by Esteban Walters Last night from the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, 31-year-old upset specialist Brian Vera (22-6, 13KOs), of Austin, Texas, beat 36-year-old southpaw and former WBO light middleweight champ Sergiy Dzinziruk (37-2-1, 24KOs), of Hamburg, Germany by way of Ukraine, by 10th round TKO, in an entertaining 12-round middleweight main event on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.”
Vera, who has a raw, brawling style, lots of determination, and a big heart, has become known for upsetting the apple-cart. In 2008 Vera knocked off the Andy Lee by TKO-7, and twice foiled Sergio Mora, once in 2011, and again in 2012.
After a sub-par performance in his last outing against Jonathan Gonzalez that ended in a split draw, Dzinziruk needed an impressive performance in his third straight fight on U.S. television. Sergiy aggressively pursued his entry into living rooms the country over and if he wanted to stay there, Vera had to go.
Vera began the fight hot as a bottle-rocket in July, scoring two knockdowns in the opening frame. The first knock down was a slip and missed call by referee Benjy Esteves, but Vera’s right hand-left hook combination that resulted in the second knock down had Dzinziruk seriously hurt, though he survived to the bell.
“I think it’s just me being awkward,” said Vera concerning his right-hand bombs. “We’ve been working on sparring with [junior middleweight Erislandy] Lara and working on head movements coming off the right hand. We worked on our balance, and I was able to throw from different angles tonight.”
Vera couldn’t miss with his looping right hand and had Sergiy’s head on a swivel. Time and time again Vera whipped-back Dzinziruk’s dome with said punch and hurt the Ukrainian several times throughout the bout. Vera also landed left hooks to the head and body of Sergiy, who was uncharacteristically aggressive in his approach, possibly underestimating Brian.
Vera battered Dzinziruk with overhand-right’s through the first half of the fight, but the Ukrainian — who displayed plenty of mettle in surviving Vera’s onslaught — came on strong in the middle rounds, counter-punching the tiring Mexican-American and landing hard straight-lefts, some of which stunned Vera and got his attention.
“I was getting lazy and I started disrespecting his power too much,” said Vera. “I think he started getting a little more confident, and then I used that to be able to catch him later on with more right hands.”
At the outset of the 8th round Vera pinned Dzinziruk in the corner and unleashed hell on him with savage rights and lefts, that had Benjy Esteves considering stopping the fight. But Vera tired, stepping off the gas and allowing Sergiy to land several damaging jabs that swelled and cut Vera over the left eye.
In the 10th round Vera put the fight to bed by once again cornering Sergiy, and re-opening the gates of hell with rights and lefts to the head and body until the Ukrainian took a knee. Sergiy made it back to his feet, but the referee didn’t feel he was fit to continue and waved off the action at 1:50 of the 10th round.
Vera almost put a fine performance in jeopardy when he clearly tried to hit Dzinziruk with an illegal blow as Sergiy sat on the canvas. Brian was lucky the punch didn’t land, as he probably would have been disqualified if it did.
Dzinziruk’s hopes of another world title shot were dashed in defeat, the second of his career, and both by knockout, as WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez ran over him on the way to a TKO-8 in 2011.
With the victory Vera improved his record to 22-6 with 13 knockouts. Vera agreed that this was his finest career feat, and the impressive win could position the tough Texan for a world title shot in 2013.
“This is the best of them all because it’s late in my career,” analyzed Vera. “It’s time for me to do something. If I would’ve lost that fight, that would’ve been the end for me. I’m trying to get a championship fight and be up there and be known.”