Fun Time Caleb and Jolly Good Jamal

Who did you come out to the fights tonight (or tune in on your TV) to see, Caleb Truax or Jamal James?  These two men, the highest-profile pugilists to come out of Minnesota in at least a decade, are making 2018 a fun time to be a boxing fan in the Upper Midwest.  They’re different personalities and they come from different places, but they have both captured the imagination of local combat sports fans, and are worming their way into the consciousness of the casual sports fan.  A few more events like tonight’s, with a packed house at the Minneapolis Armory (3,547 announced attendance), a national TV audience, and some entertainingly one-sided wins, and a guy in a Twins shirt or a Vikings jersey might find himself becoming a knowledgeable boxing fan.

Rochester New York’s Willie Monroe, despite his abundant talent, is unlikely to ever be a fan favorite.  He boxes cautiously, without power or panache.  It might be different if Monroe had a big personality like feather fisted former world champ Paulie Malignaggi, or if he was a cold fish of a personality but he could really crack, like some other example who probably exists but whom I can’t call to mind at this moment.  Monroe’s win over Argentinian Javier Francisco Maciel will keep us from forgetting his name, but we can still try.

Have you never seen a boxer quit a fight one second after it began?  No?  If you were watching tonight, you can’t say that anymore.  Curtis Harper acted like everything was perfectly normal until the opening bell sounded, then he casually stepped out of the ring and strolled off into the night.  You might not know whether or not to feel sorry for his opponent, heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba.  Let me tell you, a professional boxer is a competitor who hates to be cheated out of the opportunity to compete.  But don’t cry for Ajagba yet.  He’s young, he’s huge, he’s in shape, and he’s ready to fight.  Maybe he can sneak on a card somewhere in the next few weeks.  As for Harper, he might have panicked at the sight of his intimidating opponent like Nick Capes did a few years ago against Ray Edwards (remember?!).  But the closest comparison I can find is Quincy Miner, who years ago showed up at a show but refused to even enter the ring when he had a financial dispute with his cornerman.  So what was Curtis Harper was thinking when he torpedoed his entire boxing career tonight?  Harper knows.  Maybe.

Jeison Rosario certainly outbombed his opponent in a junior middleweight (154#) bout tonight, and though he statistically dominated Jamontay Clark, I never really had the sense that it as a total wash.  Clark is a tough cookie and he can punch with authority, if only at times.  Hopefully Clark isn’t too discouraged by tonight’s result.  A dangerous man, we say, is always dangerous.  Clark is a dangerous man, and one who keeps his own counsel.  When you get knocked out of the ring, Jamontay, what do you do?  You walk halfway around the outside of the ring to your chosen point of re-entry?  Splendid.

Occasionally in an international sport like boxing, one will run across a name that’s difficult to pronounce.  For a writer, even worse is a name that’s difficult to type in a hurry.  Our next match was between Eimantas Stanionis and (even worse) Levan Ghvamichava, who mercifully has adopted the moniker “Wolf,” probably owing to his incredibly hairy torso.  I hope that neither competitor is offended that I opted to refer to them as ES and LG in my typed report.  I could have used a stenographer tonight.

We had two consecutive bouts tonight with unusually long, tall prospects handing it to shorter foes.  First 19-year old Leon Lawson III, a 6-foot 5-inch junior middleweight (154# limit) from Flint MI, and then 20 year old Sebastian Fundora, a 6-foot 6-inch prospect in the same weight class, from Coachella CA.  Lawson dominated his opponent, 5-foot 8-inch Brandon Adams, on his way to a UD win.  Fundora, facing a somewhat more advanced opponent in 5-foot 10-inch Antonio Urista, showed he is not one to be outdone, notching a 4th round TKO win.  Fundora, we all noticed tonight, is available to be hit.  Your move, Lawson.

The Efetobor Apochi and Aaron Chavers match was an awful mismatch.  Chavers has a respectable looking record, but Apochi was the one who commanded respect tonight.  Chavers only commanded a clear lane to a neutral corner, and for him that was a one-way street.

It’s difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions from a bout as uncompetitive as Gary Antonio Russell‘s win over Nick Otieno.  How uncompetitive was it?  Let’s just say there wasn’t time for any competition to take place.  Welcome to Minnesota, Mr. Russell.  We hope you enjoyed your visit.

There is sure to be consternation and maybe tears when a young prospect loses his “0.”  Some knowledgeable Minnesota boxing fans have had big expectations for Celso Ramirez.  They should hang on to their optimism but temper their expectations. Ramirez can still accomplish great things despite his loss today.  Hopefully his management can get him back on a winning path and position him as something more than sharkbait.  What good things can happen for a one-loss prospect?  Ask Ramirez’s opponent Willie Jones, who started his career 5-0, suffered a loss, and then grabbed some gusto when he notched his good looking win against Ramirez.

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Professional Boxing: August 24th 2018 at the Minneapolis Armory

Doors open at 4:30pm, fights begin at 5:30.  Lots of familiar faces from the Minnesota boxing scene on hand, but lots of unfamiliar or out-of-town faces, too.  This is my first time in the Minneapolis Armory, though I’ve passed it dozens of, if not a hundred times.  If you haven’t been inside, the exterior gives no hint of the extravagance inside.

Caleb Truax (now 30-4-2 with 18 kayos) defeats Fabriano Pena (now 15-11-1 with 11 kayos) by TKO at 2:50 in round 3 (scheduled for 10).

Round 1

Truax throws the first jab and the first earnest punch of the bout, but the first thirty seconds is reserved for measuring.  Pena comes forward, walking and punching but landing nothing, and having gotten inside on Truax he backs off.  A little circling, and Truax jabs the body of Pena.  Truax throws a one-two with the emphasis on two, connecting with Pena’s body.  Pena is dead serious in there, not shying away from punches and not showing any awe.  Pena rushes in on Truax, who tags him.  A little later Truax lands a right to the head that moves Pena, and Truax is coming forward, trying to put this fight to bed quickly.  With seconds to go in the first Pena throws a hard but slow three punch combination, connecting squarely on one or two of his punches.

Round 2

Both fighters are woring hte jab at the start of the second, but Truax with more precision and effect.  Truax bends his knees and throws a hard overhand right, drawing “oohs” from the spectators.  Truax throws soft jabs upstairs and then a hard straight right to the body.  The crowd begins to chant “Caleb.”  Truax is still going soft and then hard with his punches, so Pena never knows what’s coming.  Pena throws a four-punch combination.  Truax lands a right uppercut, then a series of power punches, then a hard right hook to the head.  Truax lands a big right to the head of Pena, Pena responds with a furious but short-lived volley, and the round ends.

Round 3

Truax is likely carrying his opponent in the third round, as the fight isn’t competitive at all.  This is a mismatch of both caliber and firepower.  Truax is popping his opponent here and there, and now opens up with a hard combination that has Pena reeling.  Pena looks wary and alert.  Truax rips a right uppercut to the face of Pena, who responds seconds later with a fusillade of power punches.  Truax corners Pena and throws power shots from a variety of angles, connecting on most of them.  Truax won’t let Pena escape, pummeling him with hooks and uppercuts until one drops him.  Pena jumps up and rushes across the ring at Truax, but referee Celestino Ruiz calls the fight, and it’s over at 2:50 in round 3.

Main Event: Jamal James (now 24-1 with 11 kayos) defeats Mahonry Montes (now 35-8-1 with 24 kayos) by TKO at 2:58 in round 2 of 10 scheduled.

Round 1

James comes out pumping the jab, Montes is mostly watching and moving.  James throws a measuring one-two and goes back to jabbing  Montes is slipping and bouncing.  James is circling to his left, continuing to jab.  About a minute in he experiments with a three punch combo, but they’re still checking each other out.  James finally connects with a punch, but the crowd, though enthusiastic during introductions, isn’t really watching the fight, instead yelling “down in front!”  James has a good height advantage over Montes, as he has over most of his opponents, and he’s circling continuously.  The bell rings on the first round without either man connecting on anything to speak of.

Round 2

James comes out pumping that fast jab again in round 2, but Montes is determined to come forward.  This gives James an opportunity to catch him coming in, if he can get the right measure and timing.  Montes is coming forward but not throwing, and James hasn’t found his timing yet.  Montes finally throws, landing a right to the body of James but getting no reaction.  James is beginning to slow down the frenetic pace he started off at, and finds a home for a body shot.  Montes keeps coming forward, and James brings home a series of sincerely-meant head shots, dropping Montes in the center of the ring like a sack of potatoes.  Referee Mark Nelson begins to count, but ten waves the fight off.  James wins!

Co-Main Event: Willie Monroe Jr (now 23-3 with 6 kayos) defeats Javier Francisco Maciel (now 33-7 with 23 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (100-90, 100-90, 99-91 ) after 10 rounds

Round 1

Hunched over, Monroe is using speed and movement, while the cautious Maciel is bouncing forward and back, pawing the air and looking uncomfortable.   Midway through the round Monroe throws a right from the lefthanded stance (I think) and Maciel stumbles sideways, nearly hitting the mat.  Monroe lands what looks like a jab to the head of Maciel, but he’s behind a ringpost when it happens, and I can’t see.  Ten seconds to go in the round, Monroe tries to win the round by throwing four or five punches.  I would not like to score this round.

Round 2

Maciel looks more willing to engage this round, ducking his head down and pushing forward at one point, but you have to see your opponent to hit him.  Maciel lands a punch and Monroe counters…Monroe is so intent on being elusive, it isn’t conducive to scoring.  Maciel goes on the offensive and the two men trade shots, but neither man gains from the exchange.  Monroe is backing up, Maciel creeping forward.  Maciel finds Monroe a tough target to hit, and Monroe seems happy enough to land a single jab and wait till next time.  Maciel slips a fast jab, throws a jab of his own, and misses.  Maciel rushes forward and Monroe lands a couple of slapping right hooks.  Monroe shoots that jab out a few more times, and the bell rings.

Round 3

Monroe is moving fast, with a herky-jerky motion.  Maciel is coming forward, but he can’t catch Monroe.  Monroe lands a left hook then a right to the body.  A voice in the crowd shouts “Do something!”  Maciel corners Monroe and launches a barrage of punches, some land and some don’t , but he’s seizing the initiative.  Monroe backs away, puts his butt on the ropes, and lands two counter shots when Maciel tries to move in.  Maciel is undeterred, and continues to follow.  Monroe can tag him, but Maciel shakes his head dismissively.  Monroe hits Maciel in the head hard enough to move his back foot, which is progress.  Bell.

Round 4

Monroe throws two disconnected jabs, then a left to the body, ducks around Maciel, and is gone.  Maciel is shuffilng forward but not soring.  Maciel gets a little too close, Monroe pops him and scuttles away.  Maciel nearly corners Monroe, and Monroe throws an all-arm right hook, then dances away.  Maciel folows again, and Monroe throws a more meaningful hook.  Maciel follows again, and Monroe again catches him and scoots away.  Maciel heaves a deep sigh and comes forward again, this time he traps Monroe in a corner and throws his best shots, scoring with some, until Monroe shuffles to his right and escapes.

Round 5

Maciel comes forward, and – stop me if you’ve heard this before.  Monroe is setting ambush after ambush.  Good strategy, but this popgun punching won’t end this fight early.  Maciel is bouncing and ducking, trying to get inside again.  Monroe’s footwork is good and he’s quick, and he can pull the trigger on a punch while moving backwards.  Maciel finally gets close enough to throw a combination, then one more punch, but Monroe tags him back and there’s little question who’s winning this round.  As the round comes to a close Monroe shows off some impressive hand speed, catching Maciel with a combination every punch of which lands.

Round 6

Maciel is game, but he can only rarely catch up with Monroe, who is generally cautious and unwilling to risk most engagements.  Maciel gets too close and Monroe peppers him with some good shots and leaves him behind.  Maciel gets Monroe against the ropes and throws some power shots – Monroe goes to his knees, but I think referee Gary Miezwa ruled that Maciel pushed him down.  Maciel is following Monroe again, and ten seconds to go and Maciel landed a right to the abdomen of Monroe, who was clearly hurt, than chases him and catches him with a good head shot, but the round is over.

Round 7

Maciel is pursuing Monroe again, Monroe is moving backwards.  He moves too far backwards and hits the ropes, where Maciel connects with a body and then a head shot, but to less effect than in the last round.  Maciel gets close in the center of the ring, and the combatants exchange – that exchange favored Monroe.  Maciel takes a couple of steps back, which is unusual for him. Perhaps Monroe has decided that Maciel can’t take him out, because he’s beginning to trade punches more.  His style is not fan-friendly.  Monroe lands to body shots on Maciel, who returns fire, but then Monroe traps Maciel against the ropes and throws some well-placed power shots as the bell rings.

Round 8

Monroe is finally on the attack in this round, and Maciel nods at him every time he connects.  Monroe has the upper hand, but every once in a while Maciel will sneak in a hard counter to let us know he’s still in the fight.  Maciel backs into a corner then punches his way out.  The combatants trade again in the center of the ring, but every exchange seems to favor Monroe every-so-slightly, and the difference is accumulating.  Maciel puts his head down and comes forward with looping punches, hoping to catch Monroe.  Monroe fires back with half a dozen rapid-fire punches from either hand.  Maciel is unfazed and continues to attack with his overhanded punches to the head.

Round 9

Monroe lands a hard rising jab to the face of Maciel, smiles, and backs away.  Maciel follows him to the center of the ring, but Monroe sets his feet and opens fire, scoring effectively.  Maciel stands his ground and Monroe lands a big power shot, but Maciel nods at him as if encourage him to do it again.  The boxers clinch up, and Miezwa breaks them apart.  Maciel wants to brawl, and he does score more when they fight chest-to-chest.  After a break Maciel gets low and throws a maximum-effort hookercut, landing it effectively but receiving a Monroe flurry in reply.  Monroe has worn Maciel down, and he’s scoring freely now.  Maciel is a gamer, but he is slipping further behind.

Round 10

Monroe is pursuing Maciel, maybe hoping to score a KO in the final round.  Monroe comes forward and lands some glamorous power shots, but Maciel isn’t out yet, and he scores with a couple of his own.  Maciel comes forward jabbing, then throws a hard left hook to the side of Monroe’s body.  Monroe continues to score with volume punching, while Maciel is loading up for the desperately-needed knockout punch.  Maciel backs nearly into a corner then gets up on his toes and bounces, but Monroe, unimpressed, lands more power punches.  Maciel throws a corkscrew jab hoping to get past Monroe’s defenses.  The proud Monroe wants to impress, so he stands his ground and throws a volume of very fast punches, and the bell rings.

3rd TV Fight: Efe Ajagba (5-0 with 5 kayos) -vs- Curtis Harper (13-5 with 9 kayos), heavyweights, scheduled for 6 rounds

DISQUALIFICATION – NO BOUT TOOK PLACE

Jamontay Clark (now 13-1 with 7 kayos) is defeated by Jeison Rosario (now 16-1-1 with 11 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (99-90, 98-91, 97-92) after ten rounds.

Round 1

This fight opens a little slowly, with lots of bobbing and feinting.  Rosario in the blue shorts, ducks so deeply that his knees nearly touch the mat.  The first substantial action in the fight sees Clark back into the ropes were Rosario attacks but does not score, as Clark spins away.  Clark retreats into the ropes again, then follows the rope into a corner where Rosario fails to attack and Clark circles away.  In fact Clark has spent the latte half of this round moving to his left with his back to the ropes.  Rosario reluctant to attack.

Round 2

Clark, in southpaw stance, stands his ground in the center of the ring, awing with a cautious jab.  Rosario comes forward, coring with an aggressive combination.  Clark is waving right hand around in an approximation of a jab.  There’s a hard clinch in a corner, and referee Mark Nelson, one of the best in the business, calls or a break.  Now Rosario is beginning to pursue Clark, who throws a left-handed one-two that misses altogether.  Rosario covers up, Clark throws a straight, and it glances away.  Rosario comes forward again, Clark paws at him and Rosario bends his knees deeply again.  Rosario pursues a little too eagerly and Clark lands a clean right hook, the best punch of the fight so far.  Rosario comes forward again ad Clark lands a single punch and bounces away.

Round 3

Rosario is inching forward with a little more caution this round, Clark laying back and waiting to counter.  Clark throws a five-punch combination and lands a couple of them.  Clark throws again, but Rosario catches this combo on his arms.  Rosario comes forward and misses badly with two power shots.  Clark really likes to fight on his back foot.  Rosario cracks Clark with a HUGE right hook, Clark goes down, and rolls clear out of the ring, crawls in at the red corner, and ref Nelson gives him a standing count.  Rosario attacks furiously, mauling and windmilling.  Rosario catches Clark against the ropes and lands a left, but mostly misfires, and Clark has survived the third.

Round 4

Clark is backing up again, his balance looks little compromised, but he is throwing punches at Rosario.  Rosario is following again, and connects a dramatic left hook to Clark’s head.  Clark skitters away though, and he is back to his old trick of retreating strategically and throwing punches in two-punch combinations.  Rosario explodes into Clark, tries to size the moment, but Clark nullifies his attack.  Rosario’s confidence should be high, but it doesn’t show.  Rosario lunges forward to two straight rights and a left hook, all of which miss.  The round ends with neither man looking stronger.

Round 5

Rosario lands a hard jab right off the bat, and he’s coming for Clark this round.  Clark stops his retreat to throw a hard combination, but Rosario blocks it all.  Clark is moving left, right, backing up…nothing new there.  Rosario throws three power shots, right-left-right, and lands them all.  The fighters tangle up and fall to the mat, no knockdown.  Rosario pursues, traps Clark in a neutral corner and tries to attack, but ref Nelson steps in and warns him – I didn’t see for what.  Rosario is back to chasing and jabbing, Clark is on the run.  Rosario lands a right-left-right again, Clark turns him and then throws two or three shots to the back of Rosario’s head, for which Nelson emphatically warns him.  No further scoring to the end of the round.

Round 6

Clark is very active the start of this round, but the activity is all bounching and feinting.  Rosario is chasing, chasing.  Rosario corners Clark, throws a wild overhand right, and misses.  Clark is testing his legs for sure.  Now Rosario ducks under a rare Clark lead.  Clark isn’t really trying to score much, mostly just trying to nullify Rosario’s attack.  I’d love to tell you what’s happened this round, but it isn’t much.  Five seconds to go in the round and Rosario throws a wide hook that makes an audible pop, but it didn’t appear to do any damage, though the crowd is thrilled.

Round 7

Clark trows and lands a straight left from the southpaw stance.  Rosario rushes in and Clark lands a counter.  How about that!  Rosario chases again and this time lands a lunging jab that snaps Clark’s head back.  Rosario is coming forward again, less recklessly this time.  The fighters’ feet get tangled and Rosario falls, but there’s no knockdown.  Rosario, chasing Clark again, lands a big left that sends him reeling into the ropes.  Chasing again, Rosario catches Clark with two or three wild hooks, and he’s taking command of this round.  In a corner, Clark appears to slap the back of Rosario’s head, but Nelson doesn’t act.  Rosario chases his opponent into the red corner and connects with a big left hook, and the round comes to and end.

Round 8

Rosario is selling out on his attacks.  He must think that Clark can’t hurt him, because he appears to be far ahead.  Rosario lands a flurry of big hooks to Clark’s head.  He chases Clark into a corner where Clark ducks a punch and Rosario falls to the mat.  Back on his feet, Rosario continues to attack with abandon, and Clark has taken significant punishment this round.  Rosario is scoring with both hands, and now Rosario clobbers Clark with a straight right and follow up with two more power shots.  Clark is tough, but he is losing this round badly.  Clark briefly fires back, but Rosario scores with a double left hook, and continues to attack and score for the remainder of the round.

Round 9

The doctor is examining Clark in the ring, and allows the fight to continue.  Rosario is following Clark around, and Clark, his feet far apart, is becoming less mobile.  There’s an exchange, and Clark loses his mouthpiece, brief pause while his corner cleans it and returns it to its orifice.  Rosario is coming forward, jabbing, Clark is backing up, looking for an opening for a home run punch that doesn’t appear to be in his arsenal.  Rosario scores with a single right hand.  Rosario pursues and scores again, bu Clark counters and scores.  Rosario is following lark, and catches him in a corner, where he scores with a couple of all-in power shots.  Clark escapes an actually pins Rosario to the ropes, but he can’t do any work and he can’t keep Rosario there.  Ten seconds left in the round and Rosario score again.  Fives seconds left and Rosario throws a bomb that Clark successfully counters.  As the bell rings Clark looks a little disgruntled, if not confused.

Round 10

Clark starts the round boxing, and Rosario is following as usual.  Rosario catches Clark on the ropes again, and lands two more hard shots.  Against another set of ropes, Rosario hammers Clark with a volley of power shots, and Clark trades with him, to some positive effect.  Clark must know he’s way behind, but he’s been unwilling or unable to make any significant changes to his strategy.  Rosario and Clark stand toe to toe and Rosario gets the better of the exchange, then chases Clark and again gets the better of it.  Bell, round, fight.

TV Opener: Eimantas Stanionis (now 7-0 with 5 kayos) defeats Levan Ghvamichava (now 18-4-1 with 13 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (80-72 79-73 79-73) after 8 rounds.

Round 1

This bout begins with both men jabbing, hard, effective jabs.  LG scores a short combination ending with  left hook to ES’s head, ES responds by coming forward and snapping LG’s head back with a variety of punches.  The early pattern is for ES to come forward and LG to retreat while circling to his left.  ES connects with a big right hook that turns LG’s head, but LG throws back with intent.  ES continues to come forward, and a one-two staggers LG momentarily.  ES tries again to step in and LG gives him a meaningful one-two for his trouble.  This one looks like a competitive fight for a change.

Round 2

LG throws an uppercut, ES responds with a jolting left.  LG is asserting himself more this round, but ES is the more powerful puncher and that will likely be evident later.  The bridge of LG’s nose looks red, but I can’t tell whether he’s bleeding.  The two men are more rapidly circling, mostly to their left,with ES throwing hard, precise punches and LG throwing slashing straights ad hooks o the body.  ES likes to cover up and then pop open for a hard jab.  ES connects with a double jab, lots of steam on those punches.  Both men throw and miss before the bell.

Round 3

ES scores another hard double jab to open the third.  LG is standing in there, but he seems a little less sure of himself.  He feints a left hook and ES punishes him with stop-and-start combinations.  ES comes forward, LG backs up to the ropes, and there’s an exchange in which both score credibly.  ES lands a sneaky shot right hook that snaps LG’s head sideways.  ES is getting in close now, and you on’t know whether he’ll lead with a jab or an uppercut – bot work.  LG is backing up and countering ES’s salvos but he can’t escape the intensifying attack from ES, who is willing to eat one punch in order to land two.

Round 4

LG lands one hard jab for starters, ES returns a hard one-two  LG is circling left and backing up.  ES is begining to sit dow on his punches more, but LG is a tough dude.  LG comes forward, three steps, three punches.  LG goes double left hoo to the head and body, nice move.  These guys are trading power shots and it’s a crow pleaser.  LG is on the back foot again, ad ES is looking stronger and stronger.  Left hook connects with LG’s body.  ES is coming forward, potshotting LG, but still LG persists, returning such shots as he can.

Round 5

Big right from ES, followed shortly by a big left – both landed to the head of LG.  LG is coming forward now with a pawing jab, tries to go to the body, but ES counters effectively.  ES goes one-two, LG responds with a three-four.  LG backs into a corner, but he sees his error and works back out.  An exchange on even terms ends with a hard jab from ES.  This is a very nearly even match, and it has the crowd’s rapt attention.  Our fighters are momentarily shoulder-to-shoulder, but ES lands cleanly and they separate.  LG is continuing to press forward, and it appears to pay off for about a minute, as he has ES off balance and may eve have outscored him the second half of this round.

Round 6

ES is landing his jab again the start of this round.  LG is jabbing too, but he misses more frequently.  They’re in close now, and the jabs are giving way to straights and hooks.  After lots of circling and mauling LG scores a one-one-two and then a one-two.  The middle part of this round goes to LG but ES is coming forward and pinpointing his shots as the round comes to an end.

Round 7

The writer next to me opines that these guys don’t look like welterwights, and he’s right, they don’t.  There’s a lot of beef in that ring.  But neither man is taller than referee Miezwa.  LG is an imprecise puncher but he puts a lot of effort into every punch.  ES is using his feet more in this round, moving in and our and circling, as always, to his left.  LG backs up to the ropes and lands a good one-two to the head of ES.  ES is looking more intent as the round goes on, he doubles his jab and there’s a clinch.  Miezwa breaks them.  ES comes forward again, leads with a left hook that connects, then a one-two that connects.  LG is trying to stand with him and exchange, but that tactic favors ES.

Round 8

ES must know he’s ahead on the cards – he seems satisfied to continue his successful strategy, though his output is somewhat higher.  ES throws a combination at the body of LG and the last punch looks suspiciously low.  ES is putting pressure on now, he scores frequently and staggers LG, but LG regains his composure and lands a left hook while backing up.  Now ES uses his whole body to throw a left hook that jolts LG’s entire body.  LG doubles up the jab, but ES scores with a big head shot, then another.  LG is working at maximum effort, and connecting with probably two thirds the punches that ES does.

Sebastian Fundora (now 10-0 with 6 kayos) defeats Antonio Urista (now 10-3 with 2 kayos) by TKO at 2:23 in round 2 (scheduled for 8)

Round 1

Fundora, the “Towering Inferno,” is certainly towering over his opponent.  Urista lands a sweeping left that turns Fundoras head.  Fundora is inching forward, bending forward, throwing jabs from too close in.  Urista blocks a jab and absorbs a left hook to the head.  Fundora moves with confidence, even if he resembles Shawn Bradley with his long, spindly limbs.  Urista circles around Fundora.  Fundora, boxing from southpaw, scores with a couple of jabs and begins to grin.  Urista is trying to make a fight of it, bless him.  The boxers get tied up and there they are as the bell rings.

Round 2

Early on there’s a clinch, the referee calls for a break.  Fifteen seconds later it happens again.  Urista jabs Fundora in the navel, no kidding.  Fundora circles to his left, misses with the jab.  Urista inches backwards into a corner, then comes out to his right.  Fundora doubles the jab.  Urista bulls forward, throws a combo, lands a right to the head.  They break, and Fundora comes forward lands a decent combination, backs Urista into the ropes and connects solidly with some power shots.  The crowd thinks it’s almost over, but Urista slugs his way out.  Fundora corners him again and flurries continuously almost to the point of exhaustion – you can see him slowing down as he rains punches down on the hapless-appearing Urista, and suddenly Urista lashes out, cracking Fundora with a big hook to the head.  Fundora blinks and the bell rings.

Round 3

Fundora comes out and leans on Urista right away, draping himself over Urista.  Urista want none of it, and lands two hard rights to Fundora’s head.  Fundora backs Urista into the ropes again, but this time Urista turns him around and puts his forehead in Fundora’s chest.  Break.  Fundora uppercuts and hooks Urista.  Urista clinches and lands a shot to the head.  This is becoming competitive!  Urista steps forward and lands a straight right and a left hook.  Fundora snaps Urista’s head back with a uppercut, but Urista is game.  Fundora traps Urista on the ropes but doesn’t look like he knows what to do with him and Urista slips away.  Fundora traps him again, this time he score with a flurry of power shots.  Urista is backing up.  Fundora jolts Urista with a jab and then paws at him until the bell.

Round 4

At the start of the round the ref brings Urista to see the doctor.  Doc allows the fight to continue.  Urista’s mouth is hanging open.  Fundora circles his prey.  Urista left hooks Fundora and sprays sweat into the crowd, but Fundora smiles.  Fundora is coming forward, but Urista attacks back and connects with two more solid shots.   Urista flurries but and Fundora comes forward, punching all the while, corners Urista, who punches forward and then escapes to his left.  Fundora sees no danger now and he’s measuring his shots, trying to land effectively.  Urista, a warrior, is getting the worst of it.  Fundora pursues Urista into a neutral corner and pop-pop-pop scores until the referee steps in and stops the fight.

Leon Lawson now (8-0 with 4 kayos) defeats Brandon Adams (now 4-7-1 with 2 kayos), by Unanimous Decision (60-54, 60-54, 60-54) after 6 rounds.

Round 1

This is a size mismatch, with the long Lawson towering over the diminutive Adams.  Adams is trying to out-quick Lawson though, ad in the early going there’s no competitive advantage to either man.  Lawson connects with a pushed power shot, but it’s a single score.  Lawson is beginning to show more aggression, and though most of the movement is tactical, Lawson does score with a hard straight right that knocks Adams off balance.  Again though, it’s the only scoring punch in a short combination.  The fighters tangle and Adams shoves Lawson, who touches that mat with his glove.  It’s no knockdown though.  The round ends with Adams whiffing on a haymaker.

Round 2

Lawson is tying to sharpshoot Adams from the heights, and it appears to be working.  He connects with a right to the body of Adams, and a smattering of jabs that annoy Adams.  Adams is bobbing and coming forward, grabbing and grappling, trying to find an opening to get inside against Lawson.  Adams scores with a left (?) that moves Lawson, but again it’s only one punch.  Adams is determined, and that counts for something.  Adams lands a short shot to the cheek of Lawson and Lawson counters.  Lawson uppercuts Adams’ face, there’s a brief exchange, and Lawson lands one more right before the bell.

Round 3

Adams is ducking and coming forward.  He ducks under a right hook from Lawson but doesn’t counter.  Lawson continues to jab and sometimes throws a right.  Lawson scores with a one-two.  Adams ducks into an uppercut.  Adams is still coming forward, but ineffectually.  Lawson likes the one-two.  There’s a clinch and a clean break.  The two exchange jabs then Lawson scores with a couple of rising hooks.  Lawson tries again and Adams ducks under his attack.  Lawson is scoring mostly in ones and twos, Adams hardly at all.  Now Lawson is carrying his forward (jab) hand at his waist.  Adams tries to attack but the bell cuts him off.

Round 4

This is not an action fight, but a tactical one.  Lot of jabbing, feinting, and ducking.  Adams lands a hook – just one.  The boxers circle for a while, Lawson nearly backs into a corner, but then escapes to his left.  Lawson lands a soft jab, then another.  Adams is shuffling cautiously forward, the two tangle, and the referee calls for a break.  Lawson jabs, misses, hesitates, then lands a glancing right to the body.  Lawson is trying to be more busy and lands a left hook to Adams body.  Ten seconds to go and Lawson misses with a one-two, Adams lunges forward and misses, and the bell sounds.

Round 5

Adams starts the round coming forward but lands nothing.   Lawson goes back to the jab and a lull ensues.  Adams chases Lawson into a corner but doesn’t score.  Adams comes forward again and Lawson connects with a right to the body.  Adams can find no openings, because Lawson – not an action fighter – is adept at using his height to his advantage.  Adams gets inside and scores one left to the body, but Lawson comes around him and score his own body shot.  Lawson smiles.  Adams is getting more aggressive, there’s a clinch, and Lawson falls to his knees – no knockdown.  Adams chases Lawson into a corner and Lawson makes him miss, turns him around, and lands a single punch.  Bell.

Round 6

Adams knows his situation and attacks with some urgency in the final round, but not with effect.  Lawson score with a soft jab, then a right hook to the body.  Adams is willing to follow wherever Lawson leads.  Adams gets inside but Lawson grabs on and smothers him.  Someone behind me is shouting “Doe da Jab! Doe da Jab! There we go!”  Nothing is happening.  Adams tries to attack, Lawson lands a single right.  Adams circles, makes punching motions, skitters away.  Back inside Adams finally throws a combination and connects with a couple of punches.  Lawson hides behind his shoulder.  More posturing and the fight is mercifully over.

Efetobor Apochi (now 5-0 with 5 kayos) defeats Aaron Chavers (now 8-6-1 with 3 kayos) by TKO at 2:18 in round 1 (scheduled for 6).

Round 1

Apochi is all business as he backs Chavers into a neutral corner and pounds him with body shots for thirty solid seconds, punctuating the attack with a head shot that leaves Chavers wobbling toward the red corner.  Chavers finds his way back into the same neutral corner and takes some more punishment before finally leading Apochi on a meandering trip to the neutral corner on the other side of the ring.  Along the way Chavers manages to throw two combinations.  But Apochi is sharp and aggressive, and he continues to hound Chavers back into the first neutral corner, where he unloads some more, finally landing a smacking right that sends Chavers reeling to his right.  Referee Mark Nelson wisely calls the fight off.

Gary Antonio Russell (now 12-0 with 10 kayos) defeats Nick Otieno (now 31-15 with 13 kayos) by KO at 1:18 in round 1 (scheduled for 8)

Round 1

Russell comes out southpaw, the grizzled veteran Otieno orthodox.  Russell is using speed and a pawing jab to establish the pace, then scores with a hot hook to the head and drops Otieno without shedding any perspiration, as referee Mark Nelson counts 10.

Willie Jones (now 6-1 with 3 kayos) defeats Celso Ramirez (now 7-1 with 7 kayos) by TKO at 2:32 of round 2 (scheduled for 6).

Round 1

Ramirez and Jones are busy from the start, and power shots begin to fly not fifteen seconds into the bout.  Both boxers are hurrying and getting just a little wild.  Ramirez throws a combination that’s all blocked by Jones, but follows with another shorter combination that connects and excites the sparse crowd.  Jones is coming forward now, and walks into a counter left from Ramirez.  There’s a clinch and a clean break.  Jones lands a sweeping let hook and Ramirez grabs.  Referee Gary Miezwa breaks them apart again.  The combatants trade in the center of the ring, and Ramirez begins to retreat.  Ramirez stops his retreat, goes on the attack, but gets turned into a neutral corner where Jones snaps his head back with a left hook-uppercut hybrid.  Ten seconds to go and the fighters trade then fade until the bell.

Round 2

The second round begins at a more sensible pace, Ramirez lands a body shot and Jones counters with effect.  Jones continues to come forward, but Ramirez momentarily freezes him with a short hook.  Jones is concentrating more on the jab, Ramirez inching backwards and dodging it.  Jones lands a big straight right, Ramirez clinches and then shakes his head on the break.  Jones is scoring now with regularity and it looks like a matter of time before Ramirez goes down.  Ramirez is down!   He rises to his knee and then to his feet before the count of 9, but he doesn’t look good.  Jones attacks with power shots, Ramirez helpless to avoid his attack.  Referee Miezwa jumps in and waves off the bout, Jones wins by TKO!

Getting Heated in the Cold

Tonight’s outdoor boxing show at Grand Casino Hinckley has been planned for months.  Back when the casino brain trust approved the idea, must have seemed reasonable to them to suppose that on August 25th the weather would be pleasant, or at least temperate.  Nobody could have guessed that it would be frigid and unpleasant.  I suspect that the warmest (if not the most comfortable) people at the event were the boxers, after a round or two of exertion.  But even the darkest cloud can have a silver lining.  As Mark Nelson quipped, “At least there are no mosquitos.”

For Caleb Truax, tonight’s cloud was the boring dog of a fight he found himself in.  For eight rounds it was the least interesting bout Truax has participated in since Durrell Richardson in 2009.  The silver lining for Truax was the victory.  If I’m to be fair, I have to point out that Truax hadn’t fought in a full year, and ugly or not, he forced the stoppage by breaking his opponent’s jaw.  Hopefully better things are coming soon for the Golden one, because a boxer’s expiration date often begins with the number 3.

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Truax takes a swipe at Leatherwood

Tonight’s match involving Tony Lee and Markus Morris was supposed to be for the Minnesota State Super Lightweight title held by Morris.  However, after Morris failed to make the designated 140 lb weight limit, he was made to forfeit the title.  So Lee could take the championship belt with a win, but win or lose, Morris would lose the belt. Outcome: Morris won the fight and lost the belt.  Now Minnesota has no champion in this weight class.

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Kudos to Al Sands for his emphatic statement against the incredibly hostile Mengistu Zarzar.  I have to admit that I didn’t think Sands would win.  I remember seeing Phil Williams blow Sands apart like a hand grenade two years ago, and I had a pretty low opinion of his chin.  Guess I was wrong.  Zarzar tested that chin with some big wallops, but Sands stood up to him and earned the win by TKO.

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It was a battle of unbeatens when Nate Rubin and Ramiro Hernandez teed off on each other tonight.  Rubin had the right demeanor and a sturdy chin; he was unfazed by everything Hernandez threw at him.  But he couldn’t seem to catch up to Hernandez’s speed.  In boxing we talk a lot about speed, and this was a good illustration of why.

Ve Shawn Owens may or may not have had the fastest hands on display tonight, but he certainly put his speed on display in a way that no one else did.  Owens’ hands were a blur, and his opponent will back me up on this.  Owens overwhelmed his opponent with hand speed and punch volume, with the result that his bout wasn’t competitive.  Owens has talked about a match with Antonio Johnson.  There’s a big difference in quality of opponents faced by each man, but this is beginning to look more like an attractive matchup.

Speaking of uncompetitive bouts, did you see Anthony Palmisano obliterate Ivey Nixon?  Not if you blinked, you didn’t.  Palmisano may have a future in boxing.  He’s fit, he’s handsome, he’s reasonably talented, and he fights out of Duluth.  No city in Minnesota embraces boxing like Duluth.

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Last time DeLorien Caraway fought (and won) the decision was criticized on this blog.  You’ll read no such criticisms tonight.  Caraway looked fantastic in his rematch with Gilbert Venegas.  Venegas is a canny, experienced fighter who brings plenty of pride and fire into the ring, but Caraway needed only two or three rounds to leave him behind.

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The first bout of the night involved a prospect name Adrian Taylor and an opponent named Tristan James.  Taylor might have been expected to blow James out of the water, which he didn’t do.  But he did look strong, fast, clever, and reasonably refined.  At this stage in his career it’s tough to judge Taylor.  He performed well, though, and he’s worth watching.

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Final thought: if tonight’s cold didn’t tie you up in knots, you must have been dressed more warmly than me.  What I’d like is a sauna and a masseuse, but what I’ve got is a pillow and a blanket.  I will get by.

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Professional Boxing: August 25th 2017 at Grand Casino Hinckley

Caleb Truax (now 28-3-2 with 18 kayos) defeats KeAndrae Leatherwood (now 20-5-1 with 13 kayos) by TKO at 2:23 of round 10 in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds.

Round 1

Our combatants start the fight with circling.  Leatherwood is inching forward and throwing light jabs that don’t connect.  Now Truax begins coming forward, throwing jabs and little more in the early going.  About a minute in Truax throws a jab followed by a right hand that loops over top, but it’s mostly blocked by Leatherwood.  There’s a clinch, broken up by referee Mark Nelson.  More circling and jabbing.  Round one ends with no significant action.  Was anything learned?  Round 2 will tell.

Round 2

Leatherwood comes out and immediately throws a double jab, followed moments later by a left-right that lands to Truax’s head.  They trade, then clinch, and ref Nelson breaks them up.  Truax lands a hard jab that pushes Leatherwood back.  Leatherwood lunges in, Truax doesn’t give way, and there’s another break.  More circling, more jabbing, Leatherwood tries to duck in but gets caught in another clinch.  Truax comes forward and Leatherwood counters.  Referee Nelson pauses the action to warn Leatherwood – it appeared it was for swinging his elbows.    More tactical movements, then Leatherwood scores a glancing right hand to the head of Truax.  There’s a flurry at the bell, but nothing of importance is landed.

Round 3

Leatherwood opens the round with a jab to the body.  After much  mauling, Truax lands a straight right to the body of Leatherwood.  In the event, Leatherwood’s head clashes with Truax’s and the fighters are both warned.  Almost immediately they go back to a clinch, and try to punch their way out but in the end Leatherwood is warned to keep his punches up.  The pace is picking up as Truax ducks under a hook and it bounces off  the top of his head.  Both men want to get in close, and the result so far has been a close-quarters clash with few clean shots landed.

Round 4

Leatherwood jabs effectively for the first seconds of round 4, but before long we’re back in a clinch and it’s a shoving match.  Truax deftly slips a jab but doesn’t counter.  Leatherwood steps forward and let hooks Truax.  Things are getting rougher.  In a clinch again, Truax is throwing rights to the body.  Truax is bleeding profusely from the left side of his nose, but I didn’t see how it happened.  More clinching, and the bell rings as ref Nelson pulls the tangled fighters apart.

Round 5

Leatherwood jabs crisply to start the round, but again Truax pulls him into a clinch.  Break.  Leatherwood jumps in and throws a big right to the body of Truax.  Ref Nelson warns Leatherwood again, but I don’t know for what.  They’re back in a clinch again.  Neither man can create the distance necessary to land anything significant.  Now they’re shoulder to shoulder and their hands are working more freely.  Leatherwood grunts as he digs an uppercut to the body of Truax.  Still in close, but finally the hands are moving.  Leatherwood is getting the better of it now, throwing hooks to the body and head of Truax.  Truax punctuates the round with a 2 or 3 punch combination at the bell.

Round 6

Leatherwood is trying to throw double and triple jabs.  it doesn’t take long before they’re head to head, shoulder to shoulder again, with Truax throwing multiple uppercuts to the body.  We come to a point where there’s an inch of space between the fighters and they both try to attack, nullifying each other completely.  Mark nelson calls time out and talks to both fighters, but I couldn’t hear what he said.  After the confab we have more mauling and brawling and the round ends without resolution.

Round 7

Both fighters are showing more urgency now, hopefully having been warned that they’ve been very ineffective and inconclusive.  Still, each encounter seems to end with more clutching.  Finally there’s a clinch in which Leatherwood throws two borderline-legal punches to the side-back of Truax, then a punch to the back of the head, and ref Mark Nelson deducts a point from Leatherwood.  Though it continues to be an ugly fight, the activity level of both fighters has been improving.  Still, it would be hard to award this round to either man without the point deduction.

Round 8

An exchange at the start of the round sees Leatherwood lose his mouthpiece.  Once it’s reinserted the fighters resume their wrestling match.  Suddenly Truax lands a big shot, followed by a right that stumbles Leatherwood.  The crowd thinks that Leatherwood is more hurt than he is.  There’s another clinch and Truax gets away with a hard uppercut landed during the break.  More grabbing and dancing, and Leatherwood connects with a hard right, but only one.  There’s more holding, and Nelson warns Leatherwood for holding.  “One more time,” he shouts.  Immediately the fighters go back to head-to-head and maul to the bell.

Round 9

Chest-to-chest to start the round, but again there’s an interlude of action in which both en land good hooks.  Truax puts his head down and pushes Leatherwood into the ropes.  Leatherwood hooks his right arm around Truax’s left and they grapple.  Truax finds the space to land a big right hook that electrifies the crowd, but only for a moment.  Again Truax’s head goes down and it looks like he’s bleeding from his left cheek.  Truax suddenly lands a thunderous right to the head of Leatherwood that gives him the momentum for thirty seconds or so, until Leatherwood lands a glancing right that backs him off.  The crowd sees resolution coming and enthusiastically cheers the end of the ninth.

Round 10

Leatherwood loses his mouthpiece in the early going.  Truax has the momentum now, and he’s throwing everything at Leatherwood, but at times that leaves him vulnerable.  Leatherwood loses his mouthpiece again in a clinch, and though the crowd (and Truax’s corner) are accusing him of spitting it out, I don’t think he did.  Moments later Leatherwood has another point deducted for holding.  Truax is going to town, and Leatherwood is now bleeding – a lot – from the mouth.  Referee Nelson calls time and brings Leatherwood to the doctor, who briefly inspects Leatherwood.  Nelson stops the bout.  It’s over, and Truax is the winner.

Markus Morris (now 11-3 with 7 kayos) defeats Tony Lee (now 11-2-1 with 3 kayos) by TKO at 2:16 in round 3 of a bout scheduled for 8 rounds.

Round 1

Morris opens the action with jabs, but he doesn’t land.  Tony Lee follows suit.  After some inconclusive swinging, Morris catches Lee going backwards and lands a right in the red corner. Early on Lee is bouncing, moving, going backwards.  Morris is following, but nobody is scoring.  Lee connects with a good left, but only one.  Morris follows Lee into the blue corner, tries to catch him, but Lee attempts to spin away.  It’s a messy one so far.  Now Lee lands a big right (?) that momentarily stuns Morris, and though he pursues, Lee is unable to capitalize.  By the time the round ends, Morris looks recovered.

Round 2

Immediately there’s a clinch, but the fighters punch their way out of it.  Lee is working backwards, Morris following him again.  Lee’s corner wants straight punches: “One-two, straight down the middle!”  These two are not powerful punchers, so the fight is likely to go long.  Morris misses a series of punches, Lee misses with a triple jab.  Morris lunges forward and misses his target, nearly falling into the ropes.  Morris comes forward and Lee catches him, freezing him momentarily.  Lee begins to come forward, but Morris zaps him with a right hand that leaves Lee discombobulated for a moment.  Lee pulls himself together, and bell.

Round 3

Both men comes out winging, and though considerable skill is in play, it has an artless look.  Neither man scores for a time, and then Morris catches Lee with a left to the belly that drops him to his knees.  Lee is up quickly and resumes the fight, but Morris has renewed confidence and moments later knocks Lee’s mouthguard out, then pounds him into the ropes with a right.  Referee Gary Miezwa begins the count, but I don’t think he finished it before calling the fight to an early end.

Al Sands (now 20-2 with 18 kayos) defeats Mengistu Zarzar (now 6-1 with 5 kayos) by TKO in round 8 of 8 scheduled.

Round 1

Sands, substantially taller than Zarzar, comes out jabbing.  Zarzar opens up with a frantic attack of incredibly wide and wild hooks, and flails away until he loses his balance and falls down.  No knockdown is registered.  The fight resumes and Sands is punching from outside.  Sands comes forward and lands a single right to the body.  Zarzar’s counter is so wild that he spins halfway around.  Sands steps forward and thrwows a left that Zarzar ducks underneath.  Sands follows Zarzar into a corner and lands a one-two, then Zarzar torques himself into the center of the ring.  Sands is moving deliberately, Zarzar is out of control.  Sands throws, Zarzar latches on, and when Sands backs up Zarzar falls on his hands and knees.  No knockdown.

Round 2

Sands is moving forward from the start, jabbing.  Zarzar attacks furiously, but ineffectively with those wide hooks.  Sands follows Zarzar into a neutral corner and lands a jab, then a sharp left hook.  Zarzar is all anger and aggression.  Sands is coming forward, beginning to potshot his opponent.  Sands catches Zarzar bending forward and uppercuts him.  Zarzar lashes out and connects with a hard shot to the shoulder, and Sands raises his eyebrows.  Sands follows Zarzar into a corner (again) and lands a jab, then Zarzar grabs onto him and pushes him into the center of the ring.  Sands follows Zarzar ito a corner (again) and lands two punches of a flurry.  Zarzar is moving herky-jerky, like he’s exhausted.  Sands ducks a big left hook and the bell rings.

Round 3

Sands jabs forward and Zarzar explodes with aggression.  After a moment of clutching Zarzar throws a wild flurry full of attitude and anger.  There’s a clash of heads and Zarzar is cut in the corner of his right eye.  Sands is jabbing, jabbing, and finally follows with a right.  Both men throw left hands at the same time, and though Zarzar’s lands harder, Sands looks better.  Zarzar throws a left-right and both punches land.  Sands is cool and collected and continues to stalk.  Zarzar is trying to push his shorts down and Sands attacks, catching him by surprise.  Zarzar is gasping now, throwing one or two punches at a time instead of the extended flurries that characterized the early going.  Sands sharpshoots him and Zarzar clinches as the round comes to a close.

Round 5

Sands is following, Zarzar lunging for single punches now.  Sands is getting the better of it, being  more aggressive in the early part of round 5.  Zarzar backs into a corner for the umpteenth time and Sands pursues.  Zarzar looks absolutely exhausted, and Sands continues to follow, throwing more than he lands, but scoring occasionally.  Zarzar scores a single left, and the clock runs out on round 5.

Round 6

Zarzar comes out jabbing, but there’s nothing behind the jabs.  Sands continues to follow, using the formula that has worked so well thus far: follow Zarzar till he runs out of real estate, then connect with a one-two.  Sands lands a power shot to the body, then another to the  head, and Zarzar is wilting.  Zarzar is reeling, Sands picking his shots and beating him mercilessly.  Zarzar puts h is head down, with ten seconds to go comes back up and lands one wide left that lands flush and thrills the crowd.

Round 7

Referee Mark Nelson calls time and the doctor examines Zarzar’s bleeding eye.  The fight resumes and Sands comes forward – this time Zarzar doesn’t retreat but counters, and both men land.  There may also have been a clash of heads.  Sands continues to stalk, throwing one-twos, but he looks less fresh, and less balanced than he has looked.  Zarzar backs into the blue corner ropes and Sands catches up, throws a weak arm punch and then a stiff one-two that scores.  Zarzar lands a big single shot.  Sands comes forward and Zarzar catches him coming in, but Sands walks through it and scores another left-right.  Zarzar is bleeding from the nose.  Sands stumbles, but then keeps coming forward, landing more effective shots.  The bell rings and Zarzar sneers before returning to his corner.

Round 8

Zarzar comes right out, mauls Sands, and then lands a glancing left that sprays sweat into the air.  Sands is going downstairs-upstairs and though he looks tired and wobbly, and somewhat stiff-legged.  Sands chases again, Zarzar bends down, and Sands goes body-head, scoring with both.  Zarzar is throwing back, but Sands lands a big right that sends Zarzar stumbling backwards across the ring.  He rights himself in the ropes.  Zarzar is attacking, but his attack plays out and Sands catches him with a left to the temple.  Sands clobbers Zarzar and it looks like it’s all over, but somehow Zarzar keeps his feet even as Sands pummels him with more rising hooks.  Zarzar stumbles the entire width of the ring to his own corner, and referee Mark Nelson stops it.  Sands wins.

Ramiro Hernandez (now 9-0 with 7 kayos) defeats Nate Rubin (now 4-1 with 2 kayos) by Unanimous Decision (60-54, 59-55, 59-55) after 6 rounds.

Round 1

Hernandez opens the bout with some off-target jabs.  The fighters circle, and Hernandez lands a right to the ribs.  Rubin is inching forward, now inching back.  Hernandez scores again.  Rubin snaps a triple jab that connects.  Rubin is switching stances and moving.  Referee Miezwa warns Hernandez to keep his punches up, then pauses the action moments later to pull Rubin’s shorts up.  Now the fighters exchange in the center of the ring, neither man gaining an advantage.  Hernandez is trying to be fast and throw short punches, causing to short-arm several times.  Hernandez lands, and Rubin shakes his head dismissively.  Ten seconds to go, and Hernandez goes on attack, outlanding Rubin to close the round.

Round 2

Hernandez comes out aggressive, touching Rubin to the body and head.  Rubin comes forward but isn’t connecting.  There’s an exchange, and Rubin connects with a right hook.  Hernandez looks more polished.  Hernandez comes into range and Rubin connects with a good body shot.  Hernandez smiles as Rubin jabs him to the body.  Hernandez is moving in and out with alacrity, scoring with fast power shots.  Rubin jabs and Hernandez clinches.  Hernandez attacks and connects, but then Rubin holds his arm and throws a couple to the body.  Rubin connects with a left and a right to show he’s still in the fight, and round 2 ends.

Round 3

Both men are trying to out-quick their opponent.  Hernandez lands a left that rocks Rubin, but Rubin shows no concern and comes forward again.  Now they’re circling to the left, Hernandez inching forward.  More circling, Rubin keeping his hands low.  Hernandez with a left to the body.  Rubin connects to the head of Hernandez.  Hernandez is getting aggressive, and things are getting heated.  Rubin scores twice.  Hernandez snaps Rubin’s head back with a hard jab.  Rubin ducks and Hernandez scores with an uppercut.  The pace quickens with seconds to go in the round, but no significant punches are landed.

Round 4

Both men land jabs. Hernandez is punching from angles.  Rubin comes forward and scores with a left, then shoves Hernandez away.  Hernandez lands a jab, then misses with a crossing left.  Rubin is having trouble catching up with Hernandez’ speed.  Hernandez is having trouble landing clean punches. Hernandez comes forward, throws a flurry, and lands a right to the head of Rubin.  Rubin counters and lands the same. Hernandez attacks and scores with several power punches.  There’s a tactical lull, and Hernandez comes forward.  Rubin seems more comfortable inside, but he isn’t scoring enough to win when he gets there.  Round 4 ends with mauling and glancing blows from both men.

Round 5

Hernandez is being encouraged by his corner to come forward, and he endeavors to comply. Rubin lands a thudding right, but doesn’t follow it up and Hernandez seems unaffected.  Hernandez is coming forward and scoring.  Rubin ducks a punch but doesn’t counter – he has the elements to win, but isn’t putting them together.  Hernandez holds and hits but isn’t warned.  Hernandez attacks again and scores – not a lot, but more than Rubin.  Hernandez holds and hits again, and is warned this time by a scowling Gary Miezwa.

Round 6

Hernandez comes forward, misses a right, and retreats to the ropes.  Rubin scores with a single punch.  There’s an exchange, both fighters land, and Hernandez is warned again, this time for low punching.  Now Hernandez comes forward, Rubin retreats, and Hernandez chases.  Hernandez has trouble scoring as Rubin clutches and ducks.  Each man scores, but Hernandez outlands Rubin by 2-to-1.  Rubin lands a punch to the back of Hernandez’ head and is warned by ref Miezwa.  Rubin is looking for an opening, but he can’t fill it when he sees it.  Now Rubin scores a couple of times, then a third time…but Hernandez fights back with effective power shots.  The fighters are trading power shots for the last fifteen seconds or so of the final round, both men landing but neither man hurt.

Ve Shawn Owens (now 7-0 with 7 kayos) defeats Brandon Phillips Black (now 1-3) by TKO at 2:45 of round 2.

Round 1

Owens comes out with intent to end it early.  After some quick jabbing from both parties, Owens lands a one-two and then corners Black, trapping him in a corner and throwing a large number of punches in a very short time.  Black is hurt and on defense, and Owens gives chase, battering him all over the ring.  After a complete circuit of the ring Owens corners B Black again, but Black surprises by landing a single hard counter shot that causes Owens to pause for a moment.  But the pattern is set, and Owens spends the remainder of the bout chasing and throwing.  With about five seconds left in the round Black catches Owens again, but those are his only two good moments in the entire round.

Round 2

Black comes out standing up and jabbing.  Owens resumes stalking, and follows Black into the blue corner where he lands a number of big punches.  Black backs away again, eventually sneaking in two good counters.  Owens is shuffling forward, setting his feet, and throwing combinations – more leisurely now.  Owens catches Black on the ropes and lands three right hooks in a row.  Black looks alert though, and continues to look for opportunities to shoot back.  Owens looks in danger of punching himself out – can anyone sustain this pace?  Owens continues to attack, and referee Mark Nelson stops the bout at 2:45 of round 2.

Anthony Palmisano (now 2-0 with 2 kayos) defeats Ivey Nixon (now 1-2) by TKO at 1:58 in round 1 of 4 scheduled.

Round 1

The bout begins with aggressive work from both men.  Palmisano looks the stronger of the two, but Nixon looks slippery.  Palmisano is the aggressor, working with cool detachment and a serene face, Nixon looking to counter.  Mid-round Palmisano lands a single monster right that crumbles Nixon – Nixon collapses as if boneless.  A dazed Nixon  surprises everyone by rising to his feet, and though he’s wobbly, referee Gary Miezwa permits the fight to continue. The outcome is a forgone conclusion.  Palmisano pounds away at Nixon, who seems to need to fall but can’t, and finally Miezwa steps in and calls – it – Palmisano by TKO.

Delorean Caraway (now 10-1 with 5 kayos) defeats Gilbert Venegas (now 15-30-5 with 8 kayos) by Split Decision (54-56, 60-54, 59-55) in six rounds

Round 1

Caraway strikes first, landing a left-right-left to the body of Venegas.  After Caraway flurries a few times, Venegas responds with shots to the body.  Caraway is starting quicker tonight than the last time we saw him, intending to send a message.  Caraway is busy, throwing tons of power shots with impressive speed.  Venegas, however, is occasionally landing a big right hook to the head, when he can time Caraway.  This is an action round, and the fighters trade leather to the end.

Round 2

Caraway goes first again, landing a single jab, then throwing an extended combination.  Venegas is pursuing Caraway, but Caraway is alert and aggressive as he retreats.    Caraway is jab-jab-jabbing as he backs around the ring.  Venegas throws a few jabs, but he’s really looking for an opening for a big overhand right.  Caraway has a lightning fast jab, and he’s using it effectively.  Caraway goes to the body, and Venegas counters with a big single left to the head.  Another exchange, and Caraway is landing more frequently than Venegas.  Round 2 ends with ten seconds of tense inactivity.

Round 3

Caraway starts with three jabs, then three more.  NA single jab.  Caraway with a right-left to the body, then he looks to the head, and now he goes back downstairs.  Venegas is standing in there, shuffling forward, but unable to pull the trigger.  Venegas with a single jab.  Caraway throws a right and Venegas finally responds with three power shots.  Caraway scores again, then Venegas comes out of his shell and lands a nice combination to the head and body.  Venegas with a single right, but it’s a soft one.  Caway is backing up, leading Venegas all over the ring, pausing occasionally to sharpshoot him.  Venegas continues to come forward, but his punch output – though powerful – is low.  Venegas again lands a single soft right to the head, but follows with an effective flurry. Two hard jabs from Venegas cause Caraway to shake his head.

Round 4

Caraway starts the round with about ten fast, unanswered shots.  Caraway lands a glancing left that causes Venegas to wobble, only momentarily.  Venegas is stalking, but Caraway is leading with greater volume, power, and accuracy.  Finally Venegas throws a five punch combination that lands to the body of Caraway.  Caraway likes to throw that jab from a low position, and Venegas takes advantage, landing a hard right, but Caraway is wearing him down.  Venegas is tiring, but Caraway loks the same as he did in round one.  Venegas flurries to the body while Caraway simultaneously flurries to the head.  Caraway continues to lead Venegas on a chase, potshotting him as he retreats.

Round 5

Venegas throws the first punch of this round, but Caraway responds with a long, hard flurry.  Venegas is throwing single punches now.  Venegas lands, Carway counters and bounces backward.  Caraway misses with a series of jabs.  Venegas misses a right, and Caraway counters.  Caraway’s corner calls for more punches and Caraway obliges.  Referee Mark Nelson breaks ups a clinch.  Caraway lands a number of showy punches. Venegas backs hi into a neutral corner and connects with two or three hard body shots, but Caraway flutters away.  Venegas is coming forward, but he can’t catch Caraway.  Venegas lands one punch, Caraway counters with a single shot, and the bell rings.

Round 6

Venegas’ left eye is looking swollen.  Caraway starts the round with jabbing again, but Venegas stifles him.  Caraway throws a long combination, and finishes with a single head shot that freezes Venegas.  Venegas continues to come forward, and he can’t land.  Caraway looks the best I’ve ever seen him.  Caraway is talking to the crowd, then he ducks his head and clinches.  Venegas throws a one-one-two, but Caraway moves him with a hard counter.  Venegas comes forward, Caraway pummels him again.  Venegas doesn’t have the tools to catch up with Carraway’s speed and movement, but he’s dogged, and finally gets Caraway backed into a corner and lands a series of hard punches.  Caraway comes out of the exchange looking no worse, and goes back to work.  Ten seconds to go, and Venegas lands a single right, then both men trade punches to the bell.

Adrian Taylor (now 4-0 with 3 kayos) defeats Tristan James by UD (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) in four rounds.

Round 1

The first round begins with both men engaging in tactical exploration.   It doesn’t take long for the strength of Taylor to show, as he bulls, clinches, and pops James with impunity.    Taylor’s quick hands allow him to land straight punches that seem to shock and annoy James.  Mid-round the fighters get in close and James manages to get his hands under Taylor’s guard, and he throws a flurry of uppercuts, landing one in particular that makes Taylor flinch. The round ends as it began; Taylor scoring with more straight punches.

Round 2

James intends to come out jabbing, but Taylor gets inside in a hurry.  Taylor finds a target for his right hand on James’ face.  The bout is becoming less competitive, a Taylor is able to avoid James’ punches, which are quickly losing their steam.  Taylor lands a one-two to the body.  James responds by backing up with a sequence of ineffective jabs.  James clinches, and referee Gary Miezwa separates the combatants.  Taylor measures the distance with a stationary left hand, and James responds with a flurry that fails to impress.  Additional activity produces no action before the bell.

Round 3

James looks frustrated as the round begins.  Taylor jabs the head, then the body.  Taylor lands power shots to the body.  James is circling to his left, but Taylor’s crisper punching breaks his pattern and forces him to retreat again.  Taylor lands a hard jab, James responds with three punches that score.  James, the taller fighter, is trying to keep his distance, but Taylor is stalking him.  Taylor strikes James’’ ribs with a hard right that shudders James.  James comes forward throwing punches – Taylor’s corner shouts “I want pressure, don’t you dare go back!” and Taylor responds with a flurry of effective power shots.

Round 4

Taylor leads with a jab and then lands a huge straight right that impresses the crowd.  James dances around the ring, then comes forward with an aggressive rally.  Taylor lands a right-left-right that drives James backwards. Taylor is sharpshooting him now, scoring almost at wil.  James blocks a right and counters, but his punches are ineffective.  Taylor shuffles forward, measure the distance, and lands a short flurry that ends with another big right.  Now they’re mauling, and James puts his head down and bulls forward, pushing Taylor into the ropes in his own corner.  They return to the center of the ring and trade short power punches.  Taylor gets the better of the exchange, and they separate.  James is trying to score as the round comes to a close, Taylor counters sporadically and then ducks the remainder of James’ offensive output.

Boxing and Figure Skating

Quick, name a sport where the winner is determined by judges instead of by an objective scoring system.  If you said figure skating, you were right.  And if you said boxing, you were also right.

One of the great beauties of boxing is that it’s a one-on-one encounter, and either competitor can end it at any time, leaving absolutely no doubt about who’s the winner.  One of the great flaws of boxing is that if neither competitor is able to end it, the outcome is decided by judges.  Three of tonight’s boxing matches were decided by the judges, and in each case (Quinterio/Farmer, Amouta/Perzynski, Caraway/Rodriguez) there was a substantial contingent of fans and friends who were dissatisfied with the result.  This writer, in all candor, thinks that Farmer, Perzynski, and Rodriguez deserved the wins in those three bouts.

It’s risky business to make sweeping generalizations based on a small sample size, but Tony Palmisano looked like a promising up-and-comer tonight against MMAer BJ Lacy.  Palmisano is big, strong, and fast.  He’s also fit and good looking.  Of course one match doesn’t make a career, but give him a few more fights and Palmisano could become a fan favorite in Minnesota’s paper-thin cruiserweight division.

It was a heartwarming moment when RJ Laase, fresh from his one-round destruction of Jacob Fox, proposed to girlfriend Brittany Koller in the ring, in front of an enthusiastic and supportive crowd.  As you might expect, Laase was walking on air afterwards.  All talk was about desired rematches with Benito Tovar and Rondale Hubbert.  There were legitimate questions asked about the matchmaking between 12-3 Laase and 2-2 Fox, and perhaps those questions deserve to be answered, but for now, it’s easy to just be happy for such a talented and likable young man.

Veshaun Owens, you have been overlooked.  Coming into this bout you were 5-0 with 5 knockouts, but that was against dismal competition.  Tonight you faced a strong and difficult veteran in Romon Barber, and you dominated the match from beginning to premature end.  Is it time to move up to bigger and better things, Mr. Owens?  You made it clear that you think so when you asked for Mohammed Kayongo and Antonio Johnson in the near future.

Joe Amouta is an affable and likable man, and easy to cheer for.  Unfortunately I find myself the same position twice now, with young Amouta.  A year ago, on April 15th 2016, Amouta received an undeserved victory against George Carter Jr, and tonight he was gifted a split draw in a bout that it appeared he had clearly lost.  One onlooker argued earnestly that Amouta was displaying ring generalship and defensive mastery in this bout, when all I saw was a guy sucking wind and running.  I don’t mean to be unnecessarily harsh, and I know boxing is harder than it looks, but I thought that Travis Perzynski had thoroughly tamed Amouta in tonight’s bout.  I was astonished when the result was announced as a draw, and so was a very large and very vocal segment of the crowd.

It’s becoming clear by now that Delorien Caraway is a tremendous athlete with a limited repertoire.  Caraway is really good at loading up, springing lightning-fast attacks, and hurting opponents with limited numbers of unexpected punches.  Why does this work?  Because the punch that does the most damage is the one you didn’t see coming.  What happens, then, when Caraway faces an opponent who is calm, collected, and savvy enough to keep his eyes open and to anticipate the attack?  He’s stymied, that’s what happens.  Tonight Jerome Rodriguez was that calm, collected, and savvy opponent.  For unknown reasons the judges saw things differently, but to these eyes Rodriguez was the clear winner.

Live Round-by-Round, April 21st 2017 at Grand Casino Hinckley

Richard Quinterio (now 2-0 with 1 kayo) defeats Jeff Farmer (now 3-9 with no kayos) by Unanimous Decision after 4 rounds

Round 1

Farmer comes out at a frenetic pace, quivering with excitement, but does little work at first.  Quinterio lands the first punch, but Farmer counters effectively with a short right.  Moments later Farmer lands a hard left that moves Quinterio visibly.  In an exchange Quinterio stumbles backwards and  ends up on one knee, but referee Mark Nelson rules ‘no knockdown.’  Several fast-paced exchanges follow.  Quinterio lands solidly, sending Farmer reeling, but Farmer doesn’t go down.  Quinterio backs Farmer into the blue corner, but Farmer punches his way out.  Quinterio tries to step up the pace, but to little effect.  Now both fighters slow things down. After a break Farmer comes forward and lands a short right hook to the body.  In further exchanges Farmer lands more hard, short punches.

Round 2

Farmer misses a jab, then an overhand right.  Quinterio flurries furiously, landing but failing to affect his opponent.  Farmer is moving side to side.  Quinterio attacks and lands some glancing blows.  Quinterio scores with a power shot that drops Farmer.  Farmer is clearly upset, on his hands and knees.  After the count, Farmer looks a little unsteady and Quinterio comes forward throwing smoke. Farmer lands a single straight right.  Quinterio lands, then Farmer responds.  These two look evenly matched. Quinterio charges in, Farmer lands a hard right.  Quinterio attacks again, Farmer crunches a right hand to the body.  Quinterio winces for a split second, then goes on the attack again, but ineffectively.

Round 3

Farmer misses with a right but lands a good left.  Quinterio is tough as nails and comes forward again.  There’s a close exchange and possibly a clash of heads.  Some tactical pawing from both fighters, then Farmer comes forward and lands a good single shot.  Both men punch at the same time, Farmer is first to counter, landing hard to the head.  Quinterio is having a hard time avoiding Farmer’s one-two – especially the two.  Farmer scores a big left, tries to follow up, and misses.  Quinterio lands three right hooks in quick succession, energizing the crowd.  Farmer is unfazed and comes forward.  Farmer’s corner is calling for more work and more heart.  Farmer comes forward throwing lead rights, southpaw Quinterio is backing up throwing counters, and the bell sounds.

Round 4

The fighters touch gloves, then begin circling.  Farmer is coming forward, Quinterio dodges an attack and plays the matador.  Both men land some pitty pats.  Farmer lunges in with both hands flying.  Quinterio escapes, then comes forward, and lands a combination to body and head.  There’s a clinch and Mark Nelson tells Farmer to keep his head up.  Farmer rushes in, misses a right haymaker, Quinterio counters effectively, scoring impressively.  Farmer remains aggressive, missing more that he’s connecting, but finally landing another short power shot.  Both fighters look gassed, and they’re clinching now.  After another break Farmer lands a right but fails to follow up.   Farmer is coming foward, Qinterio countering.  Ten seconds left and both  men know they need to impress, so they battle across the ring, both connecting but Farmer scoring fractionally more.

Tony Palmisano (now 1-0 with 1 kayo) defeats BJ “The Beast” Lacy (now 1-2 with 1 kayo) by TKO in round 1 of 4 scheduled.

Round 1

The bout starts slowly, with both fighters missing jabs and hooks. Palmisano comes forward, and about 20 seconds into the fight, corners Lacy and lands some power shots.  Palmisano looks like a fighter as he stalks Lacy, landing power shots with both hands.  Palmisano corners Lacy again, scores, and then lets him escape.  Palmisano is aggressive and Lacy looks overmatched.  Palmisano rushes in again, and Lacy lands a solid punch for the first time in the fight.  Moments later Palmisano lands a big shot and Lacy lurches across the ring to the red corner.   The pace slows as Palmisano is picking his spots and Lacy is looking to counter.  With only seconds to go Lacy jabs at Palmisano, and Palmisano responds with a huge right hand!  Lacy is out on his feet, and he topples backward into his own (red) corner, his head crashes to the mat with a sickening smack, and referee Gary Miezwa might have counted to three before waving the fight off.

Celso “El Nino” Ramirez (now 6-0 with 6 kayos) defeats Ryan White Mountain (now 4-7-1 with ? kayos) by TKO in round 1 of 4.

Round 1

Long, lanky White Mountain is seeking to land the left jab at the start of the fight.  Ramirez is dancing on his back foot, looking for an opening.  Ramirez stuns White Mountain, but White Mountain responds like a warrior, trading punches with Ramirez until a shot sends him stumbling and falling into a neutral corner. My angle was bad – I didn’t see the punch that did the damage.  White Mountain lost his mouthpiece and was a little slow finding it and stuffing it back in his mouth.  He springs to his feet and bounces a few times, makes eye contact with referee Mark Nelson, and nods that he’s okay to continue.  The combatants re-engage and Ramirez tags White Mountain again, sending him reeling into the red corner.  Ramirez batters White Mountain until Nelson can let it go no longer, and stops the match.

RJ “T-Rex” Laase (now 13-3 with 9 kayos) defeats Jacob Fox (now 2-5 with 1 kayo) by TKO in round 1 of 6 scheduled.

Round 1

Fox lurches in first, trying to land a jab, but Laase responds with two-handed power and punishes him harshly for the effort.  The early going is brawling, and Fox manages to sneak in a hard hook that lands flush, but Laase is unimpressed and continues to attack.  There’s a quick knockdown – Fox is hurt, but jumps to his feet and the end will have to wait.  After some further mauling, Laase digs his left into Fox’s right side and it’s clearly over, as Fox writhes in agony on the mat.  Referee Gary Miezwa stops the fight, and we have a third straight 1-rounder!

After the fight is over, Laase thrills the crowd by proposing to his girlfriend in the ring.  She said yes!  Congratulations, RJ.

“Samoa” Joe Amouta (now 7-1-1 with 2 kayos) and Travis Perzynski (now 2-2-1 with 1 kayo) fight to a split draw in 6 rounds.  Scores are 58-57 Perzynski, 59-55 Amouta, and 57-57 (even).  The crowd boos the decision lustily.  The prevailing opinion seems to be that Perzynski deserved the win.

Round 1

Amouta jabs low to start things off.  Amouta throws left and right hooks that miss.  Amouta is taking the initiative here, but to little effect.  Perzynski lands a counter, the first earnest punch of the fight to find its mark.  Amouta connects with a couple of big hooks a few seconds apart, the second – a right – moves Perzynski a foot backwards.  Amouta is on offense while Perzynski is attempting some science. Amouta charges in and Perzynski sidesteps him, traps him in the corner, but lands only a single glancing right before Amouta escapes.  Amouta is using speed and quickness and Perzynski hasn’t found his timing.  The first round ends (a miracle!) with some ineffective trading.

Round 2

Amouta begins round 2 coming forward again.  Amouta is loading up for power shots while Perzynski gets low and tries to get to the body.  Amouta lands a right that shudders Perzynski, but Perzynski recovers quickly.  Amouta continues to attack and is landing with more frequency.  Perzynski isn’t overwhelmed exactly, but he seems non-plussed.  Amouta is circling to his left, then lunges in with a right hook, but it misses.  Perzynski’s corner is asking for a “shotgun jab,” but he’s tentative.  There’s a clash on the ropes but it leads to nothing.  Amouta lands an uppercut to Perzynski’s armpit.  Amouta chases Perzynski into a corner, but Perzynski comes alive, landing a couple of hard hooks to Amouta’s head and then flurrying to his body as the round ends.

Round 3

Perzynski is coming forward to start the third.  Amouta is backing up with his left hand low.  Amouta changes direction and pokes a thudding right hand into Perzynski.  Neither man scores for some time, then Perzynski lands a lightning quick jab but doesn’t follow up.  Amouta pops him back.  This is an unscientific boxing match.  Amouta lands a right, Perzynski finally throws a two handed combination and connects.  Both boxers are throwing indiscriminately, and though some punches land, nobody gains the upper hand.  Perzynski lands a very low percentage of his punches, Amouta only slightly higher.  As the round ends the fighters are trading punches near the blue corner, Amouta’s back to the ropes.

Round 4

The fighters continue to fight on more or less even terms, but for the first minute of the fourth Amouta is moving backwards.  Perzynski again looks tentative.  Amouta lands a right.  Perzynski follows but can’t catch him.  Amouta is making a fighting retreat and Perzynski’s corner is convinced that Amouta is exhausted.  Amouta showboats, staring at Perzynski’s corner, points that them, then suddenly lunges in and lands a right.  Perzynski just can’t reach him, and Amouta is playing it safe.  Amouta continues to back up, frequently changing direction, and occasionally throwing a single power shot.  Perzynski lands a couple of glancing punches to Amouta’s body as the clock runs out on this round.

Round 5

Perzynski comes out jabbing from a southpaw stance.  Amouta continues to retreat, throwing occasional counters.  Perzynski traps Amouta against the ropes and finally lands several hooks, but Amouta is shifty and experienced, and scoots away.  What an ugly fight to watch.  Amouta backs into the blue corner, but Perzynski is too tentative to let his hands go.  Perzynski tries to land one or two punches at a time, while Amouta potshots him.  In the center of the ring now, Perzynski lands a flush right that snaps Amouta’s head to the side with a spray of sweat, and the crowd cheers appreciatively.  Perrzynski lands again, but Amouta’s expression is impassive.  After some more mauling, Perzynski traps Amouta agains the ropes and batters him furiously with a barrage of lefts and rights.  The crowd is roaring.  Amouta isn’t out – he’s still turning with the punches and throwing back, but this is Perzynski’s best moment of the fight, and it lasts the remainder of the fifth round.

Round 6

Perzynski comes outaggressive and the action to start the sixth is entertaining, but now Amouta is running again.  Amouta suddenly changes direction and lands a big left hook that freezes Perzynski for a split second.  Perzynski resumes the chase while Amouta is sucking wind and actually running away.  Perzynski is pouring it on, but he can’t land cleanly on the more skilled an experienced Samoan.  Amouta stands still for a moment and Perzynski cracks him with a good right hook. Amouta wakes up and boxes the remainder of the round, and connects at least one solid power shot.  The crowd is cheering now, but mostly just to break the monotony.

Veshawn Owens (now 6-0 with 6 kayos) defeats Romon Barber (now 7-14 with 6 kayos) in round 1 of 6 scheduled.

Round 1

Owens is bobbing and jabbing to start the bout.  Barber isn’t intimidated, and throws a right.  Referee Gary Miezwa pauses the action momentarily to instruct Owens to keep his punches up.   Owens keeps up the fast pace for a few moments longer, but it isn’t sustainable, and Barber is a difficult and frequently underestimated boxer.  Owens is jabbing and throwing one-twos, trying to outquick Barber.  Barber is taking a beating but occasionally countering to score.  Owens traps Barber in the red corner and hurts him to the body.  Barber goes down, takes some deep breaths, and rises.  The action resumes, and Owens goes on offense, tagging Barber mercilessly to the head and body.  Finally a combination culminates with (I think) a right to the head and a left to the body, and Barber goes down slowly, remains down for a count of ten, and rises unsteadily as Miezwa waves the fight off.

After the fight Owens tells the crowd that his burning ambition is to fight Mohammed Kayongo next.  Of course Kayongo is scheduled to face world-ranked Carson Jones on May 5th, so we will see what develops.  **Update – I am told that Kayongo is injured and will not be fighting May 5th after all.**

Delorien “Lord” Caraway (now 9-1 with 5 kayos) defeats Jerome Rodriguez (now 7-7-3 with 2 kayos) by Unanimous Decision after 6 rounds.  Scores are 59-56, 58-56, 59-55

Round 1

The bout begins with a lot of fast feinting from Caraway, then he tries a couple of power shots that miss.  There’s an early clinch, Caraway punches on the break, but is not penalized as it was only once and appeared inadvertent.  Rodriguez is warned by Mark Nelson to keep his head up.  After some tactical movements Caraway clobbers Rodriguez and sends him reeling across the ring, to be caught by the ropes.  Caraway sticks his left hand in Rodriguez’s face and shoots some rights into him, and is instructed by Nelson not to hold his hand in his opponent’s face.  Caraway is determined to impress with speed and power.  Caraway does the bulk of the scoring in the first round with fast, wide hooks and overhand rights.

Round 2

Rodriguez comes out jabbing in round 2.  Caraway counters with hard hooks, forcing Rodriguez to hold.  Rodriguez is coming forward now, Caraway is countering with stinging hooks.  Rodriguez gains some confidence and chases a flustered Caraway into a neutral corner, scoring along the way.  Caraway is fast and confident, but he can freeze when pressed.  Rodriguez keeps coming, Caraway has found the jab to keep him outside.  Rodriguez gets inside the jab, lands a left hook, and Caraway counters with a couple of low left hooks that land on or below Rodriguez’s hip.

Round 3

Caraway is relying on his speed again in round 3, but Rodriguez looks to time him.  There’s some trading, and Caraway lands a right to the abdomen that bends Rodriguez halfway over.  Rodriguez shakes it off and keeps coming, but Caraway is concentrating on the body now.  Rodriguez is coming forward, taking his time, and lands a straight right to the body of Caraway.  Caraway stands his ground and them comes forward again.  Rodriguez seizes the initiative and is coming forward once more, looking for an opening.  Rodriguez isn’t particularly fast, but he knows when to flurry.  He scores with four or five punches with seconds to go – the bell rings before Caraway can respond.

Round 4

Rodriguez is inching forward, ducking under Caraway’s hooks, and landing occasionally.  Caraway stops backing up and stands up to Rodriguez, landing a couple of hard hooks.  Rodriguez is better than advertised, and Caraway’s face is starting to show some wear.  Rodriguez is beginning to pull away, although Caraway has lightning in his hands and can occasionally land dazzlingly fast power punches. Rodriguez is backing up, circling to his left, and jabbing.  Caraway pops him with a big straight right, and Rodriguez comes forward again.  Rodriguez scores well with a power combination, and the bell rings with Caraway trying to score back.

Round 5

Both men are tentative to start the fifth.  Rodriguez again inches forward shooting the jab, and catching Caraway rushing in, lands a jab and a follow-up counter.  Caraway shows a moment of energy, but he’s covering up more now. Rodriguez is controlling the middle of the ring, picking his shots, and punishing Caraway.  Suddenly Caraway comes out of his shell with a beautiful right hand that puts Rodriguez off balance.  The fight is turning into a back-and-forth battle now, with each man taking turns scoring. Caraway throws a single straight right to Rodriguez’s midriff in an otherwise uneventful stretch.  Rodriguez lands a couple more power shots, the bell rings, and Rodriguez weaves back to his corner with blood oozing from his nose.

Round 6

Caraway wants to end it all at once, but Rodriguez catches him in mid-flurry, snapping his head back. Caraway is dangerous backing up, but Rodriguez continues to come forward.  Caraway lands a right-left and grins.  Caraway lunges in and bangs heads with Rodriguez.  Now they’re mauling, grappling. Rodriguez creates some space and chases Caraway across the ring, popping jabs and scoring.  Caraway eats a right from Rodriguez and they clinch.  Ten seconds to go, the fighters trade, the bell rings, and they smile and hug.

This is one of those inexplicable bad decisions where one fighter dominates the bout and gets stiffed.  I can not fathom how anyone gave  Caraway the win, let alone all three judges.

Boxing Results: January 20th, 2016 at Grand Casino Hinckley

I’m sorry to say that a professional (non boxing-related) emergency kept me away from the fights on Friday night.  The results of Friday’s fights appear below, with observations from a couple of on-site observers incorporated.

Rob Brant (now 22-0 with 15 kayos) defeated Alexis Hloros (now 18-6-2 with 12 kayos) by TKO in round 1 of 10 scheduled.  Brant scored early with a hard jab, drove his opponent into a corner, and then punished him with power punches to the body.  Hloros probably could have continued, but everyone could see he was outclassed.  Brant retained his WBA-NABA Middleweight title.

Duarn Vue (now 11-0-2 with 4 kayos) defeated Lance Williams (now 7-7 with 7 kayos) by TKO in round 2.  Vue looked sharp in a dominating performance.  Vue’s WBF World Super Featherweight title was not at stake.

DeLorien Caraway (now 8-1 with 5 kayos) defeated Deonte Wilson (now 5-2 with 3 kayos) by decision in a Junior Welterweight bout.  Caraway’s speed was impressive, but he was loading up on single shots instead of throwing combinations.

Skender Halili (now 13-1 with 13 kayos) defeated Romon Barber (now 7-13 with 6 kayos) by TKO in round 5.  Light Middleweight prospect Halili impressed with heavy hands against underrated journeyman Barber.

Jose Homar Rios (now 1-4 with 1 kayo) was defeated by TKO by Matt Murphy (now 2-8-1) in round 3 of what was to have been a lightweight bout.  Murphy came in several pounds overweight, and had advantages in both power and beard.  The referee stoppage was a fair one.

Adrian Taylor (now 3-0 with 3 kayos) defeated Matt Chavez (now 0-2) by TKO in a battle of cruiserweights.