Chris Colbert wanted to show that he should be considered as a fighter to watch out for in the super featherweight division. On Saturday night he was impressive against Tugstogt Nyambayar using his jab to set up multiple power punches, leading to a unanimous decision victory (117-111 and 118-110 twice) to remain unbeaten and retain the Interim WBA Super Featherweight title. The 24-year-old Brooklyn native is now 16-0 and successfully defended the title for the second time.
Colbert showed his talent level as his movement and punch variety had overwhelmed Nyambayar after a few rounds. The start of the bout was good for the challenger as he was able to land shots on Colbert, but the rest of the fight was more of Colbert commanding the pace of the fight with his jab and timely power shots. According to Compubox statistics, Colbert landed 140 more punches than Nyambayar over 12 rounds (218-78) and 112 of those punches were jabs. In various parts of the fight, Colbert switched from an orthodox to a southpaw position in order to connect on power punches that Nyambayar didn’t have much of an answer for. While it was clearly a difference in speed between the two, the toughness of the LA native got him through the fight as no knockdowns were scored.
After scoring the decision win, Colbert gave props to his opponent, who fought in place of Yuriorkis Gamboa in under two weeks notice after Gamboa suffered an injury in camp. “He carried power for a 126-pounder,” said Colbert. This was a great fight and ‘Tug’ did a great job coming in off only a week and a half of training for me. I take off my hat to him and wish him nothing but the best in his career.”
The camp for Colbert was a busy one as he worked on sharpening his jab against an opponent known for his power.
“We had a tremendous training camp,” said Colbert. “We sparred a lot with a bigger guy in Michel Rivera, so I had a lot of practice using my speed and jab in camp. The jab is always a key in this sport.”
This fight was billed to keep Colbert active until an opportunity comes up for him to get in the ring against one of the champions in the 130 pound division. The WBC champion Oscar Valdez has a fight coming up in September, and WBO champion Jamel Herring is working on a bout against Shakur Stevenson. That leaves WBA champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who recently went up to 14 pounds to defeat Mario Barrios.
“I’m number one in the WBA,” said Colbert. “So you know what time it is. I’m going to follow the plan and see what happens next.”
FIGHT CARD NOTES: Michel Rivera responded from a knockdown in the sixth round to defeat Jon Hernandez with a highlight reel knockout in the eighth round of their lightweight bout. Rivera improved his record to 21-0 and now has 14 of those wins by knockout. He was using his jab early until he found a home for his right hand, which gave him a clear advantage in the first part of the fight. Hernandez was game as he landed a few power shots of his own going into the fifth round. It was a right hand by Hernandez in the sixth that briefly put Rivera to the canvas, but the 23 year old Dominican who now resides in Miami got his balance back in the seventh and finished off Hernandez with a right hand 44 seconds into the eighth round. Referee Jack Reiss called the bout after seeing Hernandez not able to respond to his count.
“I’m so excited and beyond happy to get this win,” said Rivera. “Fernández was a strong, experienced opponent that forced me to change the game plan I had going in. I knew since the first round that I would have to be careful with him. He had heavy hands and was taller than me, but I was faster and more skilled overall.”
With the win, Rivera moves up in the WBA rankings as this bout was an eliminator for that title. While there may be a few fighters in that division that would be good opponents for Rivera, he made it clear who he wants next.
“I want the fight with Rolando Romero next,” said Rivera. “Once I do face him, I would like to go up against Gervonta Davis or Teofimo López.”
Cover photo by Esther Lin of Showtime