The fight seemed to be slipping away from Ivan Redkach as it got into the late rounds, but one big left hand allowed him to regain a grip on things.
After being dropped early by Luis Cruz on Tuesday night, Ivan Redkach gained knockdowns of his own in the eighth and ninth rounds, and rallied to salvage a 10-round split draw at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Redkach (19-1-1, 15 KOs) trailed on all three judges’ scorecards entering the eighth, but the Ukrainian southpaw caught Cruz (22-4-1, 16 KOs) late in the round with a winding left hand that landed flush on the Puerto Rican’s nose and sent him crashing to the canvas.
Redkach followed that up in the ninth with a clubbing left hand that appeared to cup Cruz’s head and force him down with seconds left in the round. Referee Gary Rosato, however, ruled it a knockdown, which helped Redkach pull even on the final scorecards.
“I think I won, but it was a good fight,” Redkach said. “The knockdown I suffered tonight was me losing my balance. I felt I controlled the fight because I knocked him down twice.
“I thought I could have stopped him after the first knockdown. I’m not going to argue with the decision, but I feel I won the fight.”
It was Cruz who gained the upper hand early, scoring a knockdown in the second round as he followed his jab with a straight right hand that caught Redkach and sent him backpedaling to the canvas.
“I hurt him; I had the power,” Cruz said. “I tried to work round by round. I feel that the knockdown was what cost me the win. I thought the last knockdown was a slip. That was the difference between the draw and my win.”
Cruz countered effectively through the middle rounds as he maintained his early edge, using Redkach’s aggression against him by doubling and tripling up on his jab, and landed some well-timed left hooks.
Cruz, who had lost four of his previous seven fights, appeared to be in control of the bout until Redkach shifted momentum in his favor with his two late knockdowns.
For a complete recap of Redkach vs Cruz, including a look at all three judges’ scorecards, visit our fight page.