By Sam Geraci at ringside
Two-time West Virginia Tough Man champion Daniel Martz (7-0, 6 KOs) of Clarksburg, WV, remained undefeated and might have established himself as a heavyweight to watch when he scored an impressive third round stoppage over amateur standout “Gentleman” James Shorter (3-1, 3 KOs) of Elkhart, IN this past Friday in the main event of the “War at the Amory” event at the National Guard Amory in South Bend, IN. The “War at the Amory” was presented by Lava Promotions plus the St. James Boxing Club.
Within the first minute of the opening bell, it became clear that Martz at 6’7″, 265 pounds along with his ability to double the jab while moving his feet, was simply too large and too powerful for Shorter, who is a natural cruiserweight at 6’2″ and 205 pounds. Despite the size difference, for the first half of the round, Shorter attempted to work his way in behind great head and upper body movement while pumping his jab in order to land the types of quick combinations that have impressed the Midwest boxing community since his amateur days.
While Shorter’s valiant attempts garnered support from the fighter’s hometown fans, the stiff and incredibly long jabs of Martz followed by his walloping rights, as well as his ability to deflect and absorb Shorter’s quick combinations, relegated Shorter into the role of David against Goliath.
On this night, however, even David might have come up short against Martz’s beautifully timed left-right combination that sent Shorter crashing to the canvas in scary fashion at the two minute mark of the first round.
Although most at ringside thought Shorter would not survive the opening stanza, Shorter somehow managed to endure the round but not before absorbing several thudding chopping right hands.
In the second round, Shorter attempted to use his footwork to turn Martz as to create openings, as Martz plodded forward behind his stiff and well-timed jab. Despite Shorter’s ability to counter Martz at times, Martz successfully walked through Shorter’s shots and pinned him against the ropes on two occasions in order to lean on his smaller opponent. In addition to leaning on Shorter, when against the ropes, Martz also landed incredibly powerful right hands to the body and head that sounded like the beating of a drum. As the bell sounded, Shorter again appeared to be in serious trouble as he headed back to his corner.
In the third, Shorter was able to carry the first thirty seconds of the round as he was successful with turning and countering Martz but the size of Martz along with his thudding right hands, well-timed jabs, and surprisingly quick feet were too much. Martz trapped Shorter in a corner and landed a series of powerful right hands that dazed Shorter which compelled referee David Ingle to call a halt to the action at 2:05 of the third.
After the stoppage, many at the arena, including Shorter and his corner, expressed their disapproval with what they considered to be an early stoppage. While Shorter was attempting to defend himself at the time of the stoppage and had been hurt much worse in the first, most at ringside agreed with the stoppage because it was clear that Shorter was hurt, outsized, and overmatched.
After the bout, Martz, who is only 22 years old, expressed that he was looking to get back into the ring within thirty days so that he can continue moving up the ranks in order to establish himself as a top heavyweight.
His plodding style followed by a well-timed jab resembles that of former WBA heavyweight champion Nicolay Valuev (although Martz appears to have a much crisper right hand).
Shorter, who was looking to gain attention and recognition from the fans and media, expressed his disappointment but he also voiced optimism. Shorter hoped a knockout loss at heavyweight might encourage other cruiserweights and smaller heavyweights to take fights against him.
In the only other professional bout of the evening, Sam “Black Ice” Gipson (4-4-2, 2 KOs) of Elkhart, IN, outclassed and outworked Greg “2 Sweet” Coverson Jr. (3-4, 2 KOs) of Detroit, MI, who walked to the ring wearing slippers and holding a teddy bear, to score a unanimous decision with all of the judges tallying the contest at 59-55.
Coverson stormed Gipson in the opening seconds and appeared to have him surprised even though he failed to land anything of significance. For the remainder of the first, Coverson continued to pressure Gipson until the final minute when Gipson was able to create the distance needed to box his opponent. Once Gipson created some working room, he was able to land the left hook to the body. By the end of the round, it was clear that Gipson was the better puncher and the better boxer. In addition to being tattooed with left hooks to the body, towards the end of the round, Coverson began to breathe heavily through his mouth.
For the first half of the second, Coverson again attempted to pressure Gipson against the ropes but his lack of punching power couldn’t hurt or prevent Gipson from turning the tide in the second half of the round, which Gipson dominated with powerful left hooks to the body. Towards the second half of the round, Coverson began to hold excessively after diving-in with his head.
For the first thirty seconds of the third, Gipson was able to create the distance that he wanted but was unable to effectively score as he had done earlier. Although Coverson began to switch regularly from his southpaw stance, a trend that would continue for the remainder of the bout, it was difficult to determine whether his switching was strategic or simply a result of poor footwork. Throughout the third, Gipson’s left and right hooks to the body started to break Coverson down. Towards the end of the round, Gipson also started to move the left hook upstairs. With about twelve seconds remaining in the round, Gipson connected with a terrific left hook to the body that nearly bent over Coverson. Coverson did just enough to stay on his feet to survive the round.
In the fourth, Gipson came out with bad intentions realizing that he had Coverson in major trouble towards the end of the third.
Despite Gipson’s attack, the durable and gritty Coverson fought through and appeared to have recovered from the damage caused by the body shots in the earlier round. In fact, through the first half of the fourth, Coverson appeared to outbox Gipson despite landing punches that did not cause any damage. Towards the middle of the fourth, Gipson appeared to be fatigued. With about a minute remaining, Gipson forced Coverson to the ropes and applied the pressure again with left and right hooks to the body, which might have been enough to steal the round.
In the fifth, both fighters appeared to be fatigued though Gipson was able to apply pressure. For the first time in the bout, Gipson made an effort to use his jab, which was quick and effective when he threw it. Gipson’s ring generalship, occasional jab, and occasional hooks were effective enough to earn him the round. Instead of throwing punches, Coverson continued to hold after diving-in with his head.
In the final round, Coverson again stormed Gipson for the first thirty seconds but his flurry of punches were so weak that Gipson remained undeterred. Despite his lack of punching power, Coverson showed heart in attempting to win the round and with taking a hard shot in order to land several of his “softer” punches. However, Gipson shook off the punches from Coverson and won the round with his thudding left hooks to the body.
As the bout ended, chants of “Black Ice” could be heard throughout the arena.
The “War at the Amory” was the inaugural event for promoter Gabriel Torres of Lava Promotions.
“The crowd and the turnout was a great success,” said Torres. “Unfortunately, our top prospect (Shorter) took a loss against Daniel Martz, who remains undefeated. That being said, we are still looking forward to providing more exciting and competitive fights that feature Shorter, Gipson, and possibly Martz on our cards in Indiana and Southwest Michigan.”