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JERMAINE FRANKLIN KNOCKS OUT INCREDIBLY TOUGH DEVIN VARGAS IN MAIN EVENT OF “BIG TIME BOXING USA,” PRESENTED BY SALITA PROMOTIONS

PhilBoxing.com





Pagan Passes Test Against Hilley; Akhmedov Dispatches Diaz; Shackleford Tops Banks

DETROIT – May 23, 2024 – Jermaine “The 989 Assassin” Franklin Jr. kept his hopes for another run at the heavyweight title alive tonight by scoring a sixth round TKO over a durable, but under-powered Devin Vargas at Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit and live on DAZN.

Fighting in the 10-round main event of Salita Promotions’ “Big Time Boxing USA” event, Saginaw, Michigan’s Franklin (23-2, 15 KOs), the WBO #12-ranked heavyweight, was forced to work harder than expected against a rugged Vargas (22-11, 9 KOs), fighting out of Toledo, Ohio, who came to win and landed his share of counter shots throughout the entertaining six rounds.

However, Franklin’s punches were far more powerful and impacted with a thud whenever he launched an assault. Vargas was down in round four from an accumulation of shots and again from the same in round six. He capitulated after the second knockdown and elected not to come out for round seven.

The official verdict was a TKO for Franklin at 0:00 of the seventh round.

“It was a great fight for me, but I felt like I made it harder than it needed to be,” admitted Franklin, post-fight. “I was trying too hard to land power shots. I’m not going to lie. Once I landed the first power punch, I just got happy. I was trying to calm down. It looked like I was letting him get off, but I had to calm down to refocus. I got outside my game plan, but I still got the job done.”

Franklin says he feels his work rate and stamina are what make him a threat to any top heavyweight. “I’m more of a volume punching heavyweight,” he explained. “There are only a couple of us. My greatest aspect is that a lot of guys have the strength early, but don’t have it later on. If I can outpunch you and you can’t match my output, you will slow down and slow down. I want to stay as busy as possible. I want to fight four times a year if I can. I’m not ducking no smoke. If the business makes sense, I’m ready to go.”

“I believe Jermaine is rated in the WBO, so Joseph Parker is the WBO Heavyweight World Champion,” asserted Franklin’s promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “I think it’d be a great fight. Both guys fought Dillian Whyte, and both guys fought Anthony Joshua. That’s the fight we’d like to go for.”

Salita added that if Franklin doesn’t get a big phone call right away, he can still accommodate his heavyweight in the meantime. “We’ve been having discussions with different players in the boxing business to get Jermaine a significant fight. I believe it’s a matter of time and if he doesn’t’ get it, we’ll keep him busy on Big Time Boxing USA. Jermaine is still a top American heavyweight. He showed his skills tonight. He’s explosive, young, and powerful. My respect to Devin Vargas for taking a licking and keep on ticking. What a fighter!”

In the bruising and bloody eight-round co-feature, Joshua James Pagan (10-0, 4 KOs) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, stayed undefeated but endured a tough battle to do it against Chattanooga, Tennessee’s now formerly undefeated Roger Hilley (13-1, 8 KOs).

Pagan fought through a free-flowing left-eye cut he suffered from an accidental head butt in round one to outwork the durable Hilley for a majority of rounds and in the process, won the Junior NABF Super Lightweight Championship.

To his credit, Hilley came out smoking and looking to bang Pagan’s body from both sides, but Pagan righted the ship quickly and put his amateur pedigree to work by slipping uppercuts and right hands between Hilley’s attempted outbursts.

As the rounds wore on, the better conditioning of Pagan showed through, and he was beginning to pull away late in the fight.

The scores were 78-74 from all three judges.

“I’m feeling great,” said Pagan, post-fight. “That was my first eight rounder and it was against an undefeated guy, but I trained hard for this and definitely earned it.”

Pagan said that the cut in round one was a bit of a distraction, but he used his experience as a pro and former amateur champion to will his way through the obstacle.

“I knew if I got butted or cut, to just stay calm. I’ve been cut before, and I know how to adjust and fight through it. I learned as I went on to fight smarter and not get hit in the eye. I felt like he was trying to back me up and I’ve always heard you have to bully the bully, so I decided to stand my ground and that made him hesitant. So, then I started using my boxing ability to keep him outside and fight my fight.”

In the night’s opening televised bout, Almaty, Kazakhstan’s once-beaten Ali Akhmedov (21-1, 16 KOs) cut his scheduled-for-10 super middleweight matchup against San Francisco, California’s Encarnacion Diaz (18-5, 11 KOs) short by stopping him at 2:14 of round two.

One-way traffic in the bout, as Akhmedov’s thudding body shots and straight punches to the head were too much for the outgunned Diaz, who tried switching stances and throwing haymakers to no avail.

Trained by Detroit’s own Johnathon Banks, Akhmedov kept his skills sharp while he waits for another opportunity to climb the rankings.

In a four round all-Detroit middleweight fight that served as a TV swing bout, Josiah “Mighty Joe” Shackleford (2-1, 2 KOs) of Detroit and pro debuting foe Ja'Shar Banks (0-1) put on an entertaining scrap with Shackleford coming out victorious by unanimous decision.

Shackleford had too many weapons for the tough Banks, but Banks refused to give in and kept throwing back to the bitter end. Shackleford may have tried for a knockout too hard, giving Banks the opportunity to duck under the potentially finishing blows.

The scores were 40-36 from all three judges.

# # #

ABOUT SALITA PROMOTIONS
Salita Promotions was founded in 2010 by Dmitriy Salita, a professional boxer and world-title challenger who saw the need for a promotional entity to feature boxing's best young prospects and established contenders in North America and around the world. Viewers watching fighters on worldwide television networks including SHOWTIME, HBO, ESPN, Spike TV, Universal Sports Network, UFC Fight Pass, DAZN, ESPN+ and MSG have enjoyed Salita Promotions fight action in recent years. We pride ourselves on offering our fighters opportunities inside and outside the ring. Salita Promotions looks forward to continuing to grow and serve the needs of fight fans around the globe.

Check the Salita Promotions YOUTUBE CHANNEL for regular updates of the modern world’s greatest fighters, contenders and prospects in action.




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