Two-time WBC super-middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell saw his hopes of a third world title tilt take a dent after he was held to a 12-round split draw by the unheralded Kyrone Davis at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

The three judges were not in agreement. Patrick Russell scored it 115-113 for Dirrell, Lou Moret had it 115-113 for Davis with Zachary Young seeing it 114-114 even.

The 12-round bout was a mostly tactical affair. Flint, Michigan’s Dirrell delivered a more seasoned jab and greater accuracy but the youth and workrate of Davis posed him problems.

Davis, stepping up from middleweight, suffered a nick over his left eye in the fourth, but stood up to Dirrell’s more crisper shots to take the fight to the wire.

“I thought I won the fight. I pushed the fight, hit him with cleaner punches,” said a disappointed Dirrell (33-2-2, 24 KOs) afterwards. “He hit gloves a lot. I knew it was going to be a draw—as soon as they said it was going to be a split decision. I can’t control what the judges do and I respect them all because they have different perspectives and angles on what is happening.
 
“I was pressing the fight, I wasn’t tired at all. My jab was working. But I can’t stop what the judges think. Davis fought well. He did what he was supposed to, came in with a good gameplan. He was boxing, he normally doesn’t do that. But we pressed the action.

“I’m looking for a title. I’m not looking for just another fight. I’m looking for a big fight. That’s the plan. I’ll take whoever has a belt, whoever we can get. I’ll take a Canelo, or a Caleb Plant.”

Davis (15-2-1, 6 KOs) added: “I thought I won the fight, 116-112. It was a great opportunity. They doubted me. They told me he was going to knock me out. This was supposed to be a showcase for him but it wasn’t. My body felt well. I felt good. Anthony Dirrell is a two-time world champion. I really wanted to make a statement. A draw is not as bad as a loss but I really don’t like breaking even.
 
“It was my first 12-rounder so it was a little unfamiliar for me. I knew he was experienced, but I kept my composure and pushed through it. I stuck to the game plan that [my trainer] Stephen “Breadman” Edwards gave me.”

On the undercard, red hot welterweight prospect Jesus Ramos (15-0, 14 KOs) dismantled Jesús Emilio Bojórquez (24-3, 18 KOs) in two rounds. Electric Arizona southpaw Ramos dropped Bojórquez with a right hook in the second in a sequence that also opened up a gash on the Mexican’s nose. An unsteady Bojórquez rose but was overwhelmed on the ropes when referee Thomas Taylor intervened.

“I was surprised he got up from that right hook. I was setting it up, throwing my jab to the body,” said the 19-year-old Ramos. “I knew he was expecting another jab but I feinted and came back with the right hook. I didn’t think he would get up but he did and then I finished the job. This was a test run [at welterweight]. I felt really strong, the weight cut was a lot smoother this time around. I might campaign here. I have to talk to my team and see what they think.

“I want to be a champion at 21 years of age. That would be next year. I want to step up the competition this year, fight guys with names, and next year fight guys like Yordenis Ugas.”

Ramos’s uncle Abel dropped a split decision to WBA title holder Ugas in September 2020.

Another 147lbs hope Vito Mielnicki Jr. (8-0, 5 KOs) also took care of business on the show, halting Mexican Nóe López (10-4-1, 4 KOs) in the third. López  was dropped in the second by a right hand before New Jersey’s Mielnicki, still only 18, stopped him on his feet in the following stanza. 

“I felt strong tonight. I don’t know how long I’ll be at 147, moving up may be in my future. For this fight, I give myself an ‘A.’ I got him out of there, a guy who said was a step-up, a guy who they said would carry me into the later rounds. But I expect nothing less of myself because I know I’m going to be great,’’ said Mielnicki.

“I’m just going to keep learning. I’m still young. I’m still 18 so we’re not in a rush. We’re going to keep building and see where that takes us. I’m 8-0 with 5 knockouts and I’m not injured or anything so I’m ready to get back in the ring as soon as possible.”

Main image: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions.