By Rick Scharmberg at ringside
Ahmed “Baby Face” Kaddour, Omar Sheika, and Terrance “The Heat” Cauthen all registered victories last night at the sold-out Hamilton Manor in Hamilton, NJ. Kaddour (22-2-1, 9 KOs) dominated Jerome Ellis (12-11-2, 10 KOs) over eight rounds in the junior middleweight main event. In twin co-features, Omar Sheika (29-9, 20 KOs) overcame a very slow start to batter game Garrett Wilson (7-4, 2 KOs) and stop him in the fourth round of a scheduled eight round cruiserweight bout, and Terrance Cauthen (34-6, 9 KOs) rode his right hook to an eight round unanimous decision over power hitter Isam Khalil (15-2-2, 9 KOs) in a welterweight bout. The eight bout card was promoted by Nedal’s Promotions.
Back in 2004, the show The Contender Season One was televised in prime time, on the NBC network. The fighters received maximum exposure, and one of the most popular fighters on the show was Ahmed Kaddour.
Fighting for only the second time in a little more than three years, Kaddour, of Aahrus, Denmark and now Trenton, NJ, was matched with cagey and resilient Jerome Ellis, of Nassau, Bahamas.
Kaddour sought to make a statement right away, and did so by landing his first punch, a solid left hook that sent Ellis across the ring. Kaddour went right after him and landed a series of hooks intended to put Ellis away early. To his credit, Ellis bent, but never broke.
Perhaps realizing that Ellis took his best, or maybe conserving energy, Kaddour settled in and decided to box Ellis and showcase his many skills. You could see Ahmed getting sharper in the next three rounds, but he was reluctant to take advantage when the powerful Ellis laid on the ropes or when he made him miss.
Kaddour cruised through the first four rounds against the relatively passive Ellis, using his jab, and left hooks to the body and head. He landed a nice left hook to the body that shook Ellis to end round four, but did a little bit of clowning early in round five instead of following up. Kaddour knocked Ellis back with a left hook, but Ellis did just enough to win the round.
Kaddour put on a boxing clinic in rounds six and seven, landing numerous jabs and three punch combinations that Ellis couldn’t respond to. Using nice head movement, Kaddour easily slipped most shots that came his way.
Kaddour took some chances in the final round, and started by landing a left hook, a hard right hand-left hook combination, and a series of four left hooks, all to the head of Ellis. After landing two more power shots, Ellis caught Kaddour holding his hands low and landed a left hook that forced Kaddour to momentarily hold.
Still, Kaddour won the round and the fight by the scores of 80-72 and 79-73 (twice).
“It was great to be back. I trained very hard. I wanted to test myself, go some rounds, and see what I had. He is a tough fighter, and he landed one very good punch in the fight,” said Kaddour.
Fighting for the second time since being stopped by Roy Jones last March 21, four-time world title challenger Omar Sheika took on upset-minded Garrett “Ultimate Warror” Wilson, of Philadelphia, PA. Wilson was a late sub who replaced Jose “Macho” Medina, who replaced Dhafir “No Fear” Smith.
Wilson landed a big-left right combination right from the opening bell. With Sheika standing right in front of him, the powerfully-built Wilson was able to land jab after jab, before Sheika finally landed a left hook near the end of the round.
Sheika of Paterson, NJ, but now fighting out of Trenton, was already sporting a mouse under his right eye at the start of round two. Wilson picked up where he left off, landing jabs, hooks, and left hands to the body.
Halfway through the round, Omar caught his man with a left hook to the head, and then went to work on Wilson’s sculpted body with his left hook for the remainder of the round. This round was very close, with Wilson taking the first half and Sheika finishing stronger.
In round three, Wilson started fast once again. He landed a jab-straight right-left hook combo, a left hook, an overhand right, and another big left hook before Sheika could land his first punch. But Sheika, a veteran of forty-eight fights compared to Wilson’s ten, sensed he was getting to Wilson, especially to the body.
Sheika once again dug to the body for the remaining two minutes of round three, which slowed the Wilson express to a crawl. You could almost sense the tide turning.
Wilson got out to his now-customary fast start to open round four. After Wilson landed two left hooks, a three-punch combination, and a right, Sheika exploded. He landed a hard right-left to Wilson’s head and then opened up with all guns about thirty seconds into the round.
Sheika ambushed Wilson with a monstrous attack with both hands that drove Wilson around the ring. Wilson gamely fired an occasional counter, but Sheika continued to punch until referee Lindsay Page rescued the wilting fighter at 1:32 of the round.
For a few minutes at least, it was the Sheika of old in what was easily the fight of the night.
“I knew I was starting to get to him and when I knew the time was right, I jumped on him. He is a tough fighter and had never been stopped before,” he said.
In his fourteenth year as a pro, former Olympic medalist Terrance “The Heat” Cauthen, of Trenton, NJ was another popular fighter on the card who was making a comeback.
Cauthen, in his last four bouts, had a nice win over Alexis Camacho sandwiched in between disappointing defeats to Sechew Powell, Shamone Alvarez, and unbeaten Canadian Antonin Decarie.
Cauthen was paired with fellow southpaw Isam “Ice” Khalil, of Stockholm, Sweden, who was fighting for the first time in two years.
Cauthen is one of those fighters who was born to box and learned his craft at a young age. He was a good enough amateur to win a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, on a team that featured Floyd Mayweather, Antonio Tarver, Fernando Vargas, and gold medal winner David Reid, among others.
Khalil pressed the attack right away, but soon found out that tactic played right into Cauthen’s hands. Khalil would press Cauthen, firing bombs, but would hit nothing but air and catch a whipping counter right hook in return. Cauthen immediately saw that the hook would land, and would use it as both a counter and a lead.
By round three, Khalil’s face was reddened from Cauthen’s right hook. Khalil applied the pressure, and Cauthen would slip his punches, counter with his hook and then tie Khalil up to avoid any shots in return.
Rounds four and five were big rounds for Cauthen, as the sound of his right hook landing echoed throughout the elegant Hamilton Manor ballroom. Tiring from chasing Cauthen, and frustrated from his inability to land, Khalil gamely pressed on.
Khalil finally won a round, the sixth, after Cauthen decided to take a round off. Khalil came out more determined in round seven, landing two jabs and a right-left-right combination. Khalil appeared to score a knockdown when a straight left sent Cauthan to a knee, but referee Brian O’Melia saw it as a push or slip. Had it been scored a knockdown, Khalil would have actually won the fight on one judge’s card.
Cauthen went right back to his hook-and-move strategy and handily won the final two rounds.
The final scores were 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75, all in favor of Cauthen.
Joe Njau, of Somerset, NJ by way of Kenya scored the first of two upsets on the night when he knocked down previously unbeaten William Salser, of Mansfield, OH twice on his way to winning a unanimous decision in a four round light heavyweight bout.
Salser (3-1, 2 KOs) has decent boxing ability, but he didn’t use it until the last round, which was much too late considering the hole Njau (1-3) put him into early. Salser wanted to score an early knockout and went right on the attack at the opening bell. Late in the round, Njau followed a jab with a big right hand that sent Salser down, and then followed up with a series of rights until the end of the round.
Salser mounted a body attack in round two, but Njau scored with a right uppercut, and continued to employ it overtime. With seconds remaining in the round, Njau landed a left hook followed by a right uppercut that sent Salser down again.
Njau landed numerous right hands in round three that had Salser bleeding from the nose, and finally, in round four, Salser began working his jab and left hook, while firing rights to the body. He appeared to win the round comfortably, but the judges didn’t see it that way. All three scored it 40-34 in favor of Njau.
“King” David Brown (1-1, 1 KO), of East Orange, NJ spoiled the pro debut of Alando “Pit Bull” Swain (0-1), of Trenton, NJ, stopping him at 1:36 of the second round of a scheduled four round super middleweight bout.
Brown, taller and more conventional than the muscular Swain, effectively kept him at the end of his jab as Swain swarmed his way inside. Brown caught an off-balance Swain with a left-right followed by another right that sent him down at the two minute mark. Swain seemed more embarrassed than hurt, and Brown continued his boxing lesson.
Swain landed two left hooks to open round two, but Brown countered with right hands. A hard right from Brown sent Swain back into the ropes, and another right to the chin seconds later put Swain down to a knee, where referee O’Melia called a halt.
Jason “The Machine” Sosa (2-0, 1 KO), of Camden, NJ scored a four round unanimous decision over Ramon Ellis (0-4), of Philadelphia, PA in a four round lightweight contest.
Sosa immediately weaved his way in and landed short punches on the inside, including a booming left hook in the opening minute. He also landed several right uppercuts, and didn’t neglect to work the body of Ellis to take the first two rounds.
In round three, it appeared that Sosa may have punched himself out earlier, and Ellis had a great round. He landed an assortment of shots, including a string of left hooks to close out the round.
Sosa got it back together between rounds, and came back strong in round four. His left hook was back in action, and he easily took the round. The final tallies were 40-36, and a more realistic 39-37 (twice) in favor of Sosa.
In an exciting rumble, Osnel Charles (2-2), of Atlantic City, NJ took a four round unanimous decision over Marcus Smith (0-2), of Trenton, NJ in a lightweight bout.
The first round was close, as the ever-pressuring Charles hammered the body of Ellis, who effectively countered with overhand rights and left hooks. It appeared that Smith’s glove touched the canvas after a right from Charles, but it went unnoticed by the ref.
Charles was back on the attack in round two, working the body of Smith and firing every punch with ‘bad intentions’. He would be much more effective if he came in behind a jab, but his offense would suffice tonight.
After losing his mouthpiece early in round three, Charles wobbled Smith with a left hook midway through, and continued to pressure Smith and work the body to take the round.
Smith came out fired up in round four, and took the attack to Charles. He landed a flurry of shots in the opening seconds, and clipped Charles with a nice right-left combo at the halfway point.
Smith would pay a price for his aggressiveness, though, when Charles caught him with a right hand that sent him down near the end of the fight. Smith gamely pulled himself up to finish the fight on his feet.
The final scores were 40-35, 39-36, and a too-close 38-37, all in favor of Charles.
In the opening bout, Francisco Ortiz (1-0), Puerto Rico won a hard fought majority decision over Marcos Garcia (0-1) in a four round featherweight bout. Both fighters were making their pro debuts.
Southpaw Ortiz deftly avoided Garcia’s charges and landed several right hooks and straight lefts to take the round.
A straight right early in round two from Garcia stopped Ortiz in his tracks, but it was a momentary setback as Ortiz came right back to dominate the rest of the round with his right hook and a big right-left combination at the bell.
Ortiz began using his jab in round three. He has a thudding jab, which he should consider using more often. Garcia went to the body in this round, where he strayed low and was warned by the referee.
Ortiz, a possible diamond in the rough, showed nice counter-punching potential in the final round. Garcia stayed with his plan to work the body, but found himself getting countered with right-left combos nearly every time.
The final scores were 40-36 and 39-37 for Ortiz, and even at 38-38.