The STEEL VALLEY RUMBLE lived up to it’s name on Saturday night in Youngstown, Ohio as TKO BOXING Promotions treated local fight fans to a terrific evening of professional boxing and a big upset at the Campbell Memorial Field House. In the main event, cruiserweights Andres “Taylor Made” Taylor of nearby Johnstown, PA and Great Falls, Montana native Leo Bercier met in the center of the ring at the opening bell and it was bombs away for both combatants. Rarely taking a break except for the 60 seconds between rounds, the first three stanzas featured outstanding two-way action much to the delight of the crowd as both men pounded away at the head and body.
As the fourth round opened, both men, battered and bruised continued to fight on valiantly. As Taylor tried to contain the onslaught from Bercier by using steady movement and a powerful jab, he was caught by a sweeping left hook which knocked him hard to the canvas. Although hurt from the knockdown, Taylor bravely collected himself and went on to finish the round strongly.
Starting the fifth round, both fighters appeared tired and fought cautiously. Towards the two minute mark, Taylor staggered Bercier sending him into the ropes setting off a terrific flurry of action to end the round.
As the bell rang for the sixth and final round, the crowd stood in thunderous applause for the battle they were witnessing. Taylor and Bercier respectfully touched gloves and then both threw caution to the wind. Hammering away at each other with left hooks, it became apparent each was going for the knockout. Once again, Taylor, the victim of another sweeping left hook would hit the canvas. Again down hard, Taylor would regroup and courageously fight to the final bell much to the delight of the huge contingent of fans who had made the trek from his hometown. Final scores for this “Fight of the Year” candidate were 57-55 twice and 58-54 for Bercier who moved to 8-9-1 (4KO’s), while Taylor suffering his first loss moved to 8-1-1 (4KO’s).
Youngstown’s Jake Giuriceo wasted no time in his four round welterweight bout against Lucas Rodas of Indianapolis . Battering away at the smaller Rodas, Giuriceo used nice angles and head movement to score while avoiding the return fire. Winning the first round easily, Giuriceo forced a stoppage by Rodas’ corner who threw in the towel at the 2:31 mark of the second round. Giuriceo raises his record to 3-0-0 (2KO’s), while Rodas fell to 3-6-0 (1KO).
In a scheduled four round welterweight bout, Cleveland natives and former amateur adversaries, Cortez Bey and Henry White Jr. attempted to settle their differences. In the first round Bey used a terrific double and triple jab to control the action from the on rushing White. Towards the end of the round Bey displayed his full arsenal of punches scoring at will in the closing seconds.
As the second round began White was more successful in slowing down Bey as the fight became more physical on the inside. Sensing his advantage, White confidently hunted down the elusive Bey in the third round drilling him with body shots. Trapping Bey in a neutral corner towards the last third of the round, White drilled Bey to the body and head, badly hurting him. Staggering back to his corner, Bey appeared badly hurt which was confirmed when he did not leave his stool for the fourth round. The win moved White to 4-3-1 (3KO’s), while Bey suffered his first loss to move to 8-1-0 (5KO’s).
Middleweight prospects Dante Moore of Cleveland and Philadelphia’s Vince Burkhalter were scheduled in a four round bout. After an initial cautious start to the first round, Moore drilled Burkhalter with a right hand to the solar plexus dropping him to the mat. Unable to continue at the count of ten, Moore was awarded the victory to improve his record to 4-0-0 (2KO’s) while Burkhalter fell to 0-2-0. Time was 1:02 of the round
In a scheduled six round lightweight bout, St. Louis’ Dannie Williams took on Toledo native Eric Ricker. With both young prospects displaying very quick hands, punches were fast and furious, each fighter landing at will. A blistering left hook to the body dropped Ricker and he was unable to rise from the canvas to beat the count at the 2:27 mark of the first stanza. Williams improves to 11-0-0 (9KO’s) while Ricker fell to 2-3-0.
In the opening bout of the evening, lightweight Julius Legrand of Cleveland made his pro debut a successful one winning every round in an entertaining four round battle against Nashville’s Aaron Anderson. Scores were 40-36 x 3.