By Rocco Morales
Before a sold out crowd of 1,412 fight fans, in the 6 round lightweight main event, unheralded Gloria Ramirez won the hearts of spectators and boxing judges alike and pounded out a 6 round majority decision victory over previously undefeated favorite, standing in at 5’9, Chika Nakamura. Coming into the fight, Ramirez had only won one of her previous nine fights over the last seven years, but was fighting for the third time in the last three months. Meanwhile, Nakamura, although undefeated, was coming off a 13 month stretch of inactivity, the longest of her career. Even so, few could have expected the courageous display that was put on by Ramirez, as she continually attacked her bigger opponent, and then weathered the storm each and every time Nakamura tried to storm back.
Photos: Rocco Morales
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Ramirez was able to take advantage of Nakamura’s aggression by using both a jab and an uppercut to perfection. Nakamura, meanwhile, made little use of her superior height and reach advantage, instead charging in recklessly, often being met by the jabs and uppercuts of Ramirez.
In what was one of the best fights of the year at the “Battle in the Ballroom,” both fighters gave it there all from opening bell to the final bell, and by the end of it, both had their battle scars to prove it. At the final bell, as is tradition at Battle in the Ballroom when there is an extraordinary display of pugilism by the fighters, the ring was showered with dollars that flew into the ring from all directions by appreciative fight fans.
When the decision was read, a majority decision victory for Ramirez, the fans erupted in both relief and delight, while Ramirez was ecstatic and jumped up and down in joy in what ranks as the biggest victory of her 34 fight career. With the victory, Ramirez improved to (11-16-17, 1 KO) while Nakamura tasted defeat for the first time and drops to (9-1, 3 KOs).
In supporting action, a 6 round light heavyweight contest, crowd-pleaser and Battle in the Ballroom veteran, Billy “Goat” Bailey took on Danny Perez. In typical Bailey fashion, the best defense proved to be a great offense, as he unloaded bombs from the opening bell over the surprised looking Perez.
While Perez was able to weather the opening storm and even land a few of his own heavy punches, the punishing body work of Bailey took its toll on the slightly pudgy Perez, causing him to drop his hands to leave his cranium exposed to Bailey’s power shots. Bailey did not let this opportunity pass, and after landing a few bombs to the head of Perez, the referee saw enough and correctly called a stop to the fight.
By first round TKO, Bailey improves to (10-5, 4 KOs), while Perez drops to (8-7-1, 5 KOs).
In other supporting action, a 4 round junior lightweight affair, undefeated local fighter, Robert Vargas met Carlos Luque for the second time within two months. In their last fight, on October 29th, Vargas pounded out a 4 round unanimous decision victory. In this fight, it was more of the same with the identical result, a 4 round unanimous decision victory for Vargas.
With the victory, Vargas moves to (5-0-1) while Luque drops to (1-5).
In opening action, a four round lightweight contest, debuting Jessie Roman took the fight to Benjamin Rivera. In what appeared to be a rock-em, sock-em robot fight, both fighters just wound up and slugged each other from opening bell, neither caring to practice any defense. In the third round, after Rivera was cut badly from a punch or a series of punches, the referee wisely stopped the fight and awarded Roman a third round TKO victory.
Celebrities on hand included celebrated movie director, Oliver Stone, and three time super bantamweight world champion, Israel Vasquez. Vasquez, who fought at Battle in the Ballroom in 2001, was inducted into the Battle in the Ballroom Hall-Of-Fame by promoter Roy Englebrecht.
At the end of the evening, the delighted crowd was still abuzz talking about the amazing fight between Ramirez and Nakamura and everyone definitely went home happy is as usually the case following the terrific action at Battle in the Ballroom. The promoter for the event was Roy Englebrecht Promotions. Battle in the Ballroom returns tonight, December 18th, for a final year end bonus show that features three undefeated heavyweights in separate fights. Tickets may be purchased for $20 or $30 at the Irvine Marriott outside the Grand Ballroom or online at www.battleintheballroom.com.