It wasn’t easy but Duke Micah passed another test.
In his first fight at super flyweight, Ghana’s Micah tasted canvas but roared back, scoring three knockdowns of his own in all, on his way to an eight-round unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Janiel Rivera.
Afterward, Micah was seen wincing while holding his right hand. He was taken to the hospital to have his knuckles examined.
Those same knuckles spent a lot of time banging off of Rivera’s head. Micah was the aggressor in the first, weaving in behind the jab. Toward the end of the frame, Rivera stood his ground, allowing Micah to drop him with a crunching right cross on his jaw. Rivera rose on wobbly legs and was saved by a bell that rang moments later.
Micah, 28, 24-0 (19 KOs), continued to control the action in the second but hit a snag midway in the third. A short left uppercut on the inside caught Micah’s chin and sent the Ghanaian tumbling to the canvas.
Micah was up quickly, more embarrassed than hurt, and eager to join the fray. The combatants stood toe-to-toe and again, a booming Micah right, this time a counterpunch, landed flush and deposited Rivera on the seat of his trunks.
The gutty Rivera, 28, 18-6-3 (11 KOs), got up again, surviving the round as Micah battered him around the ring.
Micah would control the action the rest of the way, sending Rivera’s mouthpiece flying out of his mouth with yet another right hand in the fifth. The action tightened up over the final three rounds. Rivera was busy, throwing combinations to the head and body. Micah was still in command but his punches lacked the steam they had earlier, most likely due to the injured right hand.
In the end, all three judges scored it in Micah’s favor by scores of 79-72, 78-73 and 78-74.