By Christopher P. Cook
Former world title challenger Danny “The Bronx Bomber” Santiago (31-4-1, 19 KOs) defeated “The Billy Goat” William Bailey (10-7-0, 4 KOs) in a horse race of a match. Headlining One Punch Productions’ latest installment of their popular “Ballroom Brawl” series at the Tampa Westshore DoubleTree Hotel, Santiago showed both his age and ring experience in defeating the outmatched and unorthodox Bailey. After an exhilarating first round, the former title challenger kept the fight on the move, using the entire ring as his track to keep the forward fighting Bailey at a distance.
In front of a capacity crowd, “The Bronx Bomber” lived up to his name in the first round, using his knowledge and games-man-ship to land effectively on the body of the larger Bailey. Bailey, 177.5 pounds, took the shots well in the first, weathering the pummeling of Santiago, 177. As the bell rang, Santiago was breathing hard, showing the full affects of 165 rounds of boxing and 37 years of age. The pace slowed considerably in the second, and Bailey took advantage, landing a hard right hand on top of Santiago’s head. Bailey stunned Santiago a second time near the bell with a sharp left. As the third began, the fight turned ugly, with Santiago ignoring the referee’s command to break, and chose to hold the arm of Bailey and let loose a series of illegal punches.
Santiago continued with the holding in the fourth, trying to buy time to catch a second wind. “The Billy Goat” kept coming forward, stalking Santiago around the ring. Trying to make a fight of the match, Bailey followed Santiago the remainder of the bout, while Santiago utilized effectively his hit and run method, keeping the action at a minimum. Boos from the audience showered in, as action never picked up. Between holding, wrestling maneuvers, and marathon running, Santiago won via a majority decision 78-74 (Mike Ross), 77-75 (Alex Levin), and 76-76 (Michele Hellstern). The crowd loudly booed the result, an unfortunate end to another successful night of boxing in Tampa.
In the co-feature bout of the evening, a pair of undefeated Florida natives squared off, Miami’s Stalinn Lopez (7-0-0, 3 KOs) defeated “Magic” Marcus Willis (4-1-2, 2 KOs) of Fort Myers in a six round contest. The popular Willis met his toughest opponent in his young career and was unable to utilize his speed advantage to win over the judges.
Willis found home with his fists early in the bout, landing at will with his quick combinations. A clash of heads occurred in the round, opening up a gash just to the side of Lopez’s left eye. Trading took over in the second, with both fighters’ letting their hands fly. Willis worked from a distance, using the speed to pick his shots. Lopez appeared to be bothered a bit from the cut; his output declined in the middle rounds, but was able to land several flush shots on Willis’ body. Neither fighter landed a telling shot, or really found a spot to capitalize on the other. The later rounds were filled with trading in the middle of the ring, with Willis’ speed appearing to give him a slight advantage. The judges scored the bout in favor of the resolute Lopez via majority decision (58-56 Ged O’Connor and Levin, and 57-57 Ross).
Highlighting the undercard, Azea Augustama (7-0-0, 5 KOs) lived up to his billing as he squared off against Adam Collins (7-3-0, 5 KOs). “The Haitian Hitman” Augustama, 178.75, dominated the bout from the start, landing crisp punches, dropping Collins, 177, to a knee in the first. Sensing the kill, the Hitman landed a solid right to the face toward the end of the first, placing Collins on the mat for good, ending the bout at 2:54.
In another exciting and even scary first round knockout, Reynaldo Cepeda (3-0-0, 2 KOs), 146.75, finished off Steven Benjamine (1-1-0, 1 KO), 145.25, in just over a minute of work. Cepeda landed a punishing overhand right to drop Benjamine within the first minute. Benjamine beat the referee’s count, but soon regretted it. He met a powerful left hook and hit to the canvas, calling a halt to the bout at 1:09 of the first.
Also on the undercard, Tampa native Marquis Davis, 159.75, won an impressive debut over Donald Clark (1-1-0, 0 KOs), 159.25. Davis caught Clark against the ropes in the second, unleashing a stunning overhand right, followed by a left and right which caused Clark to crash on canvas, knee buckling and all. After a scary minute, where it appeared Clark could have been seriously hurt, thankfully he was able to get to his feet on his own and walk away. Official time at stoppage was 1:27.
In a pair of debut winners, newcomer Enrique Rios unanimously defeated Yuniel Ramos (0-3-0). Rios, 122.25, dropped the winless Ramos, 123, once in the third and again in the final round. Scores were 39-35 all (O’Connor, Levin, and Ross). Tampa firefighter Christina Swanson, 135, successfully debuted against Jaqueline Hernandez (0-0-1), 132.5. In a wild bout, filled with overhands, Swanson claimed victory via majority decision 39-37 twice (Ross and Hellstern) and 38-38 (O’Connor).
In front of a full house, several boxing stars were in attendance to witness the night of boxing. Legendary trainers Angelo Dundee and Emanuel Steward were joined by former world champions Nate “The Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell, Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy, and Tony “TNT” Tucker. One Punch Productions returns to the Tampa Westshore DoubleTree Hotel on July 16th to bring another night of exciting boxing to the Tampa area.