By Dave Spencer
Tony ‘Lightening’ Luis (23-3 8KO) returned home for the first time to fight in front of his hometown Cornwall Ontario fans and was victorious as opponent Noe Nunez (17-5-1-13KO) was unable to answer the bell for the 7th round. Luis ripped Nunez with hooks to the body all night and strayed low with one in the 4th that had the Mexican fighter on the canvas for a good three minutes. It was for all intents and purposes the turning point of the fight as Luis easily dominated a very angry fighter who was getting the second best of the exchanges from that point on. Luis seemed on the verge of stopping Nunez at the end of the 6th but got the TKO win when the fighter who turned 30 last Monday sank down to his knees in the corner and was unable to continue.
Luis and his fans have travelled well in the past, filling busloads full of eager well-wishers tracking the fighter’s rise through the lightweight division. But almost ten years after his pro debut, fans and curious townsfolk were more than ready for what was a homecoming party and celebration.
Over 2,000 frenzied locals cheered, chanted, and collectively hung on every back and forth volley and exchange the fighters had to offer.
“It was a constant battle in my mind not to turn on the jets too soon,” Luis told Fightnews after the fight. “Every time I so much as was grazing him with a jab, the crowd was blowing up. I knew this guy was strong, and was going to be strong early, so I had to wear him down and pull his teeth a little bit.”
As a promotion and showcase for the 29-year-old Luis, things couldn’t have been drawn up any better than the Liveco promoted event. The atmosphere was sheer bedlam inside the hockey arena and Luis certainly did his part scoring the eighth stoppage of his career.
“It’s my hometown, it’s my turf. We’ve been trying to tell former promoters that if we do this right, we can draw here. I’m very thankful to my current promoters Liveco in seeing that and believing in it and investing and willing to take the risk. I think this went just the way we wanted it.”
Luis served up a steady diet of left hooks on the night, breaking down the body and coming upstairs anytime the taller fighter’s hands would drop. Nunez was best at going to the body to start but looked the slower of the two combatants in the early going, often missing the mark with his right hand, long after Luis had done his work and gotten out of harm’s way. The third brought out both fighters taking turns unloading, primarily to the body and a warning from Luis’s corner not to square up and go toe-to-toe with the Mexican who had 13 of his 17 wins coming by way of knockout.
The fourth round started where the third left off but a low blow changed, or at least very much accelerated, the course of the bout. Nunez went down hard with an errant shot and was clearly shaken up, not helping was the fact that referee Dave Dunbar had initially started a count before changing things up and letting the fighter recover.
Nunez stayed a good three minutes on the canvas but never effectively used the time to calm himself and come back smart and effectively. Instead, it was an incensed fighter slamming his right hand into the canvas as he got up and demanding a street fight. With Nunez swinging wildly, Luis easily took over the contest.
“It was borderline and I knew right then and there that he was looking for a way out,” said Luis after the contest. “The shots he was taking were beginning to take a toll. It was low, but not flagrantly low. Not to the extent he was making it out to be.”
The former top-ten contender has now rattled of four wins in a row since losing a narrowly disputed loss in England for an interim title. Luis poured it on in the sixth and when his corner advocated for use of the right reminding the fighter he had two hands, the hometown fighter amped it up a level hurting Nunez and driving him to the ropes where the fading fighter serving up punishment until the fading fighter was saved by the bell.
Beleaguered and exasperated, Nunez was still groggy from the punishment of the previous as he went from his stool, to his knees, and then eventually onto his side and crouched on the canvas and was not able to continue.
“The left hook was really beginning to find its mark and he was losing steam on his punches and I was able to take it to him more and more. I knew he was starting to fade.”