By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Last Saturday night at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus, Georgia, Melissa “Hurrican Shark” Hernandez (17-3-3, 6 KOs) proved more shark than hurricane as she had to overpower, rather than box the bigger and longer “Notorious” Nicole Woods (11-10-2, 3 KOs) over ten rounds to win the vacant IBS women’s world lightweight title by a hard fought unanimous decision victory. The card promoted by Angelee Gardner’s Syndicate Promotions had a little of everything to satisfy everyone in attendance from knockouts to close decisions on the card. In the co-feature, Tevin “The American Idol” Farmer (7-3-1, 1 KO) put on an exhibition as he clearly outboxed Rasool Shakoor (3-11-1, 1KO) over eight rounds to capture a one sided unanimous decision victory and the vacant IBS National lightweight title by a one-sided unanimous decision. The entertaining night of ring action was matched by “The Boxing Diva” Renee Aiken.
Melissa Hernandez on this night continued to prove why she is one of the best female lightweights in the world with a hard fought but one-sided unanimous decision victory over Atlanta, Georgia’s Notorious Nicole Woods in the ten round main event of the evening. Faced with a several inch reach and height disadvantage, Hernandez looked to steadily work on the inside and whenever she get under the jabs of Woods. Late in the opening round Woods pressed forward with a good one two of her own, to which Hernandez just stuck her tongue out in defiance of the shots.
Woods began to change her tactics in the second as she pushed Hernandez to the ropes, where she would lay on her, thus negating any power. The mauling continued as Woods pushed the Miami South Beach resident back into the corner. Woods found her mark with a good one-two in the closing moments of the second round. The combination appeared to anger Hernandez and she hurt Woods with a big right up top. Woods backed to a corner and covered as Hernandez let loose with a volley of shots before Woods grabbed and held on as the bell sounded to end the round.
In the fourth Nicole Woods and Melissa Hernandez’s feet got tangled as Hernandez landed a left up top. Woods fell backward and it was ruled a knockdown even though it was a slip. Hernandez tried to confuse Woods, as she switched in an out of the orthodox stance during the rest of the round.
Rounds five through eight belonged to Hernandez, but it got a little dirty as Woods constantly tied her up and used her elbows to gain room. Hernandez would not get Frustrated and continued to work well moving in and out of range with quick combinations which had Woods backing up against the ropes. Woods spun Hernandez into a corner late in the eighth and went for it. Melissa was slick though and ducked and avoided the wild blows, before tying up.
Hernandez was back in control in the ninth as she dug lefts and rights on the inside. Woods landed her best shot of the night as Hernandez fixed a wardrobe malfunction, which led to a statement from the referee to protect yourself at all times. A mouse popped up around the ninth under the right eye of Hernandez from an elbow.
Hernandez used her ring generalship to control the tenth and final round. The crowd rose to their feet and gave a loud cheer for the efforts of both fighters. All three Judges had the bout easily in favor Melissa Hernandez by scores of 100-90, 98-92 and 99-91 to capture the vacant IBS Women’s world lightweight title.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to get fights like this,” said Hernandez afterward. “I had never fought somebody with such a tremendous reach. Nicole is a good fighter, but I think I really showed Columbus that I am one of the best fighters in the world and I thank them for coming out to see my fight.”
Farmer outclasses Shakoor
Tevin “The American Idol” Farmer (7-3-1, 1KO) captured IBS National lightweight title with a convincing eight round unanimous decision victory over wily veteran Rasool Shakoor (3-11-1, 1KO) in the co-feature of the evening. Farmer, who is known for his willing to fight anybody anywhere, looked confident from the opening bell as he mixed in body work with good movement in the opening round. Shakoor of Jackson, Michigan, tried to mix it up but Farmer ducked and dodged, giving good angles to not get caught with anything.
Shakoor switched in and out of the southpaw stance in a attempt to confuse Farmer. It would not work and the confident Farmer continued to box his way, mixing in the body work with good movement. Farmer stunned Shakoor in the closing moments of the third with a right hand on the chin and then rushed in with a good four punch combination. Shakoor remained calm and tied him allowing himself to survive the round. Farmer, who likes to wear down fighters with heavy barrages from all angles, chose a different path as he began to box his way around the ring in rounds four and five through using angles and movement which slowed the punch output of Shakoor.
Clearly ahead on the scorecards, Farmer picked his spots in the sixth through the seventh rounds working inside ant then going onto the bicycle. Farmer looked confident as he tried faking bolo punches and then ran around the ring as Shakoor could only smile in frustration. All three judges gave every round to Tevin Farmer by scores of 80-72 across the board.
“Shakoor was a good fighter, but I controlled every round,” said the victorious Farmer afterwards. “I never really have a game plan, I just adjust to what I see as the fight goes on. I am now ready to take on anybody out there. It is my time.”
Witherspoon outworks Willoughby
Philly junior welterweight Tim Witherspoon Jr. (8-2-1, 2 KOs) put on a solid performance in scoring a one sided four round unanimous decision victory over seventeen fight veteran John “Never Lose” Willoughby of Atlanta Georgia. It was another step up for the son of the former two time world heavyweight champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon, but he looked good to go as he entered the ring. Witherspoon owned a several inch reach and height advantage over Willoughby but chose to fight on the inside throughout the first three rounds. “I felt I was hurting him on the inside and he couldn’t hurt me so I wanted to be there, ” said Witherspoon Jr. after.
Willoughby of Atlanta, Georgia was game and actually even back Witerspoon Jr up once in the second, but he seemed to tire as the fight wore on and his punches lost their steam. Witherspoon found his mark with uppercuts and rights and stunned Willoughby in the closing moment of the second. Witherspoon went back to fighting on the outside early in the third with a couple of good multiple punch combos but Willoughby just kept coming forward and that bout went back on the inside. You could see Witherspoon was clearly ahead entering the fourth and he took a few chances, but played it safe as he boxed his way to the final bell. All three judges gave every round to Tim Witherspoon Jr. by scores of 40-36 x 3, for the well deserved unanimous decision victory. Look for Tim to be back in action over in England in early September.
Franklin wins slugfest
Former seven time Army and Armed forces champion John “Fashanz” Franklin (3-0, 1 K0) of Kansas City, Missouri, needed all the experience from his extensive amateur career to outslug hometown hero Sean Hall over four tough rounds to capture a hard fought majority decision victory. Hall, looked good in the early moments of his professional debut even though he took the bout as a late replacement. The crowd noise and atmosphere did not faze Hall, who was also a world class mixed martial artist and you could see that as he opened up right from the opening bell with a series of hard one-twos from the southpaw stance, that caught Franklin flush as boxed his way in. Franklin showed the confidence of a fighter who had such a great amateur background (120-15) as he calmly weathered the storm, blocking most of the bombs while mixing up a few combinations of his own. The gritty southpaw would not let up and found a hole right through the gloves of Franklin again with a powerful straight counter left in the closing moments of the opening round.
Franklin’s hand speed was superior and it showed as he landed flush whenever they both slugged away in the second. Hall was game though and found spots for the occasional counters, but tired as both slugged away. Franklin punches seemed to be inflicting the most damage. Hall’s nose was cut on the inside and out as the second round came to a close. The pounding was wearing down Hall in the third, as he found himself fighting with his back contstantly on the ropes. Franklin was sharp with his tight combinations and jabs that found their mark with more regularity as each minute past. Hall was bloody and tired as round four began, but still would not give in to the constant work done by John “FasHanz” Franklin. It would go back and forth in the final round, with each having their moments. Franklin appeared to be the more polished fighter as he backed Hall around the ropes and into corners with pinpoint shots. Both fighters seemed to know the bout was close and went toe-to-toe in the final fifteen seconds of the final round.
The bout went to the scorecards. One judge saw the bout even at 38-38, but was overruled as the other two official socred it 39-38 x 2 in favor of John “FasHanz” Franklin.
Howard hammers Cotuna
In a crossroads battle of heavyweights, Montgomery, Alabama’s Kevin Howard (3-7-1, 1 KO) dropped Hickory, North Carolina’s Lewis Cotuna three times en-route to an impressive second round technical knockout. Howard took control early as Cotuna found himself covering and taking punishment before throwing any counters in the opening minute. Cotuna backed off the much bigger Howard with a wild right out of the corner. Howard would not back down and went right back in and dug in a right to the ribs, which sent Cotuna to a knee. The North Carolinian rose to his feet and actually landed another good left, but moments later he tasted the canvas for the second with a left up top followed by a thudding right to the stomach while in the corner. Cotuna would come out defensively in the second round, hoping to let Howard punch himself out, but it led to more bombs being landed. Cotuna found himself on the ropes and covering, when a big body shot sent him back to the canvas for the third and final time. The referee had seen enough and waived it off for the TKO victory at 56 seconds of the second round.
Morris impressive in debut
In the opening bout, former Georgia Golden Gloves champion Eddie Morris of nearby Douglasville, Georgia, pleased the local crowd in his pro debut with second round stoppage of Gulfport Mississipi’s, Cleo Rice (0-6) . It was clear right from the get-go that the more talented Morris would be the victor as he used his superior hand speed to time and counter the game but outgunned Rice. Late in the opening round, it all began to unravel for the winless Rice who was wobbled by a straight one two combination. Cleo made it into the second round and pushed forward, but the talented former Golden Gloves champion continued the wear down Rice with a several big combinations. Rice tried to fight back but the big right hands had him on unsteady legs. Morris blasted a few more big right hands which forced the badly stunned Rice to stumble away and the bout was waived off at the 1:53 mark of the second round.