By Julian Burgower at ringside
Washington DC’s latest boxing event at the Renaissance Hotel solidified the current resurgence of the National Capital Regions’ stake of producing a hotbed of local talent. Recent success has included top-flight names such as Heavyweight hopeful Seth Mitchell, former Junior Welterweight Champion Lamont Peterson and brother Anthony, and most impressively 2008 Olympian Gary Russell Jr. The card brought a taste of Vegas to the event, complete with an Elvis impersonator greeting the fans ringside. Elvis’s presence in the building was fitting as nearly half of the participating warriors ended their night “All Shook Up,” with five first-round knockouts posted in a scheduled seven-bout card.
Heavyweight Donnell Holmes, 34-2-2 (29), posted a workman-like six-round decision victory over veteran opponent Maurice Winslow, 3-17-1 (3) in the main event, which unfortunately was anti-climatic after the string of knockouts made each act tougher to follow than the last.
Winslow, 223lbs, opened up fast, employing a bobbing and weaving peek-a-boo style as he moved to land inside. Although game, Winslow did not possess the expected power usually accompanied to such a style. By the second round he had resigned himself to lying against the ropes and allowing Holmes to bang away with an occasional counter in response. Holmes scored with a body shot in the third that appeared to take Wilson’s wind, followed by a right to the head to mark the bell. These would be the most telling punches of the fight as Holmes, adorned with trunks paying homage to Heavyweight great Larry “The Easton Assassin” Homes (no relation between the two), chugged to a 59-55 (twice) and 60-54 unanimous decision. Fightnews scored the bout 59-55.
Babie Girl Promotions, headed by native Washingtonian Cassandra White, made a bit of boxing history according to the DC Boxing Commission. The event employed the first all-female officiating crew with referees Michelle Myers and Sharon Sands alternating fights. Being the first female promoted boxing event with an all-female crew was not, however, the most impressive female first as the lead-in fight to the main event would later prove. Making her pro debut at 112lbs was Tyrieshia Douglas. “Rie,” the runner-up to Christina Cruz in the first-ever women’s Olympic Trials, made short work of overmatched Ashley Langston of Wilson, NC. It became quickly apparent that whoever would have been sacrificed to Douglas would have been overmatched. Douglas moved around the ring fluidly with a fast jab and pinpoint combinations, grinning as her raucous hometown fan base turned up the volume an extra notch. Midway through the first, Douglas connected with a crisp one-two out of her southpaw stance that sliced Langston’s inner-mouth severely enough that she immediately turned to the referee with her white flag at full mast. Time of the stoppage was 1:46 of the first. Expect big things from this little lady as she has the skill set not often seen, male or female.
David Grayton, of Washington, DC, scored a win in his pro debut against Gregory Joyner of Wilson, NC. The referee halted the action at 1:17 of the first, as Joyner turned his back to Grayton’s attack one too many times for her to stomach. Joyner drops his third straight in as many fights.
240lb Danny Kelly’s size advantage over Orion Bolds’ 200lb frame was too much for the Canton, OH native in a four-round Heavyweight matchup. Bolds applied a jab and hold strategy that smothered Kelly’s longer reach in the first two minutes of the fight. This proved effective, although highly unpopular with the pro-Kelly contingent. Kelly remained cool and patient, and unleashed a strafing hook to Bolds’ midsection that prompted a delayed reaction drop to one knee. Bolds opted to remain in his propositional position until the count of ten had been reached. Time was 2:01 of the first.
In female Heavyweight action, Kaela Holton improved to 3-0 (1) with a unanimous decision victory over Kasondra Hardnett in a rematch which Holton had won the first by majority decision in March. Holton worked behind an effective double jab that the plodding Hardnett had no answer for. Scores were 40-36 (twice) and 39-37. Fightnews tallied the final score at 40-36.
Local talent was in full force on the night with several notable victories, including the Junior Welterweight destruction that Terron Grant, 3-0 (2), administered to Divirous Sanders, 0-4 (0). Sanders’ body language read fear from the jump as Grant was aggressive out of the block. Grant connected with a crisp right hand that spun the retreating Sanders in a complete 360 before the follow-up right sent him face-first to the canvas. Sanders remained on the deck well past the count of ten. Time was 41 seconds of the first as Grant continues to look sharp in his brief pro career.
The first bout of the evening featured Jerry “The Slug” Forrest against Keon Graham, who both tipped the scales at 235lbs. Forrest went straight to Graham’s body, who carried his Heavyweight stature with significant prominence in the belly. Forrest quickly followed to the head and knocked Graham halfway back to Akron, OH. Graham was very unsteady upon rising and should have probably been retired for the evening by the referee, although Forrest was allowed to continue the slaughter and promptly knocked Graham back down, this time for good. The knockout was recorded again at 41 seconds of the first round. To add to his debut knockout victory, the former National Golden Gloves Champion celebrated with an athletic display of handsprings and a full back-flip routine that would make our current Olympic gymnastics team blush.
Notables in the crowd included top-ranked Heavyweight contender Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell, legendary local trainer Ham Johnson, Junior Middleweight prospect Alantez Fox, Junior Welterweight contender Anthony Peterson, former Junior Welterweight Champion Lamont Peterson and Olympic Trials standout Antoine Douglas.