Heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Blagoy Ivanov squared off tonight (Saturday, March 9, 2019) in the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, only on ESPN+ (start your free trial here)
Rothwell took Ivanov’s legs out from under him early with a kick, and tried to track down Blagoy, who jabbed as he moved around the outside of the cage. Rothwell whiffed on a high kick, jabbed Ivanov, parried a hook. He landed a heavy right hand, and a moment later got sent backwards by an uppercut. Ivanov landed a nice right hand to the body. Rothwell slipped a jab, ate another right to the ribs under his raised lead hand. Rothwell, standing very square, couldn’t seem to find another opening for his right hand. They traded in a nervous-looking exchange. Rothwell landed a stiff jab and a kick, and Ivanov responded with a swinging hook as the round ended.
Ivanov jabbed and circled some more to start the second round. Rothwell slipped a one-two. Ivanov landed that cracking right hand to the body. They fenced with their lead hands, Rothwell’s long-armed guard looking to stifle Ivanov’s lancing jab and counter. Ivanov landed a right hand. Rothwell came over the top with a right hand of his own and sent up a sneaky high kick that Blagoy just blocked. Ivanov cracked Rothwell, who responded with a hook. Rothwell went to the body with a right hand of his own. Rothwell landed a right hook that caught Ivanov clean. They began trading in the pocket! This was a high-risk game, Rothwell pressuring Ivanov and not letting up. Rothwell landed a hard leg kick. Ivanov whiffed a big right hand, and Rothwell landed several lancing punched before Ivanov pivoted and circled out. Rothwell cracked Ivanov again. Ivanov returned a leg kick his way as round two wore to a close.
They traded jabs. Ivanov looked for the right hand, whiffed upstairs but found a home for it on Rothwell’s torso. He punched his way out of a Rothwell clinch attempt. Herb Dean stopped the bout momentarily for Rothwell keeping his fingers outstretched at Ivanov’s eyes. Rothwell landed a left straight, feinted his way in to land another. They traded jabs. Rothwell landed a cracking right, but Ivanov returned the favor. Left hand for Rothwell, left straight a moment later for Ivanov. Rothwell was working his jab, pressed his way in, landed a hook and an inside leg kick. He slipped a jab. They were trading hard and Rothwell sneaked in a head kick! Ivanov pivoted and landed his own punches! What an end to the fight! Rothwell gave his crazy face once the bell sounded and Ivanov put his arms on the top of the cage, breathing heavily. h
Ivanov, who was being heavily booed after the decision, credited Ben Rothwell and thanked his family in an oddly quavery voice. “I throw more punches, and I think this is the way to win” he said.
Official result: Blagoy Ivanov def. Ben Rothwell via unanimous decision (29-28x3)
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