By Francisco Salazar
Unbeaten Heavyweight Joe Hanks may be a devastating boxer-puncher. However, Hanks knew better to slug it out with a fighter who has more knockouts than he has fights as a professional. Hanks was able to mostly outbox hard-hitting Johnnie White throughout six rounds, winning a unanimous decision before a sellout crowd of 1,410 at the Marriott in Irvine, CA. The bout headlined a “Battle in the Ballroom” card, presented by Roy Englebrecht Promotions.
Prior to the bout against White, Hanks had knocked out his last three opponents in a row. Although Hanks was physically bigger than his opponent on Thursday night, he did not want to risk slugging it out against a fighter who knew little about other than what his record indicated.
White had lost two of his three previous fights prior to his bout against Hanks, both by knockout. However, White began his career by knocking out 14 of his first 15 opponents.
Hanks started cautiously from the opening bell, moving to the right of White during the first round. He was able to jab and follow it up with an occasional right hand.
“One punch could change the outcome of a fight,” said Hanks, in his dressing room after the fight. “I didn’t see any tapes of him, so I was a little cautious. I just went out there to try and figure him out.”
Apparently, Hanks felt that he could take the best of what White had to offer because he began to let his hands go more. Hanks was able to throw more right hands to the head. Some did not land, but when the punches connected, White did not want to initiate any exchanges between the two.
“I felt his energy going down,” analyzed Hanks, who has become a regular of sorts in Irvine, having now fought six times at the Marriott. I took his best shots early. I covered up really well because he’s a dangerous fighter with experience.”
White did little during the middle rounds. When he did throw punches, it was in the hopes of capitalizing on a mistake by Hanks. However, Hanks was not in any danger throughout the bout.
White actually had a decent fifth round. He was able to sneak a few right hands to the head of Hanks. However, towards the end of the round, Hanks put together a combination to the head that stunned White. Hanks was about to follow up with another combination when the bell sounded to end the round.
Hanks began the sixth round strong, hoping to catch White if he was still affected from the previous round. However, White recovered and tried to fight back. However, White was not busy or effective enough to offset Hank’s offense, which was not his best, but enough to control the fight until the final bell.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Hanks, with scores of 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55. Fightnews.com scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Hanks.
“Looking back, I could’ve pressed the issue more. Maybe I should have picked him apart more. But, I was happy to stick to my game plan. I stayed busy and focused. My main objective was that the fans got a good show and their money’s worth.”
Hanks, from Newark, NJ, improves to 14-0, 9 KO’s. White, from Lake Charles, LA, drops to 22-3, 18 KO’s.
In the co-main event of the evening, Heavyweight Scott Alexander stopped Charles Tucker in the first round of a scheduled four round bout.
Alexander was coming off of a four round majority decision draw against Marcus Dickerson in April. Tucker stopped Ben Davis, who was making his professional debut, in the first round back in May.
After a dull opening minute, Alexander pinned Tucker in a corner and landed a right cross to the head, followed by a left hook to the body. Tucker abruptly went down to one knee. Although he beat the count, Tucker said something to referee Zac Young, who waved the fight over at 1:24. The stoppage brought a chorus of boos from the crowd.
Alexander, from Los Angeles, goes to 6-0-1, 4 KO’s. Tucker, from Detroit, MI, falls to 3-3, 3 KO’s.
Mendez decisions Osuna Super Welterweight Paul Mendez won a six round split decision over Angel Osuna.
Osuna controlled the first round of the bout, beating Mendez to the punch. After the first round, Mendez was the more effective fighter of the two. He controlled the bout by effectively countering with right hands to the head of Osuna.
Mendez wobbled Osuna in the third round by landing a hard left hook to the head. Osuna was able to hold on and survive the round. Although Mendez repeatedly landed counter right hands to the head, he was not able to land the decisive blow to drop Osuna. To his credit, Osuna tried to fight back, but would leave himself open to get hit repeatedly.
One judge scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Osuna, while the other two judges scored the bout 60-54 and 58-56 in favor of Mendez. Fightnews.com scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Mendez.
Mendez, from Bakersfield, CA, improves to 6-1, 2 KO’s. Osuna, from Coachella, CA, falls to 4-3-1, 2 KO’s.
Rivera too much for Suarez Super Welterweight Ruben Rivera stopped Johnny Suarez in the first round of a scheduled six round bout.
The taller Rivera pressed the action from the opening bell, forcing Suarez to back up. As Suarez’ back was against the ropes, Rivera landed a left hook to the chin of Suarez. Almost out on his feet because of the punch, Suarez was in no shape to continue, prompting referee Zac Young to immediately stop the bout at 44 seconds.
Rivera, from Maywood, CA, goes to 5-1-1, 4 KO’s. Suarez, from Burbank, CA, drops to 6-4-2, 4 KO’s.
Contreras rallies to KO Clark Super Bantamweight Richard Contreras had to overcome two rounds of being outboxed to knock out David Clark in the third round of a scheduled four round bout.
Clark started out strong in the first round, landing hard combinations to the head and body. Clark also found a home for lead left hooks to the head, as he moved in and out of Contreras’ reach. Contreras attempted to counter Clark with one punch, a right hand or right uppercut as Clark pressed forward. It was the same in the second round as Clark was the busier fighter, although Contreras pressed the action.
Contreras was able to land more against Clark in the third round. Contreras was able to hurt Clark with a right hand, following it up with a left-right combination to the head, dropping Clark to the canvas. Referee Zac Young began to count, but waved the fight over instead at 1:51.
Contreras, from Riverside, CA, goes to 3-0, 2 KO’s. Clark, from San Diego, CA, falls to 2-2, 1 KO.
Shidaev stops Soto Welterweight Yakub Shidaev stopped Demetrio Soto in the third round of a scheduled four round bout.
Through the first two rounds of the bout, Soto landed the cleaner and more effective punches. Soto, who was fighting for the first time in almost two years, countered with hooks and crosses to the head and body as Shidaev pressed forward. In the second round, Soto suffered a gash on his hairline due to an accidental head butt. Soto had a hard time adjusting to the blood that would seep down beyond his forehead.
Because of this, Shidaev had a strong start to the third round, landing more punches to the head. Shidaev was able to land a hard right hand to the head, dropping Soto to the canvas. After Soto stood up, he tried to fight back, throwing anything he could. However, Shidaev landed at will, especially to the head, prompting referee Jack Reiss to step in and stop the bout at 2:36.
Shidaev, from Northridge, CA, goes to 4-1, 1 KO. Soto, from Los Angeles, CA, drops to 5-2, 4 KO’s.
– Interim world title holder Alfredo Angulo, Heavyweight contender Manuel Quezada, female contender Carina Moreno, and former world champion-turned trainer Robert Garcia took in the action from ringside.
– Three amateur bouts and a mixed martial arts bout also took place on the card.
– Promoter Roy Englebrecht told Fightnews.com that this is the third sellout in a row at the Marriott in Irvine.
– Next “Battle in the Ballroom” card will take place at the Marriott in Irvine on Thursday, October 28th.
– Ring announcer was Mike Hart.