By Sam Geraci at ringside
Photos: Tom Barnes/Tomba-Images
On January 31, Hitz Boxing teamed with Round 3 Promotions to stage “Fight Night at the Belvedere” in Elk Grove Village, IL, in front of a capacity crowd that was entertained throughout and surprised after the main event with free tickets to Mike Tyson’s “Undisputed Truth” on February 8, at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. “Despite the weather, Chicago boxing fans came out in large numbers to support their local favorites. I’m proud of the effort that each of these kids showed tonight. The fans got their money’s worth, and we wanted to reward them with a belated Christmas gift with tickets to ‘Iron’ Mike’s ‘Undisputed Truth,’” said Bobby Hitz of Hitz Boxing.
In the main event, light heavyweight Greg Sykes (4-0, 2 KOs) of Waterloo, IA, used his superior defense and counter rights to outpoint Simon “The Punisher” Buettner (5-1, 3 KOs) of Carpentersville, IL, in front of a pro-Buettner crowd en route to a hard-fought unanimous decision with two scores of 39-36 and one score of 38-37.
From the start, each fighter’s plan was apparent: Sykes wanted to fight from a distance while using his jab to set up counter rights whereas Buettner wanted to get inside to unleash his thudding body shots. The first was ugly and appeared to be going Buettner’s way until Sykes caught him with a perfectly timed right as Buettner dived in recklessly. Buettner, who has always shown more guts than technique, rose to his feet despite being hurt for the first time in his pro career and managed to land a few shots as the round came to a close. As Buettner walked to his corner, blood streamed from his nose and mouth.
Buettner started the second aggressively and landed a couple solid wide hooks to the body while managing to smother Sykes’s shots, which forced Sykes to hold to avoid punishment. Toward the one-minute mark, Buettner backed Sykes into his corner and unleashed more than a dozen unanswered shots that were mostly rolled or blocked. Although Buettner controlled the first two minutes of the round with his aggressive and smothering style, Sykes landed several terrific counter rights in the final 45 seconds to take a close round as Buettner continued to dive in with wide left and right hooks.
In the third, Buettner began to breathe heavily through his mouth and even lost his mouthpiece. Despite being fatigued, dropped in the first and hurt in the second, Buettner fought hard throughout the third and controlled most of the round by backing Sykes to the corners to unleash wide body shots. Although Sykes blocked or rolled most of Buettner’s shots, they were probably enough to take a round in which Sykes stopped throwing.
In a round that both fighters must have believed they needed in order to guarantee a decision, it was Buettner who came out with aggression. With the crowd chanting his name, Buettner fought courageously, showing the pure strength and heart that earned him his undefeated record. Throughout the closing round, Buettner simply outworked Sykes and smothered his shots while Sykes appeared to fall in love with waiting to land the perfect counter instead of trying to score and set up shots as he did in the first. Although neither landed anything of significance, Sykes was simply too inactive to win the round, and with 20 seconds remaining, it was Buettner who closed the show by pushing Sykes into his corner to unleash nearly 15 unanswered shots that were mostly blocked.
A very close fight. FightNews scored the bout 38-37 for Sykes.
Navarro TKOs Amaro
In a four round welterweight contest, Roy Navarro (4-1, 2 KOs) of Chicago, IL, rebounded from a majority decision loss to Nick Ramirez in November by using pressure to overwhelm Thomas Amaro (2-4, 2 KOs) of Holland, MI, to score a TKO at 2:53 of the third. Throughout the bout, Navarro pressured Amaro with his jab followed by the straight right to the head and body. Toward the two-minute mark of the second, Navarro scored a knockdown with a right to the body. Amaro recovered but did not appear interested in selling out to mount any type of comeback or offensive for the remainder of the round. Navarro stormed Amaro to open the third and backed him into Amaro’s corner where he unleashed five unanswered shots to the body. Shortly after, Navarro dropped Amaro with a left hook followed by a straight right while the two exchanged wide hooks near the ropes. Amaro beat the count and attempted to fight back for the remainder of the bout was simply unable to put enough on his shots to keep the pressure fighter off him. Referee Pete Podgorski called a halt to the bout at 2:53 of the third after Navarro again dropped Amaro with a left hook followed by a straight right.
Jimenez TKOs Thompson
In his first bout since a brutal TKO stoppage in September to Derrick “Superman” Findley that was later ruled a NC after post-fight tests showed that Findley tested positive for a banned substance, Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez (12-0, 9 KOs) of Chicago, IL, rebounded in a light heavyweight bout scheduled for six by scoring a fifth round TKO of Skyler Thompson (12-11, 10 KOs) of Rockford, IL, when Thompson was unable to answer the bell for the fifth.
To start the first, both fighters came out wildly with Thompson missing with a wide right and Jimenez missing with an uppercut from the outside. Toward the one-minute mark, Jimenez began to settle into the fight and took control by working behind his jab, which he occasionally turned into a hook. As the round progressed, Thompson tried to cover up and roll with shots but was the recipient of several solid combinations to the body and a couple stiff uppercuts upstairs. Overall, it was a solid round for Jimenez, but he still made the mistake of backing himself into the ropes in a passive defensive guard as he did against Findley.
In the second, Jimenez kept Thompson on the defensive by coming out with a crisp jab that enabled him to create enough distance to land cleanly upstairs and down. Toward the middle of the round, Jimenez scored with a snapping lead right that earned Thompson’s attention but also appeared to have injured the hand of Jimenez. Despite the injury, Jimenez continued to score with left hooks and even managed to throw his right after pleas from his corner manned by Pete and Donovan George.
In the third, Thompson managed to catch Jimenez with a few counter left hooks, but Jimenez controlled the action and landed with more regularity. Toward the final minute of the round, however, despite rocking Thompson with a couple crisp lead rights and several uppercuts, it was Thompson who looked fresher as the round came to a close with Jimenez breathing heavily and looking somewhat discouraged that he had been unable to stop Thompson.
Throughout the fourth, Jimenez listened to his corner’s advice and worked to set up his shots behind his jab. As the round progressed, Thompson attempted his best Findley impersonation by electing to drop his hands to show his toughness as Jimenez seized the opportunity to brutalize Thompson’s body and then bloody his face. At times, Thompson tried to fire back but was unable to land anything of significance and by the end of the round was absorbing all types of punishment. Thompson’s corner wisely threw in the towel in between the fourth and fifth. The official time of the stoppage was 1 second of the fifth.
Ramirez KOs Soto in First
At light welterweight, 2013 US amateur standout Eddie Ramirez (2-0, 2 KOs) of Aurora, IL, outclassed and brutalized MMA fighter turned boxer, Mateo Soto (0-3) of Grand Rapids, MI, to score a first round knockout at 1:25 after dropping Soto with a three-punch body combination.
Hefferle KOs Gauthier in First
In his pro debut, Joey “The Celtic Predator” Hefferle (1-0, 1 KO) of Carpentersville, IL, gave his many supporters an entertaining five minutes before stopping welterweight Justin Gauthier (0-3) of Green Bay, WI. The bout itself was not incredibly entertaining as Hefferle simply used his amateur experience to work behind his jab to create distance in order to unleash dynamic combinations to the body that resulted in the knockout at 1:26 of the first round. What was entertaining, however, was Hefferele’s ring entrance that featured Hefferle wearing a Predator mask and B-Hopesque lime green attire. The crowd erupted.
Navarrete Decisions Owens
Super featherweight fan favorite Fidel “El Feroz” Navarrete (4-0-1, 3 KOs) of Highland, IN, continued to build upon his reputation as one of Chicago’s most exciting young fighters by throwing more than 100 punches per round while beating-up a game James Owens (5-15, 2 KOs) of Milwaukee, WI, to earn a unanimous decision with two scores of 40-36 and one score of 40-35. Throughout the bout, Navarrete appeared to be on the brink of stopping Owens, but Navarrete was unwilling to maintain his distance in order to land more cleanly against an opponent who used all of his ring savvy to remain upright.
After the bout, Sergio Montes De Oca, another exciting super featherweight who was last seen in March of 2013 on ESPN Friday Night Fights in a losing effort to rising prospect Hairon Socarras, entered the ring to confront Navarrete. Navarrete and Montes De Oca will square off on February 28, on the undercard of ESPN Friday Night Fights in Hammond, IN. Navarrete is an all-action brawler with good hand-speed and a solid jab (when he chooses to use it) who defeated top prospect Kenny Simms Jr. in the Chicago Golden Gloves.
Asberry Decisions Lopez
In the first bout of the evening, heavyweight Nick “Asberry (3-0, 2 KOs) of Waukegan, IL, used his jab, movement and thudding rights to the body to score a unanimous decision over Raymundo “El Jefe” Lopez (4-7, 2 KOs) of Holland, MI, with two scores of 40-36 and one score of 40-35. Asberry is a tall heavyweight and a Chicago Golden Glove winner who continues to improve with each fight.
Follow Sam Geraci at @sammygwrites or email at firstname.lastname@example.org