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Wilson falls in fourth round

Central Point boxer drops rematch with Michael Hunter Jr. at Madison Square Garden

Central Point boxer Mike Wilson had optimistic intentions but sixth-ranked heavyweight Michael Hunter Jr. left little doubt in their rematch Tuesday night in New York City.

An aggressor from the opening bell, Hunter used a series of solid body shots to slow Wilson’s pace and ultimately put an end to their main event bout with a crisp right hand to the left jaw that dropped Wilson to one knee and then to his back.

Referee Ricky Gonzalez then determined a bloodied Wilson was unable to continue after his mandatory standing eight count, marking the end at 2 minutes, 49 seconds of the fourth round at Madison Square Garden.

The scheduled 10-round main event was the first of a monthly boxing and music series at the Garden’s Hulu Theater. Promoted by Triller Fight Club, the “TrillerVerz” series featured a boxing card as well as a live Verzuz Rap Battle, which capped off Tuesday’s event with Dipset against the Lox.

Hunter landed twice as many power punches as Wilson, 84-41, and was extremely efficient in 147 thrown (57%) over Wilson’s 125. In total punches, the 33-year-old Hunter landed 45% (113 of 250) to Wilson’s 24% success rate (45 of 184).

Wilson, 38, dropped to 21-2-0 with 10 knockouts as the World Boxing Association’s No. 14-ranked heavyweight. He’s held the WBA North American cruiserweight title for three years.

Hunter improved to 20-1-1 with 14 knockouts in earning the WBA Continental American heavyweight title.

Prior to Tuesday, Wilson’s lone professional defeat was a 12-round unanimous decision at the hands of former WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev in November 2018.

Wilson and Hunter are former two-time U.S. amateur champions and met once at nationals in 2007. Wilson led going into the fourth and final round before Hunter, a 2012 Olympian, rallied for a 25-24 victory.

On Tuesday, there was no rallying needed for Hunter, whose lone professional loss was by unanimous decision to Oleksandr Usyk in a 2017 World Boxing Organization cruiserweight title fight.

Hunter raced toward Wilson’s corner following the opening bell and used a snapping jab to keep Wilson at bay with his 4 1/2-inch reach advantage. A pair of right-handed uppercuts that followed sharp body shots put Wilson on his heels 40 seconds into the bout, and that game plan served him well over the course of the next few rounds.

Wilson’s trainer Jimmy Pedrojetti appealed for him to become more aggressive and push the pace at the end of the first round, but Hunter never left much of an opening for that to happen. Throwing punches from a variety of angles, Hunter kept Wilson off balance and did not allow Wilson’s heavy-handed hooks to land squarely.

Wilson tried to make an early burst in the third round but a relaxed Hunter bided his time and then took advantage as Wilson proved to be a little more labored in his movements in the fourth round.

Wilson’s previous fight was on Sept. 7, 2019, winning by TKO over Gary Kopas.

Tuesday’s Wilson-Hunter fight marked the third time it was moved. It was originally set for June 5 at loanDepot Park in Miami, then was pushed back two weeks to avoid fighting on the same weekend and in the same city as Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul.

Wilson and Hunter were to fight on the undercard of the Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos Jr. lightweight championship contest. Lopez tested positive for the coronavirus on the same day Wilson and his team arrived in Miami, and the fight was postponed again until Tuesday.

Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Jimmy Pedrojetti laces up Mike Wilson at the Spartan Boxing Club in Medford on Wednesday.