Harry Joe Yorgey had Ronald Hearns just where he wanted during Saturday night’s battle of unbeaten junior middleweights at the Buffalo Run Casino.
“I conquered his reach, made it my fight and put him in a spot he’s never been in,” Yorgey said following his knockout of Hearns with just one second left in the ninth round.
The victory earned Yorgey the IBA International light middleweight title.
“Once I got on the inside and started ripping him, the first body shot he felt — I froze him,” said the Bridgeport, Pa., fighter. “It was hard to get inside of him, though. When I tried to get in, he would put his arms up and push away. I knew he wasn’t as strong as me.”
The career-defining win pushed Yorgey’s record to 22-0-1 while Hearns suffered his first pro defeat.
It also marked the third time that a member of Lou DiBella’s stable suffered his first defeat at the Buffalo Run Casino.
Jaidon Codrington was the victim of Allan Green’s infamous 18-second knockout in 2005 and Gary Stark Jr. went down against Mike Oliver in 2007.
“I’m obviously very disappointed, but it’s just something that I have to write off as a learning experience,” said Hearns, the eldest son of Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, who was seated in the area cordoned off for the Showtime television crew.
“I was knocked down hard but I kept getting up,” Ronald Hearns said. “I never thought for a second that I wasn’t going to get him and that I was not without a chance. This is a very difficult moment, but I know I will bounce back. Give me two or three more fights and I would love to fight him again.”
Yorgey dedicated the fight and the proceeds from a raffle that his family held during the show to his friend and Hatfield, Pa., resident Shannon Yoder, who has cancer.
Each fighter was credited with a knockdown in the fourth round, but Yorgey said he went down after getting his feet tangled with Hearns.
Yorgey used a solid right to take Hearns down again in the fifth.
As a result, going into the ninth round, Yorgey led on two scorecards — 78-73 and 76-75 — while judge Jerry Griffin favored Hearns 76-75.
Yorgey delivered a left hook-right uppercut combination that led referee Steve Smoger to end the fight at 2:59.
“We heard the 10-second bell and he tried to come on to me,” Yorgey said. “He started opening up. All I did was just roll and boom with a right hand. It was a right hand — I knew he wasn’t getting up.”