1957-10-29 Virgil Akins w co 14 (15) Tony DeMarco, The Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA - MASSACHUSETTS

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1957-10-29 Virgil Akins w co 14 (15) Tony DeMarco, The Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA - MASSACHUSETTS. Referee: Jimmy McCarron. Looking to find a new champion after Carmen Basilio had moved on, and backed by the Massachusetts Boxing Commission, DeMarco was matched against Akins, a 29-year-old church deacon from St Louis. At the end of the ninth round it had been hard but fairly even, with DeMarco (146) relying on the left hook and Akins (144½) sticking to his countering game-plan with neither giving ground. From there on, it really took off. It started with DeMarco being dropped twice in the tenth, the first time by a vicious right to the jaw, and on getting up he was clubbed down again. The 12th then saw Akins step into a DeMarco left hook to take a mandatory count before he put the local man on the floor again in the 13th following a right-left to the jaw. Having been saved by the bell, DeMarco was all at sea before coming out for the 14th. Racing out of his corner, Akins had DeMarco on the canvas twice from solid rights to the head, and after setting the latter up with a feinted left hook he smashed home a right cross that left him stretched out, head lying on the bottom strand, to be counted out on the 1.17 mark. Both men carried damage, Akins sporting a swollen right eye and DeMarco cut on both eyes.

Following Akins’ win over DeMarco, the World Boxing Committee's quarter-final pairing of Cuba’s Isaac Logart v Gaspar Ortega took place at The Arena, Cleveland, Ohio on 6 December, being won by the former on points over 12 rounds.

Not long afterwards, however, in early January 1958, the British Empire champion, George Barnes, decided that he was not interested in travelling to America to take his place in the eliminators and pulled out. This announcement was followed by calls to replace the Australian with the winner of the forthcoming European title fight between Peter Waterman and Emilio Marconi, but the Committee stood firm.

The second quarter-final saw Vince Martinez outpoint Gil Turner over 12 rounds at The Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 15 January 1958.