Dejan Zlaticanin wins WBC lightweight title and makes history
Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) stopped replacement opponent Franklin Mamani (21-3-1, 12 KOs) in three rounds to win the vacant WBC lightweight title and become Montenegro's first ever boxing world champion on Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York.
Southpaw Zlaticanin rocked Mamani, who took the fight on eleven days notice, with hard shots in the first round and although the Bolivian fighter started to fire back in the second, undefeated 'Dynamite' continued to hurt Mamani.
As they traded, a solid left hook in the third wobbled Mamani, sending him stumbling backward to the ropes. Zlaticanin threw a barrage of head and body shots until Mamani ended up on the canvas. But the referee decided a shove rather than a shot was to blame. Seconds later, Mamani was pinned on the ropes as Zlaticanin teed off more vicious lefts until the referee stepped in to stop the bout at 0:53 of the round.
Zlaticanin was originally scheduled to challenge Jorge Linares for the WBC belt, but Linares had to pull out with a fractured hand. Then the WBC named Linares 'champion in recess' until he recovers. Zlaticanin was then set to meet former European champion Emiliano Marsili for the vacant title, but days before the fight, Marsili pulled out citing a stomach ailment, and Mamani took the fight.
"I’m very proud. I made Montenegro proud," said Zlaticanin. "I want to thank my fans that came to support me. I think I made my country proud. I knew that I would knock him out. He stood too close to me. I want Linares next. He can’t run from me anymore."
Also on the card, former world champion Demetrius Andrade (23-0, 16 KOs) scored a 12th round KO over fellow American Willie Nelson (25-3-1, 15 KOs) in a WBC light middleweight title eliminator.
Andrade floored Nelson four times before the referee stopped the fight at 1:38 of the final round.
Underdog John Molina Jr (29-6, 23 KOs) outpointed former world champion Ruslan Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs) over 12 rounds in a light welterweight bout.
The Russian stalked Molina from the opening bell and landed several hooks.
For the first six rounds, the American was on the back foot and was often trapped in a corner but to his credit, shifted the momentum in his favour.
His jab and his combinations saw Provodnikov's eyes and face mark up and although there was nothing to choose between the pair at the halfway point, Molina landed the more shots in the second half and won by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 115-113.