Ra’eese Aleem Drops, Outclasses Mike Plania In Ten-Round Shutout, Demands Title Shot Next

Boxing Scene

Ra’eese Aleem is a problem for any junior featherweight in the world today.

That was the emphatic message delivered in a lopsided decision win over Mike Plania. Judges Rudy Barragan (100-89), Pat Russell (100-89) and Esther Lopez (100-89) all scored every round in favor of Aleem in their FS1 televised bout Sunday evening at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

The battle of oft-avoided junior featherweights were due to meet on a June 18 Showtime card that was canceled once headlining act, WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo withdrew from the main event after suffering a back injury. The delay left both boxers out of the ring for more than nine months by the opening bell, though immediately making up for last time as both enjoyed early success. Plania—a Filipino boxer based out of Miami—was effective with his right hand counter, while Aleem controlled the tempo on the strength of his left hook and long rights.

Aleem gained an edge in an otherwise evenly matched bout, as he was credited with a knockdown early in round two. The unbeaten contender from Muskegon, Michigan—who lives and trains in Las Vegas—raced across the ring to land a right hand to Plania’s midsection. Plania stumbled, touching his glove to the canvas and back to the ropes to break his fall. Referee Ray Corona made a judgment call, ruling a knockdown and putting the streaking Filipino in an early hole.

Plania never quite rediscovered his rhythm after the sequence. He was not without his moments, though his best shots lost as Aleem more than doubled Plania’s output. Aleem snapped back Plania’s head with a left hook in round three, also scoring with several straight rights.

Aleem was left-hook heavy in round four, cracking Plania to the body and then coming back upstairs upon the urging of his corner to throw more combinations. Plania took the shots well but was wild and well off the mark in his return fire until the end of the round, catching Aleem with an overhand right and left hook just before the bell.

The fight grew increasingly one-sided in favor of Aleem as the rounds progressed. There wasn’t any quit in Plania, who always managed to be in position to land a counter right hand. It was always lost in a sea of crisp combinations by Aleem, who was equally effective on the move and in the pocket.

Aleem boxed with confidence in round eight, getting Plania to follow him around the ring and then responded with lead left hooks. Plania never budged, realizing he needed to land a game-changing punch but was never able to pin down Aleem or slow down the unbeaten contender’s attack.

Well ahead on all three scorecards, Aleem kicked it into another gear in the final round. Plania was under attack, on the verge of no longer able to defend himself as Aleem spent the final 30 seconds of the bout in search of a stoppage rather than settle for the shutout victory that would come of the night.

Plania snaps an eleven-fight win streak as he falls to 26-2 (13KOs). His lone defeat came in a ten-round decision to former IBF bantamweight titlist Juan Carlos Payano in March 2018, dropping the two-time Olympian but unable to complete the upset. His run prior to Sunday’s defeat included a ten-round decision over one-time promising prospect Joshua Greer Jr. in June 2020.

Aleem cruises to 20-0 (12KOs) as he emerges as a junior featherweight contender to watch. Firmly in his sights is unbeaten WBC/WBO titlist Stephen Fulton, who is coming off a dominant win over former champ Danny Roman on June 4 and remains without a confirmed fight date or opponent for his next title defense.  

“Where’s my title shot,” Aleem questioned aloud following his latest win. 

Aleem-Plania aired live on FS1, ahead of a four-fight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View (which also airs on Fite.tv and PPV.com). Headlining the show, former unified heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz (34-2, 22KOs) faces two-time title challenger Luis Ortiz (33-2, 28KOs) in a scheduled twelve-round WBC heavyweight semifinal eliminator. 

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *