Last night, Roy Englebrecht’s Fight Club series lived up to its name yet again. The sold out/standing room only crowd of 1482 (who brought in a gate of roughly 60,000 dollars) found themselves treated to six action packed boxing matches and two exciting MMA special attractions. There were brawls, there were knockdowns, and there were knockouts. What more can you ask for? This was ‘Fight Club’ at its finest.
The main event saw Carlos Morales improve his record to 2-1-3, over a game but out-gunned Paul Velarde who now drops to 3-4-3. The fight opened at a blistering pace and early on in the 1st it appeared Paul would have his way. However, a couple of stiff body shots and a big right hand from Morales would change everything. By the end of an action packed first round it was apparent that Velarde was hurt badly, and Morales knew it. The second round saw the two pick up right where they left off. Velarde attempted to stand his ground but was hit by some big shots, including an uppercut through the guard, which momentarily buckled his legs. Early in the third Morales dropped Paul with a perfect left hook. Once action resumed Paul came out firing, in hopes of getting the round back. It made for some great action and the two would give as good as they got until the round ended. Going into the final round Velarde knew he needed a knockout, and for a brief moment it looked like he might have been on to something. A tight compact right hand would stagger Morales briefly, but just as Paul attempted to follow up he ran right into another solid left hook and from then on Morales would tee off until the final bell. At the end of four rounds Marty Denkin, Mike Lebell and Gene Lebell all had it 40-35 for Morales. Ringnews24 also had it 40-35 for Morales.
In a welterweight bout, Rashad Hughes picked up his first win as a pro and moved to 1-3-1 with a third round knockout of Beto Ibbara who now stands at 1-5. Beto was wobbled early in the 1st round by a perfectly timed left hand from the southpaw stance of Hughes. From that point on, Rashad would land virtually at will. Ibarra would be dropped in the second, after a volley of punches that ended with a straight left and right hook. The third round was only more of the same. First, a perfect right hook would floor Beto yet again. As he got to his feet it was clear he was couldn’t take much more, and when action resumed Hughes landed a perfect straight left to the body that dropped Ibarra for the final time. Referee Jack Reiss waived the bout off at 2:50 seconds of the third round.
In women’s action, Featherweight Nadja Ropac made her debut a successful one over Laura Deanovic, who is now 1-4. Ropac was in complete control for the entire four rounds. She landed jabs, right hands and left hooks almost at will. Deanovic never took a backwards step but after four rounds, her face, bright red and swollen, undeniably told the story of the fight. All three judges, Marty Denkin, Mike Lebell and Paul Lebell had it 40-36 for Ropac. Ringnews24 also had it 40-36 for Ropac.
In a battle of cruiserweights, Debuting Malanga D’hue improved to 1-0 over Jamel Reynolds who now enters the professional ranks at 0-1. Both men took their time in the first round and felt one another out until the last thirty seconds when D’hue landed two solid right hands. The action in the second picked up and Hughes’ power began to take over. The third and final rounds were both very brutal rounds that could have been seen 10-8 by some. D’hue landed at will and had Reynolds staggering, wobbling and holding on several occasions. Reynolds never stopped trying and the crowd roared with appreciation. When the final bell sounded, Judges Marty Denkin and Mike Lebell had it 40-36 while Gene Lebell had it 39-37 for Malanga D’hue by unanimous decision. Ringnews24 had it 40-36 for D’hue.
The only heavyweight bout of the evening saw Jonathon Hamm improve to 6-1, 5 KOs with a third round TKO over Kevin Howard, who slips to 3-9, 1KO. After two slow rounds, Hamm dropped Howard with a heavy looping right hand. Jack Reiss, took a good long look at Howard before he allowed the action to continue. Once it did, Hamm battered Howard until Reiss finally stepped in to halt the action at 1:21 of the third round.
The opening fight of the evening saw Jesus Gutierrez pick up his first win as a ‘pro’ and move his record to 1-1 over Noe Lucas, who remains winless at 0-2. Jesus was able to work behind a steady jab and land some decent hooks in the first round. The second would see Lucas look to outwork Jesus and dig some left hooks to the body of his shorter foe. The third and fourth rounds were both very close. Lucas was clearly the busier man while Jesus continued to land the cleaner and heavier shots. The two would trade until the final bell and the crowd roared with approval. Judge Marty Denkin saw it 39-37 and Mike Lebell had it 40-36, while Gene Lebell had it 38-38 for the winner by majority decision, Jesus Gutierrez. Ringnews24 had it 39-37 for Gutierrez.
By Geoff Booth