By Bob Ryder at ringside
Photos: Bob Ryder
In the feature attraction at Detroit’s MotorCity Casino-Hotel, Darryl “Peoples Choice” Cunningham won a unanimous ten round decision (98-92, 99-91 x 2) over Ray Darden. Both claim Motown as home. “Styles make fights” is the adage that’s probably been around the fight game since they were matching gladiators in the Coliseum of ancient Rome. In this affair styles didn’t make a fight. It was tedious going at times with little sustained action. After a slow first four rounds the crowd started to voice their displeasure in earnest as boos filled the air in the fifth. Cunningham responded by picking up the pace in the seventh round, initiating the fight’s first real back and forth exchange. Unfortunately, after a good eighth stanza, the fight reverted back to its earlier pattern over the last two. Both super middleweights have shown better here in the past so perhaps it was just an off night for both. Cunningham improves to (26-4, 10 KOs) while Darden goes down to (11-24-1, 4 KOs).
The nights other featured contest had former National Golden Glove champion and Michigan amateur standout Jordan Shimmell of Hudsonville entering the ring for the fourth time as a pro. Promoter Greg Ahrens and matchmaker Carlos Llinas brought in Joe Stofle from St. Charles, MO as a late replacement opponent for the undefeated Shimmell. Joe gave it a try, coming back at Jordan with some heavy, albeit wild swings that Shimmell easily avoided and countered. After seeing their charge take some heavy blows at the start of the second round, Stofle’s corner threw in the towel. Time of the stoppage was :39. Shimmell goes to (4-0, 4 KOs), Stofle now at (12-20-2, 9 KOs).
Fight of the night was easily the eight round middleweight war between Detroit’s Willie Fortune “500” and Mustafa Johnson of Indianapolis. Fortune came out on fire at the first bell and for a moment it looked like he might overwhelm Johnson and end things early. Johnson weathered the storm though and the two warriors settled into a real old school punch out. After a tremendous exchange in the second round Willie began to take over utilizing a superior jab, eventually opening up a cut over Johnson’s left eye in the fifth. Johnson was not deterred by the injury and gave Fortune all he could handle right to the final bell with the crowd on their feet in appreciation. Fortune stays undefeated at (14-0, 6 KOs) winning on scores of 80-72, 79-73, 78-75. The always game Johnson declines to (8-16, 2 KOs).
Another excellent scrap had Detroit’s Gabriel Garza winning a four rounder over Anthony Kelly of Toledo. The two junior middleweights rarely took a step back the entire four rounds to the delight of the fans. Garza now (3-1, 0 KOs), Kelly is (0-3).
Pro debuting heavyweight Jeff Kugel of Roseville, MI worked an excellent jab to set up and eventually stop Bay City’s CJ Glover. After big Jeff sent Glover to the canvas hard in the third, referee Ansel Stewart stopped it at :39. Glover falls to (3-18, 2 KOs).
Bantamweight Jafar Kirtley of Detroit steamrolled Flint’s Delano Kealohapaule, scoring a first round knockout at 1:39 to go to (5-1, 5 KOs). Delano is (0-5).
The nights’ opening contest saw Nick Givan of Kalamazoo use a scorching body attack to halt Toledo’s Eric Ricker at 1:56 of the third in their junior welter match up. Ricker was down twice in the second and two more times in the third with referee Stewart stopping it immediately after Eric’s fourth trip to the canvas. Givan now (2-0, 2 KOs) while Ricker is (3-11, 0 KOs).
Zach Shamoun’s bout with Hoy Mack was scratched with Mack claiming illness.