By Bob Ryder at ringside
Photos: Bob Ryder
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Middleweight Troy Rowland made a successful return after a 3 1/2 year absence with a solid TKO win in the second round over Joe Harden in Saturday night’s feature presentation at the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids, MI. Fighting before an enthusiastic home town crowd, Rowland dominated the first round with crisp jabs. Looking in great shape, Rowland quickly landed a booming right hand early in the second to drop Harden to the canvas. Two more quick knockdowns forced an automatic stoppage by referee Steve Daher at 1:10 and raised Rowland’s record to 24-2 (7). When asked if this display of punching power was the “new Troy Rowland”, Troy laughed it off but was obviously very pleased with his first fight back. “It turned out really good, I was holding off with my right hand a bit because I had hurt it earlier in the week. I was just jabbing, jabbing, jabbing, and all of a sudden I threw a right hand and just caught him good.” No firm date for Troy’! s next fight is set but his plans are to work his way back into 10 round fights in about a years time. His opponent Harden’s record falls to 10-21-2.
In other action on this Blue Cap Promotions, Carlos Llinas International Productions (CLIP), TMS Fight Night card, local amateur sensation, recently tuned pro, Joel Flores scored another quickie. Super lightweight Flores made his pro debut last month with a :29 KO. This night he had to work a bit harder as Eric Rue managed to last :43 into the first. Flores had way too much in every department. Wicked body shots dropped Rue whereupon his corner quickly waived the white towel of surrender. Rue falls to 0-3.
178 pound 2008 National Golden Gloves champion Azen Augustana of Miami started his pro career off with a dominating TKO over Ousman McClain of Southport, IN in a light heavyweight contest. Augustana decked McClain right at the end of the first round. McClain got up just at the bell. In between rounds McClain told referee Patrick Schmidt that he had injured his left shoulder and the fight was stopped. McClain is now 0-2.
Heavyweights Alex Otero, 2-8 (0) and Rod Jacobs , 1-8 (0) put on an entertaining if somewhat messy brawl for the crowd. Otero did the more effective work inside to win the 4 rounder by scores of 40-36, 40-37, 39-37. Jacobs hails from New York City, Otero from nearby Holland, MI.
In another heavyweight contest, veteran Jackie Beard 4-9, (4) knocked Cleophris Glover 2-10 down right at the start of the second round. Glover got up slowly and beat the 10 count, but indicated to referee Daher that his night’s work was over. Time of the stoppage was :22.
Chris Grays, 8-16 (2) was awarded the decision after 4 rounds over pro debuting Jeremy Ashley of Indianapolis, middleweights. Local Grays had too much experience but the rock hard, tough Ashley showed a lot of grit and determination throughout. Ashley was down in the first and suffered a standing 8 count in the third. Scores were 40-35, 40-34, 40-33.
Welterweights Bert Compton and Derron Hernandez battled to a majority 4 round draw. Good solid exchanges the whole way. Hernandez won on one card by 39-37 but was not enough to overcome the identical 38-38 scores of the other judges. Hernandez now 1-0-1 (1) while Compton was making his pro debut.
It’s not unusual for a glass jaw to let a fighter down. In the case of Allan Grays, it was a glass eye. Grays had made his pro debut last summer in a losing effort. During the pre-fight exam on Saturday night it was discovered that Allan had only one eye, naturally ruling him out of his scheduled fight with Mike Oliveira of Miami. The resourceful promoters grabbed Guy Packer from the crowd and without much convincing had Packer ready to sub for the one eyed Grays. Packer however was out gunned and stopped at 2:26 of the second round. A wicked body shot dropped Guy near his own corner. A follow up punch while he seemed to be down didn’t help his cause and Packer could not continue. Oliveria improves to 6-0 (5) while Packer declines to 3-23-2.