By Boxing Bob Newman
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
The 2014 debut of Take It Light Promotions kicked off in Albany, NY with a seven bout card under “The Egg” at the Empire Plaza. In the main event, Shawn Miller had to climb of the canvas in the first round to get the win two rounds later when Kevin Engel ruptured his right bicep, surrendering on his stool in obvious pain after the third of a scheduled ten.
It looked like things were about to implode right from the get go for the headliner Shawn Miller. Just eight seconds into the first round, Engel deposited a ducking Miller on the canvas courtesy of a hard right to the top of the temple, over a low Miller jab. Miller was slow to get up, looking all but out of it. Sensing victory in enemy territory, Engel wasted no time in rushing Miller, trying to get the quick stoppage. Miller wisely tied his attacker up, almost falling again as Engel wrestled hard to free his hands. Engel chased and Miller back pedaled, trying to gain his senses along the way. Somewhere during the next thirty seconds of action, blood began cascading down the left side and back of Miller’s bald pate, drawing concern from the partisan crowd. By the end of the round, Miller was jabbing just enough to keep Engel honest, giving him something to think about as Miller’s corner plead for him to counter anything Engel threw. In round two, an invigorated Miller used a high guard to fend off any Engel advances, and jabbed beautifully out of harm’s way. Miller let go with a huge right hand and staggered Engel into the Miller corner. Sensing his foe was hurt, Miller let go with two more rights, leveraging his left forearm to the throat of Engel for good measure. This drew a warning from referee Ron Lipton. Miller looked for his chance again in the third, as did Engel. During another exchange, Engel threw a wide right that that left the arm dangling at his side, his face wracked in agony. Moments later, the round ended with Engel and his lame right arm staggered to his corner in obvious distress, sagging to his knees before the stool was even in place. He told the commission member on the ring apron he could no longer continue due to a torn bicep. Referee Lipton was called to the corner and advised of the injury, forcing the officially at 3:00 of round three. It was a big comeback against an experienced foe for Miller, now 13-1-1, 5 KOs. A jubilant Miller told Figthnews a ringside, “I knew what was going on, my head was clear. I wish it didn’t end this way because I was going to knock him out! You could see it coming!” Doctors later tended to the wound atop Miller’s head, and Engel will likely be taken to the hospital to assess the extent of the muscle injury. Miller said he is now hoping for a top ten ranking in the United States ratings with the win. Tough luck Engel drops to 20-10, 16 KOs.
In the semi-main event of the night, former world ranked cruiser contender Eric Fields had to settle for a six round workout against late sub Rayford Johnson when original opponent Arthur Seribekian fell out with a failed MRI earlier in the week. Fields did pretty much as he pleased against the journeyman, dropping Johnson in both the second and the fourth. The only thing Fields couldn’t do was get the stoppage win. Still, Fields power boxed neatly to a unanimous 60-52 win on all three cards to move to 24-2, 15 KOs. Johnson sags to 8-16, 3 KOs.
Opening the evening was local Albany battler Joe “Power Load” Yerdon taking a hard fought four round decision over tough luck Malik Jackson, of Newark, NJ. The pair fought on even terms through out with little to separate the two. In the end it was a majority win for Yerdon by scores of 38-38, and 39-37 twice. Yerdon climbs to 3-6-2 while Jackson looks for his first victory at 0-2-1.
Rochester Jr. lightweight Lavisas “Red” Williams had a tougher than expected go with Troy, New York’s Rigoberto Miranda over four hard fought rounds. It looked to be a short night in the first when a right to the body dropped Miranda to a knee, where a follow-up left to the head further left Miranda on his rear end. The tough-as-nails Miranda got up and bulled Williams to the ropes. It was cat and mouse the rest of the way as the much faster Williams abandoned the jab in favor of flashier lead left uppercuts and right hooks, while Miranda opted for phone booth warfare. The two battled on even terms, each employing their own tactics and back-and-forth fashion to the final bell. In the end it was as even a one-sided affair as you’ll see with all three judges coring it the same at 40-35 for the still undefeated Williams who moves to 3-0-1, 2 KOs. Miranda evens out at 0-2-2, still looking for that elusive first win.
Things didn’t look good for Chase Mills, New York’s Brian Clookey as he found himself on the deck in the first round against debutant Raymond Santiago, Amsterdam, NY. Clookey moved up to heavyweight after having the majority of his previous seven bouts at cruiserweight. The massive Santiago outweighed Clookey by twenty one pounds and that extra weight carried through a big right hand that dropped Clookey in the first. Santiago was surprisingly quick for such a large man. The tide quickly changed in the second though as Santiago’s lack of conditioning and Clookey’s experience shone through. Clookey remained poised and pursued his tormentor, who now gasped through an open mouth. By the end of round two, Santiago was bleeding form his nose. The pressure from Clookey continued through round four. Santiago had a literal last gasp as he tried to turn the tide back in his favor. Clookey would have none of it, battering Santiago’s body and head, causing his foe to turn away. Referee Danny Schiavone stepped in to assess Santiago’s condition, but the fighter ejected his mouthpiece in resignation, forcing Schiavone to halt matters at 2:33 of the fourth and final round. Clookey moves to 5-1-2, 3 KOs, while Santiago loses his pro debut at 0-1.
After three tough distance fights to start his career, Albany lightweight Joe Gbolo decided to take matters out of the judges hands and starched Geneva, New York’s Joe Shell with a vicious left to the jaw. Down went Shell, out went his mouth piece and up went referee Ron Lipton’s hands to signal an end to matters at 1:03 of the opening round. Gbolo now moves to 2-0-2, 1 KO. Shell continues to 0-2.
In a scary ending, debuting light heavyweight Luis King of Amsterdam, New York waited for his shot and took out Matthew Leddick in round two. After a cautious first round, King dropped Leddick with a left to the temple early round two. After referee Paul Brown assessed Leddick’s ability to continue, he waved the action on. In no time King was on Leddick, this time landing a pin point right upper cut, left cross combo, flush on Leddick’s head. Leddick was out before he even began to fall, and fall he did, his head crashing sickeningly on the canvas. Brown immediately waved the bout off and signaled the medical team to get ringside to attend the stricken fighter. After several anxious moments, Leddick regained consciousness, but was strapped to a backboard and transported to the hospital for observation. King starts out at 1-0, 1 KO, while Leddick plummets to 0-3, the last two via quick KO. (Note, King was 178 lbs., three over the light heavy limit while Leddick moved up from super middle and came in smaller at 170). This writer would hate to see Matthew in the ring again for his own safety.