By Sam Geraci
Photos: Tom Barnes/Tomba Images
In the main event of Hitz Boxing’s “Fight Night at the Horseshoe,” Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez (11-1, KOs) of Chicago, IL, came up short in his quest to establish himself as a contender against Derrick “Superman” Findley (21-11-1, 9 KOs) of Gary, IN, one of the sport’s true gatekeepers. Findley also captured the vacant UBF All Americas super middleweight.
Findley dropped and hurt Jimenez in the third with a dynamic overhand right. Although Jimenez rose to his feet and willed himself to the seventh, he was never able to fully recover and Findley was never willing to give him the time to do so. In seventh, with Findley throwing and landing bombs at will, Jimenez’ corner wisely threw in the towel at 51 seconds of the round. After the bout, Findley expressed what this fight means to him and his thoughts on Jimenez.
“I can fight, and I’ve been in there with the best. This kid is going to be a good fighter someday, but he wasn’t ready for me. He’s never been hit.” Findley continued, “A lot of these fighters build records by fighting bums and drug addicts. You have to get in there with guys who know how to fight before you start calling someone great,” said Findley.
In the opening round, Jimenez came out looking to use his height to create distance while Findley looked to close the distance in order to land his left hook upstairs and to the body. Although Jimenez had some success from a distance with his jab and with a couple of uppercuts on the inside, overall, Findley’s sheer aggression, which forced Jimenez to the ropes on several occasions, and his left hooks to the body and head were the difference in the first. In the final thirty seconds of the round, Findley pounded Jimenez against the ropes with lefts to the body and thudding overhand rights that appeared to hurt Jimenez. Good round for Findley.
In the second, Findley continued to plow forward landing thudding shots to the body, but Jimenez appeared to do a better job of catching and rolling with Findley’s shots. That being said, Findley’s sheer aggression and ability to punch through the guard of Jimenez to score with big left hooks and powerful right hands were the difference as the round wore on. As the round came to a close, the crowd chanted, “Hollywood! Hollywood!” but Jimenez was unable to respond. Findley, on the other hand, pounded Jimenez in the corner with left hooks and right hands. Another good round for Findley.
In the third, Findley continued to plow forward without any respect for Jimenez and was caught with a solid uppercut within in the first thirty seconds of the round, but it did not faze or deter Findley and his attack. Several seconds later, Findley landed a dynamic overhand as Jimenez attempted to back away from Findley along the ropes right that sent Jimenez crashing to the mat. Despite being seriously hurt, Jimenez rose to his feet and continued to fight. After rising to his feet, Jimenez took several more dynamic overhand rights but somehow managed to stay on his feet.
In the fourth, it was more of the same: Jimenez trying to get on his bicycle to avoid Findley’s attack while Findley’s aggression and belief in his power and chin were enough to put Jimenez into positions where it appeared he wouldn’t make it through the round. That was, however, until Findley landed a low blow that gave Jimenez more than two minutes to regain his strength. While Jimenez wisely took his time to recover, Findley played to the crowd and the corner of Jimenez by laughing at them and taunting Jimenez. After the break, Jimenez was more successful than he had been, but Findley was still the better man.
Throughout the fifth, even though Jimenez was able to control the distance much better than he had done in the earlier rounds, it was still Findley who was landing more frequently and with more meaning. In the final thirty seconds of the round, Findley landed another low blow that gave Jimenez more time to regroup. Shortly after returning to action, however, Findley landed a terrific left hook that wobbled the legs of Jimenez and secured an otherwise competitive round.
Toward the beginning of the sixth, Jimenez attempted to exchange with Findley and was caught with a dynamic shot that nearly floored him. Shortly after that dynamic right, Findley hit on the break, which provided Jimenez with another period to recover as Findley was warned. For the remainder of the round, Jimenez did his best to survive while trying to sneak in the occasional jab or uppercut but it was Findley doing all of the damage as both fighters swung wildly. As he returned to his corner, Jimenez, always the entertainer and always honest in his assessment of his performance, winked at press row as if to acknowledge that, “Yes, this is a real fight and I’m losing, but look at me, I’m the kind of fighter who can take this and keep going.”
In the seventh, Jimenez came out with everything, swung wildly and looked to exchange; it was futile and it was his last struggle as an undefeated fighter. Findley simply smiled while walking through the shots of Jimenez in order to land the types of bombs that would have put most fighters to sleep. Although he was still standing at the time of the stoppage, Jimenez should be grateful that his corner was wise enough to stop the bout when it did.
Bondas Decisions Thompson
After a good showing on ESPN FNF against Brian Vera, middleweight Donatas Bondas (18-4-1, 6 KOs) of Kaunas, Lithuania beat up a game Skylar Thompson (12-8, 10 KOs) of Rockford, IL, over six rounds en route to a unanimous decision with three scores of 60-54.
In the first, Bondas used his superior footwork, defense and hand speed to control the first. Although neither fighter was able to score with consistency, the pressure and tight defense of Bondas mixed with several crafty hooks and counter rights appeared to do enough to discourage Thompson and take the round.
Even though Thompson came out with more energy in the second, Bondas’s superior technique, tight defense and crisp right hands hurt Thompson and controlled the round. There appeared to be several moments when Thompson might be ready to go down, but he maintained his composure and showed the grit of a twenty-fight opponent.
In the third, Bondas continued to outclass Thompson, who at one point elected to drop his guard in order to show the strength of his beard. With Thompson’s chin exposed, Bondas scored with at least three left hooks and two looping rights that nearly floored Thompson. Thompson managed to survive the round but was unable to mount any real offensive.
In the fourth, Bondas threw and landed frequently to the head and body. The difference in conditioning and class began to show as the round progressed. As the round came to a close, most at ringside began to question whether Thompson could survive another like this one.
Throughout the fifth and sixth, Bondas continued to pressure Thompson while pounding him to the body with left hooks and snapping him to the chin with crisp and short rights. Despite the damage he incurred and the increase in power shots that Bondas unleashed in the final round, somehow, Thompson managed to make it to the final bell.
After the bout, Bondas expressed that he intends to seek bigger fights at junior middleweight.
Bowen Decisions Menigoz
Chicago’s favorite gym rat, Fred Bowen (1-1-1) of Jackson, TN, who has fought his way off the streets and into hearts and gyms of Chicago’s fight scene, earned his first victory by scoring a hard-fought unanimous decision against the bout’s “favorite,” Rob Menigoz (0-1) of St. Anne, IL. Scores were 39-36 and 40-35 twice. Bowen used his superior footwork and hand speed to control the action throughout and put all doubt to rest as to who was the better man by scoring a knockdown in the final round with four-punch flurry.
Arambula Decisions Muhammed
Chicago fan favorite Jose “Chico” Arambula (5-0, 3 KOs) of Harvey, IL, scored a unanimous decision against Markel Muhammad (2-14) of Columbus, OH. Scores were 39-33 and 39-32 twice. It was an ugly and surprisingly boring bout, which is surprising considering that Arambula has slowing built a reputation as one of Chicago’s future stars. Arambula scored two knockdowns in the first, one in the third and one in the fourth. Arambula was penalized one point in the third for punching while his opponent was down.
Fiore Decisions Jordan
Lightweight fan favorite Russell “Rocky” Fiore (10-2-1, 7 KOs) of Chicago, IL, defeated Ronnie Jordan (1-3-1) of Cincinnati, OH, via unanimous decision with two scores of 40-36 and one score of 39-37
Fiore overwhelmed Jordan throughout the first with his pressure, overhand rights and occasional left hooks. Neither fighter deserved much credit in the second as neither threw or landed anything of significance. Near the one-minute mark of the third, Fiore managed to score with a stiff jab followed by sharp right that sent Jordan falling to the ropes. Jordan managed to stay on his feet and even managed to make the remainder of the round a fight.
In the fourth and final round of the bout, with the crowd chanting “Rocky! Rocky!” Fiore attempted his best Balboa with homerun swings but only scored with occasional looping rights. That being said, because of Jordan’s inability to open up, the occasional looping rights of Fiore were enough to carry the round and the bout for that matter.
Buettner Decision Denson
Light heavyweight Simon “The Punisher” Buettner (5-0, 3 KOs) of Carpentersville, scored a unanimous decision against James Denson (5-15, 2 KOs) of Akron, OH, with three scores of 40-36.
In the first round, Buettner plowed forward behind thudding body shots that backed Denson to the ropes. When against the ropes, Buettner swung wildly to break through Denson’s guard while Denson simply covered up in order to survive.
The second and third were more of the same as Buettner pounded Denson to the body while Denson might not have managed to throw more than ten punches combined.
In the fourth, Denson began to gain confidence and even managed to throw more than ten punches in the round. In fact, several of his shots were crisp and a sneaky left hook managed to bust up Buettner’s nose. That said, Buettner’s sheer aggression and attack to the body were still enough to carry the round.
Ramirez Decisions Smith
Welterweight Nick “Bad Boy Ramirez (3-0-1, 1 KO) of Rockford, IL scored a workman-like unanimous decision over “Da Chosen 1” Ricky Smith (1-3) of Green Bay, WI, with scores of 40-36 and 39-37 twice.
For the first two minutes of the bout, Smith simply outworked Ramirez, who reverted to the inactivity that cost him a win in his pro debut and backed straight back with his head held high. In the final minute of the round, however, Ramirez might have done enough to steal a close round with a couple of solid shots landed.
In the second, Ramirez came out aggressively and landed several stiff jabs followed by stiff right hands before suffering a brutal clash of heads that opened a large gash above his right eye. After the doctor took a long look at the cut, Ramirez returned to action and began to outclass Smith before landing an accidental low blow that provided both fighters with another two minute break. Overall, it was a very good round for Ramirez.
In the third, Ramirez appeared more focused and as a result dominated the round and even managed to hurt Smith to the body with several thudding left hooks. Big round for Ramirez.
For some reason, to start the fourth, Ramirez backed himself to the ropes and absorbed a solid three-punch combination: a one-two upstairs followed by a left hook to the body. Shortly after, however, Ramirez took control of the round with counter left hooks upstairs and downstairs, and even appeared to have Smith on his way out after attempting to chop him down with thudding hooks to the body.
Romero Decisions Jackson
Lightweight Jose Romero (1-0) of Chicago, IL, made his pro debut by fighting through cuts above both eyes to score a unanimous decision over Chris Jackson (0-1) of Chicago, IL, with three scores of 40-35.
Romero controlled the first with his aggression and left hook but absorbed several stiff right hands and an accidental clash of heads that caused a cut above his right eye.
To start the second, Jackson came out with aggression but was met with a terrifically timed overhand right that forced Jackson to put his glove to the mat to maintain his footing. After receiving the mandatory eight, Jackson attempted to exchange with Romero but lacked the firepower to keep the tough slugger’s hook from landing. Toward the final minute of the round, Jackson managed to back Romero to the neutral corner to land several solid shots but found himself with his back to the ropes nearly on his way out as the bell sounded.
Throughout the third, Romero stalked his winded opponent and landed frequently with his left hook. Although Jackson was game throughout the round, his poor footwork and complete lack of power made it impossible for him to get into position to hurt Romero.
In the fourth, Romero put a hurtin’ on Jackson, who had his mouthpiece knocked out and was nearly knocked out on several occasions with left hooks and overhand rights. With ten seconds remaining, Romero did what he could to put an end to the bout as Jackson did more than most could in trying to survive.
Mendez vs. Antoine
In the final bout of the evening, welterweight Genaro Mendez (7-1-1, 4 KOs) of Chicago, IL, outworked “The Black Spartan” Damon Antoine (11-50-2, 5 KOs) of Akron, OH, en route to a unanimous to decision with three scores of 40-36.
This installment of “Fight Night at the Horseshoe” featured a terrific turnout with well-matched bouts that all went the distance except for the main event. A great night of fights.