The CBZ Newswire

Johnson Claims Split Decision Over Cardona in Tacoma

by on Jan.19, 2016, under Boxing News

By Ricardo Ibarra


A victorious Johnson holds up his title belts (photo by Mike Blair).

A victorious Johnson holds up his title belts (photo by Mike Blair).

TACOMA, WA — Fighting for the first time since his upset, title winning victory over Mike Gavronski last Novemebr, current WBA-NABA US super middleweight title holder Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnson (19-19-3, 6 KOs) secured a split decision win in a ten round non-title bout Friday night, defeating Colorado Springs, Colorado’s Izaak Cardona (14-4, 14 KOs) at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. Fighting in the main event of Brian Halquist Productions’ Battle at the Boat 104, Johnson overcame the hard-hitting, long range power of Cardona to take a split decision win

Cardona had a good start to the bout, stalking patiently behind his jab and stepping in with thudding rights and hard hooks to the body . The strength of Cardona, who has scored all of his wins inside the distance, was evident and seemed to put Johnson on the defensive and unwilling to commit to a substantial attack. For the first two rounds Cardona controlled the tempo of the fight, landing often on his shorter opponent. 

In the third round the momentum began to swing in Johnson’s favor, though, as he began to pressure with more confidence. Working behind his jab, Johnson cautiously pushed his way in close with quick combinations, smothering his opponent’s power and covering up well in the pocket. By the fourth round Johnson appeared to find a rhythm, consistently out-landing Cardona in close before maneuvering out of the pocket.

The two fighters traded momentum in the mid-rounds, with Cardona mounting a sustained rally in the sixth, but Johnson was the busier, more accurate fighter down the late stretch of the fight, landing at a higher rate. Two of the official judges scored the fight 98-92 for Johnson, with the last scoring it 98-92 for Cardona, giving Johnson the split decision nod.

“It wasn’t my best effort, but it was the right effort.” Johnson said after the fight, assessing his performance. “He was a hard puncher. I’m a vet, I’m not going to stand and trade with him. I had to respect his power. He hit harder than Gavronski, but he wasn’t the hardest puncher I’ve faced.”

With the win Johnson adds his fourth consecutive and the nineteenth win of his career and hopes his continued winning streak can set him up for a bigger fight. “I’m looking for a big fight. I fight to pay my bills. My record is what it is because I always fought anyone anytime, on short notice. Right now I’m in shape and I’m ready.”

In one of two semi-main events of the card, Salem, Oregon’s Marco Cardenas (5-5, 2 KOs) scored a mild upset, stopping local fan-favorite Jeremy McCleary (8-2) in the third round. McCleary, who is known as a skilled boxer with quick legs and fast hands, chose to begin the bout trading aggressively in close, a move that favored the brawling style of his opponent. Early on in the bout the decision was working well for him as his quicker hand speed allowed him to land more often, but as the fight wore on Cardenas began to do damage, landing with hard rights to the chin in close. In the third round, as the two fighters traded in close, Cardenas caught McCleary with a jarring right, sending him to the mat. McCleary was up fairly quickly, but looked visibly stunned. Moments after the action was allowed to resume, referee Louis Jackvony rightly stepped in as McCleary took a barrage of unanswered blows. The end came at 1:34 of the third round. The bout was fought at the lightweight limit.

In the second semi-main of the show, Renton, Washington’s Marcello Gallardo (6-3-2, 3 KOs) scored a devastating second round TKO victory over Seattle’s Rob Diezel (9-7, 3KOs) in what up to the point of the stoppage was a very competitive featherweight fight. Diezel began the bout boxing from the outside, using his long jab to control the range and keep Gallardo on the outside. Mid-way through the first round, Gallardo began to close the distance and open up in close, forcing Diezel to trade, making for some vicious exchanges and a very close round. In the second round Diezel appeared to be controlling the round with long range boxing and solid left hooks when Gallardo let loose with a perfectly timed overhand right, catching Diezel on the chin and sending him crashing to the canvass. Diezel was up at six, but looked very unsteady on his legs. After the mandatory count, Gallardo pounced, opening up with a blistering barrage of unanswered punches, prompting referee Bobby Howard to wisely step in and call it at 1:21 of the round, giving Gallardo the TKO victory.

In a fast-paced Jr. Bantamweight bout, Isaiah Najera (3-1, 1 KOs), of Yakima, Washington, added his third professional win, stopping the tough Nestor Hernandez (0-1), of Seattle, in the fourth round. Najera’s superior skill and experience level were on full display early in the fight as he maneuvered around the ring well, using angles to avoid his aggressive opponent’s assaults and countered effectively with quick combinations. Hernandez, who was making his pro debut, showed tremendous heart as he continued to press forward, making the fight an exciting one, but Najera was the more effective fighter in the first three rounds. As the the third round came to and end, Najera landed with a vicious right to the chin, dropping Hernandez. As the fourth round began, Hernandez surprisingly came out swinging with a renewed aggression. For a few moments he was able to land in close with well placed punches, but Najera began to use his aggression against him, laying back and finding counter-punching opportunities. After a thudding left hook wobbled Hernandez, Najera opened up, unleashing a slew of hard, accurate shots that forced referee Louis Jackvony to step in and call it at 1:48 of the round.

Seattle, Washington’s Zach Cooper (3-1-2, 2 KOs) claimed his first in almost three years, taking a four round majority decision against the tougher than expected Will Fernandez (0-4), of Kelso, Washington. Fernandez had an edge in reach and used his log range and awkward defense to his advantage in the first round, effectively working behind his jab and keeping his shorter opponent on the outside. Cooper began to close the gap in the second round, though, pushing his way in close and landing consistently to the head and body. The move smothered Fernandez’ one-two’s and allowed Cooper to outwork his opponent. The two fighters traded momentum throughout the fight with Cooper effective in close and Fernandez taking a lead when Cooper slowed his output. One Judge had it a draw at 38-38 with the other two scoring for Cooper at 39-37. The bout took place in the welterweight division.

In the evening’s opening bout, Tacoma, Washington’s Andre Keys (1-0, 1 KO) made a successful entrance into the paid ranks with an exciting third round stoppage of Hawaii’s Lexus Pagampao (0-1). Pagampao came out swinging in the first round, pressing his taller opponent, but Keys, who displayed a good set of boxing skills, began to counter effectively and took over mid-round. Pagampao came back in the second round, landing with aggressive assaults inside, but Keys rallied in the third with lateral movement and accurate punches. Sliding in and out of the pocket with quick offensives, Keys began to land with greater regularity. After a three punch barrage snapped back the head of Pagampao, the referee stepped in at 2:29.

A near sell-out crowd packed into the Emerald Queen Casino’s I-5 Showroom for the 104th installment of Brian Halquist Productions’ Battle at the Boat. The 105th Battle at the Boat is scheduled for March 26th with tickets available at the Casino box office and Ticketmaster.

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