Story and photos by Jesse Kelley at ringside
Rondale “Give Em Hell” Hubbert (7-0-1, 4 KOs) of Moorhead, MN won the vacant Minnesota State Junior Welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over RJ “T-Rex” Laase (12-2, 8 KOs) in the main event on Friday night at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, MN.
Both fighters traded staggering shots throughout in what turned out to be an exciting fight while the packed arena of just over 2000 people cheered on. Hubbert ran out of his corner at the opening bell and unloaded hard and wild punches that backed Laase up. Hubbert latter explained the strategy, saying that he wanted to show Laase he was there to fight. It was a risky strategy to fight with such reckless aggression on Hubberts part not only to start the fight but as he did many times throughout because of the chance to punch himself out. But it turned out to be what banked him the rounds he won in the end.
Laase stayed calm and weathered the storm. He began to walk Hubbert down in round two, landing hard body shots. The middle rounds were back and forth with what seemed like all power shots being thrown by both men behind the deafening screams around the arena pushing them on. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Hubbert by scores of (77-75, 78-74, 77-75).
Jamal “Shango” James (14-0, 7 KOs) of Minneapolis, MN defeated Wayne Martell (25-5-1, 15 KOs) of North Dakota by first round TKO in the co-featured bout of the evening in a Welterweight match. James dropped Martell early with a countering left hook to the head. Martell was more stunned then hurt and popped up. Martell attempted to fight back but James was going for the finish. A body shot put Martell down moments later followed by two more quick knockdowns and referee Gary Miezwa stopped the fight at 2:59 of the opening round.
Robert “Bravo” Brant of Saint Paul, MN improved to (12-0, 6 KOs) with a well-deserved eight round unanimous decision victory over Markus Upshaw (17-13, 8 KOs) of Miami, Florida in a middleweight bout. Brant’s speed and better combination punching was his key to victory for but as always, Upshaw pushed the hometown favorite to the limit. Scores read 77-75 twice and 79-74 for Brant.
Phil “The Drill” Williams (13-6-2, 12 KOs) of Minneapolis, MN crushed St. Joseph, Missouri’s Galen “Bad Boy” Brown (42-28, 25 KOs) in round two. The two cruiserweights didn’t throw a lot of punches in the opening round, with both fighters waiving the other in. The slow pace continued into the second with Brown tossing out sporadic pot shot attempts and Williams shoulder rolling his way out of danger while cocking his left out of a southpaw stance. Just as the round came to an end, Williams snapped Brown’s head back with two right jabs and a power bomb of a left uppercut dropped Brown to his back and across the bottom rope. Brown somehow got to his feet but Gary Miezwa correctly stopped the fight after a brief look at Brown. Official time of the stoppage was 2:59 of the second round.
Jonathan “J-Blaze” Perez (8-0, 5 KOs) swept all five rounds over Antwan “Lil Superman” Robertson (9-10-1, 6 KOs) in a Super Bantamweight bout. Perez spent the entire fight chasing the defensive minded Robertson. Robertson was elusive but threw very few punches in the bout. Perez marched forward, throwing lunging jabs and hooks that scored points in an effort to get a fight started to no avail.
MMA fighter Mark Sainci of Michigan win his boxing pro debut with a third round TKO win over fellow mixed martial artist/ boxer Andrew Selvig (1-4, 1 KO) of Duluth, MN. Selvig was game but completely outgunned by the speed and power of Sainci. Sainci scored a knockdown in the second round with a head shot and a flurry of unanswered head shots in round three brought on the stoppage by referee Gary Miezwa at :49 into the third round.
Joe “The Don” Lorenzi (3-5, 3 KOs) of Duluth, MN avenged a 2007 decision loss to Lucas “The Pit bull” St. Claire (3-5, 2 KOs) with a fourth round TKO in the action packed opening bout of the night. St. Claire fought aggressively and landed some heavy shots to the head and body. Lorenzi was able to take everything St. Claire had though and slowly broke “The Pit Bull” down. An accidental clash of heads in round two shook both fighters and left a gash over the right eye of Lorenzi. St. Claire appeared winded from the second round on but still fought on. Lorenzi put St. Claire down twice in the round once with a head shot and the second to the body. St. Claire didn’t seem to have much left in his legs from the fast pace and hard shots from Lorenzi heading into the fourth round. Lorenzi weathered one final assault from St. Claire before going on the offensive. Lorenzi dropped St. Claire twice with head shots before referee Mark Nelson waived the fight off.