By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
A nice crowd at the Pikeville Armory in Pikesville, Maryland witnessed one of the most exciting Maryland main events in recent memory as Scott “Cujo” Sigmon (13-2, 5KO’s) overcame “Vicious” Julius Kennedy (7-2-1, 3KO’s) in a ten round slugfest to capture the East coast super middleweight title. The undercard of the six bout card promoted by Jake Smith, had several entertaining scuffles, including a six round heavyweight showdown as Maurice “Freight Train” Byarm (10-0, 7KO’s) successfully derailed the upset plans formerly undefeated Winston Thorpe (3-1-1, 2 KO’s), scoring an impressive fifth round TKO.
Scott “Cujo” Sigmon opened the fight, circling the heavier handed Julius Kennedy with jabs and a couple of short combinations. Kennedy tried to close the distance and actually found his mark with a short overhand right, but Sigmon looked sharp in the early going and returned with a heavy three punch combination before going back to his snapping jabs. The question seemed to be, would Sigmon’s stamina allow him to keep Kennedy on the defensive with constant flurries and movement. Surprisingly Sigmon actually showed his power in the closing seconds of the opening round with a blistering four punch combination which appeared to catch Kennedy by surprise.
Kennedy began to find his mark in round two with big right hands and left hooks, but Sigmon returned with a couple of combinations to make it close.
Sigmon seemed to tire as the third round moved forward and Kennedy was just barely missing his mark with vicious uppercuts, but closed the round with a couple of left hooks.
Both fighters stood their ground in the fourth and the slugfest officially began as each fighter went toe-to-toe in wild exchanges. Sigmon who is not normally known for the best technique, showed tremendous heart and actually won many of the exchanges with wide but heavy combinations.
The back and forth battle continued throughout the fifth and sixth with Kennedy heavy overhand rights finding their mark, but Sigmon’s combinations were cleaner and appeared to do more damage.
The crowd began to get behind Sigmon as the chants “Cujo!” “Cujo!” resounded around the arena. Kennedy drifted a series of punches south of the border which forced a five minute stoppage and a warning from Referee Bill Clancy in the sixth. Sigmon constantly peppered the face of Kennedy, whose left eye began to shut. Kennedy continued to go low and a point was taken that had his corner infuriated. The fight continued, but a huge fight broke out in the crowd forcing a stoppage in the fight The well maintained security immediately separated the offending parties and the bout continued at its’ torrid pace.
Kennedy could barely see as the swollen eye allowed Sigmon to constantly find his mark. Kennedy pinned him against the ropes late in the seventh and was banging the body heavily, but Sigmon spun out and connected with a heavy counter right. Kennedy appeared hurt and Sigmon turned him to the ropes and unloaded with a huge barrage of punches as Kennedy covered. Sigmon tired and wisely stepped back as to not punch himself out al leave room for big counters.
It would be a battle of attrition as each fighter took their turns controlling the heavy slugfest. Kennedy eye almost appeared shut due to the swelling but he continued to swing away in a real close eighth round, using uppercuts on the inside. It was full of toe-to toe action. Kennedy was frustrated and pushed referee Bill Clancy when he tried to separate the two combatants, forcing another warning. Clancy also warned Kennedy’s corner for questioning his calls. Another shot from Kennedy appeared to be just below the belt line forcing a second point to be taken
The heavy handed Kennedy also showed the heart of a lion in the ninth as he pressed forward with big overhand rights and his uppercuts as both fighters had their moments. Each fighter had their moments and it was a big back and forth round.
Kennedy pushed the attack again in the tenth and final round, but for every heavy shot he landed Sigmon jab and threw in a counter or two light but cleaner punches.
After a few anxious moments as the commission tallied the scorecards the scores were finally read as follows, and all three judges saw it almost the same way by scores of 96-92 x 2 and 95-93 respectively, giving Scot Cujo Sigmon the unanimous decision victory.
Sigmon, who raised his record to 13-2, 5KO’s, gave nothing but respect to the effort of Julius Kennedy as he took the microphone afterward.
Julius Kennedy slips to a very respectable 7-2-1 and has nothing to be ashamed about as he came close to pulling off the victory even with a swollen left eye and he left it all in the ring.
In an awkward moment, Corey “Black ICE” Cummings stepped into the ring and challenged Sigmon to a fight, saying he would expose him if he accepted the challenge, and stared him down before throwing the microphone to the canvas.
The Freight Train runs over Thorpe
Undefeated heavyweight Maurice “The Freight Train” Byarm (10-0, 6KO’s) continued his way up the heavyweight ladder with a hard fought fifth round stoppage of a determined, but outgunned Winston Thorpe (3-1-1, 2KO’s).
Byarm has all the attributes of a top flight heavyweight and it showed in the early going as he boxed his way in and out of the pocket with a few big right hands behind several good jabs.
The heavy handed Byarm unloaded several heavy uppercuts that appeared to wear down Thorpe in the second while on the inside. Thorpe would not falter and showed tremendous heart and stood his ground, exchanging heavy combinations with the bigger heavyweight. Byarm continued to bang away while his back was against the ropes. Thorpe looked dead tired, but he found enough stamina to unleash two big left hooks which slammed against the face of Byarm in the closing seconds of the round.
Byarm showed why he is such a hot prospect and continued to steadily break down Thorpe in rounds three and four. Thorpe, who was almost out of gas, continued to find his spots with hooks landing on instinct alone.
In the fourth, it was Byarm who pushed forward with hard left hands behind jabs that Thorpe really had no answer for. In the closing seconds Byarm unleashed two freight train left hooks that caught his opponent leaning over. Thorpe appeared stunned and wobbled a bit as the bell sounded to end the fourth.
Byarm looked tired as the fifth began but stilled unleashed another big one two that put Thorpe on unsteady legs. This time he would not let him off the hook as he rained down on him with a series of unanswered blows. Referee Bill Clancy had seen enough and called a halt to the contest at 2:51 of the fifth round.
In the special women’s six round attraction, Tori Nelson (2-0) avenged a previous draw with Shelly Seivert (4-2-1, 1KO), by capturing a very close six round unanimous decision.
The more polished Seivert appeared to be the bigger fighter, but Nelson worked up and down on Seivert throughout. Seivert’s strength was her constant pressure and short combinations which made the fight close.
Nelson found one flaw in Seivert and that was when she would pull out of an exchange, she would turn her head away which didn’t allowed her an option to punch. Nelson would jump all over her with clean flurries to the face with no worries of any counters.
Seivert tried to change the tide late in the fifth and early in the sixth as she backed up the tiring Nelson but it was not enough as all three judges saw it in favor of Tori Nelson by scores of 59-55 and 58-56 x 2.
Butcher outworks Franklin
Raw Baltimore middleweight Devin Butcher moved to 2-0 as a professional with a awkward but convincing four round unanimous decision victory over Martinsburg West Virginia’s Stephen Franklin.
Butcher immediately landed a right hook that gained the attention of Stephen Franklin who appeared tentative throughout the opening round, only willing to throw when on the inside. Sporting MMA trunks, Franklin fought like a man more suited for the mix martial arts than boxing, constantly squaring up and telegraphing his punches, which the gangly Butcher easily avoided by leaning back.
Franklin tried to change the momentum as he charged across the ring as the bell rang to start the second and found his mark with a right hand, but Butcher returned fire and sent him to the canvas with a counter combination. Franklin rose to his feet and pushed forward, but Butcher avoided many of his inside shots again by leaning back. With just seconds to go in the round Butcher charged across the ring with a wild flurry as the bell sounded.
Franklin chose to let his hand go now and then on the inside during the final two rounds but Butcher controlled the ring behind his reach advantage and long combinations to easily capture the victory by scores of 39-36 x 2 and 40-35 respectively.
Devin Butcher ups his record to 2-0 while Stephen fall below the five hundred mark at 1-2, 1KO.
Robeson El bombs Espinal
Highly touted Baltimore light heavyweight prospect Dalemanik “Hit hard as hell” Robeson-El moved to a near perfect 6-0, 4KO’s with a hard earned second round stoppage of the always dangerous Ariel Espinal.
The faster handed Robeson El went right to work from the opening bell with a series of heavy combinations, which kept the heavy swinging Espinal off balance. In mid-round though, Espinal of Brooklyn New York uncorked two big right hands, which landed flush up top and snapped back the head of the Baltimore native. Robeson El was on his “A game though and easily shook them off and wobbled Espinal in the closing seconds with a left on the cheek.
The heavy handed Robeson-El kept up the pressure and Espinal began to wither early in the second. Espinal’s legs looked unsteady and Robeson-El put him to the canvas with a short right on the chin. Espinal rose to his feet and tried to fight back with a few sharp hooks, but Robeson-El continued to batter away with heavy flurries until Referee Bill Clancy stepped in and called a halt to the proceedings at the 2:01 mark of the second round.
It was a nice step up in experience for Robeson El who scored his fourth knockout as a professional. Ariel Espinal drops his record to 8-18-3, 3KO’s.
Kornegay draws with Brooks
In the opening bout of the evening a pair of a pair of winless Baltimore based heavyweights Riley Brooks (0-1) and Lonnie Kornegay (0-3) fought a phone booth battle to see “who’s “O” must go,”.
Each fighter looked to control the fight like two offensive linemen clashing together in the center of the ring. Each fighter had their moments in the opening two rounds. Kornegay at 261 pounds, owned a four pound weight advantage over the smaller in stature Riley Brooks and used it to push him backwards while landing small combinations on the inside. Brooks was determined though and unleashed cleaner heavy counters that made the rounds too close to call.
Riley actually appeared to gain the advantage in the third as he snapped back the head of Kornegay with jabs on the outside and held his own on the inside.
Kornegay finally stepped up the pace late in the fourth and final round with a few hard whirling combinations as he tried to capture the last round. Many of the shots found were deflect by the defensive shell Riley dropped into and the fight was forced to go to the scorecards.
One judge saw it 39-37 for Kornegay, while another official had it the other way 39-37 for Brooks. The third Judge scored it even, forcing a split draw.