MEADOW LANDS – There was lightning in the area throughout the evening. The thunder, however, was saved for inside the ring next to The Meadows Racetrack and Casino.
In the co-main event of the Madness at The Meadows boxing event Saturday night, challenger Ahror Muralimov stunned a full-house crowd of 1,500 by knocking out WBA/NABA U.S. Heavyweight champion Jason Bergman of Washington late in the second round.
Muralimov, a native of Uzbekistan who now lives in Houston and only took the fight Wednesday after Justin Jones backed out, caught Bergman with a hook to the head during an exchange along the ropes, stunning the champion.
Bergman, whose record falls to 23-11-2, dropped his hands and stood up after the blow and Muralimov (16-0, 13 knockouts) dropped the champion to the mat with a combination to the head.
“He got caught with a shot to the ear and was out on his feet,” said “Smokin” Jim Frazier, who announced the fight for WPGH, which will broadcast it from midnight to 1 a.m., Sat., Aug. 2.
Referee Rick Steigerwald gave Bergman an 8-count and asked him if he could continue. Gamely, Bergman nodded, but Muralimov, who entered the fight as the heavyweight champion of his native country, which is located between Kazakhstan to the north and Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to the south, attacked Bergman in the corner, again dropping him with a combination.
As Steigerwald again counted, Bergman’s corner threw in the towel, stopping the fight at 2:38 of the second round.
It was a tough defeat for Bergman, who was unavailable for comment. He won the opening round and had staggered the 5-11, 256-pound Muralimov, much to the delight of the largely pro-Bergman crowd.
The loss was just the second in Bergman’s past 16 fights and came in his second title defense. He had beaten Devin Vargas in March after winning the title last October.
“He just got caught with a shot, plain and simple,” said Tommy Karpency, who defeated Philadelphia’s Dhafir Smith in the other co-headling event to win the WBA/NABA and Pennsylvania Light Heavyweight championships.
“The guy just kept going to the body and then he came upstairs with the hook and that was it. I think he’ll be back. He’s a big strong kid.”
Karpency should know. He and Bergman grew up as neighbors in Adah, Fayette County.
“We’ve known each other since childhood. I know he’ll bounce back,” Karpency said.
And, apparently, the entire town showed up to watch the fights as chants of “Adah!” broke out throughout the event.
They came away pleased with most of the other results as Karpency dominated Smith, winning 100-90 on two cards and 98-92 on the third.
Karpency (23-4-1) knew he would be in for a long fight against Smith (27-25-7), who has only been stopped four times in his career and owns a victory over IBO and IBF Super Middleweight champion Jeff Lacy.
“I figured it would probably go 10 rounds because he could go 30 rounds at any time,” Karpency said. “He’s had 60 fights and he’s only been stopped four times. I knew I was going to be a long fight. I basically just won the fight using my jab and throwing combinations.”
Tommy Karpency wasn’t the only Karpency to win in this event. Younger brother Danny improved to 3-0 at light middleweight with an impressive third-round TKO of Rick Morias.
In other fights, welterweight Amonte Everhart looked sharp in his professional debut as the Pittsburgh-based boxer stopped Glenn Walls of West Virginia after two rounds because of a referee’s decision, and Cian Dalton, also of Pittsburgh, improved to 4-0-1 with a 39-37 decision on all three scorecards over Lawrence Blakey in four rounds.
Even with Bergman’s defeat and a pre-fight rainstorm that caused the outdoor event to be delayed an hour, the crowd seemed to enjoy the show, which was promoted by Frank Luca’s Crown Boxing
The fights were the first at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino since the casino was added.
“I thought we got great vocal support from everybody and we can’t thank everybody enough for supporting us,” Tommy Karpency said. “It’s totally motivational, and even in losses, people say ‘Great job.’ They’re still behind us. It’s unconditional support.
“It was a great show. Frank put on a great show, and I hope we can get back down here and fight again.”