By Kurt Wolfheimer
Wednesday night at the Arena in South Philadelphia PA, Israeli cruiserweight sensation Ran “Sweet Dreams” Nakash (25-0, 19 KOs) moved one step closer toward a world championship match with a hard earned ten round unanimous decision victory over late replacement Victor Barragan by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94. The win sets up a possible September showdown with Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn (21-4-1, 18 KOs). The seven bout card promoted by No Limits Promotions in Association with Joey Eye Promotions had some highly entertaining bouts. In the co-feature of the evening, former 2008 Olympic Gold medalist, Felix Diaz moved to 6-0, 4 KOs with an eighth round stoppage of crafty veteran Broderick Antoine (10-11-1, 5 KOs). The card will be televised over part of the United States on tape delay by the Comcast Network.
Nakash had to make a major adjustment from his original scheduled opponent veteran southpaw Lou Del Valle to late replacement Victor Barragan an orthodox fighter, who had a modest record but had fought several regional prospects.
The undefeated cruiserweight from Haifa Israel, who teaches hand to hand combat to the Israeli Military, fought much of the early rounds in tight quarters. Victor Barragan was more than happy to oblige, as both fought a nip and tuck battle around the center of the ring.
Nakash changed his tactics in round three, fighting with counters to both the head and body, while avoiding much of his opponent’s flurries . Late in the third, Ran Nakash accidentally caught his opponent an upper cut south of the border. It was his second one in the fight and he was warned for the illegal blow.
Barragan upped his offense in rounds four and five, while Nakash used his quick counters in the give and take rounds. One short right uppercut from Nakash, broke the nose of Barragan and the blood streamed out of his nose .
Rounds six and seven were more to the hand to hand combat fighter’s liking as both fighters stood in the center ring and banged away.
Nakash poured it on in the eighth and ninth rounds and Baragan’s nose was bleeding all over press row. The man from Oxnard, California, seemed to lose his strength as he threw more arm punches.
Barragan felt he was behind in the final round and pushed the attack with wild rights, but Nakash kept him honest and bloody with hard counters in the closing moments.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Ran Nakash by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 99-91 respectively.
“I thought this fight was canceled, when Del Valle pulled out a week ago. However, if you want to be the best and I do, you have to beat whoever they put in front of you,” said Nakash.
“My game plan was to jab and to move and plant my right hand, but he was prepared for it, so I had to adjust.”
Nakash’s manager Ranny Tell spoke on the future of the rising cruiserweight, “If ther Del Valle fight does not happen, we want Bobby Gunn. We have been waiting for Bobby Gunn for a long time. Let’s get the fight done.
Former 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz (6-0, 4 KOs) was severely tested by Troy, New York’s Broderick Antoine (10-11-1, 5 KOs), before securing an eighth round stoppage.
Diaz of the Dominican Republic, was clearly the better boxer as snapped crisp combinations throughout the opening two rounds, which consistently found their mark on the New York welterweight. Antoine weathered the early storms and with some counter lefts. Diaz was setting down on his shots as if to look for the early knockout in round three, which tired him as the round progressed.
Antoine gained momentum in the fourth as Diaz seemed to take a break. Antoine pushed the attack for most of the round. Late in the round as both were trying to impose their wills on the inside, Broderick Antoine emerged from a clinch with a severe cut over his right eye.
Diaz started to pepper away at the cut and the body of Antoine with left hands and hooks. The cut was wide, but the coagulant supplied by his cut man had slowed the bleeding. Antoine took know mind to it and peppered away with small shots.
It was a battle of attrition as both fighters tired in rounds six and seven. Diaz backed up but targeted the eye with sharp left hands. The ring physician took a good luck in the corner at the deep cut and surprisingly let him out for the eighth and final round. After two more shots on the cut, Referee Shawn Clark called the fight at the thirty-five second mark of the eighth round.
The most impressive fighter on the card was perhaps unbeaten Ukrainian, Vyechaslav Glazkov, who stopped the heavy handed knockout artist from Salem New Jersey, Mark “Oak Tree” Brown in the third round of the scheduled six round heavyweight clash of titans.
Glaskov, the former 2008 Olympic super heavyweight bronze medalist from Lugansk Ukraine, definitely had the crisper hands going in the early going as he kept Brown at bay. Brown tried to return fire, but many bounced of the arms and gloves of the confident former Olympian.
The silver medalist was in control by the middle of round two as Brown just had no answer for the heavy jabs and various combinations behind them. In the closing seconds Glazkov unleashed an overhand right that twisted the muscular Brown around like tree in hurricane winds. Brown really backed up in the first time of the fight as the round came to a close.
Glazkov continued to pound away in the early portion of the third round as Oak Tree withered and was breathing heavily. The Ukrainian knew his moment had arrived as he stunned Brown with three overhand rights which landed flush on the jaw line. Brown tried to cover, but after four more unanswered heavy blows, forced Referee Benji Estevez Jr. to step in and call a halt to the bout at the 2:41 mark of the third round.
Undefeated Russian super middleweight prospect Maks Liminov (13-0, 8 KOs) needed to pull out all the stops to secure a six round split decision victory over Cary North Carolina’s Julius Fogle (15-6, 10 KOs).
Liminov of Prokopyevsk, Russia was the aggressor e early ,forcing Fogle to cover and retreat with diving two and three punch flurries. The tide turned in the rounds three and four as Fogle turned the tables with sharp hooks to the body which seemed to tire the aggressive Russian.
Seeing the tide turning Liminov continued his output and supplied the pressure, but now also targeted the body as the fight went inside in round five. Fogle though dug down deep with the heavier punches but it just wouldn’t deter the Russian.
Fogle saw that Maks had tired in the sixth and final round so he pressed the attack himself. A short right caught Liminov and he backed up with his mouth wide open, gasping for air. Fogle was tired too and could not capitalize on the opportunity and Liminov boxed his way to the final bell.
One judge saw the fight 58-56 in favor of Julius Fogle, but was overruled as the other two officials scored it 59-55 the other way, giving Maks Liminov the split decision victory.
There was an upset in the walkout bout as Alejandro Solorio (4-2, 3 KOs) of Huntington Park, CA scored a first round knockdown, en-route to handing Rustam Nabeev of Tobolsk, Russia (5-1) his first loss as a professional. Solorio used his superior hands speed to keep Russian super flyweight off balance throughout much of the fight. All three judges saw the bout in favor of Solorio by scores of 40-35 and 39-36 x 2.
Former Penn State lineman Imani Bell of Philadelphia had to overcome a first round knockdown to score a 2nd round technical knockout in his professional debut over Saginaw Michigan heavyweight Lee Thomas (1-4).
Bell bobbed and weaved in the opening moments of the fight with a feeling out jab. At the round progressed, the former Penn State defensive tackle found his range with a wide four punch combination which stood up Thomas. However, he dropped his hands on the inside to throw a left. Thomas seized the opportunity and stunned him with an overhand right on the button. Bell of Philadelphia turned away and tried to retreat, but a flurry of punches left him off balance and he fell to the canvas. Bell rose to his feet and took a couple more overhand rights, but regained his composure behind some stiff jabs in the closing seconds of the opening round.
Round two was a different story as Bell picked apart the Michigan native, using his long jabs to maintain distance where he could find the mark with several heavy right hands and left hooks up top. Thomas tried to unload one more of his patented over hand rights late in the round. This time bell blocked it with his guard and planted a big right hand on the button in the middle of a four punch flurry. Thomas clinched and came out with what looked like a bloodied and possible broken nose. Bell increased the pressure in the final moments with several big shots through the guard of the Saginaw native. Lee’s nose was bleeding heavily as he went to his corner. After a few moments, his corner called of the bout, resulting in the second round TKO victory for Imani Bell.
In the opening bout of the evening, Israeli lightweight prospect Oz Goldenberg (2-0) came on late to squeak out a four round majority decision victory over hard luck Marcos Garcia (0-3) of Camden, New Jersey.
Garcia went right after the Israeli prospect from the opening bell like a twister in the summer heat, twirling away with several wide combinations. Goldenberg weathered the early storm and by the second round, was using his muscle to plant the Camden native continually to the ropes where he could unload some tight combinations.. Garcia was the busier fighter, but Goldenberg was the heavier puncher in the razor thin final two rounds, which made the bout extremely close. It appeared that Goldenberg captured the victory in the final round as Garcia tired from the constant muscling against the ropes. Marcos tried valiantly to keep The Israeli off in the closing moments with a big right hand, but Goldenberg walked right through it and stunned him with a right on the button. The Israeli went in for the kill and threw six unanswered punches, but could not land the finishing blow as Garcia boxed his way to the final bell. One judge saw the bout even at 38-38, but was overruled by the other two officials who both saw the bout 39-37 in favor of Oz Goldenberg. This writer saw it 39-37 in favor of Goldenberg.