By Brian Grammer and Clint Rosser at ringside
Former middleweight champion, Jermain Taylor (31-4-1, 19 KOs) continued his climb back into world title contention with a brutal 2nd round knockout of Michi Munoz (23-7, 16 KOs) on Friday night at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri. Taylor dominated this contest from the opening bell, dropping Munoz with an overhand right hand midway through the first. The former champion picked up where he left off in the 2nd, landing a 1-2 combination to Munoz’ chin that left him on the mat for several minutes while doctors tended to him. Time of the KO was 1:05.
2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, Jose Pedraza (11-0, 7 KOs) went almost eight rounds with tough late replacement, Tevin Farmer (7-4-1, 1 KO), finally stopping him at :47. Pedraza continually kept the pressure on Farmer, pushing him to the ropes for a majority of the contest, landing both hands on Farmer’s head and body. Pedraza did what was asked of him as he showcased his hand speed and intensity, finally wearing his opponent down. A headbutt in the final frame slowed the action momentarily, but as the action started up again, Pedraza turned on the jets and finally forced referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the contest, landing both hands with nothing coming back in return.
Super middleweight Lamar Russ (11-0, 7 KOs) defeated Jonathan Cepeda (12-1, 11 KOs) by TKO at 1:45 of round one. In what was looking to be one of the more entertaining bouts of the evening turned out to be the shortest. Lamar came out early and was able to control the early part of the round with his jab. Suddenly, Russ landed a thunderous left uppercut and then sent Cepeda to the canvas with a chopping right hand that seemed to land on the back of his head. Cepeda seemed as if he was able to continue but after Referee Mike England took a second look he decided to stop the contest.
Lightweight Dannie Williams (21-2, 18 KOs) faced a tough competitor in Rynell Griffin (6-11-2, 2 KOs) earning a hard fought 7th round TKO victory. Williams, who got up from 2 flash knockdowns in the contest, dropped Griffin three times in the sixth and twice more in the seventh to earn the stoppage victory. Working behind a vicious body attack, Williams busted up Griffin, sending him to the canvas via body blow four times in the contest. At 1:03 of the seventh, following another Griffin knockdown from a brutal body shot, referee Celestino Ruiz stepped in and stopped the barrage, giving Williams a hard earned TKO victory.
Local St. Louis favorite, Jose Ponce (4-0, 3 KOs) scored a 4th round knockdown on the way to a unanimous decision victory against Quintell Thompson (0-1). Ponce found a home for the straight left hand throughout the contest, eventually felling Thompson in the 4th after three consecutive left hands. The judges all saw the contest the same, 39-35, with Ponce getting his hand raised in victory.
Kevin Engle (20-6 16 KOs) defeated Shannon Miller (25-49-8, 18 KOs) by unanimous decision on cards of 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55. For most of the bout, Engle was able to control the ring and tempo as he worked Miller’s body. Miller started the bout with some impressive work in round one, landing his jab consistently, but Engle took over late with some body thunderous body shots. As the bout closed Engle was able to show some impressive work by landing his jab and hard inside right hands.
Nick “The Brick” Reeder (3-0-1 2 KO’s) and Keith Jackson (1-0-2, 1 KO) got the crowd going with a wildly entertaining 4 round heavyweight bout that ended in a draw. Early in round 1 it seemed as if this would be an early night for Jackson as he rocked Reeder with several hard straight right hands. But Reeder was able to create some distance toward the end of the round with landing a stiff jab and moving around the ring. In the second, Reeder came out and landed a stiff left rocking Jackson back but his able to regroup and land several hard uppercuts while Reeder came in with his head down. The last two rounds the fighters once again traded punches and the momentum switched back and forth with each punch but neither fighter went down.
In the opening bout of the evening, heavyweight prospect Tor Hamer 19-1 dominated journeyman Dominic Alexander 23-15-1, sending him to the canvas twice in the opening round and then applying constant pressure in the second to force a stoppage at 1:02 of the second round. In round 1, Hamer, who recently won the famed Prizefighter competition, landed a series of rights sending Alexander to the canvas. Later in the round Hamer landed a several crisp combinations to knock his opponent to the canvas again. As round 2 started, Hamer pressured Alexander and after 15 unanswered punches, the referee had no choice but to stop the bout at 1:02.
Zac Kelley (1-1, 1 KO) stopped previously unbeaten middleweight Chris Rapa (6-1, 0) in the first round of their scheduled 4 round contest. The fighters met in center ring and started firing at the opening bell, with Rapa taking more of the punishment. A counter left hand from Kelley started the damage and after a bad clash of heads, Rapa was bloodied and unsteady on his feet. Another left hand caught Rapa clean on the chin and after an onslaught from Kelley, Rapa slipped to a knee just as referee Mike England waved the bout to an end. Time of the TKO was 1:53.