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Bryant Jennings (18-0) stops Poland's Artur Szpilka in 10th round

NEW YORK -- It was the hardest punch Bryant Jennings had thrown up to that point on Saturday night. He delivered a cracking left to Artur Szpilka's chin, and the Madison Square Garden crowd -- which was pro Szpilka -- gasped.

But the Polish heavyweight stepped backward and shrugged. If that couldn't hurt him, what could?

North Philadelphia's Jennings provided the answer as he controlled the rest of the fifth round and almost the rest of the fight with his right hook. The next round he scored a knockdown with a thudding body shot to Szpilka's chest.

And in the 10th and final round, Jennings sent Szpilka into the ropes with a powerful left hook. Szpilka untied himself from the ropes and answered the referee's count. But seconds later the fight was finished when Szpilka keeled over under Jennings' attack.

There was no shrug from Szpilka as the ring announcer awarded Jennings the technical knockout.

In the eighth round, Jennings (18-0, 10 knockouts) backed Szpilka (16-1) into the ropes and targeted him with body shots. With three seconds to go in the round, Jennings threw a wild left uppercut. The devastating punch missed its mark, and Szpilka returned to his stool. But Jennings made clear he was looking for a knockout.

In the ninth round, he kept searching as he knocked Szpilka with a pair of uppercuts in the middle of the ring and later battered him against the ropes. Jennings' defense was on-point as he kept his distance from Szpilka's attack. In the waning seconds of the round, Jennings cracked Szpilka with a hook to the head, but it was not enough for a finish.

On the undercard, North Philadelphia's Jesse Hart used his left hook to batter Derrick Findley en route to a six-round unanimous decision.

In the third round, Hart used the punch to open a cut near Findley's right eye before wobbling him with another. Hart had won his last six fights by knockout and thought another stoppage was on its way.

"I said, 'I got him,'" Hart said. "But my trainers said, 'Don't take any gambles, don't stand there.' "

Hart listened to his corner, stayed on the move, and forced Findley's attacks to miss wildly. He connected with a swift combination to open the final minute of the fourth round and then quickly stepped back as Findley threw punches at the air.

He ended the final 10 seconds of the bout with his hands raised in an early celebration.

"I'm telling him, 'I won, now come get it. Come get it the last few seconds, baby. Let's rumble now,' " said Hart, who won all three scorecards, 60-54.

In Washington, Gabriel Rosado suffered a cut near his left eye early in the fight but went the distance before falling on a unanimous decision to Jermell Charlo. Three of Rosado's last four fights have been marred by cuts near his left eye.

(c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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