Hitchins Controversially Upends Lemos on a Matchroom Card at the Fontainebleau


By Arne k. Lang

LAS VEGAS --Over the years, there have been several boxing shows at the original Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, most recently a 2009 card featuring rising star Guillermo Rigondeaux in the main event. Tonight the sister property in Las Vegas, a new addition to the city's skyline, hosted a Matchroom card that aired worldwide on DAZN.

The main go, a 12-rounder framed as an IBF 140-pound title eliminator, was a classic confrontation between a boxer and a puncher. The boxer, Richardson Hitchins, was the "A side" and advanced his record to 18-0 (7) at the expense of Gustavo Lemos who came in undefeated (29-0, 19 KOs) and was making his first start outside his native Argentina.

Lemos, a buzzsaw, came out with guns blazing and had Hitchins, an 8/1 favorite, fighting off his back foot from the get-go, but the judges were more impressed with Hitchins and he scored a unanimous decision in the most entertaining fight on the card, albeit a bout marred with too much holding on the part of Hitchins. The scores were 117-111 (Tim Cheatham) and 115-113 twice. For whatever it's worth, this reporter thought Lemos nicked it, giving the Argentine seven of the 12 rounds.

Hitchins, born and raised in Brooklyn and a two-time New York Golden Gloves champion, was the lone member of the Haitian boxing team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. With the victory, he becomes next in line to fight the winner of the June fight in Puerto Rico between defending IBF title-holder Subriel Matias and Liam Paro.

Although there were no knockdowns, Hitchins vs. Lemos was a fan-friendly affair that salvaged a show with little in the way in the fireworks and too much dead time between the bouts to accommodate annoying DAZN promos.


In another battle of unbeaten fighters, 23-year-old South Central LA super middleweight Diego Pacheco scored a hard-earned unanimous decision over rugged Colorado campaigner Shawn McCalman. The judges had it 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94.

The lanky, six-foot-four Pacheco, who signed with Matchroom at age 17, had the faster hands and almost always got off first. A training partner of David Benavidez, he has been targeting Edgar Berlanga who returned to the ring six weeks ago and scored an impressive knockout on a Matchroom card in Orlando

With the victory, Pacheco, a stablemate of David Benavidez who has the frame to grow into a cruiserweight, improved to 21-0 (17). McCalman was 15-0 (7) heading in.

Female Title Fight

In the middle fight of the seven-fight card, Australia's Skye Nicolson (10-0, 1 KO) won the vacant WBC featherweight title with a one-sided decision over Denmark's Sarah Mahfoud (14-2). The tallies were 99-91 and 100-90 twice.

Nicolson won the fight more lopsidedly than did Amanda Serrano when she saddled Mahfoud with her only other defeat, but this was hardly a dominating performance, notwithstanding the wide scores. Both fighters had trouble landing clean punches in a bout without an indelible moment.

In her post-fight interview, Nicolson reiterated her desire to meet Serrano in a unification fight. "Amanda I'm ready when you are," she said, while expressing a willingness to acquiesce to Serrano's demand for 12 three-minute rounds: "If that is the only way to fight her, we will make it happen."

Other Bouts of Note

Flyweight Galal Yafai, a gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics and at age 31 the youngest of three prominent fighting brothers from Birmingham, England, scored an eighth-round stoppage over Argentina's Agustin Gauto in a flyweight contest slated for"10."

Gauto, making his U.S. debut. was never off his feet and had a few good moments but he was down deep on the cards when referee Raul Caiz Jr waived it off at the 2:40 mark of round eight. Yafai, who has never fought a professional fight slated for less than 10 rounds, improved to 7-0 (5). It was the second loss in 22 starts for Gauto who was making his U.S. debut.

As an amateur, Fresno's Marc Castro was 3-0 vs. Keyshawn Davis and 2-0 vs. reigning WBA world featherweight champion Raymond Ford. Needless to say, he entered the pro ranks highly-touted.

Tonight, the 24-year-old Castro won a lopsided 10-round decision over Mexicali's Abraham "Fili" Montoya (100-90, 98-92, 97-93), improving to 12-0 (8), but in truth he was far from impressive. He fought most of the fight off his back foot, getting no leverage behind his punches. Montoya, who has never been stopped, declined to 22-6-1.

The best action in this fight happened after the final bell when there was a robust exchange, adding a little spice to what was otherwise a drab fight.

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland / Matchroom
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