North Philadelphia's Bryant Jennings stops Artur Szpilka on TKO

Posted: January 27, 2014

NEW YORK - It was the hardest punch Bryant Jennings had thrown up to that point on Saturday night. He delivered a cracking left to Artur Szpilka's chin, and the Madison Square Garden crowd - which was pro-Szpilka - gasped.

But the Polish heavyweight stepped backward and shrugged. If that couldn't hurt him, what could?

North Philadelphia's Jennings provided the answer as he controlled the rest of the fifth round and almost the rest of the fight with his right hook. The next round he scored a knockdown with a thudding body shot to Szpilka's chest.

And in the 10th and final round, Jennings sent Szpilka into the ropes with a powerful left hook. Szpilka untied himself from the ropes and answered the referee's count. But seconds later the fight was finished when Szpilka keeled over under Jennings' attack.

There was no shrug from Szpilka as the ring announcer awarded Jennings the technical knockout.

"People underestimate my strenghth," said Jennings. "I didn't feel his strenght at all, sorry to say. I wasn't ready to lose tonight"

In the eighth round, Jennings (18-0, 10 knockouts) backed Szpilka (16-1) into the ropes and targeted him with body shots. With three seconds to go in the round, Jennings threw a wild left uppercut. The devastating punch missed its mark, and Szpilka returned to his stool. But Jennings made clear he was looking for a knockout.

"I saw that he was weak to the body," said Jennings. "But it was difficult because his body was not as easy to get to because he was leaning down very far."

According to Compubox, Jennings threw 422 punches and Szpilka threw 369. Jennings connected on 173 and Szpilka just 89. The winner threw 328 power punches and Szpilka threw 231. Jennings connected on 46-percent of his power punches and connected on 84 more than his foe. At the time of the stoppage, he was ahead, 88-82, on all three scorecards.

In the ninth round, he kept searching as he knocked Szpilka with a pair of uppercuts in the middle of the ring and later battered him against the ropes. Jennings' defense was on-point as he kept his distance from Szpilka's attack. In the waning seconds of the round, Jennings cracked Szpilka with a hook to the head, but it was not enough for a finish.

"I kept pressing him to go for the knockout and throw caution to the wind," said trainer Fred Jenkins. "I told him if we doesn't knock him out in the 10th round, he's not going to get this fight. So he put it all in the 10th round and he got it."


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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