By Rick Scharmberg at ringside
The comeback of former USBA junior welterweight champion Mike “No Joke” Stewart (45-7-2, 24 KOs) rolls on after he scored an impressive one-punch knockout of Brandon “The Business” Baue (12-4, 10 KOs) last night at sold-out Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware. Stewart cut and dropped Baue in the opening minute of the fight, and went on to catch Baue with a counter left hook and finish him at 1:35 of the fifth round of the scheduled eight round welterweight bout. In the co-feature, “Mighty” Mike Tiberi (12-1, 5 KOs) took a hard fought unanimous decision over Michael “Show Time” Raynor (6-15, 5 KOs) in a six round middleweight bout. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino promoted the big eight bout show.
Stewart, of New Castle, DE made his third start after an 18-month retirement, won his third straight fight, and scored his first knockout since stopping Ebo Elder on “The Contender” in 2006.
It was a blood bath from the beginning. Stewart opened a deep cut over Baue’s left eye, before flooring him with a left hook seconds later. With the entire left side of his face and head masked in blood, Baue bravely fought on.
Baue, of Troy, MO, made a fight of it in round two, as Stewart shifted his attack to the body. Baue stepped up the pressure, and won round three with light combinations along the ropes while Stewart went into defensive mode.
The pro-Stewart crowd, along with his corner, encouraged Mike to move his hands at the start of the fourth round. Just when Baue appeared poised to turn things around, Stewart found his rhythm. Two and three-punch combinations from Stewart had Baue’s cut bleeding crimson red, and double left hooks to the body were taking their toll.
In the fifth, Stewart patiently waited for Baue to throw his right hand, and when he did, Mike landed a counter left hook that sent him to the deck. Baue was badly hurt, and referee Steve Smoger promptly stopped it at 1:35 of the round with Baue still down.
“It humbles me that people came to support me with a sellout,” said Stewart. “The kid came to fight. He has talent, but he’s young and not defensive-minded yet. He has a fast jab, but I knew when he threw his right, the left was there for me. I slowed the pace down, and then picked it up. I saw that he was leaning in after throwing his right. He threw it, I moved, and he leaned right into the left.”
Tiberi routs Rayner
Delaware is Tiberi country. The entire state seems to have a connection to one or more members of the fighting family. Unassuming, but one of the best in the world at what he does, Nick Tiberi did the matchmaking. Another Tiberi, Shannon, sang an excellent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Brothers Mario and Joe worked the corners of some of the fighters, and yet another brother, Poncho, helped with the promotion.
There was also up-and-coming middleweight “Mighty” Mike Tiberi – the 21-year-old son of Mario – who took on experienced southpaw Michael Rayner, of Fayetteville, NC in the co-feature.
Tiberi, of Smyrna, DE, won nearly every round against a fighter who is tough to look good against. The first three rounds were close, but Tiberi eeked them out on the basis of his cleaner punching.
Early in the fourth round, Rayner’s corner gave Mike a reason to get fired up. They continued to yell to referee Vic DeWysocki that Tiberi was holding, when it appeared that Rayner was actually locking up his arm. It was obvious that Tiberi took exception when he looked at the corner and shook his head.
From that point on, it was all Tiberi. His jabs became harder and faster, and his combinations began to flow. He hurt Rayner with a hard right hand late in the fifth, and nearly buried him with a series of left hooks and a left-right combination in the final round.
The scores were 60-54 and 59-55 (twice) for Tiberi.
“We knew he was a tough guy going in. He is a natural lefty, older, smart, and strong. He wore me down, we wore each other down. And yes, his corner irritated me,” said Mike after the fight.
Hopkins gets by Denby
David “D-Hop” Hopkins (4-0, 1 KO), of Roanoke, VA took a narrow majority decision over relentless Mike “Strictly Business” Denby (2-4-3, 2 KOs), of Felton, DE in an entertaining four round junior welterweight rumble.
Hopkins got off to a fast start, using movement along with a smart jab to claim the first two rounds. In a four round fight, that is a huge lead. At the end of round two, however, Denby made a statement with a big left hook.
Denby’s pressure caught up to Hopkins in the third, and he was able to land numerous right hands as he chased Hopkins around the ring. Denby started strong in round four, but Hopkins dug deeper and finished the round strong. It was that extra effort at the end that gave him the win.
The final scores were 39-37 for Hopkins, and 38-38 (twice).
Caputo Smith hammers Johns
Heavy handed Anthony Caputo Smith (3-0, 2 KOs), of Kennett Square, PA dropped Jason Johns (0-2), of Danville, VA five times, finishing him off at 2:57 of round three of their four round light heavyweight contest.
Caputo Smith floored Johns with a big left hook in the opening minute of the first round. Johns bounced right up, and Caputo Smith calmly regrouped. Johns fought his way back into the fight in round two, but right after his corner yelled “all he has is that left hook”, Caputo Smith landed a short, crisp counter right that dropped Johns like a stone. Once again, Johns popped right back up.
Another right hand from Caputo Smith early in round three dropped Johns again. Johns got right up, but this time he went back down and took a knee for most of ref DeWysocki’s count. Johns regrouped enough to land a nice combination of punches, before getting sent down again with a cuffing left hook.
The end came moments later, when Caputo Smith landed a titanic left hook that sent Johns down for keeps at 2:57 of round three.
Jeffreys takes out Gladney
Ronica “Sweet Trouble” Jeffrey (3-0, 1 KO), of Brooklyn, NY impressively stopped previously unbeaten Angel “Non-Stop” Gladney (6-1-1, 5 KOs), of Columbia, SC at 1:10 of the second round of a four round super bantamweight bout.
Gladney applied pressure from the beginning, but the former three-time NYC amateur Golden Gloves champ was too well-schooled and used Gladney’s pressure to her benefit. Jeffrey waited to counter with lead rights followed by left hooks. Jeffrey landed this combination repeatedly in the opening round.
Early in round two, Jeffrey landed a big right, but Gladney kept coming. Jeffrey then dropped Gladney hard with a huge counter-right. Bravely, Gladney came back in, and Jeffrey landed a brutal left hook-right hand combination that sent Gladney down again.
Referee Steve Smoger gave Gladney the benefit of the doubt and let her continue, but when Jeffrey landed another left-right combo along the ropes, the best referee in the business made a timely stoppage.
Biddle bombs Otts
Popular former toughman champ Dan “Bada Bing” Biddle (3-1, 3 KOs), of Hockessin, DE stopped Eddie “Lightning D” Otts (0-6-1), of Salisbury, MD at 2:04 of the opening round of a scheduled four round heavyweight bout.
Biddle landed a big overhand right, followed by a hard right uppercut in the opening seconds. You could tell that this one wasn’t going to last long. After another minute of one-sided action, Biddle landed a huge right-left combination that sent Otts down hard.
Otts was up on unsteady legs, but referee Vic DeWysocki saw that Otts was in no condition to continue, and immediately stopped the bout.
Biddle still needs to learn the finer points of the sport, but there is no denying his natural power.
Edmonds handles Pope
Julias “Marvelous” Edmonds (6-6), of Philadelphia, PA took a hard fought unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Mondre “The General” Pope (3-1-1), of Virginia in a six round welterweight battle.
Pope appeared to have the tools to make it look easy early on, but the determination, aggression, and robo-punching ability of Edmonds ultimately prevailed. When the action was in the center of the ring, Pope had the advantage, and when it shifted to the corners or along the ropes, it was all Edmonds.
Pope moved well in round one, and used a counter right hand to neutralize Edmonds to win the round. Round two was very close, as Pope focused on a hard body attack in an attempt to slow Edmonds down. Edmonds launched his own assault to the body, giving him the round on at least one card.
Edmonds began to wear Pope down with his pressure, forcing Pope to hold and respond with single shots when he returned fire. Rounds three through five were fought on the inside – Edmonds territory.
Pope dug deep in round six, doing enough to win the round, but Edmonds was still there in his face at the final bell. As expected, it was an entertaining rumble.
The scores were 59-55 and 58-56 (twice) in favor of Edmonds.
Colvin stops Miller
John “Jaw Breaker” Colvin (3-8, 3 KOs), of Pennsboro, WV avenged an earlier defeat to Bernard “Road Dog” Miller (3-2-1), of Lewes, DE, stopping him at 1:44 of the second round in a four round welterweight bout.
Miller came out more aggressively than usual, and was busy enough to win the first round. However, Colvin landed a straight right hand early on that appeared to sting Miller. Midway through the round, Colvin appeared to knock Miller down with a counter right hand, but it was ruled wither a slip or push by referee Vic DeWysocki.
Trading freely to open the second round, Miller had the advantage. But midway through the round, Colvin caught Miller coming in with a counter right that sent him down. He got up on shaky legs, but ref DeWysocki checked him out good, and made the timely stoppage.
Notes: Fighters in attendance included female star Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez and world-rated Hank Lundy.
Before the main event, Clarence “Sonny Bono” Taylor was handed the microphone and promptly issued a challenge to Mike Stewart. The fans loved it, but Stewart scoffed at the idea. Taylor did something similar to former world title challenger Larry Marks that eventually landed him the bout. Taylor represented himself well in losing a close decision against Marks.