Mazlum Akdeniz threw every punch with the intention of picking up his first knockout in more than a year.
The 25-year-old southpaw would have to settle for his third straight points win, complete with three knockdowns in a rout of Mexicali’s Cristian Bielma. All three judges scored the contest 100-87 for Akdeniz in their ten-round junior welterweight co-feature Friday evening on ESPN+ from Place Bell in Laval, Canada.
Akdeniz was merciless to the body throughout the bout, laying the foundation in the early rounds. Bielma provided an all-too inviting target, as he didn’t offer any resistance whenever Akdeniz was able to cut off the ring.
The first knockdown of the fight—and of the show—came early in round three but under dubious circumstances. Montreal’s Akdeniz prepared to load up for a right hook but lowered his shoulder into Bielma, knocking the Mexicali native off balance. Bielma was already on his way to the canvas when the unbeaten Akdeniz landed a shot to sell the referee on a knockdown.
Bielma was back on the deck early in round five. A straight left hand sent the Mexican backwards and onto his bum, though replays picked up Akdeniz stepping on his foot during the sequence. It was still ruled a knockdown, as was a sequence in round seven when Akdeniz scored to the body against a retreating Bielma, who literally turned his back before falling to the canvas.
Despite the one-way affair, the threat of a knockout evaporated as the bout went into the later rounds. Bielma came out swinging in round nine, only to fall to the canvas in what was accurately ruled a slip. A failed effort by the visiting journeyman to initiate a clinch resulted in another flop, as Bielma milked the moment in taking his time rising to his feet. Akdeniz continued to target the body as Bielma went on the run.
Akdeniz improved to 18-0 (8KOs), while Bielma’s record fell to 19-5-2 (7KOs).
The first competitive fight of the evening provided the judge with some actual work. The ringside officials failed miserably, as Marie Pier Houle was fortunate to escape with her unbeaten record still intact in a hard-fought unanimous decision over Marisol Moreno.
Scores of 77-75, 79-73 and especially 80-72 completely missed the plot in the eight-round welterweight battle. Moreno—a well-conditioned 28-year-old from Mazatlan, Mexico— consistently beat ‘MPH’ to the punch in the early rounds, steady with her jab as she threw crisp shots straight down the middle. Houle took several rounds to get her offense untracked before picking up the pace in round four. The fight offered plenty of competitive two-way action from that point through the final bell, including a brave last-round stand by Houle—a 32-year-old prospect from Terrebonne, Quebec— who was instructed to let her hands go and not leave it in the hands of the judges.
The advice was given due to Moreno’s strong showing in the preceding rounds, often making Horne miss and then responding with clean power shots. Houle offered sound infighting skills, dodging her share of incoming shots but often catching air before closing the gap and forcing a firefight in the eighth and final round.
Houle advanced to 8-0-1 (2KOs) with the win. Moreno suffered her third straight defeat but deserved so much better as her record fell to 6-4 (0KOs).
Caroline Veyre continued her ascension in the pro ranks. The 2020 Olympic quarterfinalist for Canada advanced to 2-0 (0KOs) following a six-round, unanimous decision win over Mexico’s Estefania Gonzalez Franco. Scores were 60-54 on all three scorecards in favor of Veyre in their featherweight contest.
Veyre fell one fight short of the medal round in the loaded featherweight bracket during the Tokyo Olympics. She still made enough of an impression to catch the eye of Yvon Michel, who added the Paris-born, Montreal-based boxer to his GYM Promotions roster. Veyre has yet to lose a round, pulling a clean sweep in her pro debut last August and doing the same on Friday. The highly skilled 34-year-old prospect grew increasingly stronger but was unable to put away Gonzalez (3-6, 0KOs), who didn’t put up much of a fight but showed mettle in making it to the final bell.
Derek Pomerleau preserved his perfect record but showed some flaws in his latest victory.
The 22-year-old southpaw went six rounds for the first time in his career, with all three judges (60-54, 60-54, 60-54) scoring unanimously in Pomerleau’s favor over Gaudalajara’s Gustavo Magana Rodriguez (3-2-1, 1KO) in their middleweight bout. Montreal’s Pomerleau (4-0, 2KOs) pumped his jab, often throwing a right hook behind it as he pushed Rodriguez around the ring. The young prospect showed signs of fatigue down the stretch, perhaps a sign to not attempt to advance too far as he nears his first full year as a pro.
Eric Basran remained perfect as a pro after a six-round shutout of Juan Carlos Ramirez. Scores were 60-54, 60-54 and 60-53 in favor of Basran in their lightweight bout.
The six-round preliminary contest never changed gears. Basran—a former amateur standout—was in full control from the opening bell, as Mexico’s Ramirez (4-3, 0KOs) was disinterested in putting up a fight. Basran (3-0, 1KO) fought largely behind his jab, reddening the right eye of Ramirez who spent the final two rounds on the move simply to run out the clock as he settled for a third straight defeat in lieu of putting up a fight.
Headlining the show, WBC junior flyweight champ and local hero Kim Clavel (16-0, 3KOs) meets WBA titlist Jessica Nery Plata (28-2, 3KOs) in a scheduled ten-round unification bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox