The CBZ Newswire

No Easy Fights at Hitz Boxing Fight Night at the Horseshoe Casino

by on May.26, 2012, under Boxing News, Guest Columnists

Fres Oquendo Stays Sharp in Hard-Fought Victory, Up and Coming Boxers Fight Hard for Their “0’s”

Fres Oquendo (R) closes on Joey Abell in the Main Event

Fres Oquendo (R) closes on Joey Abell in the Main Event

Report by Kerstin Broockmann

Photos by Scott Dray

HAMMOND, IN, May 25, 2012 — Chicago’s Fres Oquendo (219.5 lbs., now 34-7, 22 KO’s) was back in action at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana this evening after more than a year off and suffering a series of heartbreaking and controversial losses in his last attempts to get back into the title race. If Oquendo was hoping to prove he is still a contender, he did so against the game and dangerous Joey Abell (240 lbs., 28-6, 27 KO’s) from Coon Rapids, MI. Oquendo has lost some of his speed, but his smarts took over when he found himself in trouble against the hard-punching but less skilled southpaw Abell. Nevertheless, Abell did not give him a moment’s rest as long as the bout lasted. The two were fighting for the WBA Fedelatin Heavyweight Title, so Oquendo now has some hardware to offer in his quest for a major fight.

The other action of the evening featured a series of pitched battles between up-and-comers and would-be spoilers. Nick Ramirez was unimpressive  in his professional debut. Meegal Harper struggled to keep his undefeated record intact against the crafty veteran Guy Packer. Donatas Bondorovas stayed calm under heavy fire before launching his own brutal counter-attack against Ramon Valenzuela Jr. David Martin III found a surprisingly durable opponent in Tim Washington. Elijah McCall had a tough time with the larger and surprisingly active Stan Allen. Phillip Triantfillo struggled to launch a consistent offense against the light-punching but busier Emerson Chasing Bear. Mike Jimenez took some heavy shots against granite-chinned Adrian Hermann before finally wearing him down enough to finish. If the hometown fighters were looking for easy wins, they did not get their wishes. There were no opponents on this card; everyone lacing on the gloves came to fight.

Fres Oquendo (L) looks for an opening

Fres Oquendo (L) looks for an opening

Fres Oquendo took charge of the action from the opening bell in the Main Event of the evening. Fighting Joey Abell for the WBA Fedelatin Heavyweight Title, the 39-year-old Oquendo gave up over 20 pounds to the surprisingly mobile southpaw. Using his powerful and speedy jab, Oquendo caused a swelling under Abell’s eye early in the round. Abell was able to find some success in solid counters, throwing his left cross or dropping a powerful right hook on Oquendo when Oquendo lunged inside on the attack. Oquendo clearly won the round with his higher work and connect rates.

Joey Abell tries to get a bead on Oquendo

Joey Abell tries to get a bead on Oquendo

Joey Abell took a page from his opponent’s playbook in the second, opening the stanza behind his own jab. While not as effective as Oquendo’s, Abell managed to find his range for effective combinations. Working his way into range, Abell threw solid uppercuts and hooks before getting outside with straight punches. Oquendo used his head movement to avoid and counter many of these assaults, eventually turning the tide and reestablishing his jab in the second half of the round, but Abell got some significant shots into the mix, including a straight left to the body that drove Oquendo back into the ropes though Abell could not capitalize. It was a close round, with Oquendo seemingly struggling some with Abell’s size and strength, though Oquendo may have managed to take the advantage with his work at the bottom of the round.

Oquendo fends off an attack from Abell

Oquendo fends off an attack from Abell

Looking to repeat his success of the second round, Abell threw a triple jab that sent Oquendo backpedalling to avoid the follow-up. Shortly thereafter, Oquendo returned the favor, only to be countered by a left from Abell. Another jab from Oquendo was countered by a solid uppercut from Abell as Oquendo just overreached. The action went back and forth through the first half of the round. Abell landed a few more stinging jabs before Oquendo seemed to decide that enough was enough, sending Abell stumbling to the ropes with a left hook-right uppercut combination. Though Oquendo lost his footing while pursuing, he continued the volley, causing referee Curt Spivey to intervene and give Abell an eight count, which he beat easily just before the bell. Oquendo decisively won the third round.

Oquendo (R) forces Abell to the ropes in Round 3

Oquendo (R) forces Abell to the ropes in Round 3

Oquendo (L) continues his attack in the 4th

Oquendo (L) continues his attack in the 4th

Oquendo looked to build on his success in the fourth round and did so in dominating fashion. Two left-right straight punch combinations from the veteran seemed to rock Abell early in the round, though he clinched to stay in the action and was able to engage in some exciting exchanges. A jab from Oquendo bloodied Abell’s nose and it looked like Abell was wearing down as he once again found himself on the ropes, holding frequently to survive the round.

Abell (R) proves that he is still in the fight

Abell (R) proves that he is still in the fight

Abell looked to turn the tide in the fifth, coming back behind his longer jab, and throwing effective combinations, though Oquendo was effective in staying behind his own jab. Most of the round went back and forth, with Abell not able to build on his early assault, though he was throwing some effective single lefts. Oquendo was outworking Abell with multiple jabs and follow-ups when he created openings. Both boxers seemed to be tiring and holding to avoid punishment. Referee Curt Spivey seemed determined to keep the boxers apart and was probably too active in breaking them up rather than letting them find their own way back into boxing range. A right hook from Abell near the end of the round seemed to rock Oquendo, but there was no time to see if he could have made more of it. Another close round that probably went to Oquendo.

Oquendo (R) tries to get through Abell's guard

Oquendo (R) tries to get through Abell's guard

After the back and forth of the fifth round, Oquendo went on the offense early in the sixth and never let up the pressure. A solid right rocked Abell early in the round and Oquendo’s jabs opened a cut under Abell’s right eye. By mid-round, Abell’s nose was also bleeding, though he managed to continue to punch, even landing a solid, wide Hail Mary left overhand.  A series of shots in the last third sent Abell careening face-first into the ropes, where Oquendo slipped in an uppercut from behind his back, actually connecting with Abell’s chin. Oquendo continued to dominate, landing another punishing right. A flurry from Abell near the end of the round was not nearly enough to turn the tide, but did put Oquendo on notice that he had not won yet.

Oquendo (L) and Abell stay active

Oquendo (L) and Abell stay active

Abell tried to continue his late success in the sixth round in the seventh, which was a back and forth brawl. Oquendo landed the cleaner shots in the exchanges, but Abell did not back down from the engagements. Though looking the worse for wear, Abell was active throughout the round, taking all the punishment that Oquendo could mete out and not backing down.

Oquendo (R) puts the pressure on Abell

Oquendo (R) puts the pressure on Abell

The eighth round saw more of the same, though Oquendo was finding more success as Abell was clearly tiring. The first few punches from Oquendo started the blood flowing again from Abell’s under-the-eye cut and nose. Recovering somewhat from the early onslaught (and the loss of his boxing trunks, which needed to be taped up as the round passed the midway mark), Abell managed to land some hurtful body shots and hooks as Oquendo closed in. The last part of the eighth featured some crowd-pleasing exchanges, though there was enough holding to make referee Spivey engage too much in the action as well.

Abell reflects on the outcome

Abell reflects on the outcome

Oquendo dominated the first part of the ninth round, working behind his jab to launch combinations that made it hard for Abell to effectively return fire, though he continued to do so. In a last hurrah, Abell threw a hard combination to drive Oquendo onto the ropes, but Oquendo quickly turned the tables, backing Abell up with a powerful right that rocked the bigger man. With Abell on the ropes, Oquendo threw a volley of shots at close quarters, making it impossible for Abell to escape. Though Abell did not look in immediate danger, referee Spivey stepped in and waved off the bout at 1:53 of the round, in what appeared to be a premature stoppage, not just to ringside observers but to Abell himself.

Team Oquendo celebrates his victory

Team Oquendo celebrates his victory

Though it remains to be seen whether Oquendo has enough left to face major title contenders, he certainly pulled off a good win against the larger, younger and very determined Joey Abell. He weathered a few storms and demonstrated superior ring generalship in wearing down his tough, hard-punching opponent.

Larenzo Wilson (L) sets the pace against Nick Ramirez

Larenzo Wilson (L) sets the pace against Nick Ramirez

Rockford, IL Welterweight Nick Ramirez (144.5 lbs.) kicked off the evening in his professional  debut against Indianapolis, IN, based Larenzo Wilson (146.5 lbs, 2-1-1). Ramirez seemed tentative at the top of the stanza, as southpaw Wilson tried to find his range with wide lefts. Ramirez entered the fight with a straight left-right combination, but spent much of the round trying to establish his range. Larenzo showed his greater experience, throwing combinations and keeping Ramirez at the end of his punches. Ramirez began to relax midway through the round and landed some effective left hooks and rights to the body. A final assault from Wilson, driving Ramirez to the ropes at the sound of the bell, ensured his victory in round one.

Wilson tries to keep Ramirez (R) at the end of his punches

Wilson tries to keep Ramirez (R) at the end of his punches

Ramirez seemed more comfortable in round two, using his jab to approach Wilson, a strategy that would have served him well throughout the bout. Wilson effectively countered with his right hook, but often found himself driven back by the physical Ramirez, who abandoned his reach advantage in favor of his inside game rather than using his reach. Though the action still seesawed, Ramirez took this round with punishing body shots that left Wilson tired and unable to effectively set up his own shots. The third round took a similar path, with Wilson managing to stay in the action, but Ramirez taking advantage of Wilson’s tendency to back straight into the ropes by continuing to throw heavy shots to the body and hooks inside.

Wilson (R) attacks the body of Ramirez

Wilson (R) attacks the body of Ramirez

Determined to turn the tables, Wilson dominated the most of the fourth round, staying at boxing range and peppering Ramirez with shots to head and body, while demonstrating lateral footwork that had been absent in previous rounds. Ramirez seemed tired and unable to launch his own offense, though he surged at the end of the round, not enough in this reporter’s opinion to take the round. One judge saw the outcome differently, giving Ramirez a 39-37 advantage, but he was overruled by the other two judges who called the bout even at 38-38, for a frustrating but fair Majority Draw.

Guy Packer (L) does his best to frustrate Meegal Harper

Guy Packer (L) does his best to frustrate Meegal Harper

In the second bout of the evening, Middleweight Meegal Harper (156.5 lbs.) of Chicago Heights faced the durable and sly Guy Packer (160 lbs. 4-37-2) from Battle Creek, MI, whose ring experience and unconcern for boxing conventions frustrated the undefeated Harper for much of three rounds in a bout scheduled for four.

Harper (L) fails to stay out of range of Parker's left fist

Harper (L) fails to stay out of range of Parker's left fist

The first round went to the more active Harper, who nevertheless found himself in deep water on several occasions as Packer countered with powerful hooks to the head and body.  Harper landed more punches, but never really found an effective way to engage with the veteran who kept the fight at uncomfortably close quarters. The second round found Packer on the offense. Harper tried his best to throw from the outside, but Packer kept closing with combinations, frustrating Harper and allowing him to dominate the first part of the round. Harper managed to work his way into the fight a third of the way into the round, but Packer kept it close. Both boxers did their share of damage.

Packer takes a knee in the third round

Packer takes a knee in the third round

Harper came out determined to turn the tide in the third round, keeping Packer at the end of his reach and keeping a continuous volley of punches flying, which drove Packer to the ropes. Packer appeared to fall back into the ropes at one point, out on his feet. After Harper redoubled his assault, Packer took a knee to avoid further punishment. Reluctantly returning to the fray, Packer again found himself eating leather and once again took a knee. This time, the referee gave him his wish and ended the punishment at 2:47. Meegal Harper remains undefeated with 6 wins, all coming by way of knockout.

Meegal Harper (L) relentlessly pursues Packer

Meegal Harper (L) relentlessly pursues Packer

Ramon Valenzuela (R) on the attack against Donatas Bondorovas

Ramon Valenzuela (R) on the attack against Donatas Bondorovas

The next bout of the evening, scheduled for six rounds in the Middleweight division, featured two Chicago fan favorites, with Ramon Valenzuela (159 lbs.) putting his undefeated record on the line against the more experienced Lithuanian boxer Donatas Bondorovas (160 lbs.). In the first round, Valenzuela took Bondorovas into deep water, leveraging his body weight to penetrate Bondorovas’s tight guard with well-placed right crosses and thudding hooks to the body. Bondorovas seemed too respectful throughout the round, though he unleashed some solid hooks over Valenzuela’s low hands.

Ramon Valenzuela (L) tries to evade the final attack from Bondorovas (R)

Ramon Valenzuela (L) tries to evade the final attack from Bondorovas (R)

The second round found Bondorovas more active and mixing shots well, though initially Valenzuela still maintained a higher workrate. The round went back and forth, with Bondorovas finding a home for his dangerous right hand. Ultimately, it was a left hook that first sent Valenzuela to the canvas. Though he beat the count, Bondorovas immediately went back on the attack, throwing a series of right hands that drove the hapless Valenzuela to the ropes where he could not evade the punches that put him down for the count in his first defeat. Bondorovas improves to 15-3-1, with 4 KO’s, while Valenzuela’s valiant effort was not enough to allow him to hang onto his “0” as he fell to 7-1 (1 KO) in heartbreaking fashion.

Tim Washington (L) presents a big challenge for David Martin III

Tim Washington (L) presents a big challenge for David Martin III

In a four-round heavyweight battle, Hobart, Indiana’s undefeated David Martin III (224 lbs.) found himself squaring off against a stoic, durable and much larger Tim Washington (275 lbs.) of Toledo, Ohio. Washington appeared to bring little experience but a game attitude into the fray. Though not putting his considerable weight behind his punches, he kept throwing, outpunching the smaller, left-handed Martin, who could not figure out how to put together an effective offense in the first round.

Martin III (L) has Washington on his heels

Martin III (L) has Washington on his heels

Martin started to throw more effectively in the second round, clearly carrying his power to Washington, whose size nevertheless allowed him to avoid punishment while he continued to outpunch his foe. Martin started going to the body in the third round, which started to make an impact on Washington for the first time in the bout. A series of straight lefts drove Washington to the ropes early on, but he came back. Both boxers started to slow midway through the round, though they continued to throw, Martin using body shots to set up heavy rights, while Washington effectively used hooks and left uppercuts to counter, though he was unable to gain enough traction to repeat his success in the first two rounds.

Referee Kurt Spivey steps in to save Washington (far right) whether he wants it or not

Referee Kurt Spivey steps in to save Washington (far right) whether he wants it or not

Martin, knowing that he needed the round to take the win, came out looking to make an impression in the fourth, and he did, driving Washington back to a neutral corner with a series of left crosses, where he began to unleash an onslaught as Referee Kurt Spivey stepped in to save Washington, who did not seem in need of saving at that point. Though he certainly was not in the best position, Washington was justified in futilely arguing the call. Martin won his 6th bout with his 5th KO, keeping his perfect record intact, while Washington falls to 0-2 despite his efforts in the first rounds.

Elijah McCall (L) tries to fend off Stan Allen

Elijah McCall (L) tries to fend off Stan Allen

In the fifth bout of the evening, Elijah McCall (9-1-1, 8 KO’s, 221 lbs.) of Bassett, VA, heeded trainer Nate Jones’s instructions to overcome the game Stan Allen (5-4-3 KO’s, 238 lbs.) of Gary, IN in a six-round heavyweight bout. The son of legendary Oliver McCall used effective movement and superior hand speed to counter the powerful and determined assaults from Stan Allen, who methodically attacked. McCall was successful when working behind his jab and following up inside with hooks and body shots, but Allen used his uppercut and covered well to counter and stay outside for much of the round. McCall won the first with higher punch output, but seemed to encounter more resistance than he anticipated.

Elijah McCall (L) charges in behind a jab

Elijah McCall (L) charges in behind a jab

Rounds two and three featured exciting exchanges, with McCall only managing to maintain a slight edge. Both boxers used their uppercuts effectively on the inside. McCall switched stance occasionally with mixed results, but could not put together a dominant performance against Allen, who countered effectively off the ropes. A cross from McCall that seemed to rock Allen only made him more determined, and Allen took the final third of the third round, seeming to get stronger as McCall seemed to fade.

Stan Allen (R) stays on top of McCall

Stan Allen (R) stays on top of McCall

Seemingly energized by his success at the end of the third round, Allen dominated the fourth round, driving McCall to the ropes on several occasions and maintaining control of the center of the ring. McCall seemed tired and lost his mouthguard on several occasions. On the second, the referee allowed Allen to continue attacking McCall who tried vainly to defend against an onslaught that once again found him with his back to ropes until the referee stepped in an allowed him to retrieve his mouthguard. The round ended with McCall unable to regain his advantage.

Allen (R) on the offensive as McCall looks for his chance

Allen (R) on the offensive as McCall looks for his chance

Allen came out confident in the fifth, though McCall did a better job keeping him at bay with his jab. As the round progress, Allen again used his size to dominate McCall, stifling his jab and landing several big uppercuts in addition to powerful right hooks. McCall seemed to be tiring fast, though still putting together some good combinations that left their mark, though Allen did not let them faze him as he took another round from the favorite.

McCall (L) surprises McCall and a number of observers

McCall (L) surprises McCall and a number of observers

Looking for the upset in the final round, Allen came out strong. McCall was digging deep, determined not to let Allen dominate another round. McCall’s speed was the deciding factor as he used short inside combinations, popping rapid but powerful flurries at Allen as Allen looked for the knockout. McCall’s powerful right cross started to find a home as Allen tired. As Allen surged forward he ran into a right and did not even see the left hook that sent him to canvas. He struggled desperately up, determined to continue, but his feet betrayed him and the referee had no choice but to call a halt to the action at 2:26 of the final round, ending Allen’s upset attempt. Though ultimately victorious in an impressive comeback, McCall took too much punishment against a less skilled opponent.

Former Olympian and now coach Nate Jones (R) helps McCall celebrate his hard-fought victory

Former Olympian and now coach Nate Jones (R) helps McCall celebrate his hard-fought victory

Taking the ring after the main event, Chesterton, Indiana’s Phillip Triantafillo, coming off a close decision win in his  last bout, looked for a third win against Rapid City, SD-based Emerson Chasing Bear, coming in with four victories in nine fights.

Phillip Triantafillo (L) dominates the first round over Emerson Chasing Bear

Phillip Triantafillo (L) dominates the first round over Emerson Chasing Bear

Taller but lighter than his hometown opponent, Chasing Bear seemed unwilling to mix it up with the more powerful Triantafillo, who lunged in with power shots in the first round. Mostly covering, Chasing Bear managed to land some good uppercuts against the rough and physical Triantafillo, who nevertheless outworked the tentative South Dakaotan.

Emerson Chasing Bear (L) works from the outside against Triantafillo

Emerson Chasing Bear (L) works from the outside against Triantafillo

Determined to box in the second round, Chasing Bear outpunched Triantafillo with combinations that kept Triantafillo at bay. The pattern continued in the third round, with Chasing Bear fighting on the move, but outworking Triantafillo, who was not throwing enough punches to take the round, though he landed the more powerful blows.

Chasing Bear (R) keeps Triantafillo from closing

Chasing Bear (R) keeps Triantafillo from closing

Triantafillo came out with more speed and determination in the fourth and final round, determined to turn the tables with power shots. Chasing Bear minimized damage by holding when Triantafillo got close and mostly contenting himself with picking away from the outside with jabs, landing hooks and uppercuts whenever Triantafillo made a move to come closer. Triantafillo seemed content to defend most of the round, not putting together an offense until launching an effective final assault as the round was drawing to a close. It was not enough to overcome Chasing Bear’s advantage on the scorecards, which read 39-37 across the board for the Emerson Chasing Bear, moving his record to 5-3-2 (3 KO’s), while Triantafillo suffered his first professional defeat, and is now 2-1 (1 KO).

Adrian Hermann (L) brings the fight to Mike Jimenez

Adrian Hermann (L) brings the fight to Mike Jimenez

The last bout of the evening featured the battle of the Hollywood’s in a super middleweight contest scheduled for six rounds. Chicagoan “Hollywood” Mike Jimenez (7-0, 4 KO’s, 168.5 lbs.) faced down Adrian “Hollywood” Hermann (3-4-1, 1 KO, 176 lbs.) from Everett, WA. Though Hermann was determined and durable, he could not stand up to Jimenez’s superior boxing skills.

Hermann (L) under assault by Mike Jimenez

Hermann (L) under assault by Mike Jimenez

Over two and a half rounds, Hermann walked through punches that had put down other boxers, showing off some good power of his own in combinations to the body and head of Jimenez. By the end of the second round, with Hermann’s face sporting a swelling under his left eye and a bloody and possibly broken nose, the conclusion began to seem assured. Despite the punishment he had taken, Hermann seemed determined to stay in the fight and continued to land his own heavy shots as he waded straight through Jimenez’s arsenal. Eventually, Jimenez’s blows began to take effect and Hermann took a knee to avoid another volley. Though apparently trying to decide whether to continue, Hermann did not seem too upset when his corner threw in the towel at 2:15 of the third round.

Hermann's corner makes the final decision after Hermann takes a knee to avoid the onslaught

Hermann's corner makes the final decision after Hermann takes a knee to avoid the onslaught

Jimenez took more shots than he needed to en route to the knockout, preferring to mix it up with the brawler from Washington, rather than relying on his superior defensive skills. Ultimately, his powerful offensive combinations once again took the day and he rightfully claimed the title of “The Real Hollywood.” Though not unmarked by the battle, Jimenez clearly looked like the winner at the end.

Once again, Hitz Boxing presented a crowd-pleasing evening of well-matched bouts, with no boxer, no matter their experience level, finding themselves with a challenge on their hands.

Fres Oquendo shows off the WBA Fedelatin Heavyweight Title belt as he thanks his fans

Fres Oquendo shows off the WBA Fedelatin Heavyweight Title belt as he thanks his fans

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