REPORT BY JESSE KELLEY/PHOTOS BY RICH PETERSON, 13TWENTYTHREE PHOTOGRAPHY: Jamal “Shango” James (23-1, 10 KO’s) of Minneapolis, MN won a ten round majority decision in last Friday nights main event over Abel Ramos (18-3-2, 13 KO’s) of Phoenix, Arizona. From a “Prince” like ring walk to his hard-fought battle in the ring, the 29-year-old boxers star power shined under the FS1 TV lights. 3,521 Minnesotans packed The Armory in downtown Minneapolis despite the frigid mid-April snow storm to witness James and the Minnesota fighters turn in glowing performances.
James began the fight strong, backing Ramos to the ropes with hard head shots. The #4 ranked WBA welterweight made his reach count, popping the jab in Ramos’ face. Two right hands made their way through the guard of Ramos which put an explanation point on a dominant opening round for the Minnesota State welterweight champion.
James continued to attack in round two but was caught with a short hook to the chin from Ramos which caused him to stumble. After backing up, James tripped to the floor which made the crowd gasp. Referee Mark Nelson ruled it a push and the action resumed with James looking unfazed. Ramos stayed on the attack for the remainder of the round.
Ramos pressured James over the next few rounds but was met with straight left and rights to the head as a result. James also began to target Ramos’ body, seeking another fight ending liver shot which he scored in his last fight.
Although James picked his spots to stand and trade with Ramos, it was the slick boxing, bobbing and weaving style that brought the most cheers for James as the fight went into the sixth round. Ramos was undeterred however and relentless with his pressure as he walked into the storm of punches.
Ramos began to dig body shots into the midsection of James in round seven. However, James seemed to have an answer for every rally the tough and strong Ramos had as the fight progressed.
The action remained gritty down the stretch with both boxers taking turns punching to gain the upper hand. In the end, James continued to land pin point counter punches and scored an impressive majority decision victory. The scores read 95-95 and 96-94 twice for James.
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6’6″ Super welterweight Sebastian Fondora (9-0, 5 KO’s) of Coachella, California stunned local favorite VeShawn Owens (9-1, 9 KO’s) of Minneapolis, MN, stopping him at 2:27 of the fifth round. Owens showed a massive amount of heart and iron will to win until the fight was over. This battle came down to which fighter could stick by and execute the game plan coming in. Fondora did while Owens strayed from his plan to attack the body. Fondora covered up his midsection and seemed to leave his head open purposely because his height made it a hard target. There was lots of movement by Owens to start as he jumped on Fondora to work his way inside. Rather than go to the body like he promised beforehand, Owens began headhunting and missing the body of Fondora. Fondora landed hard uppercuts to the head on the inside. The uppercuts stunned Owens, who was still trading and not looking to clinch.
Owens finally began to target the body of Fondora in round two but was met with more uppercuts from the towering Fondora. Fondora kept his punches tight while Owens was looping his to find a target.
A lunging lead right uppercut from Owens rocked Fondora to start the third round. Owens looked like the fresher fighter now as Fondora was breathing heavier. After a good back and forth round, Owens landed a sweat flying right hook to the head of Fondora that got the crowd roaring. It was a fast pace that the Minnesotan was pushing but the hard work got him back into the fight, which was turning out to be a barn burner.
Fondora stood his ground in the fourth and landed some monstrous counter punches again with Owens smothering his shots on the inside. Still, Owens refused to give an inch with the crowd on the edge of there seats in support.
The action by both fighters remained intense in the fifth until a left-right followed by a barrage of head shots rocked Owens. Owens was hurt but did not take a step back. Fondora smelled blood and was looking to end the fight. After more unanswered punishment, referee Gary Miezwa stepped between the fighters to waive the fight off at 2:27 of the fifth round. Owens fell to his knees in disappointment after the stoppage but the fact that he had just given his all seemed to set in quickly. Owens began to smile as if to say “I will be back”.
Celso Ramirez (7-0, 7 KO’s) of Minneapolis, MN continued his rise as he knocked out Brandon Baue (12-13, 10 KO’s) of Troy, Missouri in a super welterweight bout.
Ramirez began the fight behind a huge ovation from the crowd. Baue mugged and played after getting hit early but was dropped with a hard right to the head by Ramirez as punishment. A left-right to the jaw dropped Baue to his knees moments later and referee Mark Nelson waived the fight off. The time of the stoppage was 1:47 of the opening round.
Uriel Lara (3-0, 2 KO’s) of Coon Rapids, MN won a four round unanimous decision over Thomas Amaro (4-14-1, 3 KO’s) in a super welterweight bout. Lara looked smooth from the start and attacked the body of Amaro early. Amaro fought back but was not able to keep up with Lara. Lara continued to pound away on Amaro’s body and head as the fight went on. Amaro didn’t offer much back offensively but took some big shots from Lara in rounds three and four. The final scores read 40-36 on all three scorecards.
Giezwa Hobbs (2-0) of Minneapolis, MN won a four round unanimous decision over Ray Chacon (7-29-1) of Los Angeles, California in a super featherweight bout.
Hobbs found a home for the lead right hand in round one and used the attack successfully throughout the fight. His speed kept Chacon from letting many punches go. Another hard right hand to the head staggered Chacon midway through the second round. Hobbs stayed on the attack, landing headshots to Chacon on the ropes. Hobbs continued to hunt with the lead right to the head while his speed was too much for Chacon to catch him back. Hobbs has been training at a furious pace and his progress showed in the ring against Chacon. Final scores read 40-36, 40-35, and 39-37 for Hobbs.
Lightweight southpaw Marlin Sims (2-0), 1 KO) of Minneapolis, MN defeated Posen, Illinois’ Carl Currie over four rounds of action in the opening bout of the night. Currie walked forward the entire fight but Sims was able to counterpunch and bank most of the rounds. Currie came on strong late and landed a right hand to the head that momentarily stunned the Minnesotan. Sims quickly regrouped and went back to boxing until the final bell. Other than the late charge by Currie, Sims’ cleaner shots stood out all fight. All three judges score the fight 39-37 for Marlin Sims who improves to (2-0, 1 KO).
Cherry started cold after a short right to the head by Galarza forced him to hold on. Galarza followed up with some big head shots which landed cleanly. Galarza landed two more rights to the head as round one came to a close. The cold start was short lived for Cherry as he found his footing in the second round and began landing clean shots of his own by the third. The two lightweights traded evenly over next rounds. Cherry’s best round of the fight came in round six, after landing a hard right hand to the head of Galarza. Cherry remained busy throughout the round. The fight was competitive with Cherry doing the better work down the stretch. Final scores read 97-93, 96-94 twice for Cherry.
Haskell Rhodes (26-2-1, 12 KO’s) of Las Vegas, Nevada won a six round unanimous decision over Mike Fowler (6-14, 2 KO’s) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a lightweight bout.
Rhodes landed a hard overhand right to the jaw of Fowler early that got the Wisconsin boxers attention. Rhodes’ speed and combinations left Fowler only hitting air in the opening round.
Rhodes continued to outclass the southpaw Fowler over the next several rounds. A looping left to the jaw wobbled Fowler midway through round three that got the full house cheering. It was was a workmanlike performance for the veteran Rhodes. Rhodes took all six rounds by scores of 60-54 on all cards. It appears that Rhodes will be relocating to Minnesota to fight his way back into big fights.
Austin Dulay (12-0, 9 KO’s) of Nashville, TN won by TKO following the conclusion of round six over Chris Colbert (7-1, 2 KO’s) of Brooklyn, NY in a featherweight bout.
The fight began back and forth but Colberts speed allowed him to land clean counter punches. Colbert switched southpaw midway through round two and nailed Dulay with a stunning straight left. Dulay stayed in the pocket in round four to exchange but Colbert was too fast and sharp with his punches.
Colbert went back to southpaw in round five and continued to counter punch his way to the lead. Dulay tried to fire back but couldn’t land many clean punches of his own. A left hook to the head dropped Dulay to his knees still in the sixth. Dulay complained the punch was behind the head but referee Mark Nelson began his count. Dulay got to his feet and the round came to an end. Colbert continued to dominate and the fight was stopped by Dulay’s corner between rounds six and seven with the fighter on his stool.
Joey Spencer (2-0, 2 KO’s) of Linden, Michigan scored a spectacular first round knockout over Ousmane Sylla (1-3-1, 1 KO) of Conway Arkansas in a super welterweight bout. Spencer sent Sylla crashing to the canvas moments into the opening round with a hard right hand to the head. Spencer wasted no time and landed a follow up left uppercut that put Sylla on his back again. A fight ending left hook dropped Sylla moments later and the action was stopped by referee Mark Nelson.