Tag Archives: North Dakota boxing

February 9th – Professional Boxing in West Fargo, ND

Branden Cluever (now 1-0 with 1 kayo) defeats Cody McManigle (now 0-1) by TKO in round 4 of a fight scheduled for 4 rounds.

Round 1

The fight starts inelegantly with both men ducking down and throwing simultaneously, neither man scoring.  They begin circling rapidly clockwise, with McManigle doing most of the attacking, and what little scoring there is.  Cluever lands the first shot, a big right hand that echoes.  McManigle scores next, with a counter right that thrills the crowd.  Cluever, trying to avoid a clinch, nearly turns his back on McManigle, but dodges a bullet as no damage is done.  Moments later mcManigle lands a big shot that drops Cluever.  Cluever is up quickly however.  The remainder of the rounds sees McManigle score frequently with head shots while Cluever tries to tie him up.

Round 2

Cluever would like to be the aggressor here, but McManigle is much faster.    McManigle lands a few good shots in the early going, but Cluever finally whips an overhand right in and pops him with a good shot.  McManigle is throwing bombs with evil intent.  Cluever spins around from one punch, and later turns his back on McManigle again to avoid taking a punch straight on.  McManigle is manhandling Cluever.  After some rough stuff McManigle lands a major four-punch combination that hurts Cluever.  McManigle is poking a hard jab into Cluever’s face now, scoring repeatedly.  Cluever returns the favor as the round draws to a close, and the bell rings with both men on the attack.  I’m not convinced the fight will last another round.

Round 3

Cluever, who has a strange and awkward style, scores with a couple of flurries on the inside.  Suddenly McManigle is down from a single right hand to the ear.  He looks hurt, but he gets up quickly.  McManigle is no longer circling, but rotating to face Cluever, who continues to orbit.  McManigle is huffing.  Cluever is attacking with more confidence now, and hurts McManigle with a big right to the body.  McManigle misses with a big round hook and nearly dips to his knee, but saves himself just in time.  Cluever is attacking the ribcage viciously, and McManigle is definitely hurt.  Again Cluever goes to the body, and McManigle is in agony.  Bell!

Round 4

McManigle is staying low and attacking to keep Cluever away from the body.  Cluever lands another right to the ribs, and the pain is evident on McManigle’s face.  Finally, with one more dig to the left side of McManigle’s ribcage, Cluever puts him away.  McManigle goes to a knee and referee Mike Robinson calls the fight.  What an unexpected outcome!

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Nathan Seelye (now 0-1) is defeated by Dustin Mason (now 4-0 with 4 knockouts) by TKO due to injury retirement in round 2 of a fight scheduled for 4 rounds

Round 1

Seelye has a longer reach than Mason, and in the early going he tries to take advantage with jabs and sweeping hooks, but doesn’t land anything.  Mason lands the first punch of the fight, as one of a flurry lands.  Mason is beginning to come forward and misses with a big right.  Seelye, seeking to be the aggressor, comes forward and gets hit with a  right hand.  After a lull, the two close ground and Mason does good work on the inside, landing a right to the temple of Seelye.  Mason is pursuing now, and catches Seelye backing up to the ropes, landing another power shot.  Seelye deftly clinches.  Seelye is shaking his left hand; it may be hurt.  Seelye is carrying his lead hand low.  Mason tries to attack but gets tied up again, and hits the back of the head, drawing boos from the crowd.  The round ends without further incident.

Round 2

Seelye is retreating and circling to his right in the early moments of the second.  Mason is having trouble landing a punch.  Now Seelye switches to southpaw, but Mason finally catches him with a lead left – Seelye clinches again.  Now Seelye is back to orthodox.  There’s a tie-up on the rope and Mason is getting frustrated.  Mason is coming forward and Seelye, backing into his own corner, instructs his cornerman to throw in the towel.  Cornerman Kevin Tjaden replies “Are you sure?”  Seelye says “Throw in the towel,” looks at his hand, and shakes it.  Seelye retires and the fight is over.

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Nick Capes (now 0-4) is defeated by Ray Edwards (now 3-0 with 2 knockouts) by TKO about twenty seconds into the first round of a bout scheduled for 4 rounds

Round 1

Edwards shows some respect for his opponent in the opening seconds of the fight.  The two circle for a moment, and then Capes ducks in and tries to land a haymaker.  Edwards counters, punching down at his much smaller opponent, and catches him on the top of the head.  It’s clear that this fight is over the moment Capes hits the mat, and referee Eddie Obregon waves it off.

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Trenton Titsworth (now 5-15-2 with 2 knockouts) and Rondale Hubbert (now 1-0-1 with 1 knockout) fight to a majority draw after four rounds.  (36-40, 38-38, 38-38)

(The first thing you need to know about this matchup is that Trenton Titsworth is a long, lanky beanpole.  His arms are like tree limbs, so he’s going to have a big reach advantage over the normally proportioned Rondale Hubbert, who appears to be a full head and neck shorter.)

Round 1

Our combatants are circling.  After twenty seconds or so Hubbert sends out some tentative, exploratory jabs, and then fires a big hook that misses.  Finally after an extended feeling-out period, there’s a flurry, and both men seem to have landed slapping punches.  Another lull ensues, and suddenly Hubbert charge in, punches wildly.  Titsworth seemed to have parried most if not all of his punches. Tittsworth is feinting and moving his feet.  Hubbert shuffles in and attacks suddenly again, but Titsworth ties him up.  Hubbert is trying to figure out this puzzle.  Hubbert tries to duck inside but Titsworth counters and lands a right hand.  Hubbert backs into a corner, but Titsworth lets him escape.  Titsworth’s corner wants jabs, but interestingly, he likes to lead with his right, which essentially gives up his reach advantage.  Bell!

Round 2

In a four round fight you don’t get to spend much time figuring out your opponent, so Hubbert knows he needs to be aggressive.  He charges in low and gets under his opponent’s defense, then lifts him off the mat.  Now Hubbert tries the same thing again, but a clearly annoyed Titsworth punches down on him and lands.  Hubbert is coming forward now, and titsworth lands a hook to the body.  Hubbert is getting frustrated.  Now he tries getting rough, but titsworth ties him up.  Titsworth has lost his mouthpiece – there’s a pause while renowned referee Eddie Obregon gets a replacement from Titsowrth’s corner.  Hubbert attacks hard now, bulling his way inside and attacking with gusto.  Titsworth, no dummy, uses a double jab to score.  There’s some brawling going on now, and bad blood is developing.  The tide of the round seemed to flow in Hubbert’s favor as it drew to an end.

Round 3

Titsworth opens the third with some meaningful jabs.  Hubbert tries to get inside his defense but gets tied up.  Hubbert is getting rough now, charging inside, leading with his head, and throwing an elbow to Titsworth’s throat.  There’s a break, and then another clash in which a frustrated Hubbert is trying to manhandle titsworth.  Titsworth owns a slow and lazy jab, which he throws slowly and lazily.  All the fighting is on the inside now, which favors the more muscular Hubbert.  Hubbert is talking to Titsworth.  Titsworth comes forward and misses a power shot, and there’s another clinch with all the roughhousing that that involves.  Hubbert finally scores with a clean whshot.  After a clinch, Hubbert gets free and turns and walks away from Titsworth.  Did he forget to protect himself?  Yes he did, and Titsworth hits him with a hateful wing shot to the head, followed by another that he put everything into!  Hubbert tries to fight back, but Titsworth ties him up, and that was a rare moment of action in this bout.

Round 4

Hubbert knows he needs to score a lot now, and he comes out very aggressive.  He shoots his wad and seems to peter out.  Hubbert is working hard to get inside, but once he does Titsworth keeps leaning forward on him and smothering him.  Hubbert comes forward again and finally lands a good left hook to the head.  After another clinch Hubbert lands two good power shots that glance off titsworth’s head.  This is a much tougher fight than Hubbert was epecting.  Hubbert is circling Titsworth, looking for an opening to land a home run shot.  Hubbert’s hands are dropping, and if Titsworth could attack more effectively he would score here.  Titsworth tries to jab at th wide-open Hubbert and Hubbert counterattacks viciously, sending Titsworth reeling into the ropes, where he leans back to avoid Hubbert’s home run shot, and that was a close shave!  There’s grappling and infighting as the round draws to a close.  This was a better fight than I think anyone here expected.

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Preston Shane (now 1-2 with 1 knockout) is defeated by Aaron Green (now 10-0 with 8 knockouts) by KO in the first round of a fight scheduled for 4 rounds

Round 1

About fifteen seconds into the first round Aaron Green knocks his opponent out with a jab.  No kidding, folks – it’s over.

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Cheyenne Ziegler (now 3-10 with 2 knockouts) is defeated by Tyler Hultin (now 5-1-1 with 3 knockouts) by KO in round 2 of a fight scheduled for 4 rounds

Round 1

Ziegler comes out crafty, ducking down, whipping long punches, and getting bck out before Hultin could tag him.  There’s a flurry of punches by both men, which climaxes with Ziegler knocking Hultin momentarily off-balance.  Coming out of a clinch, Hultin catches Ziegler on the temple with a right hand and momentarily knocks him off balance.  Our fighters are trading in the center of the ring now.  Coming in Ziegler either hit Hultin with a right hand or with his head, it’s hard to tell which.    The pro-Hultin crowd is going wild at every opportunity, and Hultin gives them several opportunities, tagging Ziegler with several power shots in the middle of the roudn.  But Ziegler finishes strong, landing a couple of good right hands in the late going before Hultin flurries again in the last ten seconds of the round.  This looks to be a crowdpleasing bout.

Round 2

Ziegler bends at the waist to land a right hand on Hultin, and Hultin slaps him with a counter.  Hultin is going on offense, but Ziegler is a fast and shifty fighter, so most of Hultin’s punches miss.  Hultin lands a right hand that puts Ziegler off balance again, and then another one.    Ziegler moves in close and make Hultin brawl with him.  though Hultin lands several big shots, Ziegler makes him pay with tough counters and mauling.  The brawl moves into the red corner – Ziegler’s corner – where Hultin slips in a couple of hooks and a hard uppercut.  A vicious body shot puts Ziegler to the mat on his hands and knees, and though he tries, he can not get off his haunches before referee Eddie Obregon counts him out.  Hultin wins by body shot knockout and the crowd goes bananas.

Midwest Boxing Outlook: Mid-Winter 2010

Here are some things that I know that I know…

  • Of interest to those who saw Edwin Rodriguez and Aaron Pryor Jr win their fights with James McGirt Jr and Dyah Davis at Fargo’s Scheels Arena on November 13th: Rodriguez and Pryor face each other in a super middleweight bout tonight on ESPN.    Though Pryor (15-2 with 11 kayos) has a pronounced advantage in height and reach, those seem to be his only advantages over Rodriguez (17-0 with 13 kayos), a hot prospect approaching contender status, who will be widely favored.  The Friday Night Fights broadcast will originate from beautiful Key West, Florida.  Peter Manfredo -vs- Daniel Edouard tops the bill and the broadcast.
  • Joey Abell, who faces Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola in California on January 28th, will be accompanied on the road by fellow ACR Gym denizen Jon Schmidt (10-1 with 6 kayos).  Schmidt is slated to face former Olympian Shawn Estrada (10-1 with 9 kayos) of East Los Angeles in a six-rounder.
  • Seconds Out Promotions brings us an IBF light heavyweight title eliminator on February 4th.  The fight will feature Otis Griffin and Yusuf Mack.  At this time the Fistic Mystic has no information on the undercard.
    Emily Klinefelter (9-0 with 3 KOs)

    Emily Klinefelter (9-0 with 3 KOs)

  • On February 5th in Iowa City, Adam Pollack of Win by KO Promotions will present a mixed show with amateur Muay Thai (4-5 bouts) and professional boxing (6-8 bouts) at the Johnson County fairgrounds.  The show will be headlined, as usual, by one of the Klinefelter girls.  The one sure thing on the card so far is the main event, which will pit super bantamweight Emily Klinefelter (9-0 with 3 kayos) against Christina Ruiz (5-3 with 3 kayos).  Tickets are available at Sushi Kicchin at the Old Capital Mall or by calling Win by KO Promotions at 319-338-1633.  The fairgrounds is located at 4261 Oak Crest Hill Road in scenic Iowa City.
  • Hortons Boxing presents a once-postponed show in Duluth on February 12th.  It can be confirmed that the following fights have been inked: RJ Laase -vs- Hector Orozco (rematch), Al Sands -vs- Zach Ziegler, and Aaron Green -vs- Jordan Ziegler.  Gary Eyer hasn’t been matched yet but is still expected to appear on the card.
  • Philip Adyaka is now managed by Scott Tolzmann.  It was originally believed that Adyaka would fight Gary Eyer in Duluth on February 12th, but Adyaka is now penciled in opposite Jonathan Perez for the 26th of February at Grand Casino Hinckley.  As of Thursday night the Hinckley show was reportedly 99% confirmed.  The headlining bout there is the much-anticipated rematch of Caleb Truax-Phil Williams, which ended in a surprising Split Draw back in April of 2010.  In that fight Truax had swept the early rounds but Williams took that last couple of rounds with effective power punching – it looked like a decisive points win for Truax until the scores were read, but in the end it’s the scorecards that do the deciding.  Supporting that bout is an interesting mix of fighters from Seconds Out Promotions and Midwest Sports Council (MSC).  Could this signal an era of greater cooperation between the two promotions?  That’s an eventuality that this writer has persistently hoped for, and in print.

Good Work, Fighters!

Some of the fighters on tonight’s card did good work, and some of them got good work.  By “Did good work” I mean that a fighter performed well and made a good show for the fans.  By “Got good work” I mean that the fighter showed that he benefitted from the time spent in the ring tonight.

Did Good Work

Corey Rodriguez started us off right with a dominating performance in the opener.  Rodriguez is one of the enigmas of the Minnesota boxing scene.  For a few minutes tonight C-Rod reminded us all of the great promise his career once held.

I told everyone who would listen that Ishe Smith‘s fight would be a short one.  I thought he would kick the Pacheco out of Alexander Pacheco Quiroz in under a round.  But Quiroz made Smith work hard for the “W” that he had traveled all the way from Vegas to Fargo to collect.  The fight lasted all of two rounds, and they were rough and tough rounds for Smith, a very professional young fighter.

Andy Kolle had a wobbly moment when his opponent opened up on him and for a moment it looked he might be about to take a big step backwards in his career.  Then Kolle came out of his shell, walked through some punches, and then for the second fight in a row, put his opponent away with a short right in the first round.  Maybe you think that Kolle should be above getting buzzed by a journeyman like Osorio, but he showed that he can walk through power to deliver his own power.

Okay, I get that it’s early in the career of Jamal James and his opponents don’t offer much of a test.  But if you saw James fight tonight you saw a young man with great power fighting at a frenetic pace.  Eventually he’s going to have to slow down and harness more of that energy for the job at hand.  But even now there is a lot to like about Jamal James.  He is a very good looking young fighter.

Marcus Johnson showed us that he can handle a tough guy with a good record and he can do so convincingly.  Johnson also showed that he’s a sharp and snappy puncher, and he was the second quickest fighter on the card, after Jamal James.  The impressive thing about Johnson’s speed is that he is the far smoother boxer.

Got Good Work

Aaron Pryor Jr started out his fight looking awkward and unathletic, he had trouble keeping up with his quicker and more skillful opponent, and he seemed to have a hard time executing the fundamentals of the fight game.  On the other hand, he looked better and better as his fight progressed, until he began to look very capable by the time the fight ended.  Based on the improvement we saw between the first and last rounds of his fight tonight, I would say that for Aaron Pryor Jr, these were eight rounds well spent.

Antwone Smith won without looking great.  With every punch he grunts like Monica Seles, and his style doesn’t inspire poetry.  But Smith ground out a good workmanlike win against a tough and determined opponent.  Though the fight ended in an injury retirement, the win was still well-earned.

Edwin Rodriguez went nine rounds with a durable opponent tonight, the longest fight of his young career.  Rodriguez got to show off his speed, power and skill tonight, but the thing that I thought was most interesting was his stamina.  Edwin Rodriguez just proved that he is incredibly fit.

Live Round-by-Round: Showtime’s ShoBox in Fargo ND, November 5th, 2010

The Scheels Arena in beautiful suburban Fargo, North Dakota is all dressed up in blue, red, and black.  The place looks good!

Turnout is looking sparse, but it’s early.  Here’s hoping that hundreds turn out to watch Andy Kolle, the only hometown boy on the card.

The crowd is still growing after three fights, but still not impressive.

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Edwin Rodriguez (now 17-0 with 13 kayos) defeats James McGirt Jr (now 22-3 with 11 kayos) by TKO when the fight is stopped at 1:57 of round 9

Round 1

The bout begins with careful jabbing from both men.  Rodriguez grazes McGirt’s chest with a crossing right.  There’s plkenty of speed in this ring, but it’s mostly going to jabs that don’t land.  Suddenly, like magnets, the two are locked together and brawling in the blue corner, but it doesn’t last.  Rodriguez seemed to get the better of that exchange.  McGirt looks a little overmatched, leaning back on the ropes and absorbing punishment from Rodriguez, but eventually h e punches his way out of that danger and back into the center of the ring.  Rodriguez backs McGirt into a neutral corner now, and may have done some damage had referee Steve Smoger not stepped in and broken the two.  The fight resumes in the middle of the ring, but neither man scores before the bell rings.

Round 2

Rodriguez, looking slightly bigger than McGirt, seems to intimidate the smaller man.  McGirt puts a good left on Rodriguez’s head, but Rodriguez responds by bulling him into the blue corner and hammering him with one good flush power shot and many lesser punches.  McGirt gets out of the corner and across the ring, but Rodriguez is really having his way with McGirt.  Back in the corner, McGirt lays on the ropes while Rodriguez rakes him again, but this time Rodriguez lets McGirt escape.  No matter, within 30 seconds McGirt is again in the corner with his back to the ropes, Rodriguez cracking him again.  McGirt gets to the center of the ring and finally acts like a man who belongs in a boxing ring, trading power shots with Rodriguez and scoring with some nice shots in the deal.  The round ends with the kind of action that’s been missing from this arena all night: both men are on the attack and neither is backing down.  Bell, and round.

Round 3

Rodriguez looks to start the third round coming forward again.  McGirt briefly stops his progress with a couple of well-placed punches, but soon Rodriguez backs McGirt into the blue corner once again and pounds his midsection with hooks.  McGirt is looking better, though, and again gains his freedom by countering and then moving.  McGirt has a nice punch when he uses it.  For the first time in the fight McGirt backs Rodriguez into a corner and turns the tables on him, waging a two-fisted attack that slows Rodriguez and leaves him looking a little unsteady.  Now the two fighters trade on more or less even terms – but McGirt suddenly rushes Rodriguez, forcing him back into the ropes and putting him off balance with power shots.  Bravado gets the better of the combatants, and they spend the remainder of the round trading punches in the center of the ring.

Round 4

This round begins a little more tame and under control, with good strategic boxing.  McGirt charges Rodriguez into the ropes and Rodriguez ends up sitting on the second strand.  Rodriguez looks unsteady again for another moment, but comes out of it and nicks McGirt with some good shots.  Rodriguez can throw a leading jab with either hand, and does so frequently.  McGirt is showing less respect for Rodriguez’s power now; instead of backing up he is just covering up.  McGirt’s mouthpiece is out.  Referee Mark Nelson pauses the fight to get the mouthpiece reinserted.  Back to action, Rodriguez gets popped in the mouth while reaching with a jab.  But at the ten-second alert Rodriguez comes alive, flurrying with hard and meaningful shots.  McGirt counters, but the intiative was Rodriguez’s at the end of the fourth.

Round 5

The fifth begins slowly with mostly cautious jabbing, but soon Rodriguez throws some walking punches, including one wild right while he was completely southpaw – that could have led to disaster.  McGirt is coming forward, and having weathered the storm of the first two rounds, is beginning to look stronger than Rodriguez.  McGirt lands a solid hook that snaps Rodriguez’s head back, but Rodriguez returns fire and scores well with head shots of his own.  Now Rodriguez is marching forward, throwing power punches with each step, and hurting McGirt.  McGirt counterattacks with a left and a right, the ducking Rodriguez ends up trapped in McGirt’s armpit.  A brief lull extends until about eights seconds before the end of the round, then the two exchange punches and that’s the fifth.

Round 6

Neither man is on the attack at the start of the sixth, but Rodriguez is inching forward and lands the first real punch of the round after about fifteen seconds.  McGirt is trying to counter Rodriguez but most of his counters miss the mark.  Rodriguez’s upper body movement is very good.  Cornered, McGirt tries to punch out but Rodriguez traps him and potshots him for about fifteen seconds, landing at least one good hookercut.  Finally McGirt gets out, but he’s mostly standing still behind his guard, not attacking and having no attack from Rodriguez which he can counter.  Finally Rodriguez seizes the initiative and comes forward, but his attack peters out with only a lunging straight right to show for the effort.  As the round ends Rodriguez once again has McGirt backing into a corner, but a big left hook misses as the bell rings.

Round 7

McGirt has good skill, but Rodriguez is pressing the action and McGirt has yet to impress.  Rodriguez puts McGirt into the blue corner yet again, and hits him hard with a one-two.  McGirt escapes again, and ends up in the red corner this time, absorbing more punishment from Rodriguez.  When they trade, McGirt looks equal to Rodriguez, but perhaps as a matter of temperament McGirt refuses to get drawn into such battles.  McGirt is skirting around the perimeter of the ring and mostly just absorbing those hard shots from Rodriguez.  McGirt manages a little flurry for ten seconds near the end of the round, but Rodriguez finishes things up this round with a nice rising hook that again snaps McGirt’s head back.

Round 8

More of the same here, as Rodriguez backs McGirt into the red corner and pops him repeatedly with both hands.  McGirt counters a few shots, but not enough to stay even with Rodriguez.  The seemingley tireless Rodrugez continues to back McGirt up, landing some nice left hooks in the process.  A left to the temple now puts McGirt on his heels, with his guard high he’s vulnerable to body shots and Rodriguez snaps a left hand into his side.  McGirt gets free and moves backwards and to his right, ending up against the ropes again.  There’s a tussle and McGirt ends up in an unusual position, in the center of the ring with Rodriguez backing into the ropes.  Rodriguez backs off and moves laterally, ending up at the opposite corner of the ring, wher McGirt hits him with his best punch of the fight, a right hand that lays him back onto the ropes.  Rodriguez comes off the ropes with a vengeance, pounding mcGirt continuously as they move across the ring, and ending up in the opposite corner again, laying hard licks on McGirt’s body as the bell rings.

Round 9

This round begins with an energized and angry Rodriguez trying to force McGirt into a war.  McGirt continues his ‘bend but dont’ break’ strategy, allowing Rodriguez to rip his body and pummel his head.  Finally referee Mark Nelson sees something that he doesn’t like and steps in between the attacking Rodriguez and the passive McGirt, stopping the fight and awarding the win to Rodriguez.

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Dyah  Davis (now 18-2 with 9 kayos) is defeated by Aaron Pryor Jr (now 15-2 with 11 kayos) by unanimous decision (79-73, 79-73, 78-74) after eight rounds.

Round 1

Davis lands the first punch of the fight, a lilting left jab.  These two fighters begin by circling each other, neither man commiting to his punches.  Now Pryor backs Davis into a corner and landing a double left jab to the body, but Davis escapes.  The action moves to the center of the ring, where Davis lands a left hand that staggers Pryor momentarily.  Pryor skitters away, grinning, and Davis follows.  Now the tables are turned, Pryor smacking Davis and pushing him into the ropes with a good shot.  There’s a lull, then Pryor scores with a right-left-left combination that rocks Davis.  Pryor fails to capitalize on the score, landing only a glancing blow with a couple of seconds left in the round, and that’s the end of the first.

Round 2

Davis starts the round by scoring with some hard, snappy smacking punches.  He doesn’t have Pryor’s power, but he has more speed and maybe more natural ring savvy.  Now Davis is staying in the center of the ring, pivoting and Pryor revolves around him.  Davis is keeping his left hand down at his waist, raising it to throw double and triple jabs.  Pryor is circling the ring looking for openings and loading up.  Now Pryor lands one good left that puts Davis into the ropes, but Davis bounces back, moves around Pryor’s perimeter, and lands a left hand that snaps Pryor’s head back.  The round ends with lots of clutching and mauling, and maybe some roughhousing by Pryor.

Round 3

Davis is starting to look like the better fighter here in the third, moving quickly in and out, landing those hard, smacking punches, and forcing Pryor to chase him with glancing or missing punches.  Pryor finally lands one good shot that momentarily slows Davis, but Davis returns to battle ready to trade, if Davis will oblige him.  Davis is outworking Pryor, but Pryor’s punches are more effective on the rare occasions when they land.  Pryor, the power puncher in this fight, surprisingly shies away from Davis’s power shots.  Pryor lands a good shot and then illustrates his rawness by ineffectively running past Davis and missing with a wild shot while Davis covers up and pivots on one foot.

Round 4

Davis is headhunting.  Pryor has begun raising his arms and whirling away from Davis – if Davis figures out to go to the body when Pryor does that, this fight could end badly for Pryor.  Davis is again tryng to move in and out quickly, but Pryor has figured out how to counter that tactic with a well-placed jab.  Davis gets inside but can’t get back out, Pryor ties him up and hits the body in the clinch, hurting Davis.  Now they’re tied up again and Pryor lands a right to the head as they break up.  Davis is losing his speed advantage as he tires, and that doesn’t bode well for him.

Round 5

Pryor starts the round waving his hands in an odd circular motion that invites Davis to come closer, but Pryor hooks Davis when he gets in close.  Davis backs off, forcing Pryor to initiate the action, and finds that he can counter effectively, leading to several good scoring counters from Davis.  Davis again jumps in, lands a jab, and scoots away wihtout getting hit, as he was able to do earlier in the fight.  It’s odd that the much shorter (and shorter-armed) Davis is able to jab effectively against a lanky opponent like Pryor, but there are a few things that Pryor could improve on.  The round draws to a close with both men landing glancing blows but nothing effective.

Round 6

At the start of the round Pryor finally lands the big haymaker he’s been loading up on forever, and Davis is hurt.  As Davis reels, Pryor chases him into the blue corner and lands a barrage of hard hooks.  For a moment it looks like Steve Smoger might stop the fight, buyt Davis recovers his wits, however theleft side of his face is very red – he may be bleeding from the left eyebrow.  Davis has an opportunity to fight back here – Pryor seems very tired and slow – but fails to put together the needed rally.  Pryor is tired and slow, but he is forcing himself to throw one good, accurate punch every twenty seconds or so, and that stymies Davis’s valiant efforts.  Smoger pauses the action to look at Davis’s face for a moment, but evidently the eye isn’t bad enough yet.  The rond ends with Pryor potshotting Davis.

Round 7

Pryor has most of the advantages in the late going.  Davis is still determined to press the action, but his speed isn’t sufficient to win the day without a big punch.  Davis swarms Pryor, but Pryor responds by forcing straight punches down the middle of Davis’s defense.  Davis lunges forwward but his progress is stopped dead by a long and immovable jab from Pryor.  Pryor is working hard to put punches together now, and Davis finally lands a hard left hand to the head of Pryor, and the spectators hoot their approval.  Pryor gets up on his toes and makes himself attack with a rapid flurry of power shots.  They may be arm punches in round 7, but they’re enough to discourage any more attacks from Davis.

Round 8

It looks like Davis knows the score and the round, and he comes out looking to score big.  Davis is using all of his speed to attack, and for a moment it looks good for him, as he smacks a hard right hand into Pryor’s temple, but Pryor returns right hand for rright hand, and then some.  Pryor looks better as the fight goes on.  He has such an awkward and unathletic body that it’s surprising to see him handle an athlete like Davis.  Davis charges in on the attack but gets trapped under Pryor’s arm, and then in a clinch.  Pryor comes forward with knockout on his mind, relentlessly stuffing punch after punch into Davis’s face.  At the ten second signal Davis tries to rally, but only manages a few looping shots that miss, and this fight is over.

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Marcus Johnson (now 20-0 with 14 kayos) defeats Kevin Engel (now 18-4 with 15 kayos) by TKO after the third of eight rounds scheduled

Round 1

Johnson comes out aggressive, using his obvious speed advantage to score early with both leads and counters.  About a minute in Engel finally scores with a decent left handed counter.  The pace slows a bit, and now the fighters are looking for spots rather than rushing matters.  Johnson is lighter on his feet and moves his hands more quickly than Engel can flinch, which Engeldoes quite a lot in the early going.  Johnson is catching Engel being slow in recoiling his jabs, Engel may have more natural power, but he’s going to have a challenge in applying it.

Round 2

Engel is staying closer to Johnson now, and the result is that he’s connecting more of his punches, but he may find that Johnson’s connect percentage improves as well.  Johnson cracks Engel with a wide-ranging lefft hook.  Moments later he does the same with his right.  Johnson puts his mitt into Engel’s ear before Engel can react.  Engel is flinching less now, trying to walk through Johnson’s punches to land his own.  Engel misses with a big overhand right, but Johnson fails to take advantage.  Johnson comes forward throwing with both hands.  His first two punches misss, but the last two land hurtfully.  Engel’s face is reddening.  As the round progresses Engel is looking slow and sloppy.

Round 3

The third begins in close quarters, with Engel trying to fight on the inside, but it’s Johnson who benefits from every possible strategy that Engel employs.  Johnson scores big with a right to the ribs of Engel.  Engel is hurt badly.  Johnson drops him into the ropes.  Engel rises, but he’s unsteady as the action resumes.  Johnson pounds Engel into a corner, where referee Mark Nelson jumps in and separates the two.  The fight resumes and Johnson picks up where he left off, peppering Engel with hard lefts and rights.  Engel is still hanging in there – on the principle that offense is defense, he isn’t defenseless yet.  But he isn’t doing much except lurching about with his head down and throwing wide, looping power shots that miss.  Johnson is finding the openings and taking advantage of them as the round ends.

After the end of the third, referee Nelson calls the ring doctor in for a look at Engel, and the fight is abruptly stopped.

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We have an extended intermission now as we wait for TV time.  Stick with me, it’ll be worth the wait!

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Andy Kolle (now 23-2 with 17 kayos) defeats Francisco Ruben Osorio (now 12-8 with 10 kayos) by KO in the first round of eight scheduled

Round 1

Kolle comes out shooting jabs at his opponent with that long right arm.    Kolle wades in with a two-handed attack, but Osorio deftly bobs and ducks out of danger.  Osorio is backing up, Kolle coming forward, and a wide right hook lands to Osorio’s head, the first scoring shot of the night.  Now Osorio is looking to counter while backing up.  Kolle is having some difficulty finding the target.  Osorio misses with a right and Kolle comes back, backs him up, and Osorio drops to a knee.  I couldn’t tell whether it was a knockdown or a slip.  Now Osorio comes to life, attacking Kolle viciously, landing repeatedly with the right hand and seeming to stun Kolle.  Kolle doesn’t like the pressure, but he seems to recognize that he’s stuck going toe-to-toe with this opponent.  The first exchange of punches is inconclusive, but the second time the two men trade Kolle finishes with a short right hand that lays Osorio out!  Osorio drops to both knees and then crumbles.  He tries to beat referee Ed Orgeron’s count, but flops over, then gets to his feet but it’s clear that he’s on no condition to continue, and the referee waves the fight off.  Kolle wins.

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A looooooong intermission…

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Ishe Smith (now 22-5 with 10 kayos) defeats Alexander Pacheco Quiroz (now 14-9-1 with 12 kayos) by TKO when Quiroz retires after two rounds with a hand injury.

Round 1

Quiroz starts out coming forward and popping the left jab.  The first combination of the fight comes from Quiroz, a left-right to the body of Smith.  Now another one.  Smith backs up and moves to his right, then flurries at Quiroz.  Quiroz is going to try to take Smith out early, and that’s probably a good idea – he isn’t going to outlast Smith – but Smith is faster and has better technique.  And Smith is committing more fully to his punches.  Quiroz isn’t going to knock anyone out with the slow punches he’s pushing here.  Smith is trying to flurry, but twice Quiroz pushes his head down.  Smith has no respect for Quiroz’s power and just shrugs off Quiroz’s punches behind a shoulder.  Smith lands a couple of shots – not sure which one did it, but one of them left Quiroz woozy, and as Quiroz stumbles into the ropes Smith pursues, landing about eight hard shots to Quiroz’s body.  Quiroz suddenly stands up straight and scoots across the ring, but Smith pursues him and finally referee Steve Smoger gives Quiroz an eight count.  The round ends beffore any more action can take place.

Round 2

Give Quiroz credit for coming out in force.  Quiroz swarms Smith and lands a number of shots to the body and one to the head.  Now Quiroz is getting rough, grabbing and leaning on Smith.  Smoger warns him once, the fight resumes, and Quiroz gives us more of the same.  Smoger warns him again.  Now Smith is backing up, Quiroz is coming forward.  Smith flinches in exaggerated fashion at a couple of Quiroz’s feints.  Smith protests to Smoger when Quiroz puches him down and leans on himi hard.  Freed and back in the center of the ring, Smith lands about as big a shot as you’ll ever see from him, the second punch of a one-two hurts Quiroz and sends him reeling.  All Quiroz can do is lead with his head and grab and maul.  Smith shrugs Quiroz off and hurts him again with a left hand.  Now Quiroz backs into his own corner and gets trapped against the ropes.  Smith is peppering him with big rights and lefts!  Can Quiroz last to the bell?  Yes.

After the second round Quiroz’s corner announces he is unable to continue due to an injured left hand.

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Antwone Smith (now 19-2-1 with 11 kayos) defeats Martinus Clay (now 13-27-4 with 5 kayos) by TKO when Clay retires after the fifth round with a shoulder injury.

Round 1

This first round starts out ugly and tactical.  Smith has an odd tendency to shout “Ha!” with every punch he throws, and the increasing frequency of his shouts documents the growing momentum.  At the end of the round Clay drops to an knee and waits out the bell before returning to his corner.

Round 2

Smith is faster than Clay, but Clay knows his way around a boxing ring.  This is an oddly tactical bout, not much to write about.  Smith lands hard shots one at a time, Clay lands the softer shots in bunches.

Round 3

Smith is soming forward slowly, and beginning to throw more combinations.  Clay is using his head (meaning his brain) and working the angles and clinching when he has to.  Smith corners Clay and lands a good three-punch combo, but Clay bounces away looking no worse for wear.  Near the end of the round Smith puts a good one-two on Clay and this fight is beginning to turn in his favor.

Round 4

Just in case Smith thought he was getting the upper hand Clay hits him with an effect threee punch combination, ending up with two effective left h ands to the body.  Smith gets back on offnese though, landing sharp shots that appear to hurt Clay.  Clay stops moving for a moment, and to savfe himself from harm tries to clinch with Smith, Smith shrugs him off and forces him backwards with more hurtful punching.  Now the two men are standing in the center of the ring, each one moving to his right.  Clay is better off if he can get Smitth to trade.  There’s a move to a neutral corner and each man lands a couple of good shots, but Smith seems to have come out of it in better shape.   Just before the bell rings Smith lands a couple of good right hands and Clay appears on his way  down to a knee, then stops and turns his movement into an ungraceful duck.  By the time Clay comes back up, the bell has rung.

Round 5

Now Smith is coming forward more quickly and jabbing into combinations.  Clay can occasionally counter, but he’s spending more time running now.  Smith is using the left jab a lot.  Clay is backing up, changing directions, but it’s no use.  Smith is relentlessly breaking him down.  More left jabs, and Smith lands a good follow-up right to the ribcage.  Now as the round comes to a close Smith relents his pursuit and Clay bounces away again.

It appears that Clay has quit on his stool between rounds.  Smith walks across the ring to shake hands, but Clay stays on his stool with ice on his right shoulder.

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Jamal James (now 2-0 with 2 kayo) defeats Wes Ronchi (now 0-1) by KO in the first round of four scheduled.

Round 1

James comes out shooting the left jab.  Ronchi is a southpaw, but James is heedless and comes forward using his speed and boom!  There’s the power!  James has Ronchi hurt.  Ronchi doesn’t go down but he gets an eight-count anyway.  The fight resumes but my guess is that Ronchi has quit anyway.  James traps Ronchi in the blue corner and hammers his defenseless opponent with power shots from both hands.  Ronchi goes down, prone.  He’s as dangerous right now as a sack of potatoes, and the fight is over.  I couldn’t tell you from this angle and this distance which hand did the damage, chalk that up to Jamal’s speed.

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Corey Rodriguez (now 5-1-2 with 3 kayos) defeats Nick Runningbear (now 4-4 with 1 kayo) by unanimous decision after four rounds.  Scorecards are 40-33, 40-33, and 40-33.

Round 1

Rodriguez comes out aggressive, leading with a pawing left jab and charging in to attack Runningbear with a left-right attack.  Rodriguez lands a tentative left upstairs and then a right to the body, a nice scoring combination.  Runningbear is backing up and fighting defensively, Rodriguez cracks him with another good right.  C-Rod likes leading with that left and then following with power shots.  Runningbear finally lands a couple of shots that Rodriguez reacts to, but the offensive is short-lived.  Runningbear charges in with a couple of reckless punches that may have landed, but Rodriguez’s counters fully made up for it.

Round 2

Runningbear is again bouncing backwards away from Rodriguez’s power.  Rodriguez comes forward and Runningbear suddenly changes direction and the two trade for the first time in the fight.  Runningbear wants to attack and makes an attempt, but after a brief fusilade C-Rod freezes him with a hard counter to the jaw.  Now Runningbear is slowing down, a few hard punches have taken some of the steam out of him.  Rodriguez cuffs him about the ring, scoring with hurtful lefts and rights at will.  Near the end of the round Runningbear tries to lunge in and score, but the attempt is again short-lived.

Round 3

Rodriguez appears to be measuring Runningbear now, he may be thinking of the knockout.  Rodriguez is following Runningbear all around the ring, Runningbear is becoming reckless and undisciplined with his punches; he knows the pickle he’s in and he’s hoping to land a haymaker.  Now Rodriguez traps Runningbear in a neutral corner and batters him with several flush shots.  Runningbear has a chin!  Runningbear escapes but is cornered again on the opposite corner and again takes a merciless beating.  Rodriguez follows Runningbear into the blue corner and lands two or three hard shots.  Finally Runningbear gets caught with a triphammer left and goes down.  Back on his feet, Runningbear gets a reprive at the count of six when the bell rings.

Round 4

Rodriguez knows that he has this fight in the bag and he’s p[icking his shots now.  A monstrous right hand catches Runningbear on the head and the crowd “Oohs.”  Runningbear has no hope and no answers.  Rodriguez lands another right hand, on the ear this time, and Runningbear gets up quickly.  Referee Steve Smoger gives him the mandatory eight count and the figt resumes.  Rodriguez again traps Runningbear on the ropes and hits him – one-two – and I can’t help saying it out loud: “Stop it, Smoger!”  Runningbear is defenseless, and Rodriguez clips him with a vicious left-right that drops him again just before the bell.  Runningbear is up before the count, but the fight is over.  The scorecards are going to be ugly.

Spotlight: Ishe Smith

I usually try to avoid writing in the first person, but as a boxing fan and writer who lives in North Dakota I’ll tell you that I just don’t get to see big names fighting locally.  That’s one reason why this Friday night’s ShoBox event in Fargo is such a big deal for me – I get to see some really good fights within five miles of my own home!  There will be no long drive after the fights end, and I won’t be up until 4am unless I want to be.

Probably the brightest star to shine on Fargo this week will be light middleweight Ishe Smith (21-5 with 9 kayos).  Well known for taking part in a handful of entertaining fights over the course of a ten year prizefighting career (so far) and famous in particular for appearing on The Contender television series back in 2005, Smith recently took the time to talk with me in general terms about the state of his career and specifically about this Friday night’s ShoBox event.

Interviewing a stranger can sometimes be a little uncomfortable, and that’s one reason why interviews often begin with inane chitchat about ridiculous subjects.  Ishe Smith strikes me as an authentically genial person, the kind of person who makes an easy and interesting interview.  No insipid banter required.

To set the stage: Smith has had just 26 fights in a ten year professional career.  That means that he’s averaging 2.6 fights per year, far below the desired level of busyness for a pro boxer.  Smith had fought 14 times in the first four years of his career when he was selected to appear on “The Contender,” the innovative but sadly short-lived television show which pitted a number of promising young studs against each other in hopes of producing one genuine world-class contender.  After winning two bouts and losing one on The Contender, Smith has achieved mixed results in the last five years, winning 5 and losing 4 fights against some very tough competition.

Years of blood, sweat and tears go into producing a record and a career like Ishe Smith’s.  I wondered how Smith feels about the state of his career.  “I’m pretty happy with the team I have in place, starting with my trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and my promoter, Lou DiBella, and also my adviser Brett Mauren.  This is a stay-busy fight and we’re looking to get back into the mix of things, but I’m pretty happy with the way things are going right now,” said Smith.

But is there a master plan?  And is this business with James Kirkland for real?  “Yeah!” Smith enthused.  “Hopefully it is!  [Promotional agencies] DBE and Golden Boy have done business before, and hopefully this is something that we can make come together and and happen.  It’s a fight that I want, and hopefully a fight that he wants, and definitely a fight that I think the fans will want to see.”

Some professional athletes don’t love their own sport.  Some love to compete but are not fans of the games that they play.  Some even seem to feel trapped in the wrong profession.  Don’t count Smith among these unfortunates.  “I’m a student of the game,” he says.  “So after my fight is over I’m sure I’ll just kick back and enjoy the rest of the evening, watching the other fights and cheering the other fighters on.”  That raises another question – when Smith surveys Friday night’s fight card, are there any fights on the card that intrigue him?  “No, not really,” Smith deadpans, and then laughs.  “Not unless I was fighting them!”

A native of Las Vegas, Smith reminisces easily about his childhood, his introduction to boxing (by his mom), and the frequency of bouts in his hometown.  “Growing up I was a big fan of boxing.  You know, Las Vegas has fights all the time, so it’s kind of special to help bring boxing to some people that are really going to appreciate it, and I’m sure that the people from Fargo are going to turn out and be really enthusiastic about this fight card.”  A timely arrival in Fargo should make it easy for Smith to take in some of the local flavor.  “I’ll be there I think Wednesday or Thursday.  I’m excited.  I’ve been to a lot of places, but Fargo is one of the more, ahh – unique!”

Not content to mind my own business, I asked whether Smith – a guy who only fights one to three times a year – does any work outside of boxing to make ends meet.  “No, I’m a full-time fighter, and a hands-on parent,” he responded proudly.  I coach my son’s football team, I coach soccer, I pretty much do it all.  I’m a mister mom, and thank God, because I wouldn’t trade this time for nothing.”

Notwithstanding such sentiments, the high point of Smith’s boxing career to date has to have been his 2008 defeat of unbeaten 21-0 prospect Pawel Wolak, then 21-0.  But Smith comes to Fargo on a two-fight skid, most recently a painfully close loss to 18-0 Fernando Guerrero in July.  “I feel good though,” Smith protests.  Even though I got a bad decision in my last fight I think that was the best I ever looked.”

I pointed out that Smith is no longer a young boxer.  Does he ever think about the end of his career, I asked, or is he still in it for the long haul?  Smith was silent for just a moment before answering: “I don’t drink…and I don’t smoke…I take good care of myself, and I think that as long as I continue down the right path I can keep fighting for a long time.  I feel the best that I’ve ever felt.”

Upcoming Boxing Event: November 5th Shobox in Fargo ND

First the fights, then the commentary…

Edwin Rodriguez (16-0 with 12 kayos) -vs- James McGirt Jr (22-2-1 with 11 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for ten rounds

Marcus Johnson (19-0 with 14 kayos) -vs- Kevin Engel (18-3 with 15 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Andy Kolle (22-2 with 16 kayos) -vs- Francisco Ruben Osorio (12-7 with 10 kayo), light middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Aaron Pryor Jr (14-2 with 11 kayos) -vs- Dyah Davis (18-1 with 9 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Ishe Smith (21-5 with 9 kayos) -vs- Alexander Pacheco Quiroz (14-8 with 12 kayos), light middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Antwone Smith (18-2-1 with 10 kayos) -vs- Martinus Clay (13-26-4 with 5 kayos), welterweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Corey Rodriguez (4-1-2 with 3 kayos) -vs- Nick Runningbear (4-3 with 1 kayo), light middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Jamal James (1-0 with 1 kayo) -vs- Wes Ronchi (debut), welterweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Top of the Card:

Edwin Rodriguez and Marcus Johnson are the TV attractions here.  Rodriguez faces his toughest opponent yet in sturdy and experienced James McGirt, while Johnson takes his chances against Kevin Engel, who lost to Rodriguez just last April.  Engel is no slouch, but his best wins have come against opponents with records of 6-0 and 7-1.  In what has been billed as a third co-featured bout, Andy Kolle returns to his former adopted hometown to take on Colombia’s Francisco Ruben Osorio.  Osorio’s best win was a TKO of then-15-9 Steve Walker back in 2004; his record since then is 0-5, but he’s considered a credible-enough opponent for Kolle’s first venture into the 154 lb class.

Faint Praise

After consecutive losses, Ishe Smith hopes to make a return to the win column against a man with a deceptively good record.  Alexander Quiroz is 12-7, but ten of his twelve wins have come against fighters making their professional debut and he once lost to a man with a record of 0-10.  To his credit Quiroz also owns a win against 19-6 Ignacio Solar, but he’s been unable to duplicate the feat of beating an opponent with a winning record for the last six years.  Antwone Smith will lay his 18-2 record on the line against 13-26-4 Martinus Clay, but it isn’t a sure thing for Smith.  Clay is remembered in Minnesota for outscoring Matt Vanda in an 8-rounder back in 2006.  Clay isn’t a great fighter, but history shows that you never know what might happen if a tough guy hangs in there.

And Don’t Miss…

Dyah Davis and Aaron Pryor Jr each bring a sharp looking record into the ring when they meet in another super middleweight bout; the career of the winner will get a nice shot in the arm.  (Do careers have arms?)  Corey Rodriguez of Minneapolis is a late replacement for Javontae Starks and will face 4-3 Nick Runningbear, the only North Dakotan currently scheduled to appear on this card.  Last of all, if you haven’t seen him yet (almost no one has), don’t miss the opportunity to see Jamal James fight.  Young James is an unknown who is sure to be a hot prospect within a year, and this is your opportunity to find out why.

The Fistic Mystic says: Buy your tickets today for this show at Scheels Arena (the former UP Center) in Fargo.  It’s cheaper than paying for premium cable.

Early Look at ShoBox’s November 5th Fight Card

The preliminary bout sheet for the November 5th ShoBox event in Fargo, ND has been released by DiBella Entertainment, and there are a few dandy matchups and a nice local flavor.  The tendency was definitely to load up on middleweights and variations thereof, with matches of junior middleweights, middleweights, and super middleweights taking up 6 of the 10 slots on the card.  Some of the matches (ie Rodriguez-McGirt, Davis-Pryor) look brilliant on paper, while others (ie Kolle-Osorio, Smith-Pacheco Quiroz) seem to have been put together with an eye toward a quick knockout and a sure “W.”  Seldom does an evening of boxing go entirely according to plan, however, and that’s why they fight the fights in the ring and not on paper.  Tickets are available from Ticketmaster or from the Scheels Arena box office, or the fights can be watched on Showtime or followed round-by-round from ringside on the Fistic Mystic Blog.

Edwin Rodriguez (16-0 with 12 kayos) -vs- James McGirt Jr (22-2-1 with 11 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 10 rounds

Dyah Davis (18-1 with 9 kayos) -vs- Aaron Pryor Jr (14-2 with 13 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Marcus Johnson (18-0 with 14 kayos) -vs- Kevin Engel (18-3 with 15 kayos), super middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Andy Kolle (22-2 with 16 kayos) -vs-Francisco Osorio (12-7 with 10 kayos), middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Ishe Smith (21-5 with 9 kayos) -vs- Alexander Pacheco Quiroz (14-8-1 with 12 kayos), junior middleweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Antwone Smith (18-2 with 10 kayos) -vs- TBA, welterweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Mark Tucker (14-0 with 7 kayos) -vs- TBA, light heavyweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Mickey Bey Jr (15-0 with 8 kayos) -vs- TBA, lightweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Javontae Starks (4-0 with 4 kayos) -vs- Nick Runningbear (4-3 with 1 kayo), junior middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Jamal James (1-0 with 1 kayo) -vs- TBA, welterweights, scheduled for 4 rounds