Boxing Begins Era At MGM National Harbor Casino

Courtesy of MGM National Harbor via Twitter

A raucous sellout crowd of 2,828 and a nationally-televised audience helped christen the theater at the new MGM National Harbor Casino in Oxon Hill, Md., for professional boxing.

The three featured bouts on the Top Rank-promoted card included members of the “Ukrainian Dream Team” who wowed their compatriots in the crowd with successful performances. Two Beltway boxers also successfully competed on the card.

In the main event, Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko successfully defended his WBO super featherweight title by stopping a very game Jason Sosa at the end of nine rounds. Lomachenko, a boxer many consider the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world faced a very game and defensive Sosa in the early rounds but the champion finally caught up to the challenger and Lomachenko was able to land solid shots to Sosa’s face and causing a welt over Sosa’s left eye. Eventually, Lomachenko’s offense proved to be too much and the Sosa corner, on the advice of the ringside physician, would not let their fighter come out for the 10th round.

“I came into to show everyone the ‘Hi-Tech.’ I think I did that very well,” Lomachenko said.

Lomachenko is now 8-1, five KO’s. Sosa, a former WBA super featherweight champion, is now 20-2-4, 15 KO’s.

In the co-feature, undefeated Ukrainian light heavyweight Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk retained his NABF light heavyweight title and won the vacant NABO version of the title with a crushing third-round TKO of Yuniesky “The Monster” Gonzalez of Miami. After a strong start in the opening round, Gvozdyk picked up the pace in the second round, hammering Gonzalez with lefts and rights. Gvozdyk would seal the win by knocking Gonzalez down in the third round and finishing him off with a barrage of punches that forced Gonzalez’s corner to call a halt to the bout at 2:55.

“He was the best boxer I ever fought,” Gvozdyk said of his opponent. “Once I hurt him, I just kept throwing punches.”

Gvozdyk is now 13-0, 11 KO’s while Gonzalez’s record drops to 18-3, 14 KO’s.

Undefeated WBO cruiserweight champion Aleksandr Usyk retained his title with a dominant unanimous decision over a very game Michael Hunter of Las Vegas. Usyk delighted the sellout and mostly pro-Ukrainian crowd of 2,828 with a solid performance and he landed crisp shots against Hunter. Usyk closed the show nicely, almost stopping Hunter in the 12th round before winning a decision — all three judges scoring the bout 99-91.

Usyk is now 12-0, 11 KO’s while Hunter loses for the first time and he is 12-1, eight KO’s.

Waldorf, Md., super lightweight Mike “Yes, Indeed” Reed won a 10-round unanimous decision over a very durable Reyes Sanchez of Ciudad Meza, Mexico. Reed landed solid shots to the body throughout the contest and mixed in some straight left hands from distance. By the tenth round, Reed was showing confidence, competing with his hands down and still landing tough shots as he covered 10 rounds for the first time in his pro career. Sanchez attempted to land shots but was outgunned by Reed’s quickness.

“I would give my performance a four,” a disappointed Reed would say after the contest. I hit him with a hard shot in the third round but I let the bout slip away.”

All three judges scored the bout 99-91 for Reed, who remains undefeated at 22-0, 12 KO’s. Sanchez falls to 26-10-2, 15 KO’s.

Hyattsville, Md., super lightweight Patrick “YG Pat” Harris won a workmanlike eight-round unanimous decision over a game Omar Garcia of Monterrey, Mexico. Harris landed solid shots to the body and head of the tough Garcia while cutting off the ring on Garcia throughout the contest. Garcia returned little to no offense in the bout. Harris won by shutout (80-72) on all three scorecards in going eight rounds for the first time in his career.

Harris remains undefeated at 11-0, seven KO’s. Garcia dips under .500 at 6-7, one KO.

Philadelphia super middleweight Jesse “Hard Work” Hart regained his NABO and USBA championships with a crushing fifth-round stoppage of Alan Campa of Mexico. Hart dominated from start to finish, finally landing a crushing right uppercut that would eventually lead to referee Brent Bovell stopping the contest at 1:44 of the fifth.

Hart, who is ranked number one by the WBO, is now 22-0, 18 KO’s while Campa is 16-3, 11 KO’s.

Undefeated Lithuanian welterweight Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas scored a crushing fourth-round knockout over Ramdses “Pantera” Agaton of Mexico City in the opening bout. Kavaliauskas knocked Agaton down twice in the third round with crushing right hooks. Then late in the fourth, Kavilauskas finished the job with a crushing straight right hand that ended the evening. Referee Brent Bovell stopped the contest at 2:58 of the fourth.

Kavaliauskas is now 16-0, 12 KO’s. Agaton falls to 17-3-3, nine KO’s.

Boxing makes a quick return to the MGM National Harbor Casino. There will be a card on Friday, April 14 that will have bouts televised by Showtime. On Saturday, May 20, Capitol Heights, Md., featherweight Gary Russell Jr. will defend his WBC featherweight title against Oscar Escandon at the new casino.

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