By Damien St. Pierre at ringside
Photos: Frank Giovingo
Rain, rain stayed away… for the most part. A little drizzle couldn’t put a damper on the Marcus McDaniel parade. McDaniel shined though the rain Thursday night at the Gretna Heritage Festival as he captured the IBA Americas championship with a smooth and well boxed 8 round decision over Quinton Willis.
The McDaniel / Willis bout was moved up on the bout sheet due to rain in the weather forecast. That didn’t seem to have any effect on the New Orleans middleweight as he entered the ring following a brass band. Once he entered the ring the party continued as he peppered the Florida native Willis with a lightning quick jab; the jab would set the tone for the rest of the night. Round three would be the best round for Willis as he seemed to up the tempo, but those rounds would be few and far between, in fact it would be the only round given to Willis on this writer’s scorecard. Round three also saw a cut due to an accidental clash of heads open up on the right eye of Willis, which would add to an already gloomy night for the Florida fighter.
McDaniel would dominate the rest of the bout with rounds five, six and seven being the best rounds of the bout for McDaniel. The final round saw McDaniel stay at a safe distance for the start but he really pressed the action later in the round after opening up the cut on his opponent even further.
Neither fighter was ever hurt in the bout. No scores were announced but FightNews scored the bout 79-73 for the unbeaten IBA Americas middleweight champion Marcus McDaniel (11-0). With the defeat Quinton Willis falls to 7-3-1
The co-feature of the night, which was moved to the last bout of the evening saw female heavyweights Sydney Ginger “the Ninja” LeBlanc (4-0-1) and Tiffany Woodard (4-7-3) pick up right where they left off from their January 2011 bout, which ended in a draw. Round one was the closest thing these ladies can get to a “feeling out” process; it was a close round, as all six rounds were. The slugfest continued in the second round, Woodard pressed LeBlanc into the ropes and stayed in front of LeBlanc a little too long. LeBlanc countered Woodard with a hook on the side of the head that sent Woodard down. She would get up to finish the round strong. Rounds 3-6 saw both ladies lay everything on the line in an all-out war.
No scores were read, but the verdict was a unanimous decision for the hometown girl Sydney LeBlanc. LeBlanc captures the IBA Americas female heavyweight championship. Woodard goes home to North Carolina empty handed but she should hang her head high with the performance she gave the New Orleans crowd.
The undercard was dominated by a duo of Texas via Uzbekistan prospects, both very impressive.
Most impressive was unbeaten heavyweight prospect Ahor Muralimov (15-0) who scored a very vicious and interesting third round TKO over mammoth heavyweight Nate James (9-3) of Pompano Beach, Florida. Former amateur star James dominated the opening round with his long jab, dominating enough to let his corner man know “He has nothing for me” during a clinch. Nothing quickly turned into something in the second round; Muralimov would go into drop James twice in the second round with some thunderous hooks. Muralimov would finish James off 1:14 into the third round with the same vicious hooks.
Welterweight Bahodir “Baha” Mamadjonov (15-1) destroyed Dallas, Texas native Chris Linson in 1:52 of the opening round. Linson was down two times total. This was Linson’s first fight in 11 years.
New Orleans born light welterweight(Now living in Houston) Regis Prograis (6-0) stayed unbeaten with a dominating six round unanimous decision over late sub James “Tuna” Harrison (3-5-1) also of New Orleans. Prograis dropped Harrison in the second round with a barrage of punches, but Harrison would hang around to hear the final bell. No scores were announced, Fightnews.com saw the bout a shut out for Prograis. Prograis looks like a prospect to keep an eye on.
The second bout of the night saw New Orleans native Terry “Tornado” Young (2-0) keep his unbeaten record intact with a 4 round decision win over debuting Jay “JD” Williams (0-1) of Monroe. Young pressed the action from the opening bell. No scores were announced, Fightnews.com saw the bout 39-37 in favor of Young.
Opening bout of the beautiful evening saw New Orleans welterweight Demond “Body Shot” Brock (4-2-1) score a third round TKO win over “Dangerous” Daniel Bell (1-1) of Shreveport, Louisiana. Brock opened up a cut over the right eye of Bell in the opening round. Brock would go into win round two and was well on his way to winning round 3 when he the cut over Bell’s eye opened up enough for referee Rick Exe to ask the ringside doctor to take a look at it. The Doctor would clear Bell to continue, apparently Bell’s corner thought different and declared Bell not fit to continue.
In a bit of sad news, the night’s matchmaker and longtime boxing matchmaker John “JT” Klump passed away early Thursday morning. There was a moment of silence and a 10 bell salute in his honor. JT was a good friend of mine and an avid reader of FightNews, rest in peace brother.
Promoter for “Rumble on the River” was Les Bonano. Matchmaker JT Klump.