By Sam Geraci at ringside
On September 7, Skip Stewart, the man who has brought boxing to Joplin, MO, for nearly forty years, returned to The Holiday Inn Convention Center in Joplin with his new partner, Dallas Cook, to put on a night of entertaining fights featuring several local fan favorites, local prospect Dillon Cook and Chicago prospect Alex Martin.
“Joplin has great fans and they really came out tonight. If we can keep putting on shows like this and I can continue having this much fun, I don’t think I’ll ever stop,” said Skip Stewart.
In the main event of the evening, 22-year-old-middleweight Dillon Cook (7-0, 3 KOs) of Joplin, MO, outclassed Jeffrey Combs (1-4-1) of Saint Louis, MO, en route to a unanimous decision three scores of 60-54. Throughout the bout, Cook peppered Combs with combinations upstairs followed by thudding body shots. Despite the damage that Combs absorbed, he was never stunned or shaken.
“He was able to take my shots, but I think I would have stopped him had he opened up a little. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and to continue improving,” said Dillon Cook.
Martin Stops Constant
Chicago’s top welterweight prospect and the 152 pound 2012 National Golden Gloves Champion, Alex “The Chi-Town Heat” Martin (3-0, 3 KOs) of Chicago, IL, continued to show why he is one of the nation’s most promising prospects of 2013 by scoring another dynamic TKO. This time, the stoppage came at 51 seconds of the second round against a game Jake Constant (0-1) of Springfield, MO, after Martin sent Constant crashing to the mat with an electric lead left. Martin nearly ended the bout in the first after landing a counter-uppercut to the body of Constant that put him on the mat. Constant rose to his feet as the bell sounded.
“It was a good experience to get on the road as a pro, and Joplin was great to me. I’ll be back in Missouri on October 11 in St. Louis to bring the heat,” said Alex Martin.
Cook vs. Kelley
Middleweight hometown favorite Jesse Cook (8-0, 7 KOs) of Seneca MO, attempted to outbox Zachery Kelley (2-5) of Earlsboro, OK, for the first half of the first until he discovered that Kelley was not going to stop coming forward and that he was capable of using his superior hand speed and power to trade with Kelley. For the last half of the first, Cook battered Kelley with quick counters upstairs and thudding body shots. During the final minute of the round, Kelley was dropped with a very powerful and very blow. After a two-minute break, the bout resumed and Kelley somehow managed to continue plowing forward with aggression.
In the second, Cook’s superior boxing technique and conditioning were the difference as simply overwhelmed Kelley with combinations to the body, which eventually lead to Kelley being stopped while standing at 1:22 of the round.
Robbins TKOs Willoughby
Welterweight Justin Robbins (2-3, 1 KO) of Springfield, MO, who is gaining a reputation in Missouri as an MMA fighter who might be able to make the transition to boxing, returned to the win column after several fights on the road to score a dynamic first round stoppage of Eric Willoughby (0-3) of Cassville, OK, at 32 seconds of the first round.
Dirks Decision Talbott
Heavyweight Landon Dirks (2-1) of Springfield, MO, outworked Dakota Tallbott (2-8) of St. Joseph, MO, to score a unanimous decision with three scores of 40-36.
Yankton Sothern TKOs Billy Stimmel
Junior welterweight Yankton Sothern (4-5, 4 KOs) of Springfield, MO, scored two knockdowns of Billy Stimmel (1-1, 1 KO) of Muskogee, OK, with short right hands before Referee Mike England wisely called a halt to the bout at 1:08 of the second.
Cole Decisions Palmer
In the first bout of the evening, junior welterweight Travis Cole (1-0) of Seneca, MO, made his pro debut by outboxing a very game George Palmer (0-1) of Sand Springs, OK, over four rounds with three scores of 40-36.