The CBZ Newswire

Windy City Fight Night 13 Showcases Explosive Punching and Tenacity

by on Nov.20, 2010, under Boxing News, Guest Columnists

Andrzej Fonfara Celebrates His KO Victory Over Anthony Doughty

Andrzej Fonfara Celebrates His KO Victory Over Anthony Doughty

Andrzej Fonfara Scores Impressive KO in Main Event, While Ivan Popoca Wins Hard-Fought War

Photos by Scott Dray

Report by Kerstin Broockmann

CHICAGO, IL, November 20, 2010 – Last night’s Windy City Fight Night 13, presented by Eight Count Productions, featured a long evening of explosive knockouts, brutal wars, and battles of attrition. The 10-bout card showcased local contenders Andrzej Fonfara and Ivan Popoca, as well as up and coming Chicago boxing talent.

Dallas Vargas (L) leaves himself open for a counter from Sergey Kovalev

Dallas Vargas (L) leaves himself open for a counter from Sergey Kovalev

The first bout of the evening featured Light Heavyweights Sergey Kovalev (10-0-0, 9 KO’s, 174 lbs.), fighting out of Los Angeles via Chelyabinsk, Russia, and Toledo, Ohio’s Dallas Vargas (now 22-6-0, 16 KO’s, 176 lbs.). After a tentative start on the part of both boxers, with probing jabs, Sergey Kovalev opened up with a barrage that drove Vargas into the ropes and set the tone for the rest of what was to be a short bout, though scheduled for eight rounds. Vargas struggled throughout to find a strategy, never launching a solid offense, and leaving himself open for the pinpoint-accurate shots of Kovalev. Through most of the first round, Kovalev looked carefully for the most effective shots, rarely throwing combinations, but doing damage with an array of uppercuts, hooks and body shots. As the round continued Kobalev gained confidence and found multiple shots, finishing with a tirade that may have ended the fight if the bell had not intervened.

Kovalev (L) hooks his way to a TKO win over Dallas Vargas

Kovalev (L) hooks his way to a TKO win over Dallas Vargas

The second round started with Vargas trying to redeem himself with an opening volley, but Kobalev soon re-established himself as the dominant fighter. With his left hook finding its mark nearly every time, Kobalev began favoring this punch, often firing off multiple left hooks and throwing in uppercuts when Vargas moved his gloves to cover. This strategy proved decisive. Vargas recovered from a knockdown resulting from an uppercut followed by three consecutive hooks to the head, but could not regain his momentum. The next barrage from Kovalev had Vargas taking a knee after a few more hooks. Referee Pete Podgarski waved the bout off at 1:16 of the second round, bringing Kovalev’s record to 11-0-0 (10 KO’s).

Ramiro Carrillo (R) traps Matt Ellis on the ropes on route to a first round TKO

Ramiro Carrillo (R) traps Matt Ellis on the ropes on route to a first round TKO

Chicago’s Ramiro ‘El Lobito’ Carrillo (141 lbs.) wasted little time in a Junior Welterweight bout against Milwaukee’s Matt Ellis (now 1-3-0, 1 KO, 145 lbs.). While Ellis got the action started and was light on his feet, his punches did not make enough of an impression on Carrillo, whose power was apparent from his first shots. While Ellis kept his guard high, ‘El Lobito’ punched right through, interspersing occasional shots to the body. Finding an opportunity, Carrillo drove Ellis back into a corner. Ellis worked his way to the ropes, but was not countering the continued attack by Carrillo, forcing referee Gino Rodriguez to call the bout at 2:33 of the first round over Ellis’s protest, moving Carrillo’s record to 3-0-0 (2 KO’s).

Antonio Canas (L) stalks Gabriel Morris

Antonio Canas (L) stalks Gabriel Morris

The third bout of the evening was a brutal war of attrition, with Gabriel Morris (3-7-2, 2KO’s, 140 lbs.), of Toledo, Ohio, valiantly trying to battle his way back into the win column against the hard-punching Chicagoan Antonio ‘Aztec God of War’ Canas (141 lbs.). Canas dominated the initial round with powerful shots from both hands. He had Morris backing up most of the round between heavy combinations, most unleashed when Morris had backed himself onto the ropes. Morris gamely returned fire, but never found his balance enough to put his weight behind his punches. It looked like another early stoppage was in the works, though Morris weathered the round.

Morris (L) and Canas look for their moment to attack

Morris (L) and Canas look for their moment to attack

In the second, Morris started working behind his jab on the advice of his corner, though Canas exploited his low guard with hard combinations that hurt Morris. Morris had started finding his timing against Canas, and moved and countered as Canas charged. A hard right from Morris caused Canas to stumble late in the round, but Morris did not follow through on the opportunity he created. Morris looked tired at the end of the round, and, while he did not do enough to take the round, he had done enough to frustrate Canas, who had also taken his share of punishment.

The third round found Canas looking to end it early with solid but wild combinations that would occasionally back up Morris again. However, this time Morris did not let Canas get away with the outside shots that he favored in the previous rounds. Working his straight inside shots and uppercuts, Morris landed some good, solid combinations, but again seemed to wear himself out as the round went on. Canas stayed busier and won the round on aggression and power.

Canas (L) and Morris go to war

Canas (L) and Morris go to war

The fourth round was Morris’s best. He stayed composed, countering well, and easily avoiding the haymakers the Canas fired. However, he continued to take hard shots on the inside, with Canas throwing effective short lefts whenever Morris became the aggressor. The final round went back and forth with no clear winner, though this reporter gave it to Morris on effective combinations and ring generalship. However, Canas had done plenty to win the bout, regardless of one’s perception of the final round. The final scores belied the intensity of the fight that Morris gave Canas, with two judges seeing a shut-out for Canas at 40-36, and one giving Morris a round at 39-37. Canas moves to 3-0-0, 2 KO’s, while Morris drops to 3-8-2 (2 KO’s).

There was a long break between the third and fourth bouts, as Morris was taken to a hospital for observation for a possible head injury. CBZ wishes him well, and hopes that he recovers soon.

Mike Jimenez (L) prepares to attack Jesse Lewis

Mike Jimenez (L) prepares to attack Jesse Lewis

In the fourth bout of the evening, Super Middleweight Mike Jimenez (167 lbs.) tried to make up for lost time with a brutal demolition of Milwaukee’s Jesse Lewis (166 lbs.). Forcing Lewis to the ropes with a one-two combination, Jimenez went to work with a mostly unanswered combination of shots to both body and head. Lewis survived the first assault, only to find himself in the corner, where Jimenez finished the fight with an uppercut-cross combination that dropped Lewis. The knockout occurred fifty-three seconds into the first round. Once he had recovered, Lewis graciously congratulated the winner. Jimenez advances to 3-0-0 (3 KO’s), while Lewis continues to look for his first win, dropping to 0-2-0.

James Porter (L) slips a cross from David Latoria

James Porter (L) slips a cross from David Latoria

David ‘Diesel’ Latoria (230 lbs.) faced a tough opponent in the wily southpaw James Porter (now 5-13-1, 1 KO, 234 lbs.), Terre Haute, Indiana.  While Latoria clearly outboxed his slightly heavier and much less conditioned opponent, Johnson found ways to frustrate Latoria at every turn. Surprisingly good at avoiding or smothering incoming punches, Porter also had an effective jab and threw just enough power punches to keep Latoria from getting complacent. He also excelled at grabbing an arm or two before Latoria could move out of range after throwing a combination. Despite being flatfooted and not very aggressive, Porter succeeded in lasting the four rounds while sustaining little damage and tiring Latoria in the process.

The first round demonstrated the styles that would define the fight, with Latoria throwing snappy combinations, and Porter relying on his jab and high guard to keep him at bay, holding whenever the opportunity arose.

A low blow floors Latoria (L)

A low blow floors Latoria (L)

In round two, Porter began to toy with Latoria, tying him up and generally bullying him when he had the chance. Latoria boxed effectively, but had trouble maintaining his range. A hard shot to the groin temporarily stopped the bout and caused Gino Rodriguez to take a point from Porter for the low blow. Latoria continued to throw snappy combinations when Porter did not stymie his efforts.

Porter (L) ties up Latoria, who tries to punch out

Porter (L) ties up Latoria, who tries to punch out

Rounds three and four saw even more roughhousing, as Porter went for a more purely defensive game, though still throwing some stiff straight punches at Latoria when he charged headfirst. Frustrating and tiring Latoria, Porter nevertheless did not do enough to win against the far busier Latoria. Latoria was unable to stay at his range, with Porter either grabbing or smothering his attacks, tying up his arms and pushing down his head. In frustration, Latoria resorted to more charging, which saw Rodriguez warning him to keep his head up. In the end, Latoria’s dogged determination won the day, as he stuck to his plan for the unanimous decision, with all scorecards reading 39-35. Latoria earned his seventh win, moving to 7-0-0, 3 KO’s.

Donatas Bondarevas (L) looks for an opening against Mustafah Johnson

Donatas Bondarevas (L) looks for an opening against Mustafah Johnson

A super welterweight bout between Lithuanian Donatas Bondarevas (157 lbs.) and Indianapolis, Indiana’s Mustafah Johnson (157 lbs.) was a battle between the orthodox power-punching Bondarevas and the more mobile, crafty Johnson. Ultimately, Bondarevas’ greater workrate and power wore down Johnson, but it was a tough victory for the Lithuanian.

Round one saw both boxers working behind effective jabs.  Johnson kept his left hand low, but blocked effectively with his shoulder and evaded many shots with good head movement and footwork. Bondarevas for his part inspired respect with power shots that he set up with his jab. It was a competitive round, with possibly a slight edge for Johnson.

Johnson (R) moves out of harm's way

Johnson (R) moves out of harm's way

The action picked up in the second, with Bondarevas picking up his workrate. Johnson would occasionally duck under punches too low, leaving himself open for right hands, but generally stymied attacks with his movement and countered off Bondarevas’ misses. A late attack to the body by Bondarevas hurt Johnson, who stayed in the game, but Bondarevas clearly took the second round on workrate and a strong attack to the body.

Bondarevas (L) keeps Johnson from countering

Bondarevas (L) keeps Johnson from countering

Bondarevas started the third round strong, forcing Johnson back, but Johnson found a way back into the fight mid-round and launched a powerful attack that found Bondarevas on the defensive. The rest of the round seesawed, though Johnson avoided most of Bondarevas’ wild attempts to regain the upper hand and threw crisp combinations in return. Bondarevas landed a big right at the end of the round, but the bell put an end to his attack.

The middle rounds saw a bit of a stalemate between styles. Bondarevas continued having trouble with Johnson’s movement and defensive posture, which saw many of his punches bouncing off of Johnson’s shoulders or back. He also went low to the body, drawing a warning.  Gaining confidence in his defense, Johnson started upping the power in his own shots and probably took the fourth with a series of hard combinations that trumped Bondarevas’ attacks.

Rounds five and six saw Bondarevas taking more time with his shots, working behind his jab, and Johnson following suite. Bondarevas took advantage of the more defensively-oriented Johnson to outwork him and keep him from landing enough combinations to win these rounds, but both rounds saw frequent reversals of fortune. Bondarevas did not manage to do much damage, but was by far the more aggressive overall.

Bondarevas tried to finish the fight in seven, getting a bit wild with his punches, which resulted in a point deduction for low blows. The frustrated Bondarevas redoubled his attack, but had trouble penetrating Johnson’s defense effectively. However, he did seem to be wearing down his opponent, and Johnson did not seem to have enough energy left to keep up his effective counterattacks.

Johnson (L) and Bondarevas look to attack

Johnson (L) and Bondarevas look to attack

The final round saw both fighters digging deep. Johnson attacked at the bell, leaving Bondarevas little option but to try to stifle his punches.  Johnson’s drive was effective in getting through Bondarevas’ guard, though. However, the previous rounds had taken their toll and, as Johnson slowed, Bondarevas went for his body, opening up some opportunities to again take the advantage in the latter half of the round. Johnson did not crumble under the assault and returned fire through the end of the bout. The judges gave the unanimous decision to Donatas Bondarevas, with scores of 77-74, 79-72, and 78-73. With this win, the Lithuanian moves his record to 10-1-1 (3 KO’s), while Mustafah Johnson falls to 8-9-1 (2 KO’s), despite his persistent and often effective effort.

Genaro Mendez (R) tries to counter off a cross from Clifford McPherson

Genaro Mendez (R) tries to counter off a cross from Clifford McPherson

Junior Welterweight Genaro Mendez (142 lbs.) survived a second round knockdown to surge back and win by TKO at 1:26 of the third round in a short but exciting scrap with Clifford McPherson (143 lbs.), who was not happy about what he thought was an early stoppage by referee Pete Podgorski.  In the first round, Mendez worked around the ring looking for openings, but McPherson was able to keep him at bay with straight punches and a significant reach advantage. As the round went on, Mendez found more opportunities to get inside and work.

Mendez finds himself on the canvas

Mendez finds himself on the canvas

The second round looked on course to mirror the first, with McPherson coming out aggressively and landing some good shots and Mendez keeping on the move, looking for a moment to charge his tall foe.  It was an ill-timed entrance that gave McPherson the opportunity to drop the oncoming Mendez with a right to the chin. Mendez hit the canvas hard, and it looked for a moment as though his “0” was lost, but he recovered his composure, waiting out the count before jumping to his feet to re-engage. McPherson tried to press his advantage over the still rocked Mendez, but he lost his momentum, allowing Mendez to unleash an attack that nearly finished McPherson by the time the bell rang.

Mendez (R) rushes inside McPherson's reach to take the bout

Mendez (R) rushes inside McPherson's reach to take the bout

Both fighters having had a taste of victory in round two, they came out to finish in round three. This time it was Mendez who established control, using his power and speed to get inside the range of McPherson. The battle raged back and forth for the first minute until Mendez forced McPherson back into the ropes, where he gave him no opportunity to attempt a defense, raking the body and following up with straights and hooks, pummeling McPherson, who could not get a punch off to counter. McPherson’s inactivity led Podgorski to wave the fight off, moving Genaro Mendez to 3-0-0, with two knockouts, while McPherson fell to 2-2-0 (1 KO).

Guadalupe Diaz (L) drives Jaime Herrera to the ropes

Guadalupe Diaz (L) drives Jaime Herrera to the ropes

Chicago Welterweight  Jaime Herrera found himself in an all-out war with tough Mexican warrior Guadalupe Diaz, who had previously fought co-main event fighter Ivan Popoca to a draw in 2007 before losing a rematch to him in 2008. Neither fighter gave an inch, with Herrera’s more focused punching and tighter defense ultimately taking the fight after six punishing rounds. It was a classic boxer-puncher match-up, though boxer Herrera resorted to brawling when the pace grew frenetic and Diaz applied pressure. Rounds one and two featured the hard-charging Diaz trying and sometimes succeeding in bulling Herrera to the ropes. Both boxers would stop assaults by holding and turning each other to get the upper hand, leading to frequent admonishments to punch out. When Diaz successfully backed up Herrera, he used his advantage to land punishing uppercuts and body shots on Herrera.

Herrera (R) counters Diaz

Herrera (R) counters Diaz

The third round found Herrera trying to resist giving in to Diaz’s game plan, keeping his guard tight, staying in punching range, and choosing his shots from the outside. When Diaz charged, Herrera countered with an uppercut, which slowed, but did not stop his opponent, who drew a warning for leading with his head. Near the end of the round, Herrera dropped the aggressive Diaz with lefts as he surged forward, but Diaz recovered at the bell.

Herrera (L) drops Diaz at the end of the third round

Herrera (L) drops Diaz at the end of the third round

Diaz (R) charges Herrera

Diaz (R) charges Herrera

Having established his dominance, Herrera continued to move and stay out of the way of Diaz, landing effective uppercuts and hooks when the latter managed to get into closer range. Mostly, Herrera tried to stick with straight punches from the outside, leading with a jab. Diaz seemed to falter a bit under the attack in the fourth, but threw caution to the wind in the fifth, resulting in some toe-to-toe exchanges that benefited no one but the action-hungry crowd.

Herrera (R) throws an uppercut at Diaz comes inside

Herrera (R) throws an uppercut as Diaz comes inside

In the final round, Diaz seemed aware that he needed the knockout to win, and went for it, throwing bombs throughout the round. Some found their mark, but Diaz’s all-offense attack left him open to scathing shots from Herrera as well. Neither warrior backed down or slowed, but the more cautiously aggressive Herrera got the better of the exchanges.  Scores read 60-53 in favor of Jaime Herrera, who moves to 5-0-0, 3 KO’s with this victory, while the tough-as-nails Guadalupe Diaz falls to 5-8-3 (1 KO).

In the co-main event, Junior Welterweights Ivan Popoca (141 lbs.) and Martin Tucker (139.5 lbs.) looked to finish each other unsuccessfully over eight rounds. Popoca used his superior strength and ability to switch leads to keep Tucker on the run, but Tucker countered effectively, and occasionally launched full out attacks from his part that hurt Popoca as well.

Ivan Popoca (L) stands over the momentarily down Martin Tucker

Ivan Popoca (L) stands over the momentarily down Martin Tucker

The physically stronger Popoca attacked first, chasing Tucker around the perimeter of the ring and forcing him repeatedly to the ropes. Tucker moved and countered well from this position (opening up a cut under Popoca’s left eyebrow that would cause concern throughout the bout), but it seemed as though the hard-punching Popoca was relentlessly wearing him down. A combination from Popoca coupled with some footwork that had left him off balance, found Tucker on the canvas, though he did not stay there long, and the fall was ruled a slip. Tucker survived the first round, but the outcome seemed obvious. Tucker moved better in the second round, setting himself up to counter, rather than countering to survive. Despite this, Popoca found his pace midway through the round. While Tucker stayed busy and avoided many punches, Popoca outworked his opponent to take the round.

Popoca (L) pins Tucker on the ropes

Popoca (L) pins Tucker on the ropes

In round three, Tucker managed to turn the tables, timing Popoca’s wider punches, and finding his way to the center of the ring. Popoca, clearly not liking this turn of events, found his opportunity to again drive Tucker to the ropes, leading this time to an all-out war, with both boxers finding their targets and Tucker timing many of Popoca’s shots to avoid and counter. The cut above Popoca’s eye opened up, and would continue to bleed from this point in the action. Tucker began the fourth round again working around the outside of the ring, timing Popoca’s attacks, but Popoca’s aggression and power gave him a decisive edge in the latter half of the round.

Popoca (R) regains the upper hand at the end of the fourth round

Popoca (R) regains the upper hand at the end of the fourth round

Tucker (R) fires an uppercut against Popoca

Tucker (R) fires an uppercut against Popoca

Tucker tried a different strategy in Round 5, maintaining the center of the ring. Popoca was apparently trying to lure Tucker into pursuing, dropping his hands and presenting his chin, but Tucker did not take the bait, though perhaps doing so would have enabled him to land some uncontested punches on Popoca. Though the pace had slowed a bit, both fighters were definitely still in the fight.

Tucker (L) stands his ground

Tucker (L) stands his ground

Round 6 was more measured, Tucker moving in and out, landing short bursts of punches, while Popoca worked behind his jab effectively to set up power shots. Tucker’s strategy gained him the advantage.

Tucker (L) and Popoca battle it out

Tucker (L) and Popoca battle it out

Round 7 and 8 were a great display of heart from both sides, with the advantage going back and forth. Popoca started the 7th with a brutal left hook that only momentarily slowed Tucker. Both fighters slugged it out in the center of the ring, with Popoca launching an attack near the end of the round. The final round saw more of the same, the boxers slugging it out in the center of the ring, with neither backing down. Tucker, looking to finish the more dominant Popoca, drove him into the corner near the end, but Popoca punched his way out before the bell.  Scores were close, but Popoca’s effective aggression and control of the center got him the well-deserved win, 78-74 twice, and 77-75 once on the scorecards. Popoca advanced to 15-0-1 (10 KO’s), while the scrappy Tucker fell to 7-6-0 (3 KO’s).

Anthony Doughty goes down hard and fast against Andrzej Fonfara

Anthony Doughty goes down hard and fast against Andrzej Fonfara

Beginning after midnight, the main event was scheduled for eight rounds, but Light Heavyweight Anthony Doughty (176 lbs.) never got a chance to show off the power and skills that gave him nine wins going into the bout. Featured fighter Andrzej Fonfara (175 lbs.) found his range with his jab. Another jab and a perfectly placed cross knocked out Doughty just 23 seconds into the first round. Fonfara retains his WBC Youth Light Heavyweight title and moves to 15-2-0 (6KO’s), while Doughty suffered his second defeat, dropping to 9-2-0, 8 KO’s.

Chicago fight fans were treated to an evening of boxing that demonstrated the depth of the Chicago boxing community, with some of the younger fighters having to battle through attacks that exploited holes in their techniques that need to be patched, leading to some battles that made for a long evening. Fans of Ivan Popoca and Jaime Herrera saw the fireworks generated by their trademark warrior styles against punchers equally unwilling to give up the fight. Fans of Andrzej Fonfara did not get much of a chance to see their man in action, but could savor a perfect knockout on their way to the parking lot.

Illinois Congressman Danny Davis takes his mayoral campaign to the UIC Pavilion

Illinois Congressman Danny Davis takes his mayoral campaign to the UIC Pavilion

Former Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Dennis McKinnon supports Chicago boxing

Former Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Dennis McKinnon (R) supports Chicago boxing

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