FOR THE second time in less than a year, rising undefeated super lightweight prospect Keith Hunter defeated tough-nosed Uzbekistan native Sanjarbek Rakhmanov from Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
In the ShoBox: The New Generation main event Friday night on SHOWTIME, Hunter showed his full arsenal of skills to earn the unanimous decision.
The judges scored the fight 97-92 and 98-91 twice.
Hunter (12-0, 7 KOs) and Rakhmanov (12-3-1, 6 KOs) first met in April 2019 in an eight-round welterweight contest that resulted in a narrow-split decision victory for Hunter. This time, Hunter left little doubt and won more convincingly.
“He really impressed me,” said SHOWTIME analyst and former world champion Raul Marquez.
“He’s a great prospect who fought the best fight of his life tonight. He showed a lot of skills, a tough chin, an impressive jab and he didn’t run out of gas. He fought until the end and was looking for the knockout until the final bell.”
The six-foot-tall Hunter used his seven-and-a-half-inch reach advantage to control the distance and was incredibly active throughout, throwing 660 jabs and 1,075 total punches compared to 189 jabs and 393 total punches for Rakhmanov.
Hunter, the son of former heavyweight Mike Hunter and the younger brother of current heavyweight contender Michael Hunter, scored a third-round knockdown when he connected with a left hook to the head of Rakhmanov.
Overcoming an injured right hand in the seventh round, Hunter stuck to his game plan and continued to control the action. Rakhmanov proved a tough opponent, but Hunter showed that he could take a punch as he brushed off several heavy blows from Rakhmanov. Hunter nearly closed the show in style, pressing for the knockout in the final round but Rakhmanov withstood the barrage.
“I really wanted to stop him but the judges saw the effort I put in,” said Hunter.
“I gave it my all and even though we didn’t close the show, I think we stole the show. I think I improved from the last fight to this fight and made more of a statement this time.
“The 140-pound division is stacked and I think I put the rest of the division on notice that I’m here. I’m not going anywhere and we’re definitely a threat.”