When it was all said and done, the audience was screaming frantically from the stands. And they were frantic for Adrien Broner, the Cincinnati native knocked out Antonio DeMarco in the eighth round over the weekend “Move out of the way Floyd! A new champion is here,” screamed fans from the audience. It wasn’t hard to understand their enthusiasm. Broner stepped up to to his toughest challenge yet, and dominated DeMarco from the onset of the fight. But, there was more.
The 23-year-old Broner entered the center of Boardwalk Hall with rap phenomenon Kendrick Lamar spitting to his “Backseat Freestyle”. The lyrics of the song were customized to say “Broner had a dream” instead of “Martin [Luther King] had a dream,” and it set a tone for big things to happen. Broner clad in glittering pink honored Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the most flamboyant way imaginable.
And when the fight hit 1:49 of the round eight, DeMarco was on one knee, the result of a decimating uppercut. But, the victory was truly the accumulation of punishment that began when the opening round commenced. Broner’s speed, defense and swagger make him a highlight reel. The dream came true as Adrien Broner was deemed the WBC lightweight champ and likely heir to the throne presently occupied by Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. “I’ll fight anybody. I’m going to be running this city and sport for a long time to come,” Broner said in the post fight press conference. “What can I say after a performance like that? I am elite. Like I said coming into this fight, I’m an elite fighter that can make a great fighter look like an amateur and I think that’s what I did tonight.”
Earlier in the night, Johnathon Banks, the last student of the late, great trainer Emanuel Steward, fought with the vigor of a man with divine purpose. Banks squared off in a heavyweight bout with Seth Mitchell, who was touted as the next big thing in the faltering division. Mitchell’s ascension changed trajectory abruptly in the second round. Banks, a Detroit native, dropped Mitchell three times in the round, causing the referee to end the fight. The crowd was stunned. Perhaps, Banks had some help, even if only in spirit. “Emanuel was with me in spirit. He was in my ear telling me to keep moving and keep boxing,” Banks said in the press conference. “He was with me the whole time. I dedicate this victory to Emanuel.”
Below are photos from the event.
Adrien Broner and Antonio DeMarco
Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks
Photos by Chuck Creekmur and Chris L. Brown