By Jacob Chavez at ringside
Heavyweight Mike Mollo (20-3, 12 KOs) won an eight round unanimous decision over Billy Zumbrun (23-12-1, 13 KOs) on Friday night at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Scores were 78-74, 79-73 and 79-73. In other notable action, comebacking cruiserweight Jason Robinson (18-5, 11 KOs) outpointed Harvey Jolly (10-14-1, 5 KOs) and former heavyweight contender Maurice Harris (22-14-2, 10 KOs) outpointed seven-footer Julius Long (15-14, 13 KOs).
Photos: Tom Barnes/Tomba Images
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Heavyweight contender Mike Mollo (20-3-0, 12 KOs) returned to the ring after more than a year of inactivity. He has an impressive roster of fighters that he has beaten, such as former Olympian Art Binkowski and Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin McBride. Mollo’s performance showcased his rededication and improving skills, as he looks for bigger fights in the near future.
Mollo took the initiative early, fighting small against his taller opponent. Mollo’s strategy allowed him to repeatedly land a stiff jab and stabbing punches to the body. Zumbrun looked to pick his punches and catch Mollo with quick combinations when in close range.
Mollo stuck to his game plan in the second as he continued to use footwork and a poking jab. To his credit, after being tagged numerous times, Zumbrun simple shook his head and pressed forward. Nearing the end of the round, Mollo became a bit more stationary and began to sit more on his punches. Zumbrun took advantage, closing the gap and popping Mollo with a hard right to the head.
Mollo went back to boxing and using his hard jab in round three. The respect he had for Zumbrun was apparent. Mollo did a good job of fighting smart and picking his spots. As the round came to a close, Zumbrun pinned Mollo against the ropes and unleashed a flurry of shots to the head, but Mollo blocked and avoided most of them, smiling as the bell sounded.
The jabs kept snapping Zumbrun’s head back in the fourth and Mollo’s supporters could not get enough, erupting as four consecutive shots found their mark. It appeared as though frustration was setting in for Zumbrun because he resorted to throwing one or two punches at a time for the remainder of the round.
Mollo controlled the fifth round with more good footwork as he moved around the ring in a compact frame throwing his jab and occasionally following up with a hard shot to the body.
Zumbrun came out in the sixth round moving his head side-to-side which helped him to avoid the jab of Mollo that had been so punishing in previous rounds. Midway into the round, Zumbrun opened up with more punches and had Mollo on the retreat.
Zumbrun continued to pressure in the seventh and his connect rate increased. He appeared to completely disregard Mollo’s power, simply shaking his head and walking forward when hit. Zumbrun did not let up in the eighth and final round, pressuring and trying to cut off the ring. Mollo made him pay, however, stopping his momentum numerous times with a quick blow to the head or body.
The judges scored the fight 78-74 and 79-73.
During the post fight interview, Mollo stated that he was rededicating himself to the sport and that with a new team and new attitude, he hopes to stay active and fight four times a year.
ROBINSON WINS TOUGH!
Cruiserweight Jason Robinson (18-5-0, 11 KOs) survived an early knockdown to win a unanimous decision against Harvey Jolly (10-14-1, 5 KOs).
The southpaw Robinson started off circling the ring and pumping the jab, but with about thirty seconds in, a sneaky counter right by Jolly found its mark and down went Robinson. Robinson got up and managed to survive the round by using good footwork and clinching when necessary. After shaking off the cobwebs, Robinson appeared more comfortable coming out for the second and managed to score a knockdown of his own by connecting with a straight left and sending Jolly stumbling back against the ropes. Going forward Robinson was able to control the action and eventually had Jolly retreating and looking to survive until the final bell. The scorecards read 58-54 twice and 59-54.
David Latoria (5-0, 3 KOs) won a bizarre match against Tim Bach (2-2, 1 KO) in a battle of heavyweights. Midway into the opening round, Bach threw a right at Latoria’s body, but when it was blocked, Bach’s forearm hit Latoria’s elbow. He dropped in agony, but managed to get up. Seconds later, he continued to grimace when throwing the right hand and his corner quickly motioned to the referee to stop the fight. The time was 2:24.
Featherweight William Hernandez (3-0) coasted to a unanimous decision after four rounds against Quincy Johnson (0-5-1). Johnson looked to press Hernandez early but found himself on the receiving end of several hard jabs and lefts to the body. Johnson’s aggression lasted only for the first two rounds, as he began to tire badly in round three. By the fourth and final round, he was in complete survival mode. All three judges scored the fight 40-36.
Krzysztof Zimnoch (2-0, 2 KOs) easily dismantled Dustin Hedrick (1-4) by connecting with a stinging overhand right with about 30 seconds into the first round of a heavyweight four rounder. Hedrick was countered as he threw a jab and he dropped hard. He got up on very shaky legs complaining he was hit behind the head, but the replay clearly showed a clean shot to the chin. The official time of the end was 40 seconds into round one.
Junior welterweight Adrian Granados (4-1-0, 3 KOs) knocked out William Ware (1-2) in the second round. Granados used the ring well and kept his shorter opponent at bay with combinations to the body and a stiff jab. Ware was forced to take a knee midway into the opening stanza, courtesy of a big right to the body. About 15 seconds later, more body shots by Granados prompted Ware to take a knee again. In round two, the heavy blows to the midsection continued and Ware went down again twice more before Referee Celestino Ruiz mercifully stopped the massacre. The time was 1:12.
Bantamweights Sergio Cristobal (2-1) and Deboe Thomas (1-3-1) put on a thrilling performance during their four round encounter, and despite Cristobal winning unanimously, both fighters were praised by the fans in attendance. Thomas showed sound skills and a good defense. He found a home early for the overhand right, but it was Cristobal’s aggressive style that impressed the judges. They traded heavy shots from the start and refused to take a step back. In the end, the scorecards read 39-37 twice and 40-36.
The evening got started with a heavyweight six-rounder that was won unanimously by Maurice Harris (22-14-2, 10 KOs). He faced the taller Julius Long (15-14, 13KOs) and was able outbox him throughout. Long showed heart in taking the fight to Harris, but was over anxious and was deducted a point in the second round for hitting during the break; he was also penalized in the fifth for using his forearms and elbows when fighting on the inside. All three judges scored the match the same, 59-53.
“Windy City Fight Night 9” was presented by Dominic Pesoli of 8 Count Productions.