By Rick Scharmberg at ringside
Photos: Juan Marshall / JM Photography
Eighteen hundred hardcore boxing fans braved ice, snow, and temperatures in the teens to see perhaps the hardest hitting American heavyweight, Amir “Hardcore” Mansour score another devastating knockout at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware. Mansour (17-0, 13 KOs) gave them what they came for, taking just 24 seconds to crush veteran Dominique “Diamond” Alexander (23-16-1, 11 KOs). In the co-feature, much-avoided heavyweight Franklin “Yah Yah” Lawrence (19-2-2, 14 KOs) stopped Mark “Oak Tree” Brown (15-5, 7 KOs), after Brown’s corner would not let him answer the bell for the third round of the scheduled eight round bout. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino promoted the sold-out, seven bout card.
Fighting for the first time in a year, Amir Mansour might have been expected to try and get a few rounds in to shake off the rust. Not a chance. Mansour was here to make a statement, and in doing so sent a message to the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. Fighting at 236 pounds, Mansour was ten pounds heavier than he was for his last two bouts, but after he entered the ring to a standing ovation, you can see that he was chomping at the bit to get to work. Like Mike Tyson in his heyday, Mansour came after Alexander like a bull. He ripped two right hooks to the body, followed by a left to the head. A double – right hook, first to the head and then to the body, sent Alexander across the ring and into a corner. Mansour ripped two brutal rights to the body, before landing a left and three rights to the head sent Alexander down face-first.
Alexander rolled to his back before gamely trying to pull himself up, but he didn’t come close to beating referee Vic DeWysocki’s count.
“I want to recognize the confidence that everyone in the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino organization has shown me during this last difficult year,” Mansour said.
“I will always go all-out at Dover, but this time I will take it to the max and show what a true heavyweight champion looks like. After this we can show it to the world. We will all beat the odds that Dover can make a heavyweight champion, and I can be that guy.”
It was almost an automatic when Mansour took home the traditional “Fighter of the Night” trophy.
Franklin halts Brown
With his facial likeness and skills in the ring, Franklin Lawrence could be cast as legendary heavyweight champion of yesteryear Jack Johnson in a movie. On this night, however, he was just staying busy while waiting for his phone to ring for a bigger fight. His opponent, Mark “Oak Tree” Brown, has a nickname that could describe his once-formidable physique, but is actually derived from his hometown of Salem, New Jersey’s famous “Salem Oak” tree. The difference in class was evident from the start, as Brown, a former state wrestling star, grabbed Lawrence and hung on for dear life. With a bemused look on his face, “Yah Yah” looked to create punching room for himself on the inside.
It was only after referee Bill Clancy warned Brown twice for excessive holding that Lawrence was able to get off some shots. He started with a right uppercut and an overhand right, before landing two rights to the body of Brown near the end of the round. Brown tried to make a fight of it in round two, but missed nearly all of the bombs he threw. Lawrence went to work much like a lumberjack would, only his tree was an “Oak Tree”. Lawrence peppered Brown with combinations to the head and body throughout the round, trying to set him up for the big shot. The round ended with Brown with his back to the ropes, and on the verge of going down. After a discussion between Brown’s corner, the referee, and the ringside physician, the bout was mercifully stopped between rounds two and three.
After the bout, Lawrence addressed the crowd and called out nearly every heavyweight in the top-ten, including both Klitschkos and Chris Arreola.
Santana stops Soto
Edgar “El Chamaco” Santana (27-4, 18 KOs) was last seen fighting his heart out with a broken hand eleven months ago. With his hand surgically repaired, Santana made his return against Eddie “The Puerto Rican Sensation” Soto (12-6, 4 KOs) in a welterweight bout that was scheduled for eight rounds. Santana was sharp despite the layoff, and controlled most of the opening round with his jab and right hand. Two minutes into the round, Santana’s corner called for him to go to the body of Soto. Santana complied with a left hook downstairs that dropped Soto near the end of the round.
Santana went right back to the body to begin round two. After digging a right to the body and a left hook to the head, Santana buried another left to Soto’s ribs that sent him down again. With Soto visibly in no shape to continue, referee Vic DeWysocki stopped the bout at 1:36 of round two.
Douglas continues to roll
Omar “Super O” Douglas (7-0, 5 KOs) remained unbeaten with a second round TKO over David Warren “KO” Huffman (4-13-1, 1 KO) in a six round super featherweight bout. Douglas opened with punishing jabs that had Huffman’s face reddened in a matter of seconds. Huffman tried to match Douglas with his own jab, but Douglas came inside with a heavy body attack. A left hook from Douglas opened a gash under Huffman’s right eye. Douglas continued to break Huffman down to the body, before landing a hard left – right – left to the head that sent Huffman’s mouthpiece flying at the bell.
Round two was all Douglas. He worked his left hook to the head and body of Huffman, and had him nearly defenseless at the end of the round. Huffman’s corner wisely kept him on his stool at the start of round three.
Lock hammers Antoine
Cornelius “Lightning” Lock (20-6-1, 13 KOs) made a successful return to the ring after more than two years off, stopping Damon “Too Sweet” Antoine (11-45-2, 5 KOs) at :38 of the second round of a scheduled six round super featherweight bout. In spite of his record, Antoine is regarded as a tough customer, but was no match for the class of Lock. Lock, a southpaw, threw two lefts to the body of the charging Antoine to open the bout. Lock then pivoted and landed a left that sent an off-balance Antoine through the ropes. Although Antoine was not hurt, it was an official knockdown.
Lock continued to assault Antoine’s body with double and triple lefts, before a double left to the head put Antoine down again, this time on the seat of his pants. Game as ever, Antoine got up and landed a couple of nice lead right hands on Lock. Lock was in complete control, however, and landed several more lefts to the body and head before the round ended. Antoine landed four punches in the opening seconds of round two, but was promptly sent down again from a left to the body and then to the head from Lock. Antoine got up again, only to be met with three straight left hands that put him down for the fourth and final time. Referee DeWysocki then called a halt to the bout.
Filippone shuts out Starnino
Frankie “The Freight Train” Filippone (12-2-1, 2 KOs) took a one-sided but highly entertaining unanimous decision over Vinnie Paz look-alike Richard “Bobo” Starnino (9-11-2, 2 KOs) in a six round light heavyweight bout. Filippone is a crafty southpaw with natural boxing ability, and could be a handful for any offensive-minded fighter. His nickname, “Freight Train” applied more to his opponent, the hard-charging Starnino, than to himself.
Filippone patiently countered the oncoming Starnino in the opening round, timing his rushes with big left hands. He landed three consecutive lefts to the head of Starnino at one point near the end of the round. Starnino came out even faster in round two and landed two lefts to Filippone’s body. Filippone landed a counter right, before controlling most of the round with his jab. A right – left – right combination from Filippone drew blood from Starnino’s nose.
Filippone continued his successful countering in round three, but suffered a small nick under his right eye at some point. Nearly every time Starnino made his way inside, Filippone made him pay, either with his straight left, or with a two or three punch combination. Round four was big for Filippone. He landed a sweeping left to open the round, and then landed two hard left – right combinations that delighted the crowd. Filippone landed another big left to end the round. Rounds five and six were all Filippone, but both fighters did their share of entertaining. After one nice exchange, Filippone shouted to the crowd, “Is this what you want?” After catching a hard combination, Starnino let out a primal scream and charged ahead, only to be met by a stiff jab from Filippone.
In the end, it was a crowd-pleasing fight that Frankie Filippone won by three 60-54 scores.
Bowman edges Denson
In the opening bout, John “Church Boy” Bowman (5-0-1) took a close decision over James Denson 5-12, 2 KOs) in a four round middleweight bout. The first two rounds were a slugfest, with Bowman having the edge in each. In the second round, Bowman focused on Denson’s body, and forced him to hold several times. Just when it seemed like Bowman would take over for good, Denson came alive in the last minute of round three. He began landing on Bowman, who appeared to be slowing down. Denson began countering Bowman in round four, and landed some nice power shots, including a right hand – left hook combination, a hard overhand right, and a big left hook at the final bell.
All three judges scored 39-37 in favor of Bowman.
The matchmaker was Nick Tiberi
The next fight card at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino will take place on April 12.