By Brad Snyder, The Undercard
Photos: Bob Ryder
When you have the Detroit Lions making a playoff appearance the same night as a Detroit boxing card, some may worry. Cornelius Bundrage joked and said, “I have given more World Championships to the city than the Lions.” Needless to say, Bundrage was right and people came out and supported promoter Eddie Jaafar’s show in Dearborn, Saturday night.
The main event featured Cornelius “K-9” Bundrage facing off against Sergio Gomez from Nicaragua. Bundrage stepping into the ring for the first time since his loss to Jermal Charlo on September 12, 2015, K-9 admitted earlier in the week that this fight was no swan song. At 43 years of age, Bundrage said, “i hope this is another start to a run at the title.”
Round 1, Bundrage looked sharp even with the time off. He fired a jab to the head, then a hook to the body like a skipping record, over and over again. As Gomez braced for impact, a right to the body sent him to the floor. Gomez quickly got up to find himself suddenly back to the canvas with a left jab and right hook to the body again from Bundrage. The fight looked close to being over in the 1st Round, but Bundrage paused his attack in the final ten seconds. Round 2 was more Bundrage, less Gomez as the fight was just now a two-time champion beating on a willing but overmatched opponent. Bundrage ended the night with a right to Gomez’s head. No longer able to stand, Gomez took the 10 count on a knee from Referee Gerald White.
Afterwards, Bundrage admitted he was “just happy to be back in the ring.” Candidly, Bundrage said, “On paper, this was not a hard fight. But I’m coming off a loss. This was a hard fight.” The 2:06 2nd Round knockout moved Bundrage to (34-6-1 NC 20 KO) as Gomez falls to (20-21). Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns joined Bundrage in the ring to congratulate him on the win. Hearns jokingly told K-9 on the house microphone, that he wanted to fight him and that Bundrage was avoiding him. This sincere moment between the two former champions capped a festive night.
James Ballard had some common and not so common problems that a boxer may encounter during fight week. Ballard’s dog ate his boxing shoes the week of the fight. Luckily, with the help of his friend, John Lepak, Ballard had an amazing solution to his problem. Lepak, a former member of Fight Night Inc., worked on several Mike Tyson promotions and had a pair of Tyson’s training shoes lying around.
Lepak said, “I believe things are written so when James’ dog ate his shoes, I was literally looking at Tyson’s black boots. They were gifted to me after a training camp before a fight.” Lepak gave Ballard the pair of Tyson’s custom made training shoes to help him out. “Where I came from, it’s an honor to carry a spit bucket or tie a fighter’s shoes. These guys risk their lives for our entertainment,” John said. Ballard was facing a tough opponent in Robert Guerra and was tested throughout the six round fight.
Round 1 saw a patient Ballard snapping a left jab while controlling the ring. Round 2 saw more of Ballard trying to end the fight against Guerra. As the middle rounds of the fight continued, Guerra began trading blows with Ballard. Guerra catches Ballard flush in the head sending him down to the canvas in Round 5. Ballard later admitted to the crowd that punch hurt him from Guerra. As Round 6 started, both fighters encouraged the crowd to get loud, waving their hands up to the sky. The 6th Round ended with both fighters trading blows until the final bell sounded. James Ballard improved to (8-0) winning the unanimous decision (58-55, 57-56, 60-55). Guerra falls to (2-4).
Sinan Fradi was able to keep a wild Dean Walsh from connecting with a haymaker. Fradi was able to send Walsh to the canvas three times to win by first round TKO. Fradi improved to (1-0, 1 KO, 1 NC) and Walsh falls to (0-5).
In the Super Welterweight fight between Janelson Bocachica and Matthew Murphy, the crowd was treated to a maturing boxer and a boxer with a lot of heart. Bocachica displayed patience setting up combinations that stumbled Murphy often during the four round fight. Murphy showed a lot of action but nothing that really hurt Bocachica. After four rounds of taking a beating, Murphy fell to (1-9, 1 Draw) as Bocachica improved to (5-0, 1 KO) with a unanimous decision victory (40-36, 40-35, 40-35).
Cortez Chambliss made an impressive pro debut by beating Keith Bullock by 2nd Round TKO. Chambliss (1-0, 1 KO) easily handled Bullock (0-2) dropping him multiple times regarding the fight. Darryol Humphery provided the upset of the night defeating Wassem El-Sinawi. Humphery landed a left that sent El-Sinawi into the corner. Able to get up from the knockdown, but not able to stand up straight, El-Sinawi (1-1) had his night called off the Referee White. Humphery is now (2-7) with his 1:18 1st Round knockout of El-Sinawi. Anthony Flagg Jr. improved to (2-0, 2 KO’s) with his easy win over Russell Campbell (0-1), scoring a TKO in the 1st Round at 1:52.