Last Tuesday night (4/19/2016), Richmond Virginia based boxer, Immanuwel Aleem, stepped into the ring for perhaps his toughest test to date against knockout artist Jonathan “El Conquistador” Cepeda. The 8-round middleweight contest took place in front of a large crowd at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Aleem entered the ring with a perfect record of 15-0(9KO) mostly against over-matched opposition, making this fight a significant test against a proven opponent. On his end, Cepeda brought a record of 17-1(15KO), a five fight win streak, and was looking to break a 13 month period of inactivity.
The early parts of the fight saw Cepeda fighting off the ring rust, with Aleem taking advantage of the inactivity by pushing the pace and making his opponent miss often. Aleem quickly exposed a gap in hand speed between the two fighters, catching Cepeda accurately and often. As the bout moved on to the middle rounds, Cepeda began to find his stride, bringing the fight to Aleem by landing a few solid blows and keeping the pressure on his opponent. Both fighters fought on the inside for a bit, where Aleem’s hand speed allowed him to land a greater volume of punches, and Cepeda’s power gave him the edge on a damage-per-punch ratio. Cepeda, however, was likely behind on the score cards and needed to land something big to turn the tide. The later rounds saw both fighters throwing their heaviest punches at each other, and each showing a lot of heart, with neither combatant touching the canvas. Aleem took a huge punch that appeared to buckle his legs, but managed a sound defense while he recovered. Meanwhile Cepeda showed a chin of steel, weathering Aleem’s constant onslaught of fast combinations. The bout ended with a unanimous decision victory for Aleem (79-73 on all judges’ scorecards).
With the victory, Aleem ascends to 16-0(9KO) and Cepeda moves to 17-2(15KO). What the judges’ scorecards couldn’t capture was the entertainment factor of the fight. Both fighters were more than willing to go toe to toe, showing no hint of backing down. It was definitely the fight of the night on the card, despite the wide scoring. Neither fighter has any reason to be disappointed in their performance, as the fans were thoroughly entertained.
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