Batyr Akhmedov didn’t do anything flashy Saturday night. The southpaw from Uzbekistan simply pressured Argenis Mendez for eight rounds and wore down his 35-year-old opponent. Mendez said he suffered an injury to his right and couldn’t answer the bell for the beginning of the ninth round on the Gervonta Davis-Mario Barrios pay-per-view undercard at State Farm Arena. The 30-year-old Akhmedov, who represented Turkey at the 2016 Summer Olympics, improved to 9-1 and recorded his eighth knockout during this WBA super lightweight championship elimination match. Mendez (25-7-3, 12 KOs, 1 NC), of Yonkers, New York, lost by TKO for just the second time in his 14-year pro career. The Dominican veteran, a former IBF boxer champion, is 2-4-2 in his past eight fights.
Akhmedov has won each of his two fights since losing a controversial unanimous decision to Barrios in September 2019. Barrios dropped Akhmedov twice therein bout, once within the fourth round and again within the 12th round, fended off an aggressive Akmedov during the last half of their bout, and won the then-vacant WBA world super-lightweight title Barrios was set to defend versus Davis later Saturday night. His victory Saturday night kept Akhmedov in a position to urge an attempt at the title he felt he should’ve won when he battled Barrios. The WBA ordered an instantaneous rematch following Barrios’ questionable win nearly two years ago. Akhmedov’s volume won him the eighth round and apparently did enough damage to dissuade Mendez from the beginning of his corner to start out the ninth round.
Akhmedov turned Mendez’s head with left at about 1:15 to travel within the seventh round. Akhmedov kept pressing the action therein round and therefore the slower Mendez had difficulty handling his pressure. Akhmedov landed on Mendez’s head and body during the sixth round. Mendez was comparatively inactive during those three minutes. Mendez landed two body shots with a few minutes to travel within the fifth round. Mendez’s right moved Akhmedov backward with about 1:15 to travel within the fourth round. A right hook by Akhmedov later within the fourth round made Mendez reset his feet.
Akhmedov landed a straight left with a few minutes to travel within the third round. They fought on the within for many of that round, yet Mendez again didn’t land many clean punches. Mendez stood his ground more during the second round than he did during the opening round. Akhmedov still had trouble landing clean shots on him, though Mendez didn’t completely plan too many punches during those three minutes. A clash of heads opened a cut above Akhmedov’s left eye during the second round also . Akhmedov pressed the action throughout the primary round, but Mendez defended himself well and remained out of Akhmedov’s punching range.