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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- JULY 27:2001
ShoBox : Madcap Medicos Meddle At Emerald Queen
By Katherine Dunn

Send In The Clowns!

Fight fans who stuck close to the under card of the Hopkins-Trinidad PPV bonanza missed a vaudeville resurrection just a click away on Showtime. Broadcast from the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington, ShoBox offered a pair of twelve rounders featuring talented JR featherweight Joan Guzman and towhead terror Ebo Elder, each against staunch and modestly respectable opponents. But the stars of the event were not the boxers, who went about their business in standard ways. The loose ring ropes, even pratfalls by a couple of round card girls toppling off their stilts, and the spectacular ass-over-tea-kettle tumble taken by Ref Ron Rall in the process of breaking a clinch, were mere warm-ups. The highlights were an Abbot & Costello team of ringside physicians who used the Washington referees as straight men in comic sketches for the national television audience.

This charming duo made their surprise appearance in the Guzman-Ruiz bout when Ruiz hit the deck and was getting up unhurt with the count of referee Bobby Howard. At the count of five, Doctor Ronda (Costello) Luce suddenly appeared on the TV screen, trotting across the ring. Howard finished the count and was ready to clear Ruiz for further action when he was startled to notice the doctor at his elbow.

"You can't be in here," said the ref. No sooner had Luce turned to toddle away, than up stalked the tall Doctor Charles (Abbott) Weispfenning, penlight in hand, ready to examine the fighter.

Double-teamed, Ref Howard blurted, "You can't come in here. He's just fine. Doctor, I think he's just fine." This prompted Luce to come wandering back into the discussion and the audience was treated to the spectacle of the ref arguing earnestly with both doctors for a full minute and a half.

No official came to the Ref's rescue by yanking the invading medicos out of the ring. Guzman's father climbed through the ropes and started celebrating, apparently thinking the fight had been stopped.

Ringside commentors Nick Charles and Steve Farhood were not amused, calling the scene an embarrassment for the Washington Commission.

"Why were two doctors in the ring over a knockdown which, by knockdown standards, was relatively mundane?" they demanded. And finally, "This is like the three blind mice!"

Eventually the doctors wandered out of the ring and the fight resumed, went the distance, and Guzman won a unanimous decision and a series of soggy noodle titles.

But the medico follies weren't over.

In the encore, Doctor Charles Weispfenning did a solo turn with assistance from Ref Ron Rall and one of boxer Dagoberto Najera's cornermen.

The backdrop was the scheduled 12 round JR Welter bout between sturdy Ebo Elder and wiry Dagoberto Najera. It was an evenish match-up with each fighter decking the other briefly in the early rounds. Then, in the fateful fifth round, the fighter's skulls collided and both boxers came up cut. Elder's right eye was gashed in the outside corner, but Najera's forehead was spouting from a spot that threatened to drain into his eyes.

Ref Ron Rall announced it was an accidental headbutt, and marched Najera over to his own corner, calling for a towel. Magically, Doctor Charles Weispfenning appeared, leaning over the ropes and applying pressure to Najera's cut. He was not just wiping it so he could judge its severity and decide whether the fighter could continue. No, the good Doc was applying pressure and then, obvious on the Showtime cameras, applying what looked like adrenaline solution to stop the bleeding. Since the ringside physician was actually treating Najera's cut in mid-round, Ebo Elder's corner took the opportunity to treat his cut as well.

Steve Farhood could be heard wondering if treating a cut in mid-fight was part of the ringside physicians' responsibility.

After three minutes or so of this intensive treatment, the bleeding had eased remarkably. Ref Ron Rall announced that there were still 33 seconds left in the round and the boxers did their duty up to the bell. Between rounds it was decided that Najera could not continue. The ring announcer called the decision a technical KO for Ebo Elder, the official results provided later by the Washington Department of Licensing, Professional Athletics division called it a technical decision based on the judge's scorecards.

The humorless TV commentators called it "not a good night for the Washington commission. "

Flack Flies-Everybody's A Critic

The phones started ringing immediately as fans in the region called each other to wow and snort their indignation. Some even called the Department of Licensing to complain. A letter to the editor of the Tacoma News Tribune denounced the Department of Licensing as incompetent and ran with a headline reading, "Boxing Poorly Regulated in Washington State." Several Washington state legislators have been nosing around, possibly urged on by the contingent who think a separate boxing commission should replace the Department of Licensing. Promoter Brian Halquist of Tacoma teamed with Frank Warren, who had the Showtime contract, to produce the show and neither are happy. The promoters and the Emerald Queen are lined up for four more ShoBox events in the next year and rumors are afoot that Showtime, or at least the World Boxing Organization, will insist on bringing in outside officials for future Tacoma shows.

Northwest fight folk were all the more embarrassed because experienced and expert ring doctors, Flip Homansky and Margaret Goodman of Nevada were at the show. They were in town to teach a seminar for local officials.

The Department of Licensing has requested written reports from the doctors, referees, time keeper and inspector at the show. This was depressing news, since the last time we heard of such a call for written reports was in 1998 following a controversy in a bout between John Palaki and Miguel Arrozal. If any results ever came out of that investigation we have not heard them. This time, though, the Department has reportedly called a meeting scheduled for October 19 in Tacoma to examine what went wrong that night.

The Emerald Queen Casino
Tacoma, Washington
Promoter: Brian Halquist Productions/ Frank Warren
Matchmaker: Bob Oleson
Inspector: Larry Abbott
Referees: Barry Druxman, Paul Field, Robert Howard, Ron Rall
Judges: Glen Hamada, Alan Krebs, Curtis leach, Tom McDonough
Physicians: Dr. Ronda Luce, Dr. Charles Weispfenning
Televised as a Sho-Box event on Showtime cable.

In a four round light heavyweight match, Mark Woolnaugh (173 1/4 lbs.) of Qualicum Beach, British Columbia won a unanimous decision over Neil Stephens (174 3/4 lbs.) of Kent, WA.

Heavyweight Derek Berry (225 lbs.) of Rialto, CA won a unanimous four round decision over local favorite Cody Gray (237 1/2 lbs.) of Shoreline, WA.

Ian Mac Killop (149 lbs.) of Hollywood, CA won his six round scrap with Norberto Bravo (148 lbs.) of Tucson, AZ by unanimous decision.

Carlito Brozas (141 1/2 lbs.) of Hollywood, CA was scheduled for eight with Cesar Esquivel (146 1/2 lbs.) of Atlanta, GA but Brozas cut the night short by knocking Esquivel out at 2:41 of the 2nd round.

Televised 12 round co-main events:
Joan Guzman (122 lbs.) of the Dominican Republic won a unanimous decision over Edel Cuate Ruiz (121 1/2 lbs.) of Mexico. Guzman won the NABO, WBO Inter-Continental, and the WBO Latino titles.

Ebo Elder (139 1/2 lbs.) of Newman, GA won a technical decision at the end of the 5th round when his opponent Dagoberto Najera could not continue because of a cut resulting from an accidental headbutt. Elder won the WBO Inter-Continental title.

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