By Brady Crytzer at ringside
In an exciting lightweight contest the unbeaten “Lightening” Rod Salka battled eight ferocious rounds to score a unanimous decision against Harold Orji Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, PA. The lightweight main event of the evening opened in exciting fashion as both men met in the center of the ring and threw slick straight punches at one another. While Orji stood confidently in the center of the canvas the fleet footed Salka bobbed and weaved his way from corner to corner in search of an opening. Each man found success with their respective jabs and both returned to their corners confidently.
As the action continued, Orji began to find his rhythm and land hard hooks and uppercuts as Salka pressed forward. With Paul Spadafora barking “colorful” orders to the unbeaten Salka from ringside, Orji displayed uncharacteristic patience for an inexperienced fighter and picked his shots well. Though he appeared to have more weapons in his arsenal, Salka’s hesitation allowed for Orji to beat him to the punch throughout the third and fourth rounds.
Rounds five and six saw Salka begin to pick his shots more carefully. Though he was moving forward with swiftly punches, his inability to create combinations and use angles allowed Orji to sting him in close. Working off of his backfoot, Orji was able to land effective blows and make Salka think twice before rushing in to engage.
The seventh round saw the most furious action of the fight as Salka and Orji battled in close. Using a natural speed advantage, Salka fired rapid punches to the midsection of his opponent. In the eighth and final round each man left his heart in the ring as Salka and Oiji blasted one another with long range haymakers. In the final minute of the fight Salka was able to score with a hard right cross that backed Orji into the ropes.
After eight rounds of furious action judges’ scorecards read 77-75, 80-72, 77-75 for the winner by unanimous decision “Lightening” Rod Salka.
Martin Devastates Zalus in First
Undefeated heavyweights collided in an explosive contest as David Martin (3-0) stopped Paul “Zeus” Zalus (4-1) in just 1:20.
As the shorter man, Martin assumed a crouching stance as he sought out an opening to strike his 6’5 opponent. Zalus was anxious to exchange with Martin and quickly paid the price for doing so. Following a quick exchange Martin exploded on the towering Zalus landing a wicked combination of devastating punches. With his back to the ropes the shocked and stunned Zalus could only cover up.
The end came mercifully at 1:20 of the opening round.
“I felt that he was being too patient,” Martin said after the biggest knockout of his young career. “I was not going to be overly aggressive, but I told myself that if I saw the knockout I would take it.”
Giuriceo Cut, Bloodied But Still Unbeaten
In an exciting welterweight fight unbeaten Jake Giuriceo (7-0-1) outgunned Sam Gipson (2-5-2) over six competitive rounds to win a unanimous decision.
Giuriceo stalked Gipson throughout the first round and scored with hard hooks to the head and body. Time and again the faster, sharper Giuriceo smacked hard lead left hooks off of the head of his opponent and the round was firmly in his control. Suddenly, the backpedalling Gipson landed a sharp counter left that froze the crowd favorite. The round ended very much as it started though with Giuriceo playing the role of the aggressor.
The second round began well for Gipson as he was able to time his hard-charging opponent with a piercing right cross that opened up a cut above the left eye of Giuriceo. The third round was a competitive one as both men scored with damaging blows. The left eye of Giuriceo continued to bleed throughout rounds four and five, but the unbeaten fighter continued to land the more significant punches. With bloody pouring from his nose, mouth, and eye Giuriceo continued his barrage in the sixth and final round.
Scorecards read 59-55, 59-55, 59-55 for the winner via unanimous decision Jake Giuriceo.
Bergman Closes Show Against Thompson
Heavyweight Jason “Hoag” Bergman (12-9-2) banged and brawled his way to victory stopping Ryan “The Tank” Thompson (9-10) at 1:59 of the third round via TKO.
Bergman wasted no time setting the tempo of the heavyweight slugfest by landing a crushing right cross to the face of Thompson. Known affectionately as “Hoag,” Bergman ripped heavy blows to the body of his largely defensive-minded opponent. Bergman, who began the fight quickly, appeared to be winded as the round came to a close. Thompson appeared to be steadfast during the second round and worked effectively early with a determined jab. While Bergman threw much heavier punches, Thompson utilized slow and steady straight punches to keep his muscular opponent at bay.
The third round saw Bergman launch a hellacious series of hooks into the soft midsection of Thompson and hurt him badly. Forcing the fight into a phonebooth, Bergman tore a right uppercut between the guard of his opponent and followed up with a crushing left hook. Referee Ernie Sherif waved off the contest soon after.
The heavyweight slugfest came to a screeching halt at 1:59 of the third round.
Hazimihalis Stops Strickland Early
In his third professional appearance lightweight Chris Hazimihalis (3-0) stopped Ryan Strickland (1-3) via TKO in the opening round.
Strickland was unphased by the loud support of Hazimihalis’ local supporters and fired away at his focused opponent. Following a thumping left hook by the Indianapolis native, Hazimihalis responded with a short right that sent Strickland to the canvas. Though he beat the count, Strickland would be sent to the mat for a final time courtesy of a left hook. Hazimihalis and his vocal contingent of followers celebrated joyously alongside head trainer Jack Loew as they announced the victory.
The fight was waved off at 1:41.