Tag Archives: Target Center

January 3rd Recap: A Wild Night in a Tame Town

On a snowy night in Minneapolis, Rances Barthelemy caught a lucky break, Argenis Mendez drew the opposite number, Ossie Duran spoiled the coming out party of the hometown hero, and Caleb Truax learned that he still has more to learn.

Rances Barthelemy and Argenis Mendez were matched for Mendez’s IBF Junior Lightweight trinket and the title that it represents.  Barthelemy, the challenger, won the bout under controversial circumstances.

The first round started slowly, with Mendez being respectful and tentative and Barthelemy testing the waters and evidently laying a trap.  After some soft jabbing and unexpectedly passive behavior, Barthelemy erupted about halfway through the first round with a ferocious attack that hurt Mendez.  In the second, Mendez was initially more active and tried to regain the initiative, but Barthelemy remained in control.  Finally Barthelemy exploded again and knocked Mendez down.  Then the end of the second was the beginning of controversy, as Barthelemy threw a right and a left well after the bell, and knocked Mendez out.  Though the referee and the TV audience didn’t hear the bell, numerous ringside observers and at least one IBF official in attendance confirmed to this writer that the knockout punch was thrown significantly after the chime.  Most up-to-date word is that an appeal will be  heard by the IBF, so hopefully the result can be changed to a No Contest and a rematch ordered.

In the Co-Main Event, Ossie Duran posed an unexpectedly tough test for rising middleweight star Caleb Truax, who was unable to solve Duran’s hard jab despite an admirable effort.  The end result was a unanimous draw, scored 95-95 by all three judges.

Duran is known to be a tough and experienced veteran, and he surely raised his stock by frustrating Truax with his tight defense and that punishing jab.  Truax maintained an aggressive attitude throughout, but wasn’t able to penetrate Duran’s defense with any consistency.  Though Truax had his moments (particularly in the later rounds), the enduring images of this fight will be Duran’s left hand in Truax’s face and the smudge of blood around Truax’s nose.

Though one wag was heard to say unequivocally that Truax should never rematch Duran, I think the opposite.  Duran was a tough riddle for Truax mainly because Truax had such difficulty solving the jab.  Truax should work on countermeasures for that jab and once he has learned to cope with it, he should show the world his improvement.  Or at the very least, he should make time to spar with Duran.

In undercard action:

  • Adrian Martinez (2-0-1) defeated Trevor Marmon (1-1-1) in a rematch of their September 21st draw.  The first match between the two was a crowdpleasing slugfest with an inconclusive conclusion, but this one brought a decisive result.  Marmon started out strong and aggressive, but Martinez’s strong leads and counters sapped his strength and Marmon ran completely out of gas (and verticality) in the third.  The result was a 3rd round TKO, per world-class referee Mark Nelson.
  • Dennis Galarza, a 21 year old whippet from Orlando, whipped Celiel Castillo in another four-rounder.  Castillo was much shorter than Galarza, and looked physically very soft.  Galarza knocked Castillo down in the first and maintained his dominance for the duration, finishing up with 40-35 scores across the board.  Galarza improved his record to 2-0 while Castillo chalked up a loss in his professional debut.
  • Erickson Lubin wasted no time in thrashing his opponent, Luis Santiago.  Lubin, with a wedge-shaped shock of hair atop his head, hammered his unfortunate opponent for one minute before taking him out at 1:01 of the first.  It was Santiago’s first loss after four wins to inaugurate his professional career.  Lubin advanced to 2-0 with 2 KOs, and more to come if he continues to perform as he did tonight.
  • Javontae Starks moved to 8-0 with 5 knockouts with a split decision win against Limberth Ponce, whose record is now 6-1 with 4 knockouts.  This match sometimes looked like a boxing match, other times a war.  Starks is a beautiful boxer with a strong right hand, while Ponce, in a pinch, would resort to brawling tactics.  The split result is an accurate reflection of the nature of the bout; one could have had either man winning.  The only result that couldn’t conscientiously be forwarded was a scoring draw, since Starks scored a knockdown with a big right-handed counter at the end of the second round.
  • Lightweight prospect Tony Lee improved to 9-1 with 3 knockouts by gutting out a punishing unanimous decision against Willshaun Boxley, now 6-9 with 4 kayos.  Lee is a disciplined and cautious boxer, while Boxley is a flamboyant boxer-puncher who started his career 5-0 and has been in freefall ever since.  Boxley hadn’t fought in nearly two years, and was fighting over ten pounds above his ideal weight, but he showed guts and determination in his bout against a man who held nearly every advantage – height, activity, management.  Boxley’s only advantage was power, but it wasn’t enough to make Lee pay.  Lee boxed well, and punished Boxley mercilessly with a hard and insistent jab.
  • In a sloppy bout campaigned by novices, Damien Hill improved to 2-3 while pinning Nate Richardson (now 1-1) with his first loss.  A fight like this one poses a challenge to the writer, because there is no real narrative to offer.  “Hill hits Richardson.  Now Richardson hits Hill.  Hill hits Richardson again.”  At this level of competition a jab might be no straighter than a hook, and a hook can pass for a straight.  Richardson possesses plenty of aggression and toughness, but those are insufficient virtues for a professional boxer.  Hill is significantly taller, and a more accurate puncher, and that made the difference.

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.

Raphael Butler’s View, and a Latin Euphemism for ‘Oops’

After talking to Joey Abell a couple of days ago and publishing a short article based on his comments, it seemed appropriate for me to give some virtual ink to Raphael Butler, as well

I spoke with The Silencer tonight about his feelings about the publicity that his December 4th fight with Joey Abell has brought, what he remembers (and doesn’t remember) about that night, and the possibility of a rematch.

Given a free rein to talk about whatever he wanted, Butler chose to lead with his feelings about his friend, Joey Abell.  “Well, reading some of the articles on the internet, it just doesn’t seem like Joey’s being honest about his side of the story.  And it’s also kind annoying me that he doesn’t seem to show any remorse for what happened.  I do feel like Joey heard the bell. I don’t think that Bobby Brunette heard the bell.  But Joey was trying to touch gloves when Bobby told us to fight, and I turned back to go to my corner – that’s when he hit me.”

“I do remember hearing the bell.  I do remember thinking that I was going to get a minute to clear my head.  The first knockdown was a good knockdown and I even remember thinking that maybe this was a good thing because now Joey would stand and fight instead of running.”

“The first knockdown was a legal knockdown,” Butler reinterated.  “He did knock me down fairly that time.  Then the bell rang, and there was a flash and I woke up in the locker room.  I don’t remember that I got up and walked around and that we hugged and I talked to the crowd.  The only thing I remember is waking up in the locker room and the doctor asking me a lot of questions.  Anything that happened after that bell I don’t remember.”

I asked Butler whether he was concerned about long-term damage from the trauma of the punch or the fall, and whether he had gone in for an examination after the fight.  “I don’t have any ill effects from the fight, I don’t have any headaches or anything.  I have some loss of memory, just that ten minute period. But other than that I feel perfectly fine.”

Despite his impression that Abell hasn’t shown adequate public contrition, Butler asked me to mention that Abell had sent him a text message “to tell me that he was sorry and trying to reassure me that he didn’t hear the bell.  He also promised me that he would take a rematch to settle the score.”  I asked Butler whether he would take that fight.  “I’m definitely interested in a rematch.  Minnesota wanted us to be rivals, now they’ve got it.”

Mea Culpa

Some local boxing fans have objected to my use of the expression “meal ticket” in a conversation with Star Tribune writer Abby Simons, a conversation that ended up serving as the basis for an article that she wrote.  The objectionable term came up when I tried to explain why Dan O’Connor was irate at the ending of the Butler-Abell fight – Simons quoted me thusly: “He had just watched his friend and meal ticket get knocked out cold, and that can only happen so many times in a career.” [italics added]  Some people feel that there’s something sinister or dishonorable about the idea of a manager profiting from the work of his fighter.  It’s also been explained to me at length by several people that neither O’Connor nor Butler’s other manager, Steve Munisteri, have ever taken any money from any of Butler’s purses.  As Butler himself explained, “Neither Dan nor Steve have taken any money from my purses, and Steve is paying my way through school now.  They would actually save money if they didn’t help me out.”

While not conceding that the phrase itself should be offensive, or that there would be anything inappropriate about a conventional relationship between fighter and manager(s), I do apologize to those who are offended and I would retract that word if it were possible.  I would hate for my choice of words to call into question the honor of Dan O’Connor.  Unfortunately don’t have the power to retract that word, nor did I realize when I spoke it that it would be published.

Joey Abell Has Answers, plus A Correction from the Fistic Mystic

This article began with a simple purpose: several people pointed out to me that it was Dan O’Connor who Joey Abell was protecting during the group tussle in the ring on Friday night, and not Ron Lyke.  It seemed proper to get a clarification, so I called Abell to see what he had to say.  Abell was as gracious and friendly as usual, and answered a few more questions at the same time.

Fistic Mystic:  Some people have told me that my initial report was wrong, and one of them in particular thought it was very important for me to clear this up!  Who was it that was underneath you, who you were protecting?

Joey Abell:  Yeah, that was  Dan O’Connor.  I was just trying to keep people off of him, so he wouldn’t get hurt.

FM:  Keep him from getting squished?

JA:  Yeah, that’s right.

FM:  Okay.  Now having fought Raphael once, for a round anyway, would you fight him again?

JA:  I would fight him again, any time.  Especially after that, that one round.

FM:  He did hit you with at least one good shot.  Did it bother you?  It looked like you shrugged it off…

JA:  I didn’t really even  notice it or acknowledge it.  Some people did tell me afterwards that I’d been hit pretty hard, but I don’t know.

FM:  The fight was originally called a disqualification before it was changed to a no-contest.  How did you feel about…

JA:  I felt the same way – it happened to me once before, in South Dakota, when I hit a guy who had one knee down…

FM:  I was at that fight

JA:  Yeah, and this was kind of the same thing.  It probably looked bad to half of the people who saw it.  But to the people who had my view it was legitimate.  This was the same.  Half of the people didn’t hear the bell.

FM:  Did you get paid?  Was there any talk of withholding any of your purse money?

JA:  I don’t know, I left early and I don’t exactly know.  But I know that there was some kind of issue going on there.  There was talk, but I’m not sure whether it had anything to do with the result of the fight.

FM:  I’ve heard that some people are saying you weren’t fully in the neutral corner following the knockdown.  Were you?

JA:  You know, when you knock someone down you’re pretty eager to go again.  I didn’t want to lose that advantage or that opportunity…but I got yelled at, so I took a step backwards, farther back than I would have been.  Yeah, I was in the neutral corner.

FM:  How soon would you fight again?

JA:  Today!

FM:  Do you have any plans?

JA:  Ah, no, I haven’t had my meeting yet.  We usually have a meeting after each fight to see what’s on the agenda.

The Fistic Mystic says:  I was wrong!  When Joey Abell arched his body over a gray-haired man in a satin jacket, that was Dan O’Connor, not the similarly attired Ron Lyke.

Vanda Turns His Eye to The Jungle Boy

Matt Vanda, ever eager to make a fight, is calling out Jungle Boy Zach Walters.

In a press release being distributed tonight, Vanda is quoted as below:

“I want Zach Walters.  Walters didn’t want to fight Phil Williams.  I stepped up and beat his rival.  It’s time for Zach and his trainer Chuck Horton to put up or shut up.  We got a date in January in Minneapolis and if he wants it he can come get it…If he wins [on December 4th], we can get it done.  My people will call his people before that.  Let’s see if they answer the phone.”

  • Vanda (42-9 with 22 wins by knockout), who usually fights as a junior middleweight or middleweight, is indeed coming off a surprising win against Phil “The Drill” Williams (11-2 with 10 knockouts), who has fought most of his professional bouts as a light heavyweight.
  • Zach Walters (24-4 with 19 kayos), who has contested most of his bouts at light heavyweight, is scheduled to meet 23-7 Larry Sharp of Pine Falls MB in a super middleweight bout on December 4th at Target Center.

Upcoming Boxing Event: Abell -vs- Butler on December 4


Target Center

Target Center

Still basking in the afterglow from Caleb Truax and Mohammed Kayongo’s wins Friday night in Saint Paul, we look forward to the next big boxing event in Minnesota.  What to watch for:

  • Joey Abell and Raphael Butler, both Minnesota kids whose careers have gone off track, meet for the Minnesota heavyweight title about a year and a half too late.  The winner will get a big career boost, while the loser will continue to be an obscure, second-tier pro heavyweight.
  • Zach Walters searches for redemption for his recent losses.  Some fans had hoped for a revenge bout with Shawn Hammack, but instead of a revenge bout he gets a match with a man (Sharpe) who beat a man (Rumbolz) who beat the man (Hammack) who beat Walters back in August of 2008.
  • Travis “Freight Train” Walker takes a bout with the “Russian Giant” – a 6-1 big dude who has yet to win a bout against an opponent with a win.  Read that again: not an opponent with a winning record, but an opponent who had ever won a fight at the time of their meeting.
  • Ronnie Peterson gets a rematch with the man, Tomi Archambault, who was briefly given credit for beating him, before the result of that bout was nullified and the bout ruled a no-contest.  As some have said, Peterson has something to prove – but no less does Archambault, who had to be upset and embarrassed by the erasure of that win.
  • Gary Eyer and Levi Cortes meet in a curious match of unbeaten local boys.  Anyone who has seen Eyer fight knows that he is fast, strong, and efficient.  Has anyone seen Cortes fight?  I haven’t.
  • Dave Peterson is matched with a serviceable opponent in Silas Ortley.  Peterson is coming off a tough, close win against previously undefeated Corey Rodriguez, so he’s earned an easier match.  It’s up to “the Prodigy” to make sure that he doesn’t take the night off, because Ortley has proved that he has a good heart and a good chin, despite his lackluster (4-7) record.
  • A matchup of young men looking for their first wins: Saverino Garcia, who is pretty good, takes on Allante Davis, who just isn’t that good.
  • Tony Lee – a very good amateur – turns pro against dangerous Hector Orozco, whose unimpressive record doesn’t give an accurate idea of his potential.

Joey Abell (25-4 with 24 kayos) -vs- Raphael Butler (35-8 with 28 kayos), heavyweights, scheduled for 10 rounds, for the Minnesota state heavyweight title

Zach Walters (24-4 with 19 kayos) -vs- Larry Sharpe (23-7 with 11 kayos), light heavyweights, scheduled for 8 rounds

Travis Walker (33-3 with 28 kayos) -vs- Yevgeniy Shishporenok (6-1 with 5 kayos), heavyweights, scheduled for 6 rounds

Ronnie Peterson (3-0 with 3 kayos) -vs- Tomi Archambault (0-1), super featherweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Gary Eyer (6-0-1 with 5 kayos) -vs- Levi Cortes (3-0 with 2 kayos), welterweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Dave Peterson (11-0 with 6 kayos) -vs- Silas Ortley (4-7 with 3 kayos), light middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Saverino Garcia, (0-0-1) -vs- Allante Davis (0-3), light middleweights, scheduled for 4 rounds

Tony Lee (debut) -vs- Hector Orozco (1-3 with no kayos), weight unknown, scheduled for 4 rounds