By Rick Scharmberg at ringside
Mike “No Joke” Stewart (43-7-2, 23 KOs) won the battle of returning veterans with a unanimous decision over Luis Alberto Santiago (18-9-2, 11 KOs) in the six round welterweight main event last night at the sold-out Rollins Center at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, DE. With both fighters coming off lengthy layoffs, Stewart scored a first round knockdown and finished strong to win by scores of 59-54 (twice) and 58-55. In the co-feature, Mark “Oak Tree” Brown (15-1, 7 KOs) took a unanimous decision over Willie Perryman (10-19, 7 KOs) in a four round heavyweight bout. The promoter was Capital City Promotions.
Stewart came out strong, considering the 18-months worth of ring rust he had to shake off. He went to work immediately, working his left hook to the body of the equally-rusty Santiago. A classic left hook to the liver from Stewart sent Santiago down for a nine-count in the opening minute of the fight. Stewart tried for an early finish, bombing Santiago with overhand rights and a left-right-left combination. Santiago recovered, and was firing back as the round ended.
Santiago bounced back in round two, landing a short right counter over a Stewart combination to the body in the first minute. Santiago landed a three-punch combination and a straight right hand on a bobbing and weaving Stewart, while Mike fired back with a chopping right hand. This round was close, with Alberto having the slight edge.
Round three was also close, as Stewart began loading up on his punches. He opened the round with a three-punch combination to the head, and then landed several lefts to the body. Stewart was cut on the forehead after an accidental clash of heads in round four, but appeared to have the edge in this round.
Stewart abandoned his jab in round five, and started mauling Santiago into the ropes. It was a give-and-take round, but Alberto was able to land some nice right hands as Stewart worked his way inside.
Any thoughts of a Santiago comeback were thwarted in round six, as a fired-up Stewart found his rhythm and finished strong. He dominated the entire round, and landed a nice overhand right-left hook combination as the bout ended.
“Oak Tree” defeats Perryman
In the co-feature, Mark “Oak Tree” Brown (15-1, 7 KOs) stayed busy with a unanimous decision over Willie Perryman (10-18, 7 KOs) in a four round heavyweight bout. Brown controlled the opening round with his jab, with little fired in return from Perryman.
Brown picked it up in round two, scoring with some nice right hands. Again, Perryman’s offense was dormant until he landed a nice double left hook at the bell. The third round was close, as Brown used his strength and wrestling background to contain Perryman and force him to the ropes. Brown landed a nice overhand right in the fourth, and Perryman responded with a hard three-punch combination at the final bell.
The scores were 40-36 (twice) and 39-37, all in favor of Brown.
Belasco controls Ventry
Ryan Belasco (11-2-2, 3 KOs) continues to develop, winning his sixth straight with a unanimous decision over New York’s James Ventry (7-8-1, 4 KOs) in a six round junior welterweight bout.
In his earlier fights, Belasco used to expend most of his energy early in his fights, forcing him to hold on and take unnecessary punishment later on. That is not the case any more. Now he is fighting more regularly, as he remains in fighting trim between bouts.
Belasco controlled the pace last night with movement and a beautiful jab. He had Ventry’s left eye swollen and closing from a hard right in round two. He won round three with his jab and a nice short right to the chin.
Ventry did better in the fourth round, but was dropped with a perfect counter left hook from Ryan early in round five. Belasco went for the finish, and landed a hard right-left-right follow-up combination, but when Ventry began moving away, Belasco used his jab to box his way to an easy decision.
Lockett stops Marks
Willis “The Prophet” Lockett (11-7-5, 5 KOs) scored an upset fourth round TKO over former world title challenger Larry Marks (29-11-1, 16 KOs) in a six round super middleweight bout.
Lockett had Marks in trouble from the beginning, dropping him to a knee in the opening minute of the fight. Losing a lot of weight after a long layoff took its toll on Marks. His legs were heavy and his timing was way off. Worse, he could not pull the trigger when the openings were there.
Lockett hurt Marks again in round two with an overhand right-left hook, and again with a big left hook in round three. With no legs to carry him out of danger, Marks was forced to stand in and take what the heavy-handed Lockett threw. Lockett worked both hands to Larry’s body in this round.
Marks landed some decent jabs in round four, but he was breathing hard and it was obvious something was wrong. Between rounds, his corner signaled to the referee that he no could no longer continue. Marks then collapsed to the canvas. He was able to leave the ring on his own, but was later treated for dehydration.
What should be remembered here was the fine performance by Willis Lockett.
Tiberi tames Terry
“Mighty” Mike Tiberi (8-1, 4 KOs) won unanimous decision over late sub John “The Baptist” Terry (2-14-3, 1 KO) in a four round middleweight bout. It was trial by fire for Tiberi, who new little about his tough, awkward, and hard-chinned opponent.
Terry landed some hard shots in every round, especially in the final round, but otherwise received a boxing lesson from Tiberi. It was a steady diet of jabs and left hooks from Tiberi that gave him the win by scores of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37.
Vasquez vanquishes Denby
It was the “fight of the night”, as junior welterweights Oscar “Bandito” Vasquez (3-1) and Mike Denby (2-3-2, 2 KOs) engaged in as brutal a four round fight as you’re likely to see.
After a relatively tame opening round, won by Denby with some nice boxing, it was bombs away the rest of the way. Vasquez countered the wild overhand rights thrown by Denby in round two with hard right hands of his own. A right from Vasquez buckled Denby midway through the round, and a big left-right combination sent him reeling across the ring. The crowd was on its feet, as Denby fought back with some hard body shots at the end of the round.
The went right back at it in round three, with Vasquez moving his hands in combination and Denby throwing right hand missles from the floor. Vasquez couldn’t miss with his right hand, and pinned Denby on the ropes with frightful combinations. Just when it looked like referee Steve Smoger would step in, Denby would fire back and land some bombs.
Vasquez focused on Denby’s body in round four, but Denby was right there, landing hard right hands and an elbow to boot, as they went toe-to-toe until the final bell. It was the kind of bout that would have earned both fighters a bonus back in the day.
Ring announcer Larry Tornambe announced the scores of 40-36 and 39-37 (twice) for Vasquez, as the still-buzzing crowd rushed forward to shake the hands of both men.
Caputo chases down Meyers
Anthony Caputo (1-0) made his pro debut a successful one with a unanimous decision over John “Mongoose” Meyers (0-2) in a four round light heavyweight bout.
Meyers more than lived up to his nickname, as he forced Caputo to find him while he circled the ring. After entering the ring with a throwback haircut and trunks, Caputo went to work. He was able to cut the ring off, and land some nice jabs that would momentarily freeze Meyers, or force him to hold.
Caputo hurt Meyers early in round two with a big left hook, and controlled the rest of the round with his jab. Meyers landed a nice counter left hook to open round three, but was negated by the pinpoint jab from the faster Caputo.
Round four was closer, but Caputo had the edge with his left hooks and left-right combinations. Meyers landed a nice right hand at the final bell.
The final scores were all 40-36 in favor of Caputo.
“Road Dog” goes out with a ‘W’
Bernard “Road Dog” Miller (2-1-1) took a unanimous decision over Rakeem Carter (0-7-3) in a four round middleweight bout. Miller and Carter had previously fought to a draw.
Miller was the aggressor from the beginning, taking the first two rounds, and cutting Carter over his left eye in round three. Carter did better in round four, taking the round on two cards.
The final scores were 40-36 and 39-37 (twice) in favor of Miller.
It was announced before the fight that this would be the 47-year-old Miller’s final fight, and the crowd paid the local hero his due respects.
Jones outworks Ziglar
In the opening bout, Cory Jones (5-5, 1 KO) took a unanimous decision over Ivan Ziglar (1-2-1) in a four round middleweight bout.
Switching between southpaw and conventional stances, Jones took the first four rounds with numerous straight left hands and combinations. Ziglar came back to take round five, but was out-punched by Jones again in round six, and suffered a cut on his right eyebrow.
All three judges favored Jones by scores of 59-53 in what was an entertaining rumble.