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Saturday, March 9, 2024

Benny Nizard Wins Pro Debut

Junior middleweight Benny Nizard won his pro debut by unanimous decision against Avend Yassin at Palais des sports Marcel Cerdan in Levallois-Perret, France. The former French amateur champion displayed impressive ability during his first fight.

Nizard, a southpaw from Paris, slid through the ropes to wild applause. When the bell rang, Yassin, a 33 year old from Ploufragan, started the fight as a southpaw. Nizard flicked a jab for show and smacked an overhand left against Yassin's cheek just as the contest commenced. Yassin quickly turned orthodox and remained that way for the rest of the bout.

Amid raucous chants of "Nizard! Nizard!" Benny continued to use his jab as a distraction in order to land straight, overhand, and looping lefts. When Yassin got too close for comfort on one occasion, Nizard shouldered him to the canvas. Benny slipped one shot and came back with an intelligent left to the body. He later landed a stunning combination while Yassin was trapped in the corner. He finished the round with two lefts, turning with Yassin as the latter tried to get out of dodge.

It was a brilliant opening round of his career.

The pace slowed a bit in the second. With thirty seconds left in the round, the two fighters exchanged shots with Benny getting the better of it. Nizard had the faster hands and threw his punches with more conviction, which convinced Yassin to avoid a firefight and keep his hands home.

Nizard introduced his right hook in the third round. Yassin was trapped in the corner when a big overhand left crashed into face. The skilled Parisian finished one combination with a left to the body, later landed a check right hook and quickly got out of harm's way, and finished the round alternating between the head and body with that back hand.

The beginning of the fourth round looked like much of the same. Nizard snapped back Yassin's head early and then touched him with lefts up and down to set up his right hook. But Yassin not only showed courage and toughness, he refused to quit. A hard right to Benny's body encouraged Avend to press forward with a body attack. Nizard ended the fight strong though. He connected with a short counter left and finished with a harmless jab that set up a damaging straight left.

Nizard has clearly been taught well by trainer Mike Cohen. Benny disguised his offense with deceptive upper body movement and has a creative variety of combinations for such a young fighter. Defensively, he kept his head off the line effectively. But it's important to keep expectations reasonable and give Benny time to develop.

At times he lunged in when throwing his left from the outside and was slow to bring that hand back after launching it. Against a better opponent, the southpaw would be susceptible to the counter right. Beginning midway through the third round, he kept his hands down in spots because he felt confident of victory, but perhaps he should have kept his foot on the accelerator .

Any minor criticism aside, it was a magnificent debut. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the fight the same as all three judges, 40-36 for Nizard, who weighed 159 pounds. He's now 1-0. Yassin, who was 153.5, falls to 1-1-1.

Nizard (left) and Yassin

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