November 8, 2014

KO Digest Ringside Report - Eat, drink, fight: One Night in Cockeysville

By John Scheinman — It was a strange sight, watching Women’s International Boxing Association welterweight champion Tori “Sho-Nuff” Nelson climb into the ring Thursday night with zero applause at her introduction. The full-house crowd of 600 at Martins Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, Md., was too busy having a high, old time at that point to pay the fights much attention, but the night was certainly a huge success. The 9th annual “An Evening Ringside” to benefit the Jonathan Ogden Foundation is the first of two major charity boxing events on the regional calendar, preceding the far more elaborate – and expensive – “Fight Night for Children” on Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C. The former star Baltimore Ravens lineman has run his tax-exempt organization to “assist young people in disadvantaged communities develop self esteem through athletics and education,” as his website says, since 1996.

What time do the Scores girls hit the hay?
The boxing show he puts on is, like “Fight Night,” a multifaceted event, with a sit-down buffet dinner (crab cakes were top-notch with the Italian sausage running a close second), open bar, memorabilia auction and a bevy of exotic beauties mixing with the crowd all evening. Throw in six fights and it’s a potent cocktail – did I mention open bar? – for fun seekers. It delivers a good time every time. Venroy July’s Hardwork Promotions handled the card and Chris Middendorf, the full-time matchmaker for Iron Mike Productions, put the bouts together. “This is the only outside event I do now,” Middendorf said. “The venue is fantastic; it’s a good cause – why not?”

Indeed, the venue is fantastic, an elegant chandeliered ballroom with sightlines to the ring from every seat in the house. Nelson, 144, of South Hill, Va., who vanquished Mia St. John among others in her rise to the top, scored a workmanlike four-round decision win over Lucretia Meacham, 143 1/2, Pine Bluff, Ark., to raise her record to 12-0-3. Meacham fell to 3-13-1.

All judges scored 40-36. Later in the night, Nelson posted on Facebook, “Well bed time. I have gym at 9 am. Be Blessed.”

That’s commitment.

In other women’s boxing action

Melissa St. Vil, 137, Brooklyn, New York, drew with Ashleigh Curry, 140 1/2, Houston, Texas, over six two-minute rounds. St. Vil started walking down her southpaw opponent by mid-fight but the judges split 59-55 for St. Vil, 58-56 for Curry and 57-57.

In men's professional action:

Boxing Media Doo-Wop Gang
Willie Williams, 188, Baltimore, scored a four-round unanimous decision win over Michael Gutrick, 188, La Plata, Md., to move his record to 14-8-2, while Gutrick fell to 3-8. Gutrick, 34, was something out of the past. He hadn’t fought since Dec. 8, 2006, when he was stopped in two rounds in a fight on Long Island. He came in shape, though. The knockdown referee Brent Borell ruled in the first round, which led to an eight-count, looked like a bad call. Gutrick had thrown a wild overhand right and his momentum appeared to carry him down more than the glancing shot he got clipped with. This, by far, was the best action fight of the night, with Gutrick repeatedly putting Williams on the ropes, and Williams blasting his way out with right hands that rarely missed their targeted head. The fighters were perfectly matched. Gutrick might've had the upper-hand if he could move his head better. In the middle of one blistering segment, boxing writer Jack Obermayer quipped, “They’re going to need a charity for themselves.” The judges went 40-35 twice and 39-36. Gutrick did his best work in the last round, and I scored 39-36 for Williams as well.

Rolando Chinea, 136, Lancaster, Pa., went to 10-0 with a six-round unanimous decision victory over Evan Woolsey, 136, Wichita, Kan., 2-5. Woolsey was slight but capable enough to defend himself and hang with Chinea even though all judges scored 60-54.

In the opener, James Robinson, 160 ½, York, Pa., 2-1-2, scored a TKO over Joshua Robertson, 166, 7-7, at 1:01 of the second in a scheduled four. Robinson, who came to fight, was staggered by a combination with 10 seconds to go in the first round. A right hand in the second rocked and dropped him, and he staggered to his feet and couldn't continue.

Ringside Report by John Scheinman - exclusively for KO Digest.