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Fres Oquendo Toughs Out Victory at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN to Retain WBA Fedelatin Title and Add New Hardware

by on Jun.09, 2013, under Boxing News, Guest Columnists

Fres Oquendo (L) launches a right en route to victory against Derric Rossy

Fres Oquendo (L) launches a right en route to victory against Derric Rossy

Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez Overcomes Hard Charging Opponent while Frankie Scalise Scores Explosive KO Win

Report by Kerstin Broockmann

Photos by Scott Dray

HAMMOND, IN, June 8, 2013 — Fres Oquendo did not make good on his prediction of ending fellow-Puerto Rican Heavyweight Derric Rossy’s evening early in the Main Event of Fight Night at the Horseshoe, presented by Bobby Hitz June 8 at The Venue at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. Though his performance was enough for him to hang onto his WBA Fedelatin as well as winning the NABA and WBC Silver Heavyweight Championships, he was not able to decisively impose his will on the younger Rossy through ten rounds. Hitz gave his fighters the chance to shine on the undercard, and they did, making for plenty of early-round knockouts. A few of the hired opponents did not recognize their roles, taking the house fighters the distance in entertaining scraps while others hung on longer than anyone could have predicted before tasting the canvas.

Sukhrab Shidaev (3-0, 2 KOs, 152.5 lbs.) of Grozny, Russia dominated Anthony Willis of Battle Creek, Michigan (1-3-1, 150.5 lbs.) at a catchweight of 152 pounds in the opening round. A powerful left hook from Shidaev began the bout. Though Willis demonstrated some power of his own, it was Shidaev who set the pace, stalking the American and mixing up punches to the head and body (with an occasional looping right to the back of Willis’s head). Shidaev timed Willis throughout the round and withstood Willis’s offense with an airtight defense. Shidaev’s left hooks to the body and head, combined with his wide but convincing right, were clearly taking their toll and Shidaev nearly ended the fight with another left hook to the head at the bell.

Sukhrab Shidaev (L) eyes an opening against Anthony Willis

Sukhrab Shidaev (L) eyes an opening against Anthony Willis

Shidaev’s left hook was the first to land in the second round as well. Willis clinched as Shidaev found a home for his powerful right and looked to be in trouble almost from the outset. A straight left-right combo from Shidaev rocked Willis again, signaling the beginning of the end. Shidaev kept on Willis, landing two chopping rights in a row, causing referee Kurt Spivey to jump in and call the fight at 1:22 of the round.

Johnny "Wite Boi" Determan Celebrates his Victory

Johnny “Wite Boi” Determan Celebrates his Victory

Johnny “Wite Boi” Determan (7-0, 5 KOs, 123 lbs.) faced Ryan Raglin (1-6, 1 KO, 124 lbs.) in the second bout of the night. Determan’s rapid punches seemed to command a lot of respect from Raglin who was tentative about launching his own offense. A combination of left hooks to the body and head of Raglin dropped him midway through the round, though it seemed that the body shot was the culprit in the knockdown. Determan wasted no time in going on the attack again when referee Spivey restarted the action, dropping Raglin with a single left hook to the head at 1:50 of the first for the KO victory.

Former Chicago Golden Gloves Champion Nick Asberry (2-0, 2 KOs, 240 lbs.), hailing from Waukegan, IL, got right to work against Tim “Fat Boy” Dunn of Manitowoc, WI (0-2, 282.5 lbs.), pumping a stiff jab that did not seem to faze the much larger Dunn. When Dunn chose to punch, he demonstrated some surprising speed for a large man, though leaving himself open to counters from the taller and longer Asberry. A right from Asberry finally seemed to make an impression and bloodied his opponent’s nose. A powerful left hook near the end of the round seemed to rock Dunn, and Asberry followed up with a combination including another hook that caused more blood to flow. Though Dunn stayed stalwart, Asberry controlled the round with his varied and sharper offense.

Nick Asberry (R) dismantles Tim Dunn

Nick Asberry (R) dismantles Tim Dunn

An attack from Dunn in the second round met with a powerful counter-hook from Asberry and several rights started Dunn’s nose bleeding again, beginning a pattern that would continue through what remained of the fight. Though Dunn tried to get busier, Asberry picked him apart with his accurate and solid punches. He eventually broke Dunn’s nose with a crushing right, causing it to bleed profusely, and the fight was stopped at 1:40 when Dunn could not continue.

Chad McKinney (L) pursues Ricky Smith

Chad McKinney (L) pursues Ricky Smith

Chad McKinney of Chicago, IL (153 lbs.) was looking for his first win against another hungry, winless fighter in Ricky “The Chosen One” Smith of Green Bay, WI (155 lbs.) at Super Welterweight. In the first well-matched fight of the evening, Smith got off to the stronger start, avoiding McKinney’s punches while launching the busier offense, though he seemed to tire somewhat by the end of the round.

Smith (L) gets through McKinney's guard

Smith (L) gets through McKinney’s guard

In the second round, McKinney did a better job of closing the distance to land his own punches. Though Smith seemed to fade with every punch, and often kept his hands at his waist, McKinney did not take advantage of enough of these opportunities, which gave Smith the chance to land the cleaner and more powerful punches. The tide seeemed to turn near the end of the round, when McKinney came after Smith with a sloppy but effective combination.

Smith (R) sidesteps a charging McKinney

Smith (R) sidesteps a charging McKinney

In the third, McKinney seemed determined to stay in the pocket rather than lunging for punches, but Smith was the first to benefit from this strategy. McKinney showed a stronger defense in this round, though he still had trouble effectively getting at Smith, who brought his own awkward but capable defense to the table. In the second half of the round, McKinney landed some solid uppercuts, but a straight right from Smith bloodied his nose.

McKinney (L) tries to exploit an opening

McKinney (L) tries to exploit an opening

The first three rounds were close, but Smith seemed to be on his way to his first victory. McKinney’s nose seemed to be bothering him in the fourth and final round, but he continued to pursue Smith, who circled and avoided most punches while landing some solid two-punch combinations. By this round, neither fighter had enough gas in the tank to put together longer combinations, but Smith again narrowly out-landed McKinney. Though it was a competitive fight throughout, Ricky Smith took the victory, with one judge ruling it a 38-38 draw, while both of the other judges gave it to Smith as a shut-out at 40-36. Smith improves to 1-1, while McKinney will have to look for his first win elsewhere, falling to 0-2.

Roy Navarro (R) slips a jab through Clifford McPherson's guard

Roy Navarro (R) slips a jab through Clifford McPherson’s guard

Roy Navarro (2-0, 1 KO, 145 lbs.), also of Chicago, looked to improve against durable opponent Clifford “The Magician” McPherson of Cleveland, Ohio (2-14-1, 1 KO, 153 lbs. [Note: McPherson was given an opportunity to lose weight after coming in heavy and came down to 148 by fight night]). McPherson started strong behind multiple jabs, while Navarro seemed to look for a strategy. McPherson threw some heavy body shots, causing Navarro to tighten up his defense, though he threw a powerful hook to the body of his own. Through most of the round, McPherson was in control, though Navarro started coming on near the end, to the delight of his very vocal fans.

McPherson (L) counter-jabs

McPherson (L) counter-jabs

McPherson looked to build on his first-round lead in the second, after a false start. Trying to work from the outside, McPherson countered when Navarro came in. Navarro seemed to have trouble hitting his stride, though he landed the stronger combinations in the final minute of the round. Though McPherson again controlled most of the round, Navarro’s later efforts may have made an impression on the judges.

Navarro (L) attacks

Navarro (L) attacks

In the thirst round, Navarro came out with more confidence and looked to walk down McPherson, who let him land too many punches before retreating into a defensive shell. Navarro’s superior conditioning came into play in this round as well, as McPherson was not nearly as busy, even after regaining his distance. Several hard rights from Navarro looked like they might end the battle, but McPherson escaped and proved he still had some fight left by landing some combinations of his own. Though McPherson held on, Navarro turned in a commanding performance in the third round.

Navarro (L) pins McPherson with body shots

Navarro (L) pins McPherson with body shots

Navarro looked to pick up where he left off in the third and landed some solid shots, though McPherson tried to avoid him by staying on the move and throwing some looping rights as Navarro closed in. The opening third of the round went to McPherson, though he was clearly tiring. Fortunately for him, so was Navarro, who could not effectively close the fight despite some hard punching of his own when he found his range. It was a tough round to call as Navarro again took charge, only to have McPherson surge in the final moments. Though it looked like “The Magician” may have pulled it off, the scorecards read 38-38 (also this writer’s call) once, 39-37 once, and 40-36 once, to give Navarro his second victory, by Majority Decision, in a competitive bout against an experienced opponent.

Fidel Navarrete (R) looks for his chance to finish Adam Alvarez

Fidel Navarrete (R) looks for his chance to finish Adam Alvarez

Chicago-based, Michoacan, Mexico-born Fidel Navarrete (128.5 lbs.), coming off a disappointing draw in his debut, looked to improve his boxing fortune against Adam Alvarez (0-4, 130 lbs.) of Lansing, MI in a catchweight fight at 128 pounds. Alvarez threw probing punches that did not find their mark at the start. Navarrete threw a quick combination and followed up as Alvarez broke away with a right hook that dropped Alvarez, who was up again shortly after. Navarrete again went on the attack, dropping Alvarez with a left hook, a feat which he repeated moments later. Both times Alvarez got up, the second time launching an attack of his own, only to go down again (not sure from what this time). Alvarez went down one last time in the round, from another left hook that landed just before the bell signaling the end of the round. Not surprisingly, Alvarez did not return for another round, giving Navarrete his first victory and his first TKO. Navarrete improves to 1-0-1, 1 KO.

Fres Oquendo (L) neutralizes an attack by Derric Rossy

Fres Oquendo (L) neutralizes an attack by Derric Rossy

In the main event, Chicago veteran “Fast” Fres Oquendo (36-7, 23 KOs, ) put his WBA Fedelatin Heavyweight Title on the line, as well as the chance to win the vacant NABA and WBC Silver Championships, against Derric “El Leon” Rossy (28-7, 14 KOs) of Medford, NY. The first round did not have a clear winner, as both fighters took a measured approach, with Rossy arguably busier, while Oquendo threw single punches and held when Rossy tried to close. At the opening of the second, Oquendo tried to use his jab, which Rossy mostly slipped while contenting himself with hard but single rights and multiple body shots when Oquendo shouldered him to the ropes. Several hard rights from Oquendo made an impression near the end of another indecisive round. Rossy got busier in the third, throwing multiple jabs and following up with rights, while he showed some good movement in avoiding Oquendo’s straight counters. Oquendo got more aggressive as the round went on, lunging in with hooks, and at one point opening a cut above Rossy’s right eye with a headbutt. Oquendo may have taken this round.

Oquendo (L) and Rossy tangle as Oquendo counters

Oquendo (L) and Rossy tangle as Oquendo counters

The pace slowed again in the fourth. Rossy tried to punch, while Oquendo looked to neutralize him by clinching and closing, while looking for counters, though a right cross in the final ten seconds from Oquendo was perhaps the first meaningful punch of the round. The fifth round initially looked like it might be a boxing match, with both fighters exchanging jabs. A left hook from Oquendo found its mark and there were a few exchanges, most of which Oquendo took, before he began clinching again. Another headbutt caused less damage than the first but seemed to anger Rossy, who drove Oquendo briefly to the ropes with a volley of punches. Oquendo came back and once more bulled Rossy into a corner, drawing the ire of referee Spivey. In the sixth, Spivey redoubled his efforts to keep Oquendo from clinching, batting his gloves down whenever he tried to do so. Rossy benefitted a little from this, having room to throw a few more combinations. The final seconds saw a good exchange, with a powerful left hook from Oquendo.

Oquendo (L) lands a hook

Oquendo (L) lands a hook

By the seventh round, neither fighter had managed to make a significant statement, though the pro-Oquendo crowd acted as though Oquendo had.  Oquendo was proving to be a master of distance, winning by neutralizing Rossy’s advances and throwing a few telling punches. He landed a crushing right as Rossy backed away from a clinch and pretty much stayed on top of Rossy for the rest of the round to take it.

Rossy (R) looks for the big punch

Rossy (R) looks for the big punch

Going into the final three rounds, it was contingent upon Rossy to land the knockout punch if he was going to take the fight from the hometown favorite. Rossy seemed to come out with a determination to do so in the eighth. He had some success, landing solid punches in the opening third of the round and avoiding most of Oquendo’s big punches, though Oquendo landed some solid straights near the end of the round and bloodied Rossy’s nose with a headbutt. In the penultimate round, Rossy again tried to punch against Oquendo’s holding; he even managed to slip away from some of Oquendo’s attempts to do so. Though Oquendo landed several rights, most of his offense still consisted mostly of pushing and holding.

Oquendo (L) gets physical as he looks to end the bout in the tenth round

Oquendo (L) gets physical as he looks to end the bout in the tenth round

The tenth round found Oquendo punching at the outset, a welcome change, though he reverted to holding when Rossy tried to return the favor. Remarkably, as the round entered the second half, Oquendo began pursuing Rossy with punches, effectively winning several exchanges, though not securing the predicted knockout. Overall, it looked like Oquendo had frustrated his opponent into submission and thrown just enough clean punches to retain his title and win the other titles on the line. Final scores read 98-92 once, 97-93 twice, confirming the outcome. In a touching post-fight interview, Oquendo dedicated his win to Marla Fitzgerald.

Richard Starnino (L) hammers away at Mike Jimenez's midsection

Richard Starnino (L) hammers away at Mike Jimenez’s midsection

It was only a matter of time before undefeated Light Heavyweight Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez of Chicago scored his eighth knockout against 41-year-old veteran from Providence, RI, Richard ”Bobo” Starnino (9-12-2, 2 KOs, 168 lbs.), but no one had informed Starnino of this. Southpaw Starnino, who looked like an old-fashioned club fighter, came charging in at the bell, looking to overwhelm Jimenez with a barrage of hooks to body and head at close quarters, but leaving himself wide open to the counters. Sure enough, a hard right from Jimenez sent Starnino to the canvas. Remarkably, he got up and once again went on the attack. A right uppercut from Jimenez seemed to rock Starnino, though he did not follow up. Starnino was the aggressor and would have taken the round had he not been knocked down, but the outcome of the bout was clear by the end of the round.

Jimenez (R) waits to see if   Starnino will make it to his feet

Jimenez (R) waits to see if Starnino will make it to his feet

Starnino again tried to attack in the second, but had lost most of his power. Jimenez bided his time, keeping Starnino at bay as soon as he had tired and picking him apart until he found the right moment for his knockout punch. However, Starnino proved to be more durable than anticipated, withstanding a cross that bloodied his nose and a rocking uppercut and coming back with some terrific rights of his own before being dropped by a left hook-right uppercut combination from Jimenez, who may have been enjoying himself a bit too much to stay focused on the goal.

Jimenez (L) closes in on the finish

Jimenez (L) closes in on the finish

The third round began much as the second, though Starnino was clearly slowing signs of wear. Jimenez went on the offense in this round, stalking Starnino, who could not press an advantage against a more guarded Jimenez. Jimenez landed several hard rights at the bell, but again Starnino survived. Jimenez knew he had no excuse not to finish the fight in the fourth, but Starnino was still not accepting his role as opponent, closing in to land another combination. A left hook to the body followed by a right uppercut finally spelled the end. While Jimenez landed a few more punches, Starnino was already finished and opted not to get up to finish the round. Officially, the TKO came at 1:22 of the fourth round. Jimenez conceded that Starnino was a tough guy, but credited his win to staying composed under pressure. With the win, Jimenez improves to 11-0, with eight knockouts.

Genaro Mendez (R) lands a punch on Antoine Elerson

Genaro Mendez (R) lands a punch on Antoine Elerson

Southpaw Genaro Mendez (5-1-1, 1 KO, 145.5 lbs.) of Chicago was next in the ring against Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Antoine Elerson (1-5, 1 KO, 145.5 lbs.) in a scheduled four-round fight at a catchweight of 143 pounds. Mendez covered up in a crouch, coming up to exploit openings against the taller Elerson’s low guard and easily avoiding Elerson’s wide punches. Referee Kurt Spivey warned Mendez not to lead with his head several times, but Mendez was clearly the aggressor in the first round, out-landing Elerson by a wide margin, though not doing any noticeable damage.

Mendez (L) closes in on Elerson

Mendez (L) closes in on Elerson

In the second round, Mendez persisted in frustrating Elerson’s attempts at offense with his crouch, and added an effective combination of left uppercut- right hook to the head that landed repeatedly. A series of hard lefts drove Elerson to the ropes, though Mendez opened himself up on coming in and Elerson was able to land some hard counters of his own. While it was not apparent in the course of the battle, it looked like Elerson was unable to continue due to an injured right hand and the fight was called at :01 of the third round, giving Mendez the TKO victory.

Russell Fiore (L) comes at Reggie Nash with a jab

Russell Fiore (L) comes at Reggie Nash with a jab

Chicagoan Russell “Rocky” Fiore (9-2, 7 KOs, 137.5 lbs.) faced the more experienced Reggie Nash (10-33-1, 2 KOs, 138 lbs.) of Grand Rapids, MI, in the tenth fight of the night. Fiore seemed too anxious at the start, lunging in at the more composed Nash, who seemed reluctant to engage but used effective defense until Fiore settled down. Both fighters seemed to get more comfortable as the round progressed, leading to some strategic sparring until a hard right from Fiore sent Nash (clearly not possessed of a strong chin) sprawling. Though he looked down for the count, he managed to regain his feet and finish the round.

Fiore (R) scores a knockdown

Fiore (R) scores a knockdown

Fiore was more grounded at the top of the second round, and soon dropped Nash with a left hook. A right dropped the clearly disappointed Nash again, and he got up only to go down again as a result of another right. Having been down three times in the round, the determined Nash fought on, though clearly on the defensive, only to be dropped by a right uppercut shortly thereafter. Once again, he got up, but a combination from Fiore, including a final, decisive right, sent Nash down for the last time and the fight was finally stopped at 2:33 of the second.

Frankie Scalise looks on as Reymundo Hernanadez decides to get up after a knockdown

Frankie Scalise looks on as Reymundo Hernandez decides to get up after a knockdown

Frankie “Time Bomb” Scalise (7-1, 7 KOs, 136 lbs.) squared off against Reymundo Hernandez (6-14, 6 KOs, 136.5 lbs.) for a scheduled four rounds. Though Scalise pressed the action, Hernandez dropped him with a short left hook. Upon getting back up, Scalise had more success, dominating Hernandez with hard punches. A left hook off a Hernandez uppercut sent Hernandez to the canvas, though it looked almost as though he had stumbled. Clarifying the situation, Scalise came back strong and decisively knocked Hernandez off his feet with another left hook. This time, Hernandez did not attempt to get up and Scalise won by knockout at 2:08 of the first round. Asked about a potential fight with Russell Fiore, Scalise responded, “If Bobby wants that to happen, that would be a great fight.” It sounds like a match might be in the making.

Simon Buettner (L) avoids a jab from Cameron Allen

Simon Buettner (L) avoids a jab from Cameron Allen

In the last bout of the evening Simon “The Punisher” Buettner (4-0, 3 KOs, 173.5 lbs.) took on Battle Creek, Michigan’s Cameron Allen (4-13, 2 KOs, 170 lbs.). The shorter Buettner wisely opted to attack with body shots, though Allen found a home for some wide but solid uppercuts. Allen chose not use his jab and opted to simply extend his left arm, giving Buettner an opening to attack his ribs. Overall, the first round was close but sloppy as neither fighter seemed to take advantage of the openings they created. Buettner was the aggressor, but Allen may have landed more punches.

Allen (L) tries to keep Buettner on the ropes

Allen (L) tries to keep Buettner on the ropes

Though throwing wide, looping punches at the top of the second round, Allen managed to land quite a number of them before Buettner got inside with body shots and an uppercut that dislodged Allen’s mouthguard. Buettner continued to attack the body and landed several left hooks to the head that seemed to rock Allen, who nevertheless continued to fight back. The exchanges continued, though both fighters looked to be tiring and Buettner’s face was starting to bruise. Near the end of the round, Buettner landed a punishing right that had Allen out on his feet for a moment, but was too tired to pursue, giving Allen the opportunity to recover enough to survive the round.

Buettner (L) goes for the body

Buettner (L) goes for the body

In the third, Buettner started to work more effectively inside and Allen seemed to be tired, though he stayed dangerous with a few bombs. Once again, Buettner landed an almost fight-ending cross, but Allen went into survival mode and fought him off. A slug-out near the end of the round was dominated by Buettner, but again Allen escaped at the bell.

Allen (L) beats Buettner to the punch

Allen (L) beats Buettner to the punch

The fourth and final round started with sparring session in the center of the ring and soon turned into a no-holds barred fight, with both boxers throwing looping hard punches and trying to wear each other down. It was as much a battle of attrition as anything, though both had their moments, Buettner with short inside shots and Allen with wide shots from a distance. Though messy, it was well-matched, crowd-pleasing barnburner of a fight to close the evening. Final cards read 39-37 in favor of Buettner, who remained undefeated after a tough test of his mettle against a more-than-game opponent.

It was a good night for the prospects on the card of Bobby Hitz’s latest show, as the fighters who did not build their confidence with early knockouts were able to hone their craft against well-matched opponents. Though he did not make the decisive statement he had hoped in winning three titles from Derric Rossy, Fres Oquendo stayed in contention against a durable and skilled opponent and may be able to line up another shot against elite competition on the basis of his victory.

Tim "Fat Boy" Dunn displays his battle scars

Tim “Fat Boy” Dunn displays his battle scars

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