The third Premier Boxing Champions event at the Minneapolis Armory attracted a crowd of 3,713 on Saturday night. It was a long card – lasting nearly seven hours – and the attendees apparently were thirsty.
The Armory set a record for liquor sales since it reopened for concerts, boxing and other events with an extensive remodeling.
This was the first of four PBC cards that will be held at the Armory in 2019. The next will feature the Twin Cities’ Caleb Truax vs. Peter Quillen in an eliminator bout that will lead to title fight in the IBF’s 168-pound class on April 13.
Here’s the report that was filed by PBC and Robb Leer Communications after Saturday’s fights:
Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) defeated Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) by technical split decision (96-94, 96-94 for Dirrell, 98-92 for Yildirim) for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight World Championship in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes from the Armory in Minneapolis.
Referee Mark Nelson stopped the contest in the tenth round due to an accidental clash of heads and a cut over Dirrell’s left eye with the decision going to the scorecards.
“I was upset with the stoppage because I wanted finish the fight like a champion,” Dirrell said. “It feels great getting my WBC belt back. We want to unify against Caleb Plant or any of the champions. I’m just going to go home, take some time, talk to my camp and then we’ll go from there.
“I thought I was winning this fight by more than what the judges had. I was jabbing him and he was applying some pressure, but that’s just what he does. I won the fight, though, and that’s all that matters.”
Minneapolis-native Jamal James (25-1, 12 KOs) scored a crowd-pleasing technical knockout win over Janer Gonzalez (19-2-1, 15 KOs). Midway through the sixth stanza, James appeared to drop Gonzalez with a straight overhand right, but referee Gary Miezwa declared it a slippage.
Near the end of the sixth round, James landed another knockdown and this time it counted. At the close of the round, Gonzalez went to his corner and never came out with the fight being declared a sixth-round stoppage.
A sellout crowd of 3,713 erupted when Gonzalez didn’t answer the bell for the seventh. James is 3-0 in his bouts at the Armory.
“This is the best crowd I’ve ever fought in front of,” James said. “We packed this place. Middle of winter, snow all around us and they still came out and showed a lot of support. I can’t even explain the feeling to come out here and stop him.
“The only question I have is where’s my belt? I’m ranked third in the WBA. Keith Thurman got the belt, Pacquiao got the belt. But in all honesty, whoever gives me that opportunity I’m stepping in there with them.’’
James added: “I just kept my range and was able to counter on him. And when he was coming in he was coming in real wild and opening himself up for some big shots that I was able to take advantage of. The first time he went down I thought it was a legitimate knockdown, but the ref was a good ref.
“I definitely caught him with a good combination and a nasty body shot for the second knockdown. After that, I knew that took the rest of the fight out of him and all I had to do was finish the job.”