Updated June 16, 2020 - 10:25 pm
Mike Plania dropped to his knees Tuesday night, overcome with emotion after putting the finishing touches on a 97-91, 96-92, 94-94 majority decision over Joshua Greer Jr. inside the MGM Grand’s Grand Ballroom.
It was Greer who entered the boxing ring as the main attraction, the WBO’s top bantamweight contender and the man poised to secure his first world title shot. But it was Plania who left the ring in position to challenge for the title after 10 rounds of brilliance in his most pivotal fight to date.
Plania (24-1, 12 knockouts) dropped Greer (22-2-1, 12 KOs) in the first and sixth rounds with identical left hooks and upended the 26-year-old Chicagoan in the main event of Top Rank’s third card amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Greer’s 19-fight win streak is over.
But Plania’s nine-fight win streak is alive and well — along with his title chances.
“This win is going to change my life,” the Filipino said through an interpreter.
Greer hadn’t lost since Dec. 29, 2015, and had briskly worked his way through the division to emerge as a top world title contender. Plania didn’t have the same billing as Greer and accepted the fight three weeks ago as a relative unknown.
But Plania, 23, opened as the aggressor and caught Greer flush with a left hook midway through the first round. He controlled the pace and tempo throughout the early rounds, then added another knockdown in the sixth round to score his second 10-8 round and seize control of the outcome.
“I think Greer underestimated me,” Plania said. “He kept saying, ‘Night Night,’ but tonight, it was ‘Magic time,’ ” he added, acknowledging Greer’s “Night Night” catchphrase and his own “Magic” nickname.
Greer adjusted in the later rounds by becoming the aggressor and walking Plania into the ropes and corners. But Plania’s lead nullified Greer’s modifications.
Plania landed 119 punches to Greer’s 96 and connected on 26 percent to Greer’s 23 percent, per CompuBox.
“I thought I could knock him out after the knockdown in the first round,” Plania said. “But he was tough and adjusted his strategy. … I wasn’t too tired in the end, but he made adjustments and I made mine.”
Moloney brothers to head cards
Identical Australian twins Andrew (21-0, 14 KOs) and Jason Moloney (21-1, 17 KOs) will headline the main events of Top Rank’s cards June 23 and June 25 at the MGM Grand.
Andrew will defend his WBA super flyweight title for the first time June 23 against Joshua Franco (16-1-2, eight KOs). Jason, the WBC’s No. 2 bantamweight contender, will fight June 25 against Leonardo Baez (18-2, nine KOs).
The fights mark the Las Vegas debuts for the 29-year-old twins.
Top Rank also announced a card for June 27 at TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City. WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) will fight Eleazar Valenzuela (21-13-4, 16 KOs) in the main event, a 10-round, nontitle fight at lightweight.
Top Rank undercard
— In the co-feature, welterweight Giovani Santillan (26-0, 15 KOs) remained undefeated with a 96-94, 96-94, 95-95 majority decision over former lightweight world champion Antonio DeMarco (33-9-1, 24 KOs).
— Super welterweight Bobirzhan Mominov (11-0, eight KOs) outworked Cameron Krael (17-16-3, four KOs) for a 57-56, 58-54, 58-55 win.
— Heavyweight Hector Perez (7-2, three KOs) cruised to a 60-54, 59-55, 59-55 victory over Juan Torres (5-3-1, two KOs).
— Middleweight Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (6-0, four knockouts) secured a 60-54, 60-54, 59-55 win over Isiah Jones (8-2, three KOs).