By Sam Geraci at ringside
Photos by JoeyHill.com for HITZ Boxing
After making headlines for the last several months by calling out of the Illinois boxing commission, the refereeing of the Donatas Bondorovas vs. Brian Vera bout and opponents for his top-rated heavyweight, Fres Oquendo, Chicago’s Bobby Hitz returned to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN, to make headlines for what he does best: Promote boxing events.
“It was a terrific event. The fighters did a great job and the fan support was amazing,” Hitz added, “It was a big night of boxing around the world and we were up against the Bulls in the playoffs, but the fans still came out to see their favorite fighters.”
In the main event of Saturday’s “Fight Night at the Horseshoe,” Andrey Fedosov (24-2, 18 KOs), former Russian and WBC Youth Intercontinental heavyweight titlist, continued climbing the international ranks by chopping-down Darnell “Ding-A-Ling Man” Wilson (24-17-2, 20 KOs) with body shots before stopping him in the fifth with a three-punch combination upstairs.
For the first two rounds, Fedosov controlled the action by cutting off the ring, which forced Wilson into the corners so that he could unleash thudding body shots, particularly the right hook. Fedosov’s hand speed, combination punching and dedication to the body were impressive and appeared to be wearing on the usually durable Wilson. Toward the end of the second, Wilson seemed content or resigned to lean against the ropes with the hope that they could help absorb Fedosov’s shots while he attempted to sneak in an occasional looping lead right or counter left hook.
In the third, Fedosov continued to attack Wilson’s body but also began to work his shots upstairs behind a stiff jab. Toward the middle of the round, Fedosov was landing his jab upstairs followed by crisp right hands while still investing in the body. Toward the end of the round, Wilson began to taunt Fedosov and state, “I’m just getting started.” Fedosov was undaunted and responded by pounding Wilson’s ribcage with a double left hook.
Throughout the fourth Fedosov continued to cut off the ring while landing to the body and head. From the middle of the fourth on, Fedosov was successful in outsmarting Wilson by intermittently looping his right instead of shooting it straight. Toward the end of the fourth, it appeared as if Wilson would quit but he somehow managed to continue despite absorbing several crushing body blows before the bell rang.
At the start of the fifth, all confidence had been drawn from Wilson’s face as he was no longer looking to counter and was reduced to back-peddling while covering up to lessen the brunt of Fedosov’s blows. Less than a minute into the round, Fedosov backed Wilson into a corner and unleashed three ferocious body shots that forced Wilson to take a knee. As the referee counted to ten, Wilson looked to his corner and then to Fedosov to acknowledge that he had been defeated. The official time of the KO was at 53 seconds of the fifth.
After the bout, Hitz praised his Fedosov’s performance.
“To me, you got to win at this level to go to the next. Fedosov is a focused kid and he keeps pressing throughout a fight. I was really impressed by him tonight,” said Hitz.
Olusegun vs. Griffin
In the first bout of the evening, junior welterweight contender Ajose Olusegun (31-1, 14 KOs) of Lagos, Nigeria, returned to the ring for the first time since his September TKO loss to Lucas Matthysse to outclass Rynell Griffin (6-15-2, 2 KOs) of Las Vegas, NV. All judges scored the bout 80-72.
For the first thirty seconds of the bout, Olusegun came out with his guard high looking to counter as the two southpaws circled each other. Because Griffin was reluctant to let his hands go, a trend that would continue throughout the bout, Olusegun became the aggressor and began to dig to the body with vicious right hooks. Towards the middle of the round, during one of Olusegun’s combinations to the body, Griffin sneaked in a solid looping left, which was the best shot of the round. In the final thirty seconds of the round, however, Olusegun finally appeared to have warmed up and the difference in class began to emerge. Olusegun was now circling and using his superior footwork to turn Griffin while firing shots more freely and frequently. Aside from the one significant shot landed by Griffin, the first was a dominant round for Olusegun.
In the second, Olusegun continued his onslaught to the body and began to triple and quadruple his right uppercut. Because of Olusegun’s punch output and foot movement, Griffin began to appear confused. At about the one-minute mark, Griffin opened up and landed another solid looping left hand that forced Olusegun to hold briefly. Although Griffin had been beaten throughout the round, as the round came to a close, Griffin’s confidence seemed to be on the rise until Olusegun wobbled him with several dynamic right hooks followed by an uppercut.
In the third, Olusegun continued to overwhelm Griffin with his right hand and began to find a home for his counter right hook each time Griffin attempted to throw his left. Despite his Olusegun’s successful attack, Griffin was still game. Toward the midway point of the round, Olusegun began to open up to the body and fired ten unanswered shots that buckled Griffin’s legs. For the final minute of the round, because Olusegun had invested so much into the body, Griffin had begun to leave himself unprotected upstairs, and, as a result, Olusegun landed a beautiful straight left that appeared to hurt Griffin in the final thirty seconds. Griffin attempted to rally at the end of the round, but was unsuccessful in causing any damage. His efforts did, however, appear to surprise Olusegun, who must have begun to wonder if he was going to be able to score the knockout.
Olusegun caused serious damage in the fourth, as Griffin continued to try to put up a fight but was simply outclassed. Olusegun was able to outpunch and outwork Griffin while using his shoulder to avoid being hit. Toward the midway point of the round, Olusegun landed about fifteen consecutive shots and had Griffin bleeding from the mouth, nose and eyes before Griffin managed to sneak in a looping left hand that buckled the knees of Olusegun. Olusegun put on a show to illustrate that he was not hurt but the truth is that he was affected. Griffin’s shot and his attempts at a rally in the last thirty seconds probably prevented the scoring of a 10-8 round and perhaps a stoppage.
In the fifth, Griffin began the round by backing himself into the ropes in order to use them to help absorb Olusegun’s onslaught. Griffin was trying to throw, but his offense, which was incomplete, was nothing like his heart. Throughout the fifth, Olusegun began to vary his attack by working off of his jab instead of the right hook to the body, which appeared to be less effective. In the final minute of the round, Olusegun landed a six-punch combination that was lead by three right hooks and followed by two wide lefts and a right hook.
In the sixth, seventh and eighth, Griffin continued to back himself into the ropes as Olusegun punished him to the body while looking for the big shot. Toward the middle of the seventh, Olusegun’s attack began to lack creativity, and, as a result, he was unsuccessful in splitting the guard of Griffin. In the eighth, Olusegun thumped Griffin to the body and the arms of his guard, but Griffin somehow managed to stay on his feet for the final bell.
After the bout, Olusegun and his famed trainer, Buddy McGirt, expressed that it’s difficult to score the knockout when one fighter gets it in his head that he’s not going to take risks in order to win the fight. Olusegun also expressed that he is looking to challenge fighters in the top-ten for his next bout.
McKinney vs. Ramirez
Welterweight Nick Ramirez (2-0-1, 1 KO) of Chicago, IL, outboxed Chad McKinney (1-1) of Schiller Park, IL, to score a unanimous decision. Scores were 40-34 (twice) and 39-35.
Throughout the bout, McKinney plowed forward recklessly without a jab and his head held high as Ramirez stepped back in order to create space to counter with left hooks and straight right hands. Ramirez appeared to concede the third by back peddling without countering, but came on strong in the fourth by flooring McKinney with a counter right hand. McKinney appeared to be out on his feet but managed to survive until the final bell.
Canas vs. Titsworth
Junior welterweight Antonio Canas (7-1-1, 3 KO) of Chicago, IL, rebounded from his December TKO loss to Adrian Granados by outworking and outclassing Trent Titsworth (5-16-2, 2 KOs) of Omaha, NE, in an ugly bout in which Titsworth did more clinching and smiling than this reporter has ever seen in a professional prize fight. Scores were 60-52, 60-52 and 60-50.
Throughout the bout, Canas plowed forward looking to land his big right hand against his much taller foe, but Titsworth, who stands 6’2″, used his height to create distance or his long arms to pull down the head of Canas whenever Canas was close to succeeding in forcing a fight to break out. Titsworth was penalized a point in the third for pulling down Canas’s head. In the sixth, in an attempt to mock Titsworth, Canas turned his back and began to run around the ring. While it was entertaining, it was also a sign that Canas, like most fans present, were beginning to lose their patience. When Canas returned to the “action,” he recklessly charged Titsworth and suffered a gash above one of his eyes. The crowd jeered Titsworth as he left the ring.
Navarro vs. Gauthier
Welterweight Roy Navarro (1-0, 1 KO) of Downers Grove, IL, made his pro debut by stopping Justin Gauthier (0-2) of Green Bay, WI, at 1:35 of the first round after Gauthier was unable to continue because of a shoulder injury. Navarro looked sharp behind his jab and solid footwork and appeared to be working his way toward a first or second round stoppage before the injury.
McCants vs. Fiore
Russell Fiore (8-2-1, 6 KOs) of Chicago, IL, defeated Corey McCants (2-11-2, 1 KO) of Newburgh, NY, by split decision with one score of 39-37 for McCants and two scores of 39-37 for Fiore.
Fiore was the aggressor throughout while McCants elected to fight from a distance firing an occasional jab or counter. Neither fighter landed anything of significance; both fighters wasted plenty of time circling each other.
McCants is trained by Dewey Bozella.
Navarrete vs. Bowen
Lightweight Fidelmar Navarrete (0-0-1) of Chicago, IL, fought to a majority draw with Fred Bowen (0-1-1) of Jackson, TN. Scores were 39-37 for Navarrete and 38-38 (twice).
It was a sloppy bout comprised of clinches, head butts and takedowns in which neither fighter appeared to take a clear advantage in any of the rounds. Navarrete was the aggressor throughout and appeared to land more frequently, but Bowen appeared to land the harder and cleaner shots as Navarrete charged forward without a jab. Many at ringside who were familiar with Navarrete’s amateur experience and sparring thought this was going to be a showcase bout.
Scalise vs. Nash
Lightweight Chicago fan-favorite Frank Scalise (6-1, 6 KOs) of Chicago, IL, knocked out Reggie Nash (10-32-1, 2 KOs) of Chattanooga, TN, at 2:05 of the third round.
Scalise controlled every second of the bout by cutting off the ring and attacking Nash’s body with left and right hooks. Scalise scored one knockdown in the first, two knockdowns in the second, and three knockdowns in the third. All of the knockdowns were a result of combinations to the body.
Ortuz vs. Kilfian
Undefeated cruiserweight Dimar “Strongman” Ortuz (9-0, 6 KOs) of Chicago, IL, continued to show why he is a Chicago fighter worth watching when he scored a TKO of Harley Kilfian (10-12, 8 KOs) of Menomonie, WI, at :01 of the fourth round.
In the first round, Ortuz came out aggressively and imposed his size to smother and outmuscle Kilfian. At times, Ortuz elected to switch to a conventional stance despite being a very effective southpaw. Toward the midway point of the round, Ortuz was credited with a knockdown after catching Kilfian with a straight lead left that forced Kilfian to lean against the ropes in order to avoid falling to the mat.
In the second, Kilfian began to bleed from the nose and mouth and appeared to be spent by the midway point of the round. Ortuz continued to pressure Kilfian throughout the round before catching him with a right hook followed by an overhand left that scored another knockdown near the two-minute mark. Kilfian managed to escape the round.
Throughout the third, Ortuz continued to impose his size and his unique style of craftily coming forward while holding, smothering and punching in order to rough up his opposition and force them to quit. Ortuz pushed Kilfian around the ring before scoring a knockdown with a looping left upstairs. Shortly after the knockdown, Ortuz jumped on Kilfian and appeared to have him hurt again after landing a lead left followed by a three-punch combination. Somehow, Kilfian again managed to survive the round.
Before the start of the fourth, Kilfian announced that he would not be coming out for the bell.
Asberry vs. out Khuzaymah al-Nubuat
Heavyweight Nick Asberry (1-0, 1 KO) of Waukegan, IL, made his pro debut by knocking out Khuzaymah al-Nubuat (0-4) of Fostoria, OH, at 1:06 of the first with a short right hand.