling left hook to the body, followed by a left high kick.
Bolanos tried to rally in the fifth, but the Californian came up short. In the end, the three ringside judges all favored Sityodtong; two saw it 48-45 while the third had it 49-44, allowing him to capture the vacant Lion Fight super lightweight title.
Iman Barlow captured the vacant Lion Fight women’s super bantamweight title by dominating late-replacement Jeri Sitzes (33-13-1, 17 KOs) over five rounds. Sitzes took the fight on four days’ notice and took it to the English fighter from the outset, but Barlow’s style and massive experience was too much. Barlow (84-5-3, 30 KOs) won thanks to scores of 49-46 and 50-45 (twice).
Antonina Shevchenko (59-2-1, 21 KOs) successfully defended her Lion Fight women’s lightweight title by dominating Italy’s Paola Cappucci for five rounds, winning a lopsided unanimous decision. The Peru resident was too quick and accurate with her shots and withered Cappucci (46-10-2, 3 KOs) down the stretch. Shevchenko improved to 38-1 with 9 KOs. Brett Hlavacek (17-3, 4 KOs) toppled Brad Mountain (3-4) via unanimous nod in the opening bout of the AXS TV telecast. He won with scores of 50-45 on all three cards.