By Bob Ryder
Vernon “VIP” Paris and Brian “The Lion” Mihtar both successfully came back from extended absences from the ring on Friday night in Detroit. Promoters Carlos Llinas Productions (CLIP), Ron Remus Productions in conjunction with Olympia Entertainment were rewarded with a SRO house at the Masonic Temple. In one of two co-main events, junior welterweight Vernon Paris dominated Jesse Francisco of Crystal River, FL in scoring a second round TKO. Before the fight Paris had stated “I’m really excited about getting into action again and more importantly I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made in my personal life. I want to stay active.” The “Ice Man” also credited his young daughter as giving him the inspiration to do the right thing.
Photos: Bob Ryder
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Paris scored two first round knockdowns with his superior skill and speed but did have an anxious moment near the end of the round. After an exchange, Paris turned from his foe visibly wincing and favoring his right hand. He recovered quickly however from what turned out to be a jammed thumb to floor Francisico with a sweeping left hook in the second round. Jesse’s corner threw in the towel at 1:15 as their man lay on the canvas. Paris improves to (17-0-0-3 NC, 12 KOs) while Francisco falls to (3-11).
Brian Mihtar got an excellent tussle from the ever tough Ray Darden of Detroit in the other co-main. Mihtar was sharper with his combinations but Darden was crafty on the inside, tying up Mihtar repeatedly. Mihtar’s work rate was more effective and he seemed to have clearly won the bout, however, the fight was difficult to score. One judge had it 58-57 for Darden but was overruled by the other two judges who scored 60-54 and 59-54 giving super middleweight Mihtar the split decision after six rounds. Mihtar (11-1, 9 KOs) brought a big cheering section and his team expressed their happiness to be back fighting for the local promoters where they hope to keep their man busy again. Darden declines to (10-21-1, 4 KOs).
Middleweight Alan Moore of Indianapolis improved to (2-7, 2 KOs) with a TKO 1 at 2:51 over Detroit’s Demetrius Robinson (2-2, 2 KOs). Moore who suffered a bloody nose, had too much power for the lanky Robinson flooring him twice with referee Steve Daher stopping it after the second canvas ride.
In a junior welterweight six, Detroit’s Frankie O’Neal took a unanimous decision over Toledo’s Gabe Morris by scores of 59-53, 57-55, 58-54. In this spirited contest O’Neal scored a second round knockdown although Morris appeared more off balance than hurt. However, the knockdown Morris suffered from a right hand in the final round, was a hard shot that stunned him and sealed the victory for Frankie. O’Neal now (10-1-2, 2 KOs) while Morris goes to (1-4-1).
Middleweight Willie Fortune “500” came out blazing in the first with both hands and maintained his effective aggressiveness the whole way to take the decision by scores of 40-35, 40-36, 39-37 over fellow Detroiter Shawn Smiley. Good action throughout in this one as Fortune improves to (5-0, 2 KOs). Smiley was making his pro debut.
In another excellent fight, James “Motor City Bad Boy” prevailed by majority decision after 4 rounds (39-37 x 2, 38-38) over Scott Furney of Waterford, MI. The two junior lightweights engaged in one heated and extended exchange along the ropes in the second that had the crowd roaring in approval. Lester moves up to (9-3, 4 KOs) while Furney declines to (3-9-1, 1 KO).
Two heavyweight contests opened the show. Detroit’s Tiroca Battle hit a major speed bump in his pro debut courtesy of a blasting overhand right from Todd Welcome that knocked him senseless to the canvas. Battle gamely struggled up at the count of eight but was still groggy leaving referee Steve Daher no option but to wave it off at only :33 of the opening round and giving Welcome his first win in evening up his record at 1-1. In a mauling four rounder, Detroit’s Chris Hancock landed enough body shots to take the verdict by tallies of 40-36 x 2 and 40-35 over Bay City’s Cleophris Glover. Hancock is now (6-0, 3 KOs), Glover (3-11).