UNDEFEATED HEAVYWEIGHT JUNIOR FA WINS VACANT WBO INTERNATIONAL TITLE WITH FIRST ROUND KNOCKOUT OF NEWFEL OUATAH IN MAIN EVENT OF DiBELLA ENTERTAINMENT’S BROADWAY BOXING IN COLUMBUS, OH
UNDERCARD LOADED WITH DEVASTATING KNOCKOUTS BY STEPHAN SHAW, ISAIAH STEEN, ALANTE GREEN AND ROLANDO VARGAS FOR A DISPLAY OF POWER FITTING FOR AN EVENT ASSOCIATED WITH THE ARNOLD SPORTS FESTIVAL
COLUMBUS, OH (March 2, 2019) – DiBella Entertainment’s special edition of its Broadway Boxing series, held in Columbus, Ohio in a partnership with Team Tory Promotions, delivered big-time action to fans, culminating in an evening with several displays of raw power that underscored the event’s inclusion in the Arnold Sports Festival weekend. New Zealand’s undefeated Junior Fa, the World Boxing Organization’s No. 8-ranked Heavyweight, lived up to his billing with a relatively trouble-free first round knockout of former French heavyweight champion Newfel Ouatah. Fa represented the major draw of the night, but several prospects took full advantage of their spot on the card, providing their supporters with career-advancing performances.
After the opening bell, Fa (17-0, 10 KOs) quickly engaged Ouatah (16-3, 9 KOs), as he made his way nearly across the entire ring in a couple of steps, with a level of agility that belied the New Zealander’s 254-pound, 6-foot 5-inch frame. Apparently he saw the reaction he needed to see in the 33-year old Ouatah. Fa’s quickness and pressure never allowed Ouatah find any rhythm or establish a range where he could comfortably fend off the early rush of the 29-year old. Fa closed the distance at his discretion with very little resistance, making his way inside to get off combinations that resulted in four knockdowns before the referee decided to halt the action.
Fa claimed the WBO’s International title, but the promising prospect will need to be tested by better opposition prior to facing one of the veteran contenders in boxing’s grandest division.
Super Welterweights Jamie Walker (9-1-2, 3 KOs) and Dan Karpency (8-2-1, 4 KOs) battled each other in the night’s second title fight – for the vacant NABA-USA and the USA Ohio 154-pound titles – and a grueling 10-round phone-booth war ensued between the two determined fighters.
Walker, a Columbus native, showed great heart and determination, with several of the latter rounds seemingly fueled by a raucous throng of hometown supporters who assembled ringside and stood the entire fight. The hometown fighter got off the canvas once in round three, and a second time in the subsequent round where he walked into a right hook from Karpency – the product of a fighting Pennsylvania family – that looked like it could possibly close the show. As an excited Karpency gave a throat slash to Walker’s crowd on his way to the neutral corner, Walker braced himself with both hands before falling completely face-first onto the canvas. He fought to regain his bearings, and beat the count, but walked back to his corner with a look of disgust on his face as the knockdown voided an otherwise good round he may have been winning.
The action was back and forth for the balance of the fight, as Karpency fought more deliberately amid Walker’s volume-punching. Karpency often pressed forward, backing Walker up into the ropes and attempted to set up Walker for overhand rights when he did advance. Walker’s shots left a mouse under Karpency eye in the fifth round, but the swelling never became an issue, even after Walker’s best prolonged rally the last :30 seconds of round nine. Again, Karpency responded with a flurry right before the bell, continuing the fight’s trend of constant give and take. The judges’ cards ruined a good action fight, with their split-decision draw failing to determine the bout’s victor, with each fighter winning one card each 95-93, and a 94-94 on the third card.
The night’s most sensational action arrived courtesy of Heavyweights Stephan Shaw versus Donovan Dennis, Super Middleweights Isaiah Steen versus Chris Chatman, and a showstopping first round knockout of Welterweight Tamarcus Smith at the hands of Milwaukee’s Rolando Vargas.
Shaw, 26, from St. Louis, Missouri, was all-business, and demonstrated the meaning behind his nickname “Big Shot.” Dennis’ agility and southpaw stance troubled Shaw early on, and the Davenport, Iowa-based fighter looked sharper than expected, being inactive since a Showtime-aired January 2016 TKO7 loss to Heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller. Dennis (12-5, 10 KOs) banged Shaw’s body with a thudding right hook in round two, where the two later exchanged a series of power punches center-ring. Dennis fought confidently in the third round, acknowledging that staying at the end of Shaw’s long left jab all night played into his opponent’s favor. Despite some booming straight right hands from Shaw, Dennis pressed his way inside instigating an explosive fire-fight that resulted in Dennis hitting the canvas for the first knockdown. Dennis never looked for a full retreat soon after a second destructive flurry of powerful punches knocked Dennis down onto the bottom rope, and immediately after the referee knelt down to observe him the fight was stopped at 2:08. The knockout is Shaw’s ninth in 12 fights – with zero defeats.
After the fight Shaw said that a couple of good shots from Dennis sped up his attack, and that he was surprised that his opponent chose to engage so freely, since he appeared he possessed the advantage in power. Shaw also revealed he spent time, with Junior Fa, in camp with undefeated WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder during his preparation for his Showtime PPV title defense versus Tyson Fury.
Back in December Super Middleweight Steen departed Columbus for his hometown, Cleveland, disappointed as a certain victory against Tyi Edmonds abruptly turned into a No Contest after an accidental clash of heads, in a fight he dominated for three rounds. Chicago’s stocky southpaw Chris Chatman (15-10-1, 5 KOs) early start nearly ruined Steen’s return visit to Columbus.
Chatman disrupted Steen’s usual fast start by standing his ground and moving inside towards Steen’s body, while remaining difficult to hit on his way inside. Despite the fight’s geography not being to Steen’s advantage, the rangy puncher did score a knockdown, center-ring, after connecting on a reaching Chatman with a counter right hand. From that moment on Chatman limited Steen’s space in which to operate, and his compact build made it harder for the taller, long-armed Steen to find the Chicagoan’s body.
Chatman’s best round came in the fourth where he landed a solid overhand left that got Steen’s attention. In the fifth, things took a turn for the worse for Chatman, as Steen finally obeyed his corner’s instruction and left the brawling to Chatman. Steen started taking steps backward to create space for the straight right recommended for southpaws, and the first big one came in the fifth. The change in strategy led to an accumulation of punishment on Chatman which led to the Chicagoan’s movement being less sharp, and Steen added in some well-timed pivots along with his steps backward to create the angle for an explosive flurry that finished Chatman off at the :31 mark in round six.
Milwaukee’s 19-year old Welterweight Vargas stole the show with his debut fight in Columbus back in December. The youngster obliterated Jessi Hackett in 1:54 with a debilitating body shot. Unfortunately for Mississippi’s Tamarcus Smith (2-2, 2 KOs), Vargas’ encore was far more savage with an almost lethal result. Smith’s quickness and combination of height and reach presented Vargas challenges early on, but Vargas landed some jabs to the body before mixing in some hooks to Smith’s long, slender frame that changed the fight. As Smith began to circle out to utilize his reach better and hopefully establish a more favorable working range, Vargas quickly closed the distance and unleashed a vicious combination that dropped Smith, at 2:41, where he laid motionless for several minutes.
Also in action:
Fellow New Zealander Hemi Ahio gradually took broke down St. Louis southpaw Ed Fountain (12-6, 5 KOs) over seven rounds of fairly good Heavyweight action. Fountain held his own in moments early on, but Ahio sensed he was comfortable with Fountain’s power and began probing for openings to stop the St. Louis once fatigue clearly set in – Fountain’s mouth guard hit the canvas at least four times. Ahio picked up the pace in the sixth as Fountain essentially only had arm punches to fend off Ahio’s attack. Ahio secured win No. 13, and his ninth stoppage, after connecting with a thudding right hook early in the seventh round rocked Fountain. The ref stepped in for a standing 8-count, and shortly after another Ahio flurry forced the ref to halt the fight at 1:46.
In the other two Heavyweight bouts Alante Green, from Cleveland, defeated Anthony Trotter (3-4) via second round KO. Green scored a second knockdown with a right hook, and the Cleveland native moved to 4-0-1 behind his third stoppage. George Arias traveled from Bronx, NY winning 4 of his last 5 fights inside the distance, but a game Robert Simms, of Saginaw, MI, made him work for a decision for win No. 13. Arias stayed on his toes with his hands down throughout the fight, feinting often to draw Simms into a mistake, but Simms fought a pretty smart fight and rarely got outside of his game. The final decision was 77-75, 77-75 and 76-76.
In an exciting, well-matched six-round Lightweight bout, stakes were high for prospects Carlos Dixon and Jahmel Dyer – they entered the fight with only Dyer’s lone loss between the two. Dixon was the aggressor throughout the fight, routinely looking to mix it up with an array of power punches, with many being wider and less controlled looking shots. Dyer’s consistent counter-punching, including straighter shots mostly, often from outside may have been easier for the judges to score. At the end of six rounds of excellent exchanges, with each fighter being noticeably hurt numerous times, all three referees scored the fight 58-56 in favor of Baltimore’s Dyer. Dyer possibly edged the fight out landing telling, effective shots during the moments when Dixon’s activity was lower, which was in rounds three, four and part of five. Dixon also got squared up often while pressuring Dyer, instead of creating the angles he was mindful to work from in the second round.
Columbus’ Alfred Leisure moved to 3-0 with a first round stoppage of Jessi Hackett – Hackett was unable to make it out of the first round back in December. Super Middleweight Ben Schlater, one of the night’s several Buckeyes, fought to his second draw in three months in Columbus despite looking good against fellow-Ohioan Travis Jerig. Cruiserweight Chris Minor had the tables turned on him in the second round back in December versus Dayton’s Warren Roberds, but he returned to bust up Crestview, Florida’s Cody Herbert (0-1-1) pretty good, in four rounds of action. Minor held on, for a hard-fought split-decision win, as the bloodied Herbert rebounded to fight his way back to earn one of the three 39-38 cards.
All photos by R.L. Woodson