Tag Archives: Jamal James

February Blossoms

It’s rewarding to see Minnesota sports fans beginning to embrace boxing, and there’s no question that’s been happening more and more in the last year.  This isn’t just a few hundred diehard fans gathering at a casino, or an occasional metro event luring in some curious newbies.  The recent cards at the Minneapolis Armory, along with some really well-matched events at Grand Casino Hinckley, combined with some world-class performances by Caleb Truax and Rob Brant, have cultivated a breed of casual sports fans who are taking boxing seriously and coming out in droves to see the real thing.

Count south Minneapolis product Jamal “Shango” James among those performing at a high level and attracting new fans to the Minnesota boxing scene.  When James got the win Saturday night against Colombia’s Janer Gonzalez, the scene in the Minneapolis armory was absolute euphoric pandemonium.  That kind of emotional commitment from the fans is priceless.  It makes James more marketable in the short term, and demonstrates his greater potential in the long term.  We should see James’ career bloom in 2019.

By the way, James’ win wouldn’t have meant nearly as much had not Janer Gonzalez been so unexpectely tough, canny, and charismatic.  Gonzalez was better than advertised, a thorny problem for the hometown hero.

Minnesota’s Fight of the Year is usually an obscure slugfest between moderately skilled Minnesotans, but tonight it was a couple of out-of-towners fighting for the WBC world middleweight sash who pointed the way to excellence in entertainment.  Thank you, Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim, for working together to make your match exceptionally memorable.  You really rose to the occasion.

Jeison “Banana” Rosario revealed himself to be an improved version of himself.  Marcos Hernandez was sure he would defeat Rosario in the rematch of their 2018 draw, but however much Hernandez had improved, Rosario had improved even more.  With a little luck we might see Rosario at the Armory again soon.

Bryant Perrella didn’t ingratiate himself to the Minneapolis crowd with his dainty performance against Breidis Prescott.  Don’t call him a pansy though – Perrella counts 13 knockouts among his (now) 16 wins, and that suggests that he’s capable of more than we saw in Minneapolis.

If you’re looking for an attention-grabbing performance, consider Austin Dulay’s destruction of durable veteran Yardley Cruz.  Dulay might be special.  His daisy cutter right hand communicates a lot of potential.

Sometimes a boxer has to admit that without a willing accomplice, he’d have a hard time showing off his best moves.  Javier Frazier filled that role for Money Powell IV, providing him a ready target and a suitable cohort.  I hope that the pizza-hungry Powell remembered to pick up a corsage for his willing dance partner.

Similarly, Justin Pauldo owes a debt of thanks to his opponent, the dubious Argentinian Federico Malespina.  What would be a suitable floral gift to the delicate Malespina?  How about the ephemeral Day Lily? Surely Pauldo owes Malespina something for lying down so readily, so soon after taking up the task.

Etefobor Apochi was too much for the battered and frayed veteran Raymond Ochieng, whose 52 heavyweight bouts in 17 short years have left him ringworn.  What do you give to the man who has faithfully fought the good fight and run the race to its conclusion?  How about a horseshoe of roses?  I think Ochieng has the neck for it.

Have you ever seen a boxer who resembled a sunflower?  If you’re looking for someone ridiculously tall and skinny, perhaps Leon Lawson III is the man you seek.



Live Boxing Round-by-Round from Grand Casino Hinckley, August 22nd, 2014

Rondale Hubbert (now 7-0-1 with 4 kayos) defeats RJ Laase (now 12-2 with 8 kayos), for the vacant Junior Welterweight title of Minnesota, by unanimous decision in 8 rounds (77-75, 78-74, 77-75)

Round 1

Hubbert literally ran across the ring at the start, jumping Laase and pummeling about the ring for ten seconds or so before Laase was able to wrench himself free.  Now Hubbert is bouncing and backing up, left hand at his waist,while Laase comes forward with his guard up, looking for an opening.  Laase is jabbing while Hubbert is raging.  Hubbert comes forward and lands one punch, then shoves Laase.  Hubbert is trying to win flashy while Laase sticks to basics.  Laase continues to shuffle forward and tags Hubbert with one right.  Hubbert skitters away.  Hubbert likes to walk flatfooted and throw bombs.  Laase gets close enough to throw a punch and Hubbert flails away at him.  Give this round to Hubbert on the strength of his furious opening.

Round 2

Hubbert rushes across the ring again at the start of round 2, but stops short and gets in his stance.  Lasse comes forward, then lands one gigantic right hand that has the crowd roaring.  Hubbert looks clear headed and he’s talking to Laase as Laase stalks.  Laase continues to come forward deliberately, firing crisp punches.  Hubbert is relying on spped, power, toughness, and bravado.  Laase misses badly with a punch and Hubbert punishes hi for the transgression.  Hubbert comes forward with rough tactics and scores.  Laase goes hook tot he body and it lands on the waistline of Hubbert.  Now Hubbert is moving side to side while Laase pursues.  Laase continues to stalk and jab, looking for an opening.  Hubbert throws a combination – four punches? – that rakes Laase’s face.  There’s no time for further action before the bell.

Round 3

Laase shoves a left jab in Hubbert’s face but misses the followup right.  Hubbert sticks his left out and Laase whacks it away.  Both men attack at the same time and there’s a headbutt mixed in with the simultaneous flurries.  No blood that I see.  Laase comes forward and Hubbert looks to counter, but Laase lands a good left.  Hubbert starts running his mouth and Laase sticks a fist in it.  Now there’s a rough, tumbling exchange that ends against the ropes in the blue corner.  Hubbert is wild and Laase is countering nicely.  Hubbert needs to slow things down and get back to fundamentals.  Laase lands three out of a four punch combination.  Laase nails Hubbert against the ropes as the ten second warning sounds, and Hubbert shakes his head, then attacks with fury but fails to score.  I’m sitting next to Hubbert’s corner, and one of his cornermen shakes his head and says “He’s a slippery motherfucker.”

Round 4

Laase commits to a one-two and Hubbert counters nicely, battering his face.  Laase tries to attack again and Hubbert nails him again.  Now it happens a third time.  Laase finally connects with a one-two.  Hubbert tries to score and Laase counters, then connects with a thundering roundhouse and the Duluth contingent loves it.  Hubbert throws another combination, but I wonder whether he knows that he’s tipping his attack with the faces he makes before he throws a punch.  Hubbert is coming forward on the attack, but now it’s Laase’s turn to counter, and he’s effective.  The noise in here is deafening.  Hubbert  takes a break and Laase tags him.  Hubbert tries to come forward and Laase lands another power shot.  Ten seconds to go, and Hubbert scores with a body shot.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Hubbert has gone to the body twice this round, with good results.

Round 5

Hubbert shots out the jab but he really wants to land the straight right, and he does.  There’s a good exchange in the middle of the ring.  Hubbert comes in reckless and gets hit to the body.  Now they’re jabbing in the middle of the ring.  Hubbert lands one left hook to the face.  Laase flurries, landing a couple of body shots and the makes a niftymove to duck two counters.  Hubbert tries to attack but Laase hits him in the gut.  Hubbert is playing raging bull now, and he is bullying laase.  Laaase needs to punch effectively moving backwards – and there he does it, landing two.  Laase gets the better of an exchange in the center of the ring, but Hubbert is tough and keeps coming forward, battering Laase.  Laase sidesteps a charging Hubbert and fires a body shot too low, catching Hubbert just above the groin.  Hubbert spends no more than a minutes recoving, then steels himself and the fight resumes.  The remainder of the fifth round is all Hubbert, on the attack, landing wild shots.

Round 6

Hubbert comes out strong, throwing punches that Laase catches on his arms.  Hubbert stands still, staring at Llase, then shrugs.  Laase ignores the gesture and keeps shuffling forward.  Now they’re brawling, and both men are landing big shots.  Laase is gonig to have a monster shiner on his left eye tomorrow, it’s already ugly.  Now Laase is coming forward, and or the first time he shoves Hubbert.  There’s a headbutt, and Hubbert is glowering.  Laase connects a jab to the jab, Hubbert resopnds with more power shots.  Hubbbert’s corner is frustrated that he’s loading up.  Laase lands a stiff jab, and now both fighters are talking.  Hubbert is bounding on his toes, Laase is still shuffling forward.  Hubbert tries to bull forward, but his attack is nullified by good defense.  Hubbert leads with a right, Laase counters with a right, but nothing comes of it.

Round 7

Hubbert comes out heavy again this round, lands a couple of bombs.  Laase, though tired and breathing through his mouth, continues to come forward.  Hubbert is doing a better job counter now than he has been.  Laase atttacks, but Hubbert is gone when he gets there.  Hubbert is showcasing his elusiveness, but finally Laase scores with a wide left hook to the ear.  Our fightersexchange again, and Hubbert’s corner is shouting that Laase has nothing left.  Hubbert is now trying to be first and last.  Laase flurries, and Hubbert resopnds.  The crowd begins an “RJ” cheer, and he responds with a bitter attack that results in a general melee.  Laase loses his mouthpiece, and there’s a brief pause while it’s reinserted.  Hubbert is being reckless in his pursuit of a knockout, and that gives Laase a chance to land a hard counter.  What a round, and what a fight!

Round 8

Hubbert rushes in and there’s an ugly moment where he finds himself stuck in Laase’s armpit.  Some exchanges, and it happens again.  Hubbert scores with a few shots, then bulls Laase across the ring and into the ropes.  Back in the middle of the ring there’s a good exchange.  Aside from one flush shot from Laase, that all went Hubbert’s way.  Laase comes forward and lunges with a jab, but Hubbert gets him back.  Laase comes forward again, and jolts Hubberts with a stiff left jab.  Hubbert looks sharper and fresher at this point, but Laase has a good chin and keeps coming and countering.  They’re going all out as the bell rings, and the crowd roars its appreciation.

Wayne Martell (now 25-5-1 with 15 kayos) is defeated by Jamal James (now 14-0 with 7 kayos) by TKO in round 1 of 10 scheduled.

Round 1

Martell is coming forward and swinging away at the beginning, but James is quick and is dodging most if not all of his punches.  James is waving that left jab but not throwing it, but then bam! Martell is down.  Martell is up instantly and shaking his head in disbelief, but that’s a knockdown.  James knows he’s got this, and he opens up on Martell immediately.  James is moving in and out, throwing double hooks, attacking with both hands.  Martell has seen better days, and he’s having trouble getting close.  Martell looks nicked up, but comes back aggressive and just as he connects on a punch to James, James puts him down again.  But the fight isn’t over.  Martell is up again and he wants to trade.  James gets him again with a left to the body and Martell is down again.  Once more he beats the count, but we know how this will end.  One more  engagement, and James puts Martell down again.  James throws one more punch as Martell is on his knees, and he’s lucky that one didn’t connect – it was close.  Martell gets up, but his eyes aren’t right, and referee Gary Miezwa rightly calls a stop to things.

Marcus Upshaw (now 17-13 with 8 kayos) is defeated by Robert Brant (now 12-0 with 6 kayos) by Unanimous Decision after eight rounds (77-75, 79-74, 77-75)

Round 1

The beginning of the bout was delayed momentarily as Upshaw casually got a drink from his trainer, then another drink.  

Brant comes out quick in this one, showing his great speed and good power.  Upshaw is not nothing.  He’s significantly taller than Brant, he can take a punch, and he has some skills.  Upshaw can jab, but he doesn’t fight tall against the shorter man.  The pace has slowed a bit since Brant’s showy start.  Now Brant is playing the surgeon, using two and three punch combinations to score.  Upshaw lands a good jab to the head or hook to the body here and there.  Brant is jabbing and moving, and throwing combinations from angles.  Coming forward, Brant throws a nice combination that’s so quick, when it’s over I don’t know whether it was three or four punches.  Bell.

Round 2

Brant rushes out, leading with three jabs.  Upshaw is trying to counter, shouting “yah!” with each punch.  Brant throws punches faster than I can record them, and he connects nicely, but he is getting hit more than you’d like, considering the disparity of talent.  Brant lands a one-two and Upshaw responds with at least one solid counter.  Now Upshaw throws three earnest punches and the last one lands solidly.  Brant is unfazed and continues to stalk him.    Brant splits Upshaw’s guard with a one-two, then a pause.  Upshaw is pushing the pace now, coming forward and landing respectably, especially to Brant’s left ribcage.  Two more jabs from Upshaw.  Brant counters, there’s a momentary exchange, and Brant sidesteps Upshaw and is left looking at Upshaw’s back.  The fight resumes and there’s a flurry from both men, then the bell.

Round 3

Upshaw opens the round jabbing, then Brant flurries with good power shots, but one well-placed counter left from Upshaw stops himi in his tracks.  Brant is coming forward again now, and lands one good shot out of a combination that snaps Upshaw’s head back and induces Brant to come fowrard more.  Upshaw tags him with an effective shot, and the pace quickens.  Both men are throwing freely now, and Brant lands a shot that draws “Ooooh” from the sellout crowd.  The pace slows again.  Brant throws a one-two that is blocked, but makes a lot of noise, and the crowd is impressed.  Upshaw is trying to comforward now, and Brant is mostly potshotting him, picking spots and hitting them.  upshaw attacks again, but and scores a couple, but Brant looks better as the round closes.

Round 4

Brant is throwing punches from the outside – too far away to be effective – but Upshaw, instead of staying outside and using his greater reach to score, is coming fowrard.  There’s a good exchange in the center of the ring – neither man has the advantage.  Brant gets inside and then backs out.  Upshaw tries come forward and Brant has his best moment of the fight so far, battering him with an extended combination that puts Upshaw off balance.  Upshaw regains his composure and attacks again, scoring nicely with short hooks.  Brant lands a left jab and then misses a left hook.  Now Brant steps in and lands a big left hook to the body that moves Upshaw, but I’m not sure he realizes he had Upshaw hurt and doesn’t press his advantage.  There’s another exchange as the round ends, and the crowd is getting into this fight.

Round 5

Upshaw is aggressive again in the fifth, coming forward and scoring with jabs and the occasional power shot.  Brant takes his turn, landing a number of good shots to the head and body – really digging the body – but then Upshaw comes alive for a brief but effective assault.  Now the two men are measuring each other, and resting.  Brant throws a three punch combination – only the second punch lands, but it’s a sharp right to the midsection of upshaw.  Brant scores well when he goes to the body.  Upshaw is up on his toes, bouncing and showing he’s game.  Upshaw is jabbing a lot now, and his jab is coming back lower and slower than it should.  Upshaw tries an attack at the close of the round, but Brant counters nicely and Upshaw looks weary as he zigzags back to his corner.

Round 6

The first punch of the sixth is a right from Brant, but Upshaw counters over the top and lands a shot on Brant.  Brant responds with a long flurry, tagging Upshaw to the head and body.   Brant is opening his hands up as he jabs.  With every left handed punch he drops his right, and that’s cause for worry.  But Brant is doing nice work in this found, attacking Upshaw and countering effectively when Upshaw tries to attack him back.  There’s a lull about midround.  Now Brant is bombing upshaw’s guard, and that impresses the crowd but won’t do much in the eyes of the judges.  Upshaw tries a wide right hook, but Brant counters up the middle.  Now Upshaw lands solid and snaps Brant’s head back, but Brant has the chin of a champion and goes back  on the attack as the round ends.

Round 7

Brant comes out coiled to land big shots, and he throws some nice combinations that land in the first thirty seconds of the seventh.  Brant comes forward off balance and leads with a right, but that won’t work.  now Brant is working the body hard, and his fans like what they see.  Upshaw takes advantage of a moment of rest, then comes forward with power shots, but Brant is blocking most of those with his gloves now.  Brant lands a jab here, another jab there.  A right to the head scores for Brant.  upshaw steps forward and Brant punishes him with a right.  But suddenly Upshaw explodes out of his guard to land a right to the head of Brant.    Both men step forard at the same time, and Brant coems out on top, taking advantage of Upshaw’s momentary befuddlement to score with a couple of shots.  Brant ducks an Upshaw right and the bell rings.

Round 8

Upshaw jabs twice Brant throws a one-two.  Upshaw starts coming forward again, but Brant is ready and pops good a couple of times.  Upshaw isn’t going away though, and he continues to throw with both hands.  Now they’re in a phone booth, now they’re at arm’s length.  Brant lands a jab, but has his following right blocked by a glove.  Upshaw is moving forward and to his right, and in mauling Brant, lands a good right uppercut to the chin.  Brant is lively and throwing harder punches, but Upshaw can still score.  Brant lands a good right hook to the head and follow sup with a flurry, but Upshaw responds with good work of his own.  Upshaw lands two big left hands, one to the body and one to the head of Brant, then backs Brant up.  Brant is retreating and jabbing.  Ten seconds to go, and brant comes alive, scoring with a sharp combination.  That’s the end of the fight, and it goes to the judges.  Though I would score it for Brant, this fight is close enough that it could go either way.

Galen Brown (now 42-28 with 25 kayos) is defeated by Phil Williams (now 13-6-2 with 12 kayos) in round 2 of 8 scheduled

Round 1

Two southpaws – this should be fun.  The bout begins with a feint by Williams and a jab by Brown.  After some feeling out, Brown comes in with a right hand, but ducks his head and covers up right away.  He’s respectful of Williams’ power.  There’s little action in the early stages, so Brown begins baiting Williams, dropping his hands, waiving his arms, and waggling his head.  Now Brown charges forward and traps Williams in a corner.  he may have landed a punch, I’m not sure.  But Williams counters.    Now they’re in the center of the ring again.  Williams lands a hard jab but doesn’t follow up.  Brown is circling, then he lunges forward and to his left, striking a glancing blow on Williams and disappearing behind Williams’ shoulder.  Despite the clowining Brown is in earnest, as he shows when he scores a clipping blow at the bell.  Brown’s corner is shouting “perfect round, perfect round.”  I think it went about as well as he could have hoped.

Round 2

Round two begins with a lot of waving hands and bobbing heads.  Brown is trying to come forward, and Williams is moving away and to his left.  Williams throws that hard jab of his, once, twice, but it doesn’t land solidly.  Williams is getting a little bolder, but Brown is experienced and larger than Williams, and is unfazed by anything Williams has done so far.  Brown is clowning again.  Both hasnds are at his waist.  Williams sticks his right hand out and measures the distance, but doesn’t throw.  Brown jabs and scores.  There’s a lot more movement without any action, and Williams drops his hands and stares defiantly at Brown.  Now as the round draws to a close Williams charges forward and clocks Brown with a shot that leaves him crosseyed.  Brown gets up in time and he’s game to go, but he looks unsteady and referee Gary Miezwa doesn’t like what he sees in Brown’s eyes and calls it a TKO.

Jonathan Perez (now 8-0 with 5 kayos) defeats Antwan Robertson (now 9-10-1 with 6 kayos) with by Unanimous Decision after 5 rounds: 50-45, 50-45, 50-45

Round 1

Perez throws a jab and thena  short-armed hook that miss Robertson.  Perez jabs and misses again, but then connects a single hook to the head of Robertson.  Perez seemed to have slipped and then turned his back on Robertson.  Robertson was charging in when referee Mark Nelson stepped in between.  Now there’s a lot of feints and ineffective punching.  Perez is making a show of lunging in with stomping jabs, but they don’t land.  Perez attacks wildly this time, but his punch is blocked.  Robertson is moving back and to his left, waiting for something.  Perez is coming forward, but Robertson is dodging his punches with some nifty moves.  Ten seconds to go and Perez flurries, but Robertson just grins at him.

Round 2

Perez comes forward at the outset, but Robertson counters with a big haymaker that misses its mark.  Perez comes forward again, and finally throws a four punch combination that may have scored.  Robertson is mugging and taunting now.  Has he been laying a trap, or is he just playing to the crowd?  Perez is cautious, working his way in.  Finally Perez connects with a big straight right, but then mars his progress by shoving Robertson hard into the ropes.  Perez is coming forward again, gaining confidence.  Robertson is the quicker man, but he is showing absolutely no offense.  In the last ten seconds Perez flurries, but from too far away to do any damage.

Round 3

Perez comes out aggressively jabbing, but a few seconds in the ref stops things to get something wiped off Robertson face.  On resuming the fight, Perez is showing less respect for Robertson, throwing punches with more intent, if not more frequency.  Perez attacks and overshoots Robertson, and there’s a tie-up.  Now Perez lands another good single shot.  Robertson sure isn’t showing much urgency.  The fighters circle slowly to their left in the center of the ring, Perez feinting and Robertson watching.  Perez is now coming fowrad,a nd lands one jab.  After a pause, he tries to flurry but his momentum is gone.  Despite what I said earlier, Perez is showing Robertson a great deal of respect.  Ten seconds to go, and Perez charges into Robertson, pinning him against the ropes, but both mens’ punches are smothered at close quarters.

Round 4

Initially it looked like Robertson would begin countering Perez in this round, but the workrate is still slow.  Perez is inching forward, and Robertson is inching backward.  Perez tries to attack, but gets tied up.  This is uncharacteristic of Robertson.  Perez is moving his hands plenty, but seldom connecting.  Perez comes forward and shoots a single jab.  Then another single jab.  Perez throws a showy uppercut witih his right.  It connects, but he doesn’t follow up.  Now the fighters are circling again.  Finally Robertson fires a lead right hand, but Perez sidesteps it.  Such a tactical fight.Perez attacks again, Robertson dodges again.  As the bell rings, Robertson is grinning at Perez.  I don’t know what he’s smiling about, because he is accomplishing little or nothing.

Round 5

The fighters touch gloves, and commence to jabbing.  Perez comes out of a crouch with a big right hookercut that misses.  Robertson is backing up again.  Perez throws a one-two that passes for a scoring shot.  Robertson is fighting for style points, but the don’t give style points in Hinckley.  Perez is crouching, prowling, coming forward, and lands a good right.  Now he lunges forward and lands another good right.  there’s a lull, and again Perez lunges forward.  Perez shoots a double jab, then a let hnd.  Perez gets too close, and finally Robertson counters.  Another jab and a wild right hand by Perez.  Perez lands a shot and Robertson counters.  Now Perez is rushing forward and Robertson is continualy backing up.  Perez tries to flurry and Robertson counters, landing one good right hand.  There’s the bell, and this sleper is over.

Mark Sainci (now 1-0 with 1 kayo) defeats Andrew Selvig (now 1-4  with 1 kayo) by TKO in round 3 of 4 scheduled

Round 1

Selvig comes out with the first punches, throwing soft jabs to test the waters.  Selvig decides he’s good to go and starts throwing power shots, then Sainci explodes on him, forcing him into a corner and landing multiple power shots.  Slevig escapesmomentarily, buSainci catches up with him on the ropes and flurries, finally catching him with a right handed haymaker that sends Selvig reeling.  Selvig is game, but Sainci is definitely the busier and harder hitting fighter in the early going.  Selvig is fighting with his back to the rropes, bleeding from the nose.  Selvig gets loose for a moment, but Sainci follows with is head down, throwing hooks and uppercuts as he pursues.  Sainci now has Selvig trappedin the blue corner. Selvig tries to tie him up but can’t get the job done.  Sainci resumes the chase, punding Selvig with power shots.  Selvig’s blood is rolling now, and the bell rings.

Round 2

Selvig scores first in the second, landing to the body and head of Sainci, but Sainci returns fire with more power.  Sainci’s right hook traveling a long distance to meet Selvig’s right-leaning head, but it’s doing the job.  After a brief tour of the ring, Selvig finds himself in a  neutral corner getting hammered again.  Selvig rushes across the ring to the far ropes, where Sainci catches him again, knocking him down and putting his mouthpiece out.  Slevig is up again, and throwing the best shots he can muster.  A stronger fighter might have Sainci in trobule, because Selvig is landing a good percentage of his shots, but Sainci is rough around teh edges.  Selvig comes forward and lands some light stuff. Sainci, taking a break, shoots back some soft shots in return.  This emboldens Selvig, who improves his workrate as round 2 comes to a close.

Round 3

Selvig resumes his attack in round 3, but Sainci comes forward hard, trapping him briefly in a corner and landing a big right hook.  Selvig escapes, but Sainci pursues and eventually catches him in a neutral corner where he lands several earnest power shots, and referee Gary Miezwa stops the bout.  Good stoppage.


Lucas St Claire (now 3-5 with 2 kayos) is defeated by Joe Lorenzi (now 3-5 with 3 kayos) by TKO in round 4 of 5 scheduled

Round 1

St Clair stays in the middle of the ring, Lorenzi circles to his left.  About thirty seconds in, St Clair scores with some power shots to the head, then the body.   St Clair is coming forward, landing clipping shots with the right and then flurrying.   Lorenzi is calm, but on his heels.  St Clair pursues Lorenzi to the ropes, where Lorenzi scores for the first time.  The pattern is Lorenzi is backing up and St Clair is pursuing.  A change of pace – St Clairs takes some steps back and then stop and fires, scoring again.  lorenzi is throwing occasional shots, but scoring only rarely here in the first.  St Clair bulls in with his ghead down and Lorenzi sticks a right handed upperscut into the body.  St Clair is less aggressive now.  There’s blood on St Clair’s soulder, but I cn’t tell where it came from.  The crowd begins to chant “Joey” as the round closes.  Lorenzi tries to close out strong, but doesn’t connect solidly.


Round 2

St Clair jabs coming in, then flurries with big power shots.  Lorenzi connets one left-handed lab, St Clair chases, and then there’s a big clash of heads.  Both men are hurt by the accidental headbutt.  Blood is flowing freely from Lorenzi’s brow.  After a quick inspection by the doctor, it’s time-in.  St Clair is flyurrying furiously again, but he isn’t hurting Lorenzi.  Lorenzi turtles up, lets St Clair throw a volne of punches, then lands one big left hook that brings the rowd to life.  St Clair is red faced and breathing hard.  St Clair tries to attack, but a counter shot from Lorenzi puts him down hard.  St Clair is up quicly, but then immediately goes down again from a left to the body.  Again St Clair is up quickly.  The action is fast now, and Lorenzi is timing and countering St Clair’s fading assault.  Ten seconds to go and the pace is slowed, both men auling and throwing single and double power shots.  The round ends with both men throwing caution to the wind, and both men scoring.


Round 3

There’s  a brief delay for water on the mat in St clair’s corner.  Now St clair is moving forward with more cautious backhanded jabs.  There’s an exchange and Lorenzi comes out ahead with a nice counter.  St Clair is coming in with his head down now.  There’s a risk of another bad headbutt.  Lorenzi is coming forward now.  St Clair is losing steam, but he has the presence of mind to tie Lorenzi up.  Lorenzi is on the attack now, St Clair blocks some punches and blocks others with head movement, then throws a quick five-punch flurry.  There’s mauling now, and St Clair scores with a one-two, but Lorenzi is definitely the fresher man now.  St Clair  leads with an upper cut and eats a hard counter.  As Lorenzi comes forward St Clair’s legs give out and he goes down, but we’ll call it a slip.  Lorenzi comes forward.  He’s attacking and connecting, but his punches lack snap.  There’s the bell, and that’s round 3.


Round 4

St Clair comes out raging in round 4, and backs Lorenzi up in the ropes, clubbing him with perhaps ten straight right hooks to the head and body.  Lorenzi comes out little worse for wear, and St Clair is tiring  Now Lorenzi comes forward and I can’t see what punch puts St Clar down, but he’s down.  St Clair is up again, but he’s wild.  His head movment is putting him off balance and he’s eating pjunches in bunches.  Lorenzo backs him into the blue corner and pummels him until referee Mark Nelson mercifully ends the bout.  TKO Lorenzi.

The Best of Minnesota Boxing: 2010

It’s almost time to close the door on 2010, but before we do, let’s talk about the Best, worst, and most remarkable moments of the last year.  I don’t know whether anyone – fan, media, or official – has been to all the pro boxing shows in Minnesota in 2010.  The most likely candidate for that achievement would be Jesse Kelley of Minnesotaboxing.com.  But I’ve been fortunate to attend many of them.  This year’s “Best Of” awards are based partly on media reports and partly on word of mouth, but mostly on my own eyes.

Rules:  A fighter is eligible for consideration if he’s from Minnesota, regardless of where his fights have taken place or who he was fighting.  A fight is eligible if it took place in Minnesota or if one or both of the combatants was a Minnesotan.

Knockout of the Year

Javontae Starks TKO1 Alexander Tousignant on May 22nd at Shooting Star Casino – Starks displayed his preternatural punching power in this springtime bout in Mahnomen.  For not the first time in his career, Starks started slowly, allowing his opponent to take some free shots while Starks leaned back on the ropes.  I have no idea why he does that.  But then Starks let his left hand fly and sent Tousignant reeling.  Taking advantage of Tousignant’s vulnerable state, Starks flattened him with one more punch, and though Tousignant did somehow make it back to his feet before he could be counted out, referee Mark Nelson had no choice but to stop the fight.

Honorable mention: Andy Kolle TKO1 Darryl Salmon, Joey Abell TKO2 Josh Gutcher, Andy Kolle KO1 Francisco Ruben Osorio

Fight of the Year

Tony Lee UD4 David Laque on December 18th at Target Center in Minneapolis – Lee dominated the early going and looked to have Laque outclassed after two rounds.  But Laque refused to be worn down, and after scoring with a nice combination in the third, managed to bloody Lee’s nose before the round ended.  The fourth and final round showcased each man’s best attributes: Lee’s volumes of crisp and accurate punching versus Laque’s grit and determination.  This one turned into a real crowd-pleaser.

Honorable mention:  Caleb Truax SD10 Phil Williams, Corey Rodriguez and Charles Meier 6-round draw in which each man is knocked down once,  Ismail Muwendo RTD5 David Laque

Worst Moment of the Year

Matt Vanda’s suspension revealed in the morning on the day of his scheduled main event bout with Phil Williams – This episode hurt everyone involved.  Vanda looks unprofessional for failing to apprise the state commission of his true status, Williams is cheated out of a bout that he both wanted and needed, the commission looks inept for not knowing that Vanda had been suspended in New Jersey and was ineligible to fight in Minnesota, and both the promoter and the venue failed to notify the fans that the Main Event was no longer an officially sanctioned bout until the fans were in the building.  Some of these criticisms may turn out to be unfounded, but the appearance of wrongdoing can be as damaging as the reality.

Dishonorable mention:  Jon Schmidt and Josh Crouch are forced into a No-Contest due to a nasty cut caused by a clash of heads in round 4 of 6 scheduled.

Best Moment of the Year

If you were smart enough and lucky enough to buy a ticket while they were available, you saw the remarkable fruit of a remarkable labor when the brand new Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame honored its first class of inductees at Jax Cafe in northeast Minneapolis on October 12th.  This event, and the effort that it signifies, will have a more significant and lasting impact on the boxing scene in Minnesota than any boxing match or fight card we’ve seen in the last year.  The event was granted more coverage by the local media than they would ever give to an actual fight – even an important one – but maybe in the spirit of the moment we should be thankful for the attention given rather than resentful of perceived slights.

Honorable mention: Jason Litzau’s big win – read the next item!

Upset of the Year

Jason Litzau SD10 Celestino Caballero on November 27th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – Though it’s true that some local fans were predicting a Litzau victory based on a variety of factors (styles, weight classes, body types, Litzau’s commitment to the sport), the underlying factor is undeniably homerism.  Anyway, it’s the Vegas odds that count, and by various accounts Litzau was a 12-1 or 15-1 underdog when he stepped into the ring.

Honorable mention: Hector Orozco UD6 Jeremy McLaurin, Bobby Kliewer SD8 Anthony Bonsante, Christopher Martin SD10 Chris Avalos

Best Performance on the Road

Jason Litzau SD10 Celestino Caballero on November 27th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – It’s been reported by enough sources just how Litzau did it, but what’s most important for boxing fans in Minnesota – in the Upper Midwest as a whole – is that one of our own went out on the road and won the big one.  This win was the biggest road triumph for an Upper Midwest boxer since Will Grigsby beat Victor Burgos for the IBF Light Flyweight title in 2005.  That contest, interestingly, was also hosted by the MGM Grand.  Keep an eye on that venue, fight fans.

Honorable mention: Jason Litzau TD7 Rocky Juarez

Prospect of the Year

Ismail Muwendo (7-0 with 6 kayos) – The lithe young Ugandan billed as the “Sharp Shooter” has his sights set on the big time.  He has already come a long way, but his destiny as a prizefighter is only partly in his hands – like any fighter, his career will be influenced by outside forces including (but not limited to) frequency of boxing shows in the local market, the performance of manager and trainer Scott Tolzmann, his own health, cash flow within the industry, and other factors.  Based on the part of the equation that Muwendo can control – his performance in the ring – his future looks very, very promising.

Honorable mention: Tony Lee, Jamal James, Gary Eyer

Boxer of the Year

Jason Litzau (28-2 with 21 kayos) – Litzau’s metamorphosis from an irrepressible brawler with untapped potential into a legitimate contender at the worldwide level is the biggest and best news in Minnesota boxing in 2010, though it didn’t all happen just in the last twelve months.  One attestation of Litzau’s transformation is the fact that the man who started his career with 14 straight KO or TKO wins and once sported a record of 20-0 with 18 kayos has now gone four bouts without putting away an opponent.  Litzau has embraced the virtue of winning his fights by any possible means, even if that means substance over style.

Honorable mention: Andy Kolle

Minnesota Boxing: 2010 Year-End Pound-for-Pound List

The sport of boxing doesn’t often reward its devotees’ loyalty and emotional investment by producing yearned-for matches.  As a result, the greater part of being a boxing fan is speculating whether, all things being equal, one fighter could best another fighter in the ring.  That’s where pound-for-pound lists come in.

Here are the Fistic Mystic’s rankings of Minnesota’s best fighters regardless of weight class.  Last year’s ranking for each ranked fighter is in parenthesis following his record.  Unranked fighters are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Jason Litzau – 28-2 with 21 kayos (1) – This spot was occupied by Litzau a year ago, and this year Litzau has widened the margin between number one and everyone else.  Since the 2009 rankings Litzau has added two more good wins to his ledger: a technical decision win against Rocky Juarez and a split decision (which should have been a wide unanimous decision) over Celestino Caballero.  No other Minnesota boxer can claim one so prestigious a win in 2010, much less two.
  2. Andy Kolle – 23-2 with 17 kayos (2) – Kolle maintains his position in the P4P rankings this year by virtue of style, rather than substance.  Though Kolle went 4-0 this year with two first-round TKOs, none of his wins came against substantial opponents.  The best of the four wins was a lopsided decision win against Matt Vanda in April, but Kolle had already defeated Vanda (albeit in less decisive fashion) back in 2007.  Kolle gets to keep his spot, but like all of Andy Kolle’s admirers, I’m hoping for something bigger and better in 2011.
  3. Caleb Truax – 16-0-1 with 10 kayos (6) – After fighting five times in 2008 and another five times in 2009, Truax began to experience the typical deceleration of career progress that many prospects encounter when they become known; it becomes more difficult to get them fights that are winnable, useful, and profitable.  So management has to be more selective, and fights become less frequent.  Since last spring it’s been well known that Minnesota boxing mainstay Matt Vanda would like a shot at Truax, and that would be one of the biggest events that the Upper Midwest boxing scene could produce in the next year.
  4. Joey Abell – 27-4 with 26 kayos (7) – The fighter called “Minnesota Ice” benefits from some shuffling in the rankings this year.  Abell didn’t do anything wrong in 2010, but he didn’t fight very much.  The fights he did have went according to plan; Abell dispatched overweight journeyman Josh Gutcher in the 2nd round in April and then avenged a loss by punishing Arron Lyons for four rounds in July.  Abell’s fans look forward to a career-defining moment on January 28th, when he’s schedued to meet former world title contender Chris Arreola in Temecula, CA.  With a win Abell could find himself finally making waves at the national level.
  5. Phil Williams – 11-3-1 with 10 kayos (5) – The banger from North Minneapolis didn’t have a great year, fighting only twice and going 0-1-1 in 2010.  Williams’ performance against 18-0-1 Donovan George in January was disappointing, but his April performance against Caleb Truax was more encouraging.  Truax piled up the early rounds but Williams came on late, scoring with heavy shots and looking like the stronger man in the last two rounds of the bout.  In a development that must have been hard for Williams to swallow, he had a third fight scheduled for December 18th but it fell out at the last possible moment when his opponent, Matt Vanda, was found to be under suspension in New Jersey, hence ineligible to fight in Minnesota.  The bout was changed from a prizefight to an exhibition, and reduced from ten rounds to six.
  6. Matt Vanda – 43-12 with 23 kayos (4) – Some fight fans think that Vanda is slipping.  I’ll reserve judgement for now, but I will point out that Vanda was only 1-3 this year, and that one win didn’t come against a great fighter.  If it turns out that Vanda’s career really is winding down, that’ll be too bad for local fight fans.  Few professional boxers exude more joy for the sport of boxing than Vanda – the pleasure that Vanda demonstrates in plying his craft reminds me of Johnny Tapia in terms of being a guy who just seems to love to fight.  On the other hand, one local boxing authority has privately expressed to me a fear that Vanda will “end up tragic.”  Whether Vanda’s failure to disclose his true professional status to the promoters of the December 18th show at Target Center is a step in that direction or merely an instance of profoundly poor judgement remains to be seen.
  7. Wilton Hilario – 12-2-1 with 9 kayos (3) – Hilario’s career trajectory illustrates just how difficult it is to rise and how easy it is to fall in the boxing world.  After going 0-2 in 2010 Hilario has seen his stock fall precipitously.  Hilario’s loss to Martin Honorio exposed some serious flaws in Hilario’s game, and his subsequent loss to Cuban prospect Luis Franco showed that Hilario is a slow (or reluctant) learner.  The good news for Hilario: nope, there is no good news yet.  If he’s serious about his boxing career Hilario needs to do some fast learning and get a couple of rebuilding wins.  If not, there are some nice paydays out there for a fighter with a record like his.  Now I don’t want to be unfair to a good fighter, so I will point out that Hilario’s two losses came to very tough competition – Luis Franco in particular is looking very good right now.
  8. Ismail Muwendo – 7-0 with 6 kayos (-) In hindsight, Muwendo should have been on this list a year ago.  My bad.  The “Sharp Shooter” is a real talent, a young man who has impressed in the prizefighting ring and earned the respect of other fighters in the sparring ring.  Muwendo reportedly sparred with Jason Litzau three or four times before Litzau’s defeat of Celestino Caballero, to the benefit of both men.  Expect to see Muwendo fight at the Hyatt on January 7th, provided an opponent can be located.
  9. Gary Eyer – 8-0-1 with 6 kayos (14) – Are you surprised to see Eyer rise so far in this year’s rankings?  To be perfectly honest, so am I. Eyer only fought once in 2010, but it was a dazzling 2nd-round win against Brad Patraw, who has since reclaimed the Minnesota bantamweight strap that he had previously lost to Antwan Robertson.  In that lone bout this year Eyer battered Patraw unmercifully, to the point that the only people in attendance who protested the stoppage were Patraw and his trainer, Johnny Johnson of the Rice Street Gym.  Eyer’s size (he formerly fought as a welterweight but has worked his way down to super featherweight) and his power have made him rather an unattractive match, but his manager Todd Bechthold and trainer Chuck Horton are too smart to bet so much hard-earned momentum on a risky opponent.  Eyer’s next fight is scheduled for February 12th, but no opponent has been announced yet.
  10. Corey Rodriguez – 5-1-2 with 3 kayos (10) – That Corey Rodriguez could maintain his position on the P4P chart after going 1-0-2 in 2010 owes something to the quality of his in-ring competition.  Rodriguez fought only once during 2009, losing a close decision to unbeaten Dave Peterson in Rochester.  C-Rod didn’t fight again for nine months after the loss, then packed three fights into five months.  Moving up to middleweight to face Charles Meier, a very respectable boxer and a bigger man than Rodriguez, Rodriguez got a majority draw.  Traveling to Cleveland to fight unbeaten Ohioan Dante Moore resulted in another draw.  Finally, Rodriguez made the trip up I-94 to Fargo and came within a whisker of knocking out tough journeyman Nick Runningbear, earning himself a wide unanimous decision win.
  11. Cerresso Fort – 10-0 with 8 kayos (17) – That an undefeated prospect like Mr. Fort could be ranked lower than Corey Rodriguez owes something to the quality of his competition, as well.  Fort seemed poised for good things as 2009 came to a close, though a close fight with Lamar Harris may have (should have) struck a note of foreboding in the hearts of supporters.  But in 2010 Fort fought only once, earning a unanimous decision in a four-rounder against 3-8 opponent Steve Macomber in California.  That’s it.
  12. Willshaun Boxley – 6-7-1 with 4 kayos (13) – Sometimes an athlete’s struggles against tough competition can establish the level of his talent even as he tallies a loss.  Consider Boxley a case in point.  Boxley’s record in 2010 was a dismal 1-4-1.  The cumulative record of his opponents, however, was 54-3.  Not only that, but at least one of Boxley’s losses (against Pier Olivier Cote) was an egregious miscarriage, booed by the fans and mocked by the television broadcast crew.  Fortunately, Boxley ended the year on a better note, ending an 8-fight winless streak with a win in Canada and then earning a draw against 15-1 John Jackson at Target Center.  Boxley is still as talented now as when he was 5-0.
  13. Dave Peterson – 12-0 with 7 kayos (8) – Missing in action for an entire year, Peterson is an enigma.  Eventually he’ll probably cash in on his record for a nice payday or two against impossible opponents.  Else he’ll retire undefeated.  Either outcome would be disappointing for Minnesota’s boxing fans.
  14. Mohammed Kayongo – 15-2 with 11 kayos (9) – Here’s another fighter who hasn’t been seen or heard from in a year.  This lanky welterweight seemed to be in a good place when he TKO’d James Todd at the Saint Paul National Guard Armory in November of 2009.  Since then his name has come up a couple of times as a possible opponent for bigger names, but nothing has developed, and Kayongo and former manager Scott Tolzmann have parted ways.
  15. Jon Schmidt – 10-1 with 6 kayos (-) – Schmidt fought just twice in 2010: a no contest against 6-1 Josh Crouch in June when Schmidt suffered a bad cut, and a points win against dangerous but limited opponent Ryan Soft in October.  Schmidt will take a major step up when he faces 10-0 former Olympian Shawn Estrada on the undercard of the Abell-Arreola event on January 28th in California.  Schmidt’s career has been undistinguished so far, but the young man with a reputation of a workout fanatic has a great opportunity to shine.  All of Minnesota should be pulling for Schmidt when the time comes.
  16. Javontae Starks – 4-0 with 4 kayos (18) – Young Starks has looked like a monster in the ring when he’s fought, but his opposition hasn’t been great and he has pulled out several fights in the last year.  Now it looks like Starks has severed ties with his original promoter, MSC, and is appearing on the January 7th card presented by Tony Grygelko’s Seconds Out Promotions.  Only time will tell what the future holds for this talented youngster.  If he had been more active this year, Starks would surely have advanced further up the P4P list than he did.
  17. Vicente Alfaro – 4-1 with 1 kayo (-) – A year ago only the most obsessive fight fans in Minnesota knew of Alfaro, but now he’s the owner of wins against Brad Patraw and former Olympian Ron Siler.  Alfaro also suffered his first loss in November, reportedly a one-sided beating at the hands of 11-0 Efrain Esquivias Jr in Ontario, CA.  Nevertheless, Alfaro remains nicely positioned to fight local small men like Antwan Robertson, Derek Winston, Gary Eyer, or even Ronnie Peterson.
  18. Brad Patraw – 7-3 with 4 kayos (12) -Patraw, fighting out of the Rice Street Gym, had an uneven 2010.  First he lost badly to Gary Eyer in April, then he faced off against Vicente Alfaro and lost a second straight fight by 2nd-round TKO (his third consecutive loss overall).  Finally, on December 18th, Patraw stopped his skid with a unanimous decision win in the rubber match between him and Antwan Robertson.  The win against Robertson was a carbon copy of the first fight between the two, which Patraw dominated.  Patraw has big ambitions, but he might be wise to use the Minnesota bantamweight title strap as an inducement to make fights with other local small men before trying to move up on a national level.
  19. Jamal James – 3-0 with 3 kayos (-) – With Javontae Starks seemingly out of the picture, you can expect MSC to push Jamal James as the next big thing in Minnesota boxing.  And why not?  James is a talented technical boxer who seems to have found power to go with his speed, precision, and slickness.  The junior welterweight from south Minneapolis also has a quirky personality.  Watch him bow and flourish in the ring before a fight and try not to smile!
  20. Hector Orozco – 3-6 with no kayos (-) – 2010 was Orozco’s best year as a pro.  As the new year dawned Orozco’s record was 1-4.  Orozco’s 2010 unfolded this way: first Orozco lost controversially to unbeaten Jeremy McLaurin, a stoppage due to a cut that was ruled a TKO.  In a rematch with McLaurin, though, Orozco befuddled his 7-0 opponent and took the win.  Next Orozco was rematched with 3-0 welterweight Danny Figueroa, by whom he had been beaten in a technical decision in 2009, and gained another win.  Finally, Orozco would take a loss to end up at 2-2 for the year courtesy of the blinding speed and punishing power of 6-0-1 prospect Michael Anderson.  The remarkable thing about Orozco is that all three of his wins have been against unbeaten fighters (Figueroa, McLaurin, and in 2009, RJ Laase).  In fact, the cumulative records of all of Orozco’s opponents at the time that he fought them was 37-7-1.  How good would this guy be if he were more selective of his opponents and a little more lucky in the ring?

Missed the cut:

Scott Ball – The middleweight from Rochester lost his only bout in 2010, to Marcus Upshaw, to go to 10-7 with 8 knockouts.

Anthony Bonsante – Came out of retirement to fight Bobby Kliewer after 20 months of inactivity.  Dealing with some stress in his personal life, Bonsante had hoped for a cathartic experience.  Instead he got a tough fight and was handed a humbling loss by a club fighter.

Raphael Butler – Only fought once in 2010, was outpointed by Canadian heavyweight prospect Neven Pajkic.  Butler felt he had earned the win and been cheated, but what losing fighter doesn’t think that?

Levi Cortes – After bursting on the scene with a gutsy performance against Gary Eyer a year ago, Cortes has been missing in action.

Danny Figueroa – This Hastings-based fighter is a genuine talent, but only fought once in 2010, losing to Hector Orozco.

Kenny Kost has reportedly been seen in the gym recently.  Kost, who hasn’t fought since losing to Hector Camacho Jr in the spring of 2008, should be expected to require a tuneup bout before getting into any serious scrap.

Tony Lee – Two fights into his professional career Tony Lee has an unblemished record.  His first fight, a win against Hector Orozco, I saw and was not too impressed.  His second fight, an all-action victory against scrappy David Laque, I didn’t see, but Lee got good reviews from everyone who saw it.  I expect good things from Lee in 2011, and you should too.

Antonio Johnson isn’t officially retired as far as anyone knows, but has only fought three times in the last three years, so what’s the difference?  Johnson hasn’t been seen or heard from professionally since notching his first loss (to Francisco Santana) in March of 2009.

Bobby Kliewer had lost four in a row and eight out of nine before shocking Anthony Bonsante in December.  That’s not to say that Kliewer is a bad fighter; the book on “Sweet Dreams” is that he’s a short notice opponent for good prospects.  A couple of wins in 2011 would get this young (23 years old) veteran a ranking a year from now.  He only just missed the cut this year.

Allen Litzau – I refer back to the elder Litzau’s entry from last year: “not a bad fighter, but no big wins in several years.   I’m hoping to see Allen fight and win several times in 2010.” There’s been serious talk of matching Litzau and Gary Eyer in Duluth.  Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Jeremy McLaurin fought three times in 2010, winning controversially against Hector Orozco, losing a rematch with Orozco, and winning impressively against 3-0 Joel Flores of Michigan.  I don’t know what to make of McLaurin.  He’s a likeable young man and a talented boxer, but I’m not sure he has the chin of a good prizefighter.  McLaurin has a lot of options, so expect to see him gain a couple of wins and get tested in the new year.

Jonathan Perez just turned pro a couple of weeks ago.  It’s too soon to give him a ranking, but with some good wins we could see him make a splash.  Having a promotional deal with MSC doesn’t hurt.

Antwan Robertson suffered through a 1-3 campaign this year, his only win coming against 0-1 William Bellcourt.  Robertson is a tremendous athlete, but that athleticism hasn’t consistently translated into success in the ring.

Derek Winston has only fought twice since turning pro in October of 2009, both times taking wins against difficult opponents, but has yet to show the kind of potential that built him a reputation as an amateur.  A cousin of Antwan Robertson,  Winston has talent and access to good sparring.  Some say that Winston is a better boxer than Robertson.  With a little luck and some more favorable matching, 2011 could be Winston’s year to make some noise.

Holiday Murmurings

Murmur murmur…grumble grumble…Minnesota sports fans are seldom happy.

  • Twin Cities-based promoter MSC (Midwest Sports Council) is taking some lumps over its handling of Matt Vanda’s suspension and resulting ineligibility to fight this Saturday past.  The story is that Vanda had a clean Fight Fax early in the week of his bout, but on Saturday morning the promoter learned from the Minnesota Boxing Commission that Vanda is under suspension by the New Jersey Boxing Commission.  The reason for the suspension hasn’t been announced, but it’s widely speculated to be related to a failed drug test.   Since Vanda’s fight with Phil Williams was the main event of Saturday night’s show, the promoters found themselves in a bit of a pickle with little time to ponder a solution.  Their lesser evil of choice was to have the fight go on, but as an exhibition.  Long story short, Vanda and Williams fought a six-round exhibition rather than a ten round fight.  Both men agreed to reduced pay under the circumstances, so it’s difficult to make a case against the promoter for that move, although ideally it would have been good for Vanda’s purse or a portion thereof could have been diverted to Williams, who is the blameless party in the matter.  The real gripe from most fans seems to be that they (the fans) didn’t know about the change in the nature of the Vanda-Williams clash until they were at the arena.  In MSC’s favor: the card’s supporting bouts included lots of fun and entertaining action.
  • Prospect Jamal James of Minneapolis, who on Saturday improved his record to 3-0 (3 knockouts), got some positive press in this article from the DL-online website.  “I was more than happy to get a chance to fight James,” James’ opponent Ryan Gronvold is quoted saying.  “The promoter came up to me after the fight and told me they couldn’t find another boxer to fight James.  Now I know why.”  James dispatched Gronvold with sharp and hurtful punching in the first round.
  • In the same article we read that the attendance at Target Center that night was 2,505 – a higher number than is reported by most eyewitnesses.
  • There’s no doubt that Jason Litzau would like to fight in his hometown, but it may turn out that he has bigger fish to fry.  According to the Nevada Athletic Commission Litzau was paid $50,000 for his most recent fight, a ten-round split-decision defeat of then 34-2 Celestino Caballero.  That victory put Litzau on the boxing world’s map and gave a big boost to his earning power.  After earning a raise, to fight in Minnesota would require Litzau to take a voluntary pay cut – it would be a labor of love.  How much does Jason Litzau love Minnesota?  Considering how little love he has gotten from his home state fans and media and the fact that the major television players are interested in his services, we may find that Litzau is less inclined than ever to fight in small local shows.
  • Horton’s Boxing in Duluth has announced that Tyler Hultin has been added to their February 12th show at Clyde Iron Works restaurant and bar.  Hultin joins Gary Eyer, RJ Laase, Al Sands, Aaron Green, and Dustin Mason on that card.
  • KO Promotions will present another boxing card at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City on February 5th.  The featured fighters will again be Emily and Katy Klinefelter, with a mixed undercard of male and female fights.  For ticket information call 319-338-1633.

Round-by-Round: December 18th at Target Center

Correspondent Joel Bauman

Guest Correspondent Joel Bauman

By Joel “Broomsticks” Bauman

Matt Vanda -vs- Phil Williams [ed: the featured bout of the evening, this fight was changed from a ten-rounder to a six-round exhibition due to a licensing issue on Vanda’s part.  Though no official reason has been given for licensing problem, rumors abound that Vanda failed a drug test in conjunction with his last bout, a loss to Ossie Duran in New Jersey on November 12th.]

Round 1

Early on Phil stays constant. Landing multiple jabs to the head.  Vanda answers back with a nice body body head combination. Williams continues to keep Vanda on the outside of his jab throughout most of the round.  Vanda slips past and lands a nice shot to the body.  They end the round with foreheads touching throwing short uppercuts and hooks.

Round 2

The round starts out with Vanda landing a nice head-body combination to set the pace.  Vanda continues to throw hard punch combinations landing shots to the head and body.  Phil answers with repeated jabs and pushes Vanda back into the ropes where he keeps the pressure on him picking his shots. Most of the round is spent with Phil having Vanda on the ropes picking his shots decisively with Vanda answering with hard three to four punch combinations.

Round 3

The round starts out with Vanda coming out the aggressor throwing many three to four punch combinations to the head and body. Phil answers with stiff jabs keeping Vanda at a distance and outside.  Vanda contninues to close the distance to land quick explosive body shot combinations.  Williams presses forward to put Vanda on the ropes again where he throws short arm punches to the head and body to finish the round.

Round 4

Williams comes out and lands a stiff jab and Vanda answers back with heavy hooks to the body.  Williams closes the distance and continues to throw short arm uppercuts and hooks while Vanda is against the ropes.  They break and Vanda lands multiple hooks and jabs with Williams answering with straights and uppercuts. The round ends with fighters exchanging unfriendly looks and statements that makes the ref step in to corner them.

Round 5

Williams comes out the aggressor taunting Vanda putting his hands down and landing multiple hooks.  Williams continues to push forward putting Vanda on the ropes where he lands short arm punches. Vanda answers with hard body and head combinations.  Both men getting action in on the exchange by the ropes. The round ends with Vanda against the ropes taking more short uppercuts answering with hard body combinations.

Round 6

Vanda comes out swinging landing a looping left hook right away that makes Williams taunt by dropping his hands. Both fighters now drop their hands to taunt each other.  Both fighters throw heavy shots and big punches keeping each other honest and making them stay elusive. At the end of the fight Williams connects with a big left hook that sends Vanda back to the ropes where he crowds him to look for the finish to end the round.

Scores: None; exhibition

Jamal James (now 3-0 with 3 kayos) defeats Ryan Gronvold (now 1-6) by TKO in round 1 of 4 rounds scheduled

Round 1

Each fighter comes out quick looking to find their distance. James lands early with a stiff jab. He starts to capitalize on his reach advantage backing Gronvold up with more jabs keeping him on his outside. Gronvold presses forward and gets tagged with a counter left hook that sends him back to the ropes followed by more hooks to the head and body. Gronvold regains himself and looks for the hold. As Gronvold makes his way forward he gets tagged with a big left hook that drops his hands and makes the referee step in to call it at 1:49 in the first round for James.

Anthony Bonsante (now 32-12 with 18 kayos) is defeated by Bobby Kliewer (now 11-12 with 5 kayos) by Split Decision after 8 rounds

Round 1

The match starts with Bonsante showing his elusiveness dodging a combination while answering with a stiff jab to the body. Both fighters are looking to find distance for their shots. Kliewer starts to work the jab and get the upper hand early.

Round 2

Kliewer starts to work his jab early in the round and presses Bonsante to the ropes to put him down. Bonsante rises to his feet and advances forward looking for a lunging combination and gets tagged with a counter right straight to bring him down again. Bonsante rises to his feet to finish out the round.

Round 3

Bonsante starts to show some aggressive nature early in the round and tags Kliewer with a stiff combination. Kliewer answers with more jabs looking to land his straight. Bonsante seems to have gained confidence and continues to push forward most of the round landing big hooks to the body Winning the close exchanges .

Round 4

Bonsante looks determined and comes out swinging landing a big combination to the head right away. Kliewer fights him off with 1-2 combinations to the head. Bonsante continues to press forward most of the round being the more aggressive fighter while Kliewer looks to counter.

Round 5

Both fighters come out exchanging jabs early. Bonsante continues to move forwards scoring a knockdown off a hook from a hold. Kliewer comes back aggressive and holds Bonsante. Bonsante lifts and drops him losing a point. Fighters exchange heavy combinations in the middle of the ring. The 10 second bell rings and Bonsante catches a straight to his right eye that sends him to the mat for an 8 count to end the round.

Round 6

Both fighters come out with Bonsante looking for jabs with Kliewer countering with straights. Bonsante continues to look for big punch combinations as Kliewer looks to capitalize on his straights and jabs. Bonsante starts to work his 1-2 and lands multiple combinations through the round.

Round 7

Bonsante comes out throwing some jabs followed by straights connecting with multiple combinations. Kliewer counters and steps forward landing some shots to make Bonsante look for the hold. Both fighters stay aggressive landing big shots to the body and head.

Round 8

Kliewer lands a nice 1-2 to start the round with Bonsante answering with a hook to send him back. Bonsante continues to push the pace landing many jabs and straights pushing Kliewer to the ropes and corners landing big punches. Kliewer continues to answer with counter straights. Both men exchange big shots all over the ring with Bonsante pushing most of the pace throughout the last round with Kliewer answering with counters.

Tony Lee (now 2-0 with no kayos) defeats David Laque (now 2-7-1 with 2 kayos) by Unanimous Decision after 4 rounds

Round 1

Both fighters are elusive right away with Lee breaking forward with big punches backing up Laque early. Laque begins to answer by moving forward trying to find his distance. Lee continues to keep the pressure on Laque throwing big punches

Round 2

Lee again comes out swinging with big shots and backing up Laque early in the round. While Lee comes forward Laque looks to score ducking and weaving looking for counters.

Round 3

This round shows to be the most promising for Laque as he comes out landing a combination to head and body early. Lee answers with more big shots and combinations to the head and body. Laque lands a big counter left hook in the middle of the round that makes Lee’s nose start to bleed. Laque starts t gain confidence, getting close and landing some big shots.

Round 4

Laque starts to pressure Lee and begins to gain confidence crowding Lee and landing some shots inside. Lee begins to retaliate with the same onslaught of head and body counter hooks backing up Laque yet again. Laque answers by keeping the pressure forward and his hands moving. Lee continues to look and land big hooks late in the round that land hard but don’t seem to bring Laque down. Laque moves forward to continue to pressure till the end of the round showing his heart.

Scores: 40-36 40-36 40-36, all in favor of Lee

Antwan Robertson (now 6-4-1 with 4 kayos) is defeated by Brad Patraw (now 7-3 with 4 kayos) by Unanimous Decision after 6 rounds.  Patraw regains the Minnesota State bantamweight belt that he lost to Robertson in October of ’09.

Round 1

Much respect shown by both fighters early with Brad being the first to move forward. Patraw is backing up Robertson with a lot of forward movement not giving him time to set his feet while sticking him with multiple hooks to the body. Robertson seems to be looking to find some distance to land some punches but continues to get crowded by Patraw. Patraw gets Robertson to the ropes throughout the round and lands multiple hooks to the head and body.

Round 2

Early Robertson comes forward making Patraw miss landing a counter right straight sending Patraw to the ropes. Robertson chases him but can’t seem to take advantage of the situation making Patraw have to hold. Patraw regains his composure and starts to move forward again landing more big shots to the body of Robertson. Robertson lands another big counter straight to let Patraw know he is still in the fight; however Patraw still is the more aggressive fighter keeping Robertson on his heels the majority of the round.

Round 3

Patraw begins to pressure early in the round landing some hooks to the body and head. Robertson starts to become passive trying to move more while Patraw continues to back him up with body shots and combinations. Robertson doesn’t seem to be throwing many punches and looks comfortable with Patraw being the aggressor. Robertson lands a few counter hooks and straights in the round, but most of the big shots are from Patraw.

Round 4

Both fighters meet in the middle early with Patraw coming out swinging. Robertson starts to let his hands go early but can’t seem to answer Patraw’s constant pressure as he continues to get backed up and and hit in the corner. Robertson holds and looks to land big hooks on the breaks landing few but he continues to get backed up against the ring throughout the round and hit hard in the body.

Round 5

Robertson starts to let his hands go early pushing the pace to back up Patraw. Patraw answers with big shots staying comfortable with his newly acquired slowed down pace. Robertson continues to press forward, looking for powerful combinations to the head and body while Patraw continues to stay and look comfortable. Patraw stays passive while focusing mostly on his movement, landing some jabs and straights to finish the round.

Round 6

Robertson comes out the aggressor with Patraw being elusive and defensive. Patraw starts to move forward backing up Robertson with body shots leaving himself open for a big counter. Patraw stumbles back with Robertson looking for the finish landing heavy shots on Patraw. Patraw regains himself and pushes Robertson back again. The round ends with Patraw landing shots on Robertson against the ropes to solidify his victory.

Scores: 59-55 59-55 59-55, all in favor of Patraw

Don Tierney (now 3-2 with 1 kayo) is defeated by Bobby Butters Jr (now 1-1) by Unanimous Decision after 4 rounds

Round 1

Butters startss to look to find the distance of his jab early while being the immediate aggressor. Tierney is picking his shots and is so far (early in this fight) being a defensive counter puncher. Butters gets Tierney up against the ropes early and looks to land big shots, however Tierney lands nice counters on the breaks. Butters puts his hands down to taunt and gets tagged with a right straight. The bad blood is eminent; however Butters seems to be pressing the action with big punches to the body and ribcage.

Round 2

Again Butters comes out being the aggressor with Tierney moving around the ring trying to create space, backing Butters up with stiff counters. Butters stays resilient in looking to land many hooks to the body with Tierney countering with many shots to the head. Butters continues to look for mostly body in round two while Tierney is looking to passively counter.

Round 3

Tierney starts out being the immediate aggressor; however, Butters backs Tierney up to the ropes and lands a nice left upper cut with Tierney countering hard with a straight right. This sends Butters back into the ropes where he lands another straight that forces Butters to hold. On the break, Butters presses forward to work for the body as Tierney continues to counter and land very hard straight rights that send Butters back to the ropes yet again. The bell rings as Butters regains himself from a hold.

Round 4

Both fighters come out early throwing big shots looking to win decisively against the other. Butters starts to taunt and gets back up to the ropes. Tierney continues to look to counter as the action slows. Tierney gets backed into the corner where he lands some big hooks that questionably downs Tierney with Tierney immediately rising to his feet landing a lunging straight right that lands while he begins to get counted. Tierney is upset about the call and both fighters meet in the center throwing a borage of punches to end the round.

Scores: 40-35 40-35 38-37, all in favor of Butters

John Jackson (now 15-1-1 with 13 kayos) and Willshaun Boxley (now 6-7-1 with 4 kayos) fight to a majority draw after 6 rounds

Prefight: A very intense staredown from both fighters.

Round 1

Jackson starts working the jab early keeping his hands high. Both fighters are looking to find their distance early. Boxley finds Jacksons early and continues to work it many times throughout the first. Jakcson is landing more combinations, while Boxley shows his power early with counter hooks and straights to the body. Very intense, action-filled first round.

Round 2

Jackson starts to look for the jab early. Boxley lands another hard straight to the body. Jackson starts to let his hands fly and lands a mean 4 shot combination. Boxley is moving forward while Jackson is looking to stick and move. More punches are being thrown by Jackson this roundl

Round 3

Boxley moves forward early landing another bod shot. Jackson lands a nice combination of 3.. Answered by jab to a hard hook that seemed to wobble Jackson. Both fighters are landing powerful shots. Jackson starts to move forward after he lands a nice combination of multiple shots to the head and body, and continues to move forward until the end of the round with Boxley landing nice counter hooks

Round 4

Jackson comes out and lands a nice two jab combination with a straight down to the body. With Boxley answering with 3 straight rights to the body. Both fighters are landing nice counters. Jackson seems to be the aggressor in these later rounds with Boxley landing nice counters in the exchange.

Round 5

Jackson comes out the aggressor pumping the jab and throws a nice right hook that landed. Boxley lands a nice counter shot and continues to look to counter throughout the round. Jackson is looking to let his hands fly landing big shots to the body backing up Boxley. Boxley is landing a nice counter 1-2 however that makes Jackson aware that he is still in the fight. Jackson continues

Round 6

Both fighters meet in the center looking for jabs and straights early with Jackson landing the cleaner shots. Jackson backs Boxley up to the ropes and lands powerful shots making Boxley hold him, Backson again gets him in the corner sending hooks to the body making Boxley hold. Jackson continues to be the aggressor Boxley landing nice shots on the break.

Scores: 57-57 57-57 58-56, Draw

Afterwards both fighters talk in the center of the ring

Jonathan Perez (now 1-0 with 1 kayo) defeats Randy Ronchi (now 0-2) by TKO in round 1 of 4 rounds scheduled

Round 1

Perez starts to push the action landing the first shots including a jab and a nice left hook to the body. Ronchi begins to look for counter shots and is seeming to respect the power of Perez’s punches.. Perez scores a knockdown in the first from a left hook. Perez lands another knockdown from a counter left hook to the head. Ronchi again makes it to his feet. Perez immediately comes out to look for the finish, lands a counter right straight to get the final knockdown at 2:31 of the first for the win.

Boxing Results: Seasons Beatings, December 18th, 2010 (Vanda, Williams, Bonsante, etc)

A blow-by-blow account of tonight’s proceedings will be posted as soon as it’s received from our correspondent at ringside, Joel “Broomsticks” Bauman.

Matt Vanda (43-12 with 23 knockouts) -vs- Phil Williams (11-3-1 with 10 knockouts), super middleweights, scheduled for 10 rounds – this fight was changed to a six-round exhibition due to “a licensing problem” that the promoters’ representative said was unknown to the promoter until 10am Saturday morning.  The licensing problem is said to be related to Vanda’s last fight, a wipeout loss to Ossie Duran in New Jersey on November 12th.

Jamal James (now 3-0 with 3 knockouts) defeats Ryan Gronvold (now 1-6) by TKO in round 1 of 4 scheduled

Anthony Bonsante (now 32-12 with 18 knockouts) is defeated by Bobby Kliewer (now 11-12 with 5 knockouts) by decision after eight rounds.

Tony Lee (now 2-0 with no knockouts) defeats David Laque (now 2-7-1 with 2 knockouts) by decision after 4 rounds.  Fight is said to be a thriller!

Antwan Robertson (now 6-4-1 with 4 knockouts) is defeated by Brad Patraw now (7-3 with 4 knockouts) by unanimous decision after six rounds.  Patraw reclaims the Minnesota State bantamweight title that he lost to Robertson in 2009.

Don Tierney (now 3-2 with 1 kayo) is defeated by Bobby Butters Jr (now 1-1 with no kayos), light middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

John Jackson (now 15-1-1 with 13 knockouts) and Willshaun Boxley (now 6-7-1 with 4 knockouts) fight to a majority draw after 6 rounds

Jonathan Perez (now 1-0 with 1 kayo) defeats Randy Ronchi (now 0-2) by TKO in round 1 of 4 scheduled