Joey Spencer, Ra'eese Aleem Shine On The Big Stage

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Spencer proves he's a force in the 154-pound division as he cruises past Kevin Salgado on FOX while super bantam Aleem moves one step closer to a world title with a dominant win over Mike Plania on FS1.

It’s easy to forget Joey Spencer is 22 years old. It’s as if the talented super welterweight from Grand Blanc, Michigan, has been around forever, since he turned pro a month before his 18th birthday in February 2018.

Undefeated Kevin Salgado was supposed to pose the biggest threat of Spencer’s young career.

Spencer short-circuited those thoughts by going 10 rounds for the first time in a thorough victory over Salgado Sunday night on the Andy Ruiz-Luis Ortiz card in a  FOX PBC Fight Night headliner from the Arena in Los Angeles.

Spencer (16-0, 10 KOs) won by unanimous scores of 99-91 (twice) and a 100-90 shutout. He controlled the fight using distance and a solid right hand that Salgado (14-1-1, 9 KOs) did not see the entire fight.

“I would say this is my biggest win, this was my most reputable opponent I fought so far,” Spencer said. “Every fight you learn more and more. I think this fight taught me to be more composed in later fights. This was my first 10-rounder. I felt I could have even done more. I felt I needed to pace myself. At the end of the fight, I wasn’t even breathing hard.”

The first few rounds, Spencer was trying to find his range. In the second, he showed some defensive chops, ducking under a four-punch flurry and midway through the second, Spencer dropped a left to the body.

Spencer was very patient, choosing his spots, picking at Salgado, who was outpunched 26-14 through the first three rounds.

“My jab and my counters, and he knew he had to watch for my counters,” Spencer said. “He throws shots hard and they come off strong. But they’re too wide. My shots were direct. It was a fight between two counter punches and my shots were shorter.”

Through six, Spencer looked firmly in command. Salgado, realizing he was severely behind, began picking up his pace in the seventh round, landing a few shots to Spencer’s body and face.

But Spencer responded well.

At the outset of the ninth, feeling the urgency of his situation, Salgado attacked Spencer against the ropes with his best combination of the fight, to that point. By the middle of the round, Spencer came charging back, attacking with continuous right hands to the head.

Jason Spencer, Joey’s father and trainer, told his father to stay with the game plan and stick to the right hands. It’s exactly what Joey did to close out Salgado.

“I kept disguising my right hand behind my shoulder, staying low, and he didn’t see it at all,” Spencer said. “He didn’t know whether a hook, a jab, or my right would come. It’s a credit to my conditioning and all of the hard work coming in.”

Ra’eese Aleem dominates Mike Plania in 10

Ra’eese Aleem (20-0 (12 KOs) continues to prove he’s deserving of a title shot, as the 32-year-old super bantamweight rolled over solid Mike Plania (26-2, 13 KOs) with a unanimous 10-round decision in the FS1 PBC main event.

The fight featured a second-round knockdown by Aleem, who caught Plania in the early portion of that round with a right. Plania stumbled back to the ropes, and tried to catch his balance when his glove touched the canvas. Referee Ray Corona ruled it a knockdown.

“The fight was everything that I expected,” Aleem said. “He's a very tough fighter and a great competitor. I just wanted to fight a smart fight, because we know he's dangerous. Although I didn't feel his power, I know that he can hit. I just wanted to take my time and let everything fall into place.

“My defense was on another level and my offense was also strong. I kept my poise and took my time. I'm that type of fighter where I don't care if it's the first round or the last round or if I'm up on the cards. I want to stop you. I want to get you out of there. It was probably around the seventh round where I tried to turn up the volume, but I didn't want to take any unnecessary chances.”

What set it off was the second round.

“I caught him slipping in round two,” Aleem said. “I could have jumped on him then, but I wanted to show growth as a fighter and keep taking my time.”

And then, it was time for Aleem to call out his target—WBC/WBO super bantamweight world champion Stephen Fulton Jr.

“It's time for ‘Scared Boy’ Stephen Fulton Jr. to come out of hiding and sign the contract,” Aleem said. “Let's get in there so I can give him his first loss. It would be a closer fight than tonight, but I still expect to dominate and get the win.”

Super bantamweight Anthony Garnica (10-0-1, 5 KOs) remained undefeated with a six-round majority-decision over Juan Lopez (17-11, 7 KOs), while former IBF heavyweight world champion Charles Martin (29-3-1, 26 KOs) stopped Devin Vargas (22-8, 9 KOs) at 1:59 in the fourth round of a scheduled eight-rounder.

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