By Sam Geraci at ringside
Photos by Kyle Wolff
On April 13th, Knock Out Sport Promotions returned to the Radisson Hotel in Merrillville, IN, for another installment of its “Radisson Rumble” series. Friday’s fights featured three of Chicagoland’s most talented young fighters in Junior “Hurricane” Wright (7-0, 7 KOs), Ed “Bad Boy” Brown (2-0, 2 KOs) and Alex Martin (1-0, 1 KO) as well as the return of Nick Cook (16-1-2, 9 KOs), a LaPorte, Indiana native whose last fight was a draw with top-rated light heavyweight Marcus Oliveira in 2008.
In the main event of the evening, cruiserweight Junior “Hurricane” Wright (7-0, 7 KOs) of Evanston, IL, stormed through Chris “Cold Steel” Thomas (17-19-2, 14 KOs) of Chicago, IL, to score a third round TKO at 2:30.
For the first minute of the round, Thomas was able to avoid the brunt of Wright’s attack by circling away from Wright’s right hand but still absorbed several thudding body shots while only managing to land one meaningful punch of his own, a left hook. Towards the midway point of the round, Wright’s attack to the body began to lead to openings upstairs. For the final minute of the round, Wright began to land his stiff jab followed by short right hands. In the last fifteen seconds of the round, both fighters exchanged hooks with bad intentions but it was the hand speed and power of Wright’s shots that caused all of the damage.
To start the second, both fighters came out looking to land the “homerun” and both landed some “doubles” and “triples” but, again, it was Wright who was causing all of the damage. In fact, toward the one-minute mark of the round, Wright backed himself into the ropes and absorbed what appeared to be Thomas’s best shot and smiled while hitting his own chin before responding with a 1-2 that sent Thomas to the mat. Thomas beat the count but his efforts were only rewarded with another ferocious shot from Wright, a left hook that brought the concerned eye of referee Kurt Spivey. Somehow, Thomas managed to fire back and even land a couple shots of his own before the bell sounded.
In round three, Thomas was battered around the ring with thudding body shots, short right hands and wide hooks before referee Kurt Spivey wisely called a halt to the bout.
Cook vs. Eppley
In his first fight in more than five years, cruiserweight Nick Cook (16-1-2, 9 KOs) of LaPorte, IN, fought through ring rust and the thumping body shots of Chris Eppley (10-3, 9 KOs) of Cedar Hill, MO, to score a unanimous decision with scores of 60-53, 59-54 and 59-54. After being given several stiff warnings, Eppley was penalized a point in round five for using his left hand to push down Cook’s head.
Although the scorecards did not reflect it, this was an entertaining bout between a boxer in Cook and a brawler in Eppley in which the boxer’s cleaner and shorter punches scored more frequently than the wide thumping shots of the brawler, which were often deflected before causing any serious damage.
Kreisher vs. Murphy
After four years away from the ring that were preceded by four consecutive knockouts to fighters making their pro debuts, welterweight Lee Kreisher (2-5, 2 KOs) of New Philadelphia, OH, made his return by bloodying “Irish” Jimmy Murphy (3-1, 3 KOs) of North Barrington, IL, before referee Bill Paige called a halt to the bout in the second round. The first round was competitive with both fighters throwing and landing wide shots, but Kreisher, who scored two knockdowns before the stoppage, dominated the second.
Brown vs. Snapp
Ed “Bad Boy” Brown (2-0, 2 KOs) of Chicago, IL, scored his second crowd pleasing first round TKO in as many fights after nearly knocking Warren Snapp (0-3) of Las Vegas, NV, out of the ring.
Snapp appeared to be holding his own by going to Brown’s body for the first half of the round, as Brown elected to back toward the ropes with his guard held high. As soon as Brown opened up, however, he caught Snap with a long but crisp right hand and finished him off with a crushing left hook that lifted Snapp from the mat and sent him crashing into the corner post. The bout was officially stopped at 2:04.
Martin vs. McPherson
2012 National Golden Gloves 152 Pound Champion Alex Martin (1-0, 1 KO) of Chicago, IL, made his pro debut by scoring a first round TKO over Clifford “The Magician” McPherson (2-12-1, 1 KO) of Cleveland, OH, when McPherson expressed he was unable to continue because of an arm injury before the start of the second.
Although McPherson was stopped because of an apparent arm injury, Martin displayed the world-class speed, impeccable defense and brilliant counterpunching that have lead many to believe he is Chicago’s best prospect in years.
Martin made his debut at welterweight.
Chavez vs. Dunn
In the first bout of the evening, heavyweight Ricardo “El Diablo” Chavez (4-0, 3 KOs) of Chicago, IL, scored a first round TKO over Tim” Fat Boy” Dunn (0-1) of Manitowoc, WI, when Dunn refused to answer the bell for the second.
Although the event did not feature any bouts beyond six rounds, because Knock Out Sport Promotions has begun to establish a reputation as a promotional company that improves with each of its shows, while still showcasing some of the region’s most talked about prospects, the event was nearly sold out and included the attendance of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, former world title challenger Angel Manfredy and Bears safety Tom Zbikowski.
“Each of our shows has gotten better, and we’re starting to find the right mix of prospects, local fan-favorites and established contenders in order to keep putting on entertaining shows,” said Giovanni Gotti, promoter of Knock Out Sport Promotions.