Kai Stewart & Bryan Duran Exit Ring With Respect after Five-Round Championship Battle at BKFC 62

June 24, 2024
3 weeks

Kai Stewart is quickly proving to be one of the most reliable champions in the BKFC’s early history. Stewart made his second successful title defense of his featherweight championship when he beat Bryan Duran on Friday night at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida. Duran, a Cuban-born fighter and second-ranked contender at featherweight, has been building up a strong reputation as well.

Duran was the first fighter in BKFC history to win his first six fights by knockout. However, that streak ended when he had to try and take down Stewart. The two fighters went back and forth for five rounds. 

What made the difference, according to online boxing news, was Stewart’s accuracy. He scored the only knockdown of the fight. Stewart held a 142-85 edge in punches landed. 

Stewart connected on 71.4 percent of his punches, while Duran landed 46.4 percent of his attempts. Some of the buildup to the fight was contentious, but Stewart squashed any lingering hard feelings in the post-fight interview.

“First and foremost, your boy is tough as (expletive),” Stewart said. “You guys were loud and rowdy, and it was one hell of a show. This is a beautiful arena, and I can’t wait to come back.”

Stewart extended his record to 6-0 in the promotion on a night with three championship fights. It was an exciting night for BKFC, which set a venue record for combat sports with 6,766 people attending the event.

BKFC President David Feldman was ecstatic with the overall product during the post-fight press conference, according to the latest boxing news online.

“It was a really special night because these guys are all homegrown,” Feldman said. “The majority of these guys are fighters who we built up through BKFC. … BKFC 62 was one of the best shows we’ve ever done.”

Blas Finds Redemption With No Gloves

Being a professional MMA fighter was Alberto Blas’ first strategy for getting into combat sports. But that didn’t end up being a viable option. He started his MMA career by losing four of his first professional fights and decided to go differently.

But Blas could put the power in his hands to good use. Since joining BKFC, Blas has compiled a 5-0 record and paid off his career turnaround when he knocked out Keith Richardson in the first round to claim the bantamweight championship.

Blas didn’t wait long to get the action started. Blas sent Richardson spilling to the canvas twice in a little over a minute. Blas kept the pressure on and landed another punch that ended the fight just 70 seconds in.

Richardson, who was previously undefeated, fell to 4-1 and will need to work to rebuild his reputation. With how the fight ended, it is likely Richardson will need to take another fight before he challenges for the championship again.

Warren Finally Claims His Championship

Jared Warren’s first challenge for the BKFC light heavyweight interim title was a major disappointment. He didn’t get any closure either way. Warren fought Josh Dyer to a no contest.

Neither man left the ring with the belt on July 14, 2023, at BKFC 47. But Warren was grateful to get the next shot at the championship. Lorenzo Hunt vacated the light heavyweight championship. Warren stepped in to fight JoMi Escoboza.

Warren took advantage of this second opportunity for glory. During the five-round fight, Warren landed 78 percent of his punches and scored three knockdowns. While the two men attempted a similar number of punches, Warren landed at a much higher percentage.

This was the second time that Warren beat Escoboza. After the decision was announced, Warren was emotional during the post-fight interview according to online boxing news.

“I’ve screwed up a lot of things in my life,” Warren said. “I’ve failed a lot. But this belt proves to me that if you focus all of your energy on one thing and block out all the distractions, you can achieve greatness.”

Ibarrola Continues Building Case for Bantamweight Title Shot

The competition may be different from what Justin Ibarrola was looking for. But the No. 3-ranked bantamweight fighter did what he needed to do to maintain his spot in the rankings. Ibarrola dominated Rick Caruso, peppering him with shots in a fight that didn’t take long to decide.

Ibarrola only threw 26 punches during the two-round fight but landed 19. Caruso attempted 17 more strikes than Ibarrola but had difficulty hitting the mark. Ibarrola dropped Caruso at the 1:28 mark of the second round to win the fight.

Vicens Continues Hot Start to BKFC Career

Christine Vicens will be ready for her championship spot. She proved she can take on whatever the women’s flyweight division can throw at her. Vicens, who is the third-ranked fighter at flyweight, scored a TKO over No. 2 Melanie Shah at the end of the second round.

Vicens moved to 3-0 in the promotion.

Perez Moves to 4-1 in BKFC

Gee Perez is starting to look like a real contender in the flyweight division. During a fight with Albert Inclan, Perez controlled the fight until he picked up a fourth-round knockout win. Perez landed a much higher clip than Inclan.

Perez connected on 57.4 percent of his strikes and connected on 89 punches compared to 42 for Inclan. Perez only needed one knockdown to bring a stop to this fight.

Here’s a look at the rest of the fights on the card not mentioned above:

  • Bantamweight, Chris Garcia win by knockout over Mike Livingston, Round 5 :54
  • Featherweight, Edgard Plazaola win by knockout over Eric Dodson, Round 4 :38
  • Heavyweight, Leonardo Perdomo win by TKO over Leo Bercier, Round 1 1:40
  • Welterweight, Wayna Reid win by split decision over Peter Peraza, 49-46 and 48-47 (Reid), 48-47 (Peraza)
  • Welterweight, Josh Zuckerman win by TKO over Yosdenis Cedeno, Round 4 :31
  • Light heavyweight, David Simpson win by TKO over Markus Suarez, Round 3 1:03

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By Dean McHugh.

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