By Kurt Wolfheimer and Gary “Digital” Williams at ringside
On a frigid Friday night on December 11th in Westminster, Maryland, over two thousand fans braved the sub freezing temperatures outside to enter the Agricultural Center and root their local USBO light heavyweight champion Mark “TNT” Tucker onto a potential victory against George “El Gallo” Armenta in the ten round main event of the evening. There were a few tense moments in this grueling bout, but in the end Tucker (13-0, 7 KOs) was able to box his way to a very close unanimous decision victory over Armenta (13-5, 11 KOs) by scores of 96-94 x 2 and 98-92 respectively to retain the USBO light heavyweight title. In the co-feature of the evening, Jamar “Da Truth” Freeman of Eldersburg, Maryland settled a local super middleweight trilogy with a one sided six round unanimous decision victory over Silver Springs, Maryland’s Omar Sims by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
The undefeated local hero, Mark “TNT” Tucker looked confident right from the opening bell, bouncing around and mixing in heavy two punch combinations that seemed to befuddle the seemingly smaller looking George “El Gallo” Armenta . The over confidence almost cost him as the 32-year-old Armenta caught him with a short counter right on the chin. It didn’t faze Tucker, who finished the round with a strong combination of his own. The final punch of the combination came within inches of Armenta’s chin and could have provided a quick knockdown if it landed flush.
The fight turned a bit in round three as Armenta found his way inside and banged away at the body. He even countered well from the outside, but Tucker just kept bouncing and trying to land a significant couple of shots of his own.
In rounds four and five, Tucker looked a bit tired as he tried to gain his second wind. Armenta targeted the body and appeared to stun a tired Tucker against the ropes with a right hand. However, the will and determination the USBO light heavyweight champ would not give in and fought back while on the retreat in a back and forth round four.
Tucker was again caught with a right hand in round five, and Armenta unloaded with four body shots. The man known as the rooster showed his experience as he found spots for his right hands on the button that further tired Tucker.
Both fighters continued to exchange combinations throughout round six. Tucker continually was caught on the end of the exchanges, but Armenta tired and the exchanges were losing their pep.
Tucker gained his second wind and started to sit down on his combinations in rounds seven.
The fight really turned in Tucker’s favor in round eight as he worked the body with several left hooks which seemed to take the wind out of Armenta’s sails. Now in control, Tucker double and tripled up his jabs which kept Armenta off balance, he did trade though when the opportunity presented itself.
Seeing victory nearly in his hands, Tucker pushed forward behind jabs which kept Armenta off balance and force several clinches in round nine. Armenta put a wild surge late and hurt Tucker against the ropes but his tank was on empty and he did not capitalize on the opportunity. The twenty-two year old Tucker went back to doubling and tripling up the jabs that kept Armenta off balance.
Tucker was on the retreat, but controlled the final round on the outside. Armenta was game and both traded, but Tucker seemed to land better shots during wild exchanges. The final bell sounded, sending the fight to the score cards. All three judges saw the bout in favor of Mark Tucker by scores of 98-92 and 96-94 x 2 who retained the USBA light heavyweight title.
“He was a tough fighter, said Tucker afterwards, “He caught me with some good shots. We clashed heads a couple of times but my conditioning helped me win the fight.”
The always exciting Mark “TNT” Tucker remains perfect with a record of 13-0, 7KO’s. George “El Gallo” Armenta slips to a very respectable (13-5, 11 KOs).
Afterward, it was announced that Tucker will go on the road on March 27th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for the IBO Intercontinental title bout.
Freeman outboxes Sims.
It was a fight to settle a local boxing trilogy as Omar “The Machine” Sims and Jamar “Da Truth” Freeman waged war in a six round middleweight scrap. In their first fight, Freeman was called for a disputed knockdown as both got tangled together during a clinch and it hurt as the bout ended in a draw. Freeman regained his edge in the second fight, scoring a hard fought unanimous decision victory. Both fighters agreed for a third fight and possibly to settle the score once and for all.
Freeman seemed in control in the early going with heavy combinations and slick defense to avoid many of Omar Sims wild swings up top.
Unable to find his target up top, Sims went to the body in the round three. The body shots seemed to give Sims confidence as he stepped up the pace in round four and caught Freeman several times with combinations as he retreated throughout the round
Freeman reestablished the distance with a few big right hands. Sims pressed forward but he just couldn’t figure out how get under the sharp left jabs as Freeman regained control of the fight late in round four and continued right through round five.
Ahead on the scorecards, Jamar Freeman boxed well on the outside in the final round, even mixing in a few short uppercuts that gained the attention of Sims, who slowed his attack. Freeman stuck his tongue out, and teased Sims from the outside in the closing seconds of the fight. Sims just couldn’t solve the reach as the fight went to the scorecards.
All three judges saw the bout easily in favor of Jamar Freeman by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 x 2.
Jamar Freeman jumps to a respectable (5-0-2, 1 KO), while Omar Sims slides to (3-2-3, 1 KO).
Batteast edges Perkins.
Two local middleweights Allen “The Pit-bull” Perkins and Vincent “The Beast” Batteast waged a nip and tuck fight to see who would take another step up in their prospective career.
The bout opened with a Perkins round as he pressed forward throughout with straight shots which kept Batteast off balance and on the retreat.
Perkins tried to force the fight as he press forward with a flurry but did not move his head which became a stationary target. Vincent Batteast took advantage of the opportunity and put him on the canvas with a counter left hook. Perkins rose to his feet and tried to regain control of the round, but Batteast countered well to take the round.
The final two rounds were close as each fighter had their small moments. Perkins was the aggressor, but Batteast continued to counter well while on the retreat until the final bell sounded
All three judges saw it 38-37 in favor of Vincent Batteast who wins for the first time as a professional and evens his record at (1-1-1). Allen Perkins falls to (1-2).
Wilson upsets Willet.
In the opening bout of the evening, late replacement Garret “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson needed a strange knockdown in the final round to pull the upset with a razor thin split decision victory over highly touted cruiserweight prospect Adam Willet.
Wilson has been on a roll of late, scoring victories over local prospects Louis Robinson, Alfred Kinsey, and Otgonbayer Daivii. The confidence showed almost immediately as he backed the undefeated Willet into the corner and unloaded a wild four punch combination. Willet survived the onslaught and moved out of the corner and then controlled the ring behind sharp right jabs and the occasional left hands from the southpaw stance.
Wilson again had his moments in round two as he appeared to hurt Willet in the corner with another heavy four punch combination, but his wide, lunging shots had and lack of training time for the fight (took the fight on short notice) tired him, so he stepped back and let Willet out of the corner.
Under the tutelage of former welterweight champion James “Buddy McGirt, Adam Willet began to control the ring again behind stinging right jabs and short combinations with movement in the third. Wilson found a spot on the inside with six heavy body shots, but a strong counter right hook put him back on the defensive.
The bout looked to be swaying Willet’s way in the fourth and final round as Wilson tired from the continual jabs and combinations. Wilson’s heavy hooks were coming fewer and fewer. The tide unexpectedly turned as Wilson popped a glancing combination on the inside of a clinch. Willet didn’t appear hurt, but all of a sudden he took a knee. Since he wasn’t pushed down, referee John Gradowski had no choice but to give him an eight count. Willet rose to his feet and survived the round without further incident, sending the fight to the scorecards.
One judge saw the bout 38-37 for Adam Willet, but was overruled, as the other to judges scored it 39-36 and 38-37 in favor of Garrett Wilson. With the victory Garrett Wilson moves to a record to (7-2, 2 KOs). Adam Willet falls for the first time as a professional as his record evens out at (1-1).