Raiymkulov vs. DeMarco: Round By Round

The first Showtime boxing card of 2009 comes to us live from Anaheim, California. One difference is noticeable right away, as excitable Gus Johnson is now the play-by-pay man, though Al Bernstein is still on hand for color.

The main event pits Vic Darchinyan against Jorge Arce with multiple 115-pound belts on the line. Both men have talked a lot leading up to tonight, and they get interviewed one final time by the Showtime team. Darchinyan is confident but fairly calm, while Arce says not to assume anything by the results of their fights against a common opponent.

First, though, is an intriguing lightweight match-up between Almazbek "Kid Diamond" Raiymkulov and Antonio DeMarco. Kid Diamond was once a hot prospect with an extensive amateur background, while DeMarco is a young southpaw who can box or mix it up.

Raiymkulov is 27-1-1 and has won seven straight since a 2005 loss to Nate Campbell. DeMarco is 20-1-1 and comes in with nine consecutive victories.

Round One

Kid Diamond tries to jump in against the taller DeMarco. He lands a few short right hands. DeMarco measures a nice right hand. Neither man can find a home for the jab so far. A short exchange goes Kid Diamond's way. DeMarco gets the fight back to the center of the ring. He scores with two straight left hands. Solid right hand by Raiymkulov and they butt heads right at the bell. The ref says it was unintentional but Kid Diamond is cut above the right eye.

Franchise: 10-9 Raiymkulov

Round Two

DeMarco tries to work the jab as Kid Diamond continues to stay in his face. Raiymkulov throws to the body and head and DeMarco tries to fire back. Right hand upstairs by Raiymkulov. DeMarco is usually a fast starter but is staying patient tonight, trying to set up left hands. He lands one and Kid Diamond slips throwing a wild right. DeMarco scores with a straight left and a few more quick shots.

Franchise: 10-9 DeMarco

Round Three

Short right hand inside by Kid Diamond as he tries to rough up DeMarco. The jab is landing more regularly for DeMarco and setting up left hands. Kid Diamond has his hands low and is getting hit often. DeMarco backs up Kid Diamond and peppers him with straight lefts. Bernstein says DeMarco has a cut above the left eye. Kid Diamond goes to the body but DeMarco stays composed.

Franchise: 10-9 DeMarco

Round Four

Raiymkulov comes out swinging for the fences in the fourth. He goes to the body and is smacked with a right hand coming back. Both men look willing to trade and both are landing. DeMarco finds the range with several jabs. Kid Diamond closes in and tries to make it ugly. Big right hand by Raiymkulov is answered by DeMarco. That was a fun round.

Franchise: 10-9 DeMarco

Round Five

DeMarco hops in behind the jab. A nice left from his foe drives him back. DeMarco lands a combo along the ropes. A sharp right snaps DeMarco's head back and the ref warns them about headbutts again. Three-punch combo by DeMarco and a body shot. Kid Diamond comes in behind a nice body shot and a hook. He just misses a big right and DeMarco scores with a big shot of his own.

Franchise: 10-9 Raiymkulov

Round Six

DeMarco's corner wants him to work more. He's backed up by a Raiymkulov flurry. Body-head combo by Kid Diamond along the ropes. Both men trade jabs. DeMarco gets some work done with the left hand. Raiymkulov loads up the right and clinches. He scores with a right-left combo and circles away. DeMarco digs in and connects with a left. They swing up to the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Raiymkulov

Round Seven

Bernstein has the fight even after six. Kid Diamond just glances a big right off of his foe. DeMarco connects with his own right. DeMarco comes in but misses a bunch of punches. He returns to jabs and left hands. DeMarco ducks in with a left hook. Kid Diamond hasn't thrown as much in this frame. Now he tries to close the distance. Nice left by DeMarco is answered right back by a stiff right.

Franchise: 10-9 DeMarco

Round Eight

Raiymkulov opens this round with right hands from close range. DeMarco battles with his back against the ropes. He works with the jab and uppercut back out in the center. Kid Diamond punches and pushes his way forward. DeMarco lands a bunch of little punches and Raiymkulov responds with harder shots. Another good exchange along the ropes. The round closes out quietly but you get the feeling that fireworks could break out soon.

Franchise: 10-9 Raiymkulov

Round Nine

Press row scoring suggests the fight is very close. DeMarco gets the upper hand with some nice left hands. A body shot looks like it stuns Kid Diamond and he follows with some more lefts. Raiymkulov digs in and tries some hooks. He's definitely not going away. DeMarco returns to doubling up on the left. DeMarco starts off a flurry with a big left hand and pours it on to end the round.

Franchise: 10-9 DeMarco

Between rounds, the doctor takes a long look at Raiymkulov. Eventually he decides Kid Diamond's nose is broken and he calls the fight. Replays show a big left hand followed by a right hook led to the final burst of damage that ended it.

The winner by KO at the end of Round Nine... Antonio DeMarco.

Post-fight interviews suggest that it was actually Kid Diamond's corner that stopped the fight, as the doctor gave him the okay to continue.

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