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Mbilli Stays Unbeaten: Outpoints Gongora in a Bruising Tiff

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  • Mbilli Stays Unbeaten: Outpoints Gongora in a Bruising Tiff

    Camille Estephan’s “Eye of the Tiger” promotions returned to the Montreal Casino tonight with an 8-bout card capped by an intriguing match between super middleweights Christian Mbilli and Carlos Gongora, both former Olympians.

    The Cameroon-born Mbilli (pictured on the left) represented France in the 2016 Rio Games. He was undefeated (23-0, 16 KOs) coming in and ranked Forum by the WBA. The Massachusetts-based Gongora, a two-time Olympian for his native Ecuador, brought a 23-1 (16) record, his lone defeat coming on the road in Manchester, England, to currently undefeated Lerrone Richards.

    When the smoke cleared, Mbilli won a unanimous decision, but the scores (99-91, 98-92, and 97-93) were misleading as this was a good action fight and the granite-chinned Gondora, a southpaw, was always a threat to turn the tide with his signature punch, a left uppercut. In fact, he may have landed the best punch of the fight when he hurt Mbilli in the opening minute of the eighth round. But the muscular Mbilli shook off the cobwebs and stormed back, dominating the final minute of the eighth and then finishing strong, nearly forcing a stoppage with a non-stop assault in the final frame.

    Mbilli would love to fight the winner of Saturday’s tiff between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant, but that’s not likely to happen. A more likely scenario finds Mbilli opposing fellow unbeaten Vladimir Shishkin, the Detroit-based Russian.


    Simon Kean, a six-foot-five, 250-pound heavyweight from Three Rivers, Quebec, advanced to 23-1 (22 KOs) with a seventh-round stoppage of 40-year-old warhorse Eric Molina (29-9).

    Both were tentative during most of the match. The end came rather suddenly when Kean knocked Molina down with an overhand right after landing a good left hook. The punch did not appear to land flush, but Molina was swaying as he made it to his feet and the referee called it off.

    It was not a particularly impressive performance by Kean. Molina, a special education teacher in the Rio Grande Valley community of Edinburg, Texas, hinted before the bout that this would be his final fight. That would be a sensible idea. He has been stopped six times in his last 10 outings and nine times overall.


    In a 10-round bout contested at 140 pounds, Calgary veteran Steve Claggett improved to 34-7-2 (24) with a TKO over Mexican import Rafael Guzman Lugo (26-3-2). This was a good action fight fought at close quarters, albeit Claggett was clearly in control when the bout was halted.