By Rocco Morales
Before a sellout crowd of 1,340 at the overwhelmingly popular Battle In The Ballroom series at the Irvine Marriott, heavyweight Joe “The Future” Hanks shutout the menacing John Clark in co-main event action in a scheduled six round contest. Hanks opened the fight very strongly and in the first round had Clark in trouble a couple times and by all appearances it seemed like Hanks was headed for a knockout victory. However, to his credit, Clark fought back gamely and was able to not only survive the round but prove himself dangerous for the entirety of the scheduled six round bout.
Photos: Rocco Morales
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Following the opening round, Hanks wisely boxed from a distance and built up a solid lead by virtue of his superior jab and strong overhand right cross. Meanwhile, Clark’s best offense was whenever he would bull rush towards Hanks and push him back, a habit that he likely learned from four years of playing professional football for the San Francisco 49er’s. While such tactics may have served him well in the NFL, these tactics did nothing to help him score points in professional boxing with the ringside judges.
The massive 276 pound Clark did serve as a good measuring stick and stepping stone for Hanks who is seemingly on the verge of going from “prospect” status to “contender” status. However, it would have been more impressive had Hanks been able to stop Clark, as he had been stopped in 5 of his prior 14 losses.
With a unanimous decision victory, with all three judges scoring the fight 60–54, Hanks moves to a perfect (10–0, 6 KOs) while Clark drops to (14–15, 5 KOs).
In co-main event action, a scheduled six round affair, the NABF Featherweight women’s champion, Jenni “The Razor” Barber took on local favorite, Gloria Ramirez from neighboring Santa Ana, CA.
Barber quickly showed why she is the NABF champion and from the opening bell to the final bell, she outclassed the veteran Ramirez, despite having far less professional experience. Barber had the better hand speed, the sharper punches, the better footwork and the confidence necessary to dismantle Ramirez.
By way of a unanimous decision, Barber improved to (9–1, 4 KOs) while dropping Ramirez to (10–16–7, 1 KO).
In supporting action, talented and undefeated local Santa Ana prospect, Robert Vargas, took on the gritty Carlos Luque from Phoenix, AZ, in a scheduled 4 round featherweight fight.
This fight featured the best action of the night as both fighters seemingly gave it their all. However, in the end, Vargas was the clear winner and emerged victorious by scores of 39–37 on all three judges scorecards.
With the victory, Vargas improves to (4–0–1) while Luque drops to (1–4).
In other supporting action, a 4 round Super Featherweight contest, undefeated local Santa Ana prospect, Arquimedez Garcia, bit off more than he could chew in accepting the challenge of Las Vegas’ Renell Griffin.
Both fighters traded bombs in the opening minute of the round but it was clearly the awkward styled Griffin who had the edge over the more polished Garcia. Griffin, who despite fighting straight up with his chin exposed, was able to get to Garcia before Garcia got to his exposed chin. Following a hard left cross from Griffin high to the top of the Garcia, Garcia went down and despite his best efforts was unable to arise, stumbling around the ring so badly that the referee had no other choice but to stop the fight.
By way of knockout victory at 1:25 of Round 1, Griffin improved to (6–2, 1 KO), while Garcia suffers his first loss as a professional and drops to (4–1, 2 KOs).
In opening action it was a scheduled 4 round heavyweight affair as Scott Alexander from Los Angeles, CA, took on Chad Davis from Phoenix, AZ.
Ultimately, it was Alexander who emerged as the unanimous decision victor to improve to (5-0, 3 KOs) while dropping Davis to (1–5).
In attendance were former heavyweight champions Chris Byrd and Lamon Brewster who were both looking very fit and ready for their next challenges.
Promoter for the event was Roy Englebrecht Promotions. Battle In The Ballroom returns to the Irvine Marriott for its final show of the year on Thursday, December 17th and tickets may be purchased by visiting www.battleintheballroom.com