UPDATE: The fight got started at 9:19 p.m. ET.
The junior lightweight division is in the spotlight Saturday night on Showtime, but we get a heavyweight prospect matchup earlier on the card that offers some intrigue. Cuban fighter Lenier Pero faces off against Ukrainian Viktor Vykhryst (Faust) on the undercard ahead of Rey Vargas vs. O’Shaquie Foster. The main card gets started at 9 p.m. ET and this fight will kick it off.
Pero has won all eight of his bouts since turning pro in 2019. The 2016 Olympic quarterfinalist fought three times last year, closing in August with a first-round knockout of Joel Caudle. Vykhryst is 11-0 since turning pro in 2020, and also fought three times last year. He is coming off a unanimous decision win over Franklin Lawrence in December.
Pero comes into the bout as the favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. He is a -135 favorite while Vykhryst is a +105 underdog. favored outcome is a Pero stoppage at +130, followed by a Vykhryst stoppatge at +210. A Vykhryst decision is +425 and a Pero decision is +500.
We’ll be providing updates all night, with live round-by-round scoring until a winner is determined.
Lenier Pero vs. Viktor Vykhryst (Faust) round-by-round results
Round 1: Pero 10-9
Faust threw more punches, but Pero was hitting at a better rate by a fair margin. Most of Faust’s punches were hitting gloves Pero landed the biggest shot of the round with 45 seconds left with a combo that briefly stunned Faust.
Round 2: Pero 10-9 (20-18)
Faust continued attempting to establish the jab and in the first minute finally started to land with a bit more regularity. Early in the second minute, Pero landed a big shot to slow down Faust. Faust has controlled the distance for much of the first two rounds, but hasn’t shown much distance when Pero takes his shots. Faust got in a good shot late in the round and this was a closer round than the first. I could see this was going to either, but Pero is getting the bigger shots.
Round 3: Faust 10-9 (Pero 29-28)
Faust got the edge in this round thanks to being a little busier and landing enough big shots to earn the round. He closed the round staggering Pero and even if this was a close round that should be enough to secure the 10 points. Pero seemed less able to get in with some big shots and Faust took advantage.
Round 4: Faust 10-9 (38-38)
This was our busiest round with some big exchanges between the two heavyweights in the first half of the round. Both got in big shots. They slowed down in the second half and it felt like Faust was again a little busier and able to secure the round. Pero looked a bit gassed in the second half. Pero has landed big shots through four rounds, but Faust’s big shots seem to do more damage.
Round 5: Faust 10-9 (48-47)
Pero finally landed a counter he was looking for, but it wasn’t until the final 30 seconds. He spent most of the fifth round looking for his spot but never really finding it. Pero didn’t do much damage with his shots, but was considerably busier and that’s probably enough to secure the round.
Round 6: Faust 10-9 (58-56)
Faust is starting to pile up some rounds without really having to do much damage to Pero. He’s throwing more punches and even though he’s not landing them flush at a huge rate, Pero isn’t doing enough to win rounds since he got staggered in the third. Early in the round Faust pushed Pero down, so it was not a knockdown. The biggest action in this round was a low blow Pero landed on Faust. There was no warning, but we’ll see if it slows Faust at all.
Round 7: Faust 10-9 (68-65)
Pero got inside for a solid shot a little over a minute in, but Faust followed with a couple shots to counter. Pero got in a solid body blow a little over halfway through the round while Faust continues to effectively ignore the body. It was a better round for Pero, and he might have been able to sneak it, but Pero has a lot of work in front of him.
Round 8: Pero TKO 2:28
Pero lands a big shot in the first minute of the round to slow Faust. He didn’t do much in the middle round and then added a body shot in the third round. But this fight ended in a shocking fashion as Pero stunned Faust. Pero landed two body shots and a head shot and suddenly Faust turned away from the fight. Pero landed a couple shots and the referee stopped the fight even though Faust never went down.
WOW!@pero_lenier lands multiple BIG shots en route to an 8th round stoppage over Faust #PeroFaust | #VargasFoster pic.twitter.com/ZDxhEuJQgO— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) February 12, 2023