By Rocco Morales
Thursday night, a sellout crowd of 1,412 fight fans came out to the Irvine Marriott for the ever popular Battle In The Ballroom put on by Roy Englebrecht Promotions. In main event action, somebody’s “0″ had to go and in this case it was going to be one of two undefeated heavyweights, as Ashanti Jordan risked his perfect (10-0, 7 KOs) record against the very tough Joe Hanks (8-0, 6 KOs). Although Hanks had a noticeable size advantage, and having fought before in the Battle Of The Ballroom series, enjoyed the hometown support, it was Ashanti who seemed to have more experience, if not the better skills. However, it was Hanks who was able to let his fists fly and who racked up the points on the judges scorecards, while Jordan mostly countered Hanks.
Photos: Rocco Morales
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In what turned out to be more of a chess match than a brawl, Hanks fought a very intelligent fight and did not allow himself to get hurt by any hard counters from Jordan. Although not the heavyweight fisticuffs that some may have hoped for, it did prove Hanks to be an intelligent and talented heavyweight fighter who seems ready to continue moving up and challenging tougher and tougher opponents.
By the final bell, it was evident to all in attendance, and to each fighter in the ring, that it was Hanks who won the fight and the judges agreed, awarding Hanks a Unanimous Decision victory to keep his record perfect at 9-0, while handing Jordan his first loss and dropping him to 10-1.
In a supporting heavyweight fight, 6’7″ Lionel Davis towered over the sculpted but undersized “Mighty” Mitch Williams, with at least an 8 inch height advantage.
Davis, despite his huge height and reach advantage, frustrated his own corner by not jabbing nearly as often as they would have liked, despite the fact that when he did jab, he usually landed and knocked Williams off balance.
Williams was never really able to penetrate the long reach of Davis and fought from the outside, mostly eating occasional jabs, and winging shots that came nowhere close to landing.
On the couple occasions Davis did let a jab/cross combination go, he could have been confused for someone much more dangerous like heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, but these occasions were few and far between, as Davis seemed unsure of his own abilities.
In the end, it was Davis winning a unanimous decision victory and raising his record to 2-0 while dropping Williams to 1-2.
In other supporting action, and the best fight of the evening, hometown Robert Vargas, met Jerry Mondragon in a 4 round Featherweight contest.
Both fighters came out swinging and this lasted into the second round when a bad clash of heads between the two opened up a bad gash over the head of Mondragon and the fight had to be stopped. The ruling was a technical draw and Vargas’ record went to 3-0-2, while Mondragon moves to 3-1-1.
In a supporting Jr. Welterweight 4 round affair, debuting hometowner Logan Velasco met once beaten Limmie Johnson. Although Johnson came out very aggressive and threw haymaker punches from the get go, most of these punches landed nothing but air, as Velasco kept his cool and boxed from the outside, hurting Johnson on a couple occasions.
Suspiciously, Johnson signaled to the referee that he was in great pain and blamed an arm injury. When his corner said he could not continue, the referee had no choice but to wave off the contest towards the end of the first round, giving Velasco the TKO victory. Velasco moves to 1-0, while Johnson drops to 0-2.
In the opening bout of the evening, hometown Ludwin Mondragon met Alejandro Solario in a different “somebody’s ’0′ must go”, as both entered the ring without a victory to their names. However, the twice beaten Solario fought like a world beater and convincingly floored Mondragon, and although the referee probably should have stopped the fight, Solario was forced to punish Mondragon some more before the referee finally came to his rescue as he was about to be floored again.
With the knockout victory, Solario improves to 1-2, while Monragon drops to 0-2.
As always, it was a very festive crowd and there were Hooter Girls in attendance giving out prizes and making the rounds, while many of the fans were evidently loyal Battle In The Ballroom guests, as everyone seemed to know everyone. Former WBA Heavyweight Champion, Mike “Hercules” Weaver, was in attendance and still looking great, especially with two beautiful, exotic women on his arms.
Battle In The Ballroom returns to the Irvine Marriott on Thursday, October 29th at 7:30pm, and tickets may be purchased by visiting www.battleintheballroom.com