By Keith Idec
Shohjahon Ergashev couldn’t knock out Mykal Fox, but he did enough against a taller, tricky southpaw to remain unbeaten Friday night.
The knockout artist for Uzbekistan defeated Fox by unanimous decision in a highly competitive 10-round, 140-pound fight at Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. Judge David Sunderland scored it 96-94 for Ergashev (16-0, 14 KOs), and judges Karen Holderfield and Jeff Sinnett scored a seemingly closer contest 98-92 for the emerging contender.
The 27-year-old Ergashev entered their “ShoBox” main event with a reputation as a devastating puncher. The left-handed, 6-feet-3½ Fox’s five-inch height advantage and awkwardness enabled him to out-box his aggressive, strong opponent at times – just not often enough for the judges.
The 23-year-old Fox, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, lost for the first time as a pro (19-1, 5 KOs).
Ergashev clipped Fox with a straight left hand and followed up with a short right hook with two minutes to go in their fight. Fox took everything Ergashev landed well thereafter and finished their 10-rounder strong.
Fox caught Ergashev with a short right hand early in the ninth round that stopped Ergashev in his tracks. Fox maintained his distance throughout the remainder of the ninth round
Ergashev drilled Fox with a left-right combination in the seventh round. Fox took it well, but clearly acknowledged Ergashev’s power and moved away from him.
Ergashev caught Fox with a straight left hand when there were 11 seconds to go in the sixth round. Yet another awkward clinch caused Fox to lift Ergashev off the canvas again a few seconds later.
When the bell sounded to end the sixth round, Ergashev went to say something to Fox for continuing to lift him off his feet. Referee Bill Clancy quickly separated them and sent Ergashev to his corner.
Fox got into a rhythm during the fourth and fifth rounds, used his jab to establish distance and out-landed Ergashev to make their fight very competitive.
The first three rounds largely amounted to Ergashev stalking Fox and leaning his right forearm on Fox’s neck when they engaged in awkward exchanges. Clancy sternly warned Ergashev for pushing down on Fox’s neck in each of the first two rounds.
Fox lifted Ergashev off the ground after one of those entanglements during the second round. Clancy warned Fox for that tactic as well.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.