The CBZ Newswire

Exciting Match-Ups Highlight Windy City Fight Night 10 at UIC Pavilion

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

Ringside report by Kerstin Broockmann
Photos by Scott Dray
Adrian Grenados (R) attacks Michael Anthony Culbert in the fight of the night

Adrian Granados (R) attacks Michael Anthony Culbert in the fight of the night

CHICAGO, IL, June 20, 2010 – Last night at the UIC Pavilion, several popular and successful Chicago-based  amateur boxers made their pro debuts at 8 Count Productions’ Windy City Fight Night 10, which also featured some up and coming young punchers. It was a sweep for the home team, with the host boxers winning every bout, but the evening featured some exciting matchups that kept the crowd cheering throughout as some of the visitors earned their respect as well with some scrappy performances in their quests for upsets.
 

Donatas Bondoravas (L) stands his ground against Keon Johnson

Donatas Bondoravas (L) stands his ground against Keon Johnson

First in the ring were middleweights in a bout scheduled for six rounds: Gary, Indiana’s Keon ‘Neon’ Monte Johnson (157 lbs., 8-3-0) and Donatas Bondoravas of Chicago by way of Lithuania (157lbs., 6-1-1).  Johnson established his jab early, with Donatas looking for power shots. Bondoravas made short work of his Chicago debut, overwhelming Johnson, who looked more tentative as the round progressed, with powerful punches before landing the knockout right hook at 2:33 of the first round. 
 

Johnny Garcia (R) charges at Dean Allen Peters

Johnny Garcia (R) charges at Dean Allen Peters

Next, “The Native Bad Boy” Dean Allen Peters, Jr. (147, 1-1-0) of the Menominee Indian Reservation, Aeopit, WI, challenged Holland, MI’s,  Johnny Garcia (142, 1-0-0), who brought his cheering section on the road with him, in a Super Lightweight bout.  The two young warriors were well-matched, showing little technique but a lot of fight over the scheduled four rounds, with Garcia coming away with the decision. 

In the first round, Peters seemed to show a little more technical proficiency, patiently looking for opportunities to counter Garcia, and mixing up his punches well. However, it was a left hook from Garcia that was the first significant punch of the round. Peters threw some nice body-head combinations, and countered Garcia’s frequent attacks to the body, though he resorted to holding as Garcia came inside.

The second round set the tone for the remainder of the bout, with Garcia setting the pace with solid straight punches, though he would sometimes overcommit and eigher come inside too far, causing Peters to hold defensively, or stumble, on which, to Garcia’s advantage, Peters did not capitalize. Peters continued to counter well, but spent much of the round going backwards.

The third round saw Garcia unleashing a more aggressive version of the fighter of the first rounds, apparently taking instructions from his corner to “Put ‘em together” to heart. The fighting became closer, drawing a warning from referee Celestino Ruiz to both boxers for hitting behind the head. The end of the round saw both fighters going toe-to toe.

In the final round, Peters shed his reserve and started throwing some reckless punches, most easily avoided by Garcia, in an effort to find a knockout and minimize the possibility of sustaining more damage, as he was showing signs of the punches he had sustained in previous rounds. Chants of “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…” supported Garcia’s efforts as he in turn charged his opponent, again propelling himself into the ropes, as Peters sidestepped him. The round ended with another standoff, featuring a solid uppercut from Garcia. Scores were unanimous at 39-37 for Johnny Garcia.

Genaro Mendez (R) eludes a jab from Gabriel Morris in his hard-fought pro debut

Genaro Mendez (R) eludes a jab from Gabriel Morris in his hard-fought pro debut

Super Lightweight Genaro Mendez of Chicago via Michoacan, Mexico, made his professional debut against Toledo, Ohio’s durable Gabriel Morris (143.5, 2-6-1), and found himself unable to finish an opponent who was hurt in the second round. Morris stayed in the fight to the end, throwing enough solid rights to prevent Mendez from exchanging a dominant performance for a stoppage, winning 39-36 on two scorecards and scoring a 40-35 shutout on the third.  Mendez showed the same fearlessness that drove him to this year’s Chicago Golden Gloves 152 lb. Open Division Championship, proving himself capable of staying the course against an opponent who would not quit.  It was a brave performance by two boxers with some good skills but room to grow.

The first round showed that Mendez did not have an easy debut opponent. The Chicago-based southpaw demonstrated his power in landing several crushing body shots, but his opponent found ways of landing his right over Mendez’s sometimes low guard, as well as timing his opportunities. Morris was the busier man in this round, but was already becoming too aware of Mendez’s power, while he, in turn, raised a bruise under Mendez’s right eye.

The second round found Mendez using more combinaitons, getting Morris into the corner, where both landed some hard shots inside until a left hook from Morris enabled him to escape this predicament. The action was back and forth, with Mendez getting stronger, culminating in a body shot that sent Morris to the canvas; he was able to beat the count, though painfully, before the bell saved him from more punishment.

Mendez attacks Morris's body

Mendez attacks Morris's body

The third round saw a cagier, more defensive Morris, countering effectively and keeping Mendez at bay with multiple shots, not hard enough to do damage, but enough to keep Mendez from overpowering his opponent. The first part of the round saw a lot of wide hooks from Mendez, who seemed unable to get inside to attack the body effectively. Morris also seem to be shielding his body. Near the end of the round, a combination from Mendez, including some body shots, seemed to hurt Morris, who stumbled to the ropes, grimacing as the bell sounded.

Both warriors touched gloves to begin the final round of a war that neither seemed to expect.  Morris stuck to the outside of the ring, avoiding the aggressive Mendez with movement and potshots, occasionally holding as Mendez closed.  Again, Morris seemed to be shielding his body, and Mendez, curiously did not attack what had proven to be his opponent’s weakness, sticking mostly to head shots. Again, Mendez forced Morris to the ropes, where both exchanged some solid punches. Judges scores gave the hard-fought decision to Genaro Mendez, who moves to 1-0, while dropping Morris to 2-7-1.

Welterweight Jaime Herrera (146, 2-0-0, 1 KO) from Chicago added a third win and second KO to his record in a rough and tumble battle against Nicholas Smith (147.5, 1-0-0) of Atlanta, GA, who moved to 1-1 with this bout. Smith battled gamely against the powerful combinations launched by Herrrera, who found his rhythm after a first round that featured a bit of feeling out on both sides.  By the end of the second round, Herrera had Smith in serious trouble, and only an accidental slip to the canvas by Herrera allowed Smith to survive the round. Herrera continued to pile on the punishment in round three, weathering several low blows from Smith. A volley of punches from Herrera sent Smith to the ropes, where a straight right finished him. Smith was unable to continue, and referee Celestino Ruiz waved off the bout at 2:01 of the third round.

The first round saw both boxers trying out ways to approach the other. Smith landed some solid body shots, which Jimmy Herrera countered with single shots to the head, while his corner advised him to triple up on his punches. The most damage done in the first round may have been the result of an accidental head butt.

Jimmy Herrera (L) reacts to a clash of heads with Nicholas Smith

Jimmy Herrera (L) reacts to a clash of heads with Nicholas Smith

The second round threatened to mimic the first until Herrera took his corners advice to beat his opponent to the punch, “You first,” and landed a big right hand. Both fighters exchanged some punishing hooks, but the work rate of Herrera in this round seemed to take Smith by surprise and he was left to counter in exchanges, while Herrera set the pace. Another huge right from Herrera sent Smith into the corner, where a right hook seemed to cause some damage. Smith survived, but was stumbling, and only an unexpected slip from Herrera as he was about to launch another attack enabled Smith to survive the round.

Smith (top) goes low to the body to counter an attack from Herrera

Smith (top) goes low to the body to counter an attack from Herrera

Round three opened with an exchange, with the damaged Smith taking more shots. In an attempt to change the course of the battle, Smith threw a volley of inside shots to the body, which unfortunately included a low blow, which paused the action briefly. Herrera recovered an redoubled his efforts, pushing Smith back with a volley of punches. Smith again countered with an apparently accidental but no less painful low blow, after which referee Celestino Ruiz called for a point deduction against Smith and gave Herrera five minutes to recover. Herrera did not use the time, but came back out more focused on the task at hand. Smith swung wildly at Herrera, only to be countered with a deadly combination of punches, ending with the right hand that ended the bout. Herrera advances to 3-0-0, while Smith evens his record at 1-1-0.

A right from Herrera (L) buckles Smith's knees at the end of the bout

A right from Herrera (L) buckles Smith's knees at the end of the bout

Mike Jimenez celebrates his victory

Mike Jimenez celebrates his victory

Popular Chicago amateur Light Heavyweight Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez made his mark quickly in his professional debut against the clearly out-classed Cleo DeJuan Rice. Rice showed his willingness to mix it up, throwing some powerful but wild punches and even catching Jimenez with a few at the outset. A powerful right hook, perfectly timed by Jimenez dropped Rice early in the round. Just a few moments later, after a few probing shots, Jimenez repeated the feat, and Rice went down again, again beating the count. Still game, Rice re-engaged, and then stayed in the pocket as Jimenez launched an assault to head and body, ending once again with the fateful right hook. This time Rice stumbled out of range, only to drop to his knees in front of Jimenez seconds later. Rice struggled to his feet, but couldn’t regain his equilibrium, and Genaro Rodriguez called it at 1:55 of Round One.

Jimenez (R) gets out of the way as Rice goes down

Jimenez (R) gets out of the way as Rice goes down

Saving the best for last, hometown favorite Adrian Granados fought an all-out five-round war with Milwaukee, WI’s Michael Anthony Culbert, and, while the judges were unanimous in awarding Granados the 50-45 shutout, the scores do not begin to reflect how hard Granados, now 3-0-0, had to fight for his victory against the remarkably durable and hungry Culbert, who dropped to 3-1-0.  The first round showed the fighters’ tendencies as the aggressive Culbert relentlessly pursued Granados, throwing somewhat wild hooks with both hands, while Granados worked the body and tried to land punches up the center. A mid-round assault from Granados that Culbert unbelievably survived gave a hint of what both fighters were in for. The second round showed that both boxers had the ability to bully their opponents with their mass as well as their punches, a strategy that both would continue to employ.  As the bout continued, Culbert looked a bit tired and definitely the worse for wear, with bruises on his face, and red welts on his sides, but he continued to take the fight to Granados, never letting the  more accurate and powerful Chicagoan off the hook. A slugfest ended the crowd-pleasing bout.

Granados (R) effectively counters a charge from Culbert

Granados (R) effectively counters a charge from Culbert

Round one saw the ever aggressive Culbert pursuing Granados somewhat wildly but with a fair amount of power. The round went back and forth with neither fighter willing to give ground, though Granados took it on accuracy and power. A mid-round torrent of punches from Granados probably would have been enough to finish some fighters, and left it’s mark on Culbert’s face and body, but did not stop the Milwaukee native.

Culbert (L) lunges at Granados

Culbert (L) lunges at Granados

Round two was all action, beginning with a slick combination from Granados, countered by a solid right hook from Culbert. Moments later, Granados returned the favor, landing a left hook over Culbrt’s low right.  A combination seemed to rock Culbert, who merely increased the pressure on Granados. Both fighters took turns bullying each other into the ropes. Again, Granados seemed to dominate the round, but Culbert landed some powerful hooks in the exchanges. A wild charge from Culbert at the end of the round briefly put Granados in the corner, but he turned his opponent at the bell.

Culbert (L) and Granados mix it up inside

Culbert (L) and Granados mix it up inside

The third round started with a crushing right hook from Culbert, who tried his best to draw Granados into a brawl, which he sometimes did. For the most part, Granados, realizing that boxing was his hope to counter this opponent, managed to stay on the outside and attack in spurts. One such attack featured a left hook that clearly hurt Culbert, who nevertheless dodged all of Granados’s follow-up punches. Culbert then drove Granados to the ropes, only to have Granados turn him and pin him there until Culbert managed once again to switch position until Granados punched his way off the ropes and regained the center of the ring. Eventually, Granados once again drove Culbert back into the ropes, but by now it was clear that Culbert had no intention of giving up.

Culbert attempts to keep Granados in the corner

Culbert attempts to keep Granados in the corner

The fourth round saw Granados adding more body punches to his arsenal, while Culbert stuck with his signature ambidextrous hooks. Early on, Granados landed a clean and punishing body-body-hook combo, drawing Culbert’s ire as Culbert forced him into a corner using his body mass as much as his punches, though Culbert was unable to keep him there. A straight punch combination that seemed to rock Culbert again put Culbert on the offensive as he used his powerful hooks to drive Grenados into the corner, where the hometown fighter was able to trap an arm and spin off the ropes as the bell rang.

Granados (L) stalks Culbert

Granados (L) stalks Culbert

Culbert went on the attack at the beginning of the fifth and final round, almost stumbling through the ropes from the effort. A jab-cross combination from Granados seemed to rock Culbert, who again responded by driving Granados into a corner with hooks, though the exchange in the corner seemed to have Culbert taking most of the punishment. Culbert looked tired, but never stopped punching, countering and avoiding, landing a particularly powerful right near the end of the round, whereupon Granados’s corner advised him to keep his hands up. A heated exchange appropriately ended the war. While Granados won the shutout victory, advancing his record to 3-0 (though BoxRec.com lists his record as 5-1-0, including some unverified decisions from Mexican exhibition figths), he was tested by the incredibly durable Culbert every step of the way. Both boxers should be proud of their performances in this bout, and the 20-year-old Granados showed his ability to withstand constant pressure and maintain his technique. The relentless 38-year-old Culbert drops to 3-1 with his first loss.

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