Boxing has produced yet another controversial decision as local super featherweight Rances Barthelemy was awarded a unanimous decision verdict over Arash Usmanee on Friday night at Magic City Casino in Miami, FL.
Both fighters came into the contest with undefeated professional records following sterling amateur careers but Cuban born Miami resident Barthelemy held the edge of fighting at home.
The stakes were high from the outset, as this was an IBF title eliminator for the number two spot and the amazingly tall Barthelemy started out well, keeping his distance from Usmanee and using his height advantage to carry the early rounds behind a hard jab and whipping lead left hook.
By the middle rounds, Afghanistan born Montreal resident Usmanee began to time his rival and Barthelemy could no longer keep his foe at a distance as the jabs and hooks that kept Usmanee off in the early frames were missing the mark.
Bathelemy's great height and long arms were now a disadvantage as Usmanee started outboxing the Cuban and ripping hurtful shots to the body.
Usmanee's success continued until the ninth when he began to slow down and Barthelemy was able to control the distance and action between the fighters over the next two rounds.
The final frame saw all-out action with Usmanee rocking Barthelemy at times but the local man kept his feet to hear the final bell.
When the scores were read, Barthelemy was awarded a unanimous decision by the surprisingly wide scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113.
Barthelemy now stands at 18-0 (11) while Usmanee drops to 20-1 (10).
Given the scoring of the fight, a mandated rematch wouldn't be surprising.