Cleveland Super Welterweight prospect Charles Conwell stopped Manny Woods by technical knockout after three rounds of rugged action
Flint, Michigan Super Welterweight prospect Ardreal Holmes earns unanimous decision over Lucius Johnson
Unbeaten Super Middleweight Isaiah Steen’s fast start versus Tyi Edmonds upended by fourth-round clash of heads; bout ends in No Contest
Unbeaten Cleveland, Ohio-based Super Welterweight Charles ‘Bad News’ Conwell pressured and pounded veteran Manny Woods in three rounds of explosive action Saturday night in the main event of Iron Tiger Fight Series’ card at EXPRESS LIVE! in Columbus, Ohio. The win capped off a trio of action-packed performances from fighters guided by Split T Management, as Super Middleweight Isaiah Steen and Super Welterweight Ardreal Holmes also provided some of the evening’s fireworks.
The young Cleveland native’s experience as a member of Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio was visible early as he quickly put Woods (16-8-1, 6 KOs) on his back foot and bulled his way forward behind an array of hooks and uppercuts. Conwell (9-0, 7 KOs) disrupted the beginnings of any feeling out moments with a thudding left hook that wobbled Woods and sent him a couple of steps backwards from the center of the ring. From there Conwell stayed on the attack. Woods tried to regroup and use his jab to fend off Conwell, but a vicious body attack soon resulted in the night’s first knockdown. A large Cleveland contingent roared loudly as Woods collected himself and beat the count, but Conwell quickly resumed with his pressure and forced the nine-year veteran into retreat.
Conwell confidently stalked Woods through the second round maintaining constant pressure on Woods, along the ropes and in the corners. The former Olympian displayed some slick defensive skills slipping shots and ducking down low as he weaved his way inside to fire hooks to his opponent’s body. Woods attempted to take some stands in the second round, in an attempt to curtail the 21-year-old’s aggression.
By the time the action moved to the middle of the third round Woods’ face was busted up and badly bloodied, as Conwell continued to force him to ropes to either smash him with hooks around his ear mitt defense or rake away his high guard with his jab hand to make way for sizzling straight right hands. Woods took a slow long walk back to his corner after the grueling round, and moments later his corner wisely advised the referee that he would not answer the bell for the fourth round.
In the co-main event, four rounds of Light Heavyweight action, Enon, Ohio’s Warren Roberds made his debut in spectacular fashion, stopping hometown fighter Chris Minor at the 1:09 mark in the second round. Roberds’ poise in first bout was eye-catching as he stood calmly in the center of the ring with his hands lowered looking to time and counter Minor’s southpaw attack. He stunned Minor early in the first round, and dropped him with a short combination with under 25 seconds to go. Minor responded with a quick start to round two, but Roberds quickly derailed the rally and dropped the southpaw for a second knockdown with a single left hand. After the fight resumed, Roberds moved in quickly and punished the badly dazed Minor with several big blows until the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Unbeaten Midwest prospects Ardreal “Boss Man” Holmes and Isaiah “Z-Wop” Steen represented the card’s other fighters looking to advance their fighting careers to bigger stages and brighter lights in 2019.
Flint, Michigan’s Holmes (8-0, 4 KOs) got off to a quick start versus Compton, California Super Welterweight Lucius Johnson (4-4-1, 3 KOs). Holmes worked fast-paced behind his long jab, mixing in body shots to set up heavier blows to Johnson’s head. Johnson weathered the early storm, and Holmes’ work-rate dropped after landing a thudding left hook to end the round. The SoCal fighter’s offense got on track in the third and fourth rounds, often successfully switching to southpaw for short stints, but Holmes closed out each of the rounds strong. Holmes even briefly stunned Johnson with a pull counter left hand to close the round. Johnson fought in spurts but Holmes landed the more effective shots over the final two rounds before earning a unanimous decision with cards of 58-56 and 59-55 on two cards.
Conwell’s training mate, Super Middleweight Isaiah Steen (11-0, 9 KOs) also started fast in his six-round matchup against Tyi Edmonds (11-3, 9 KOs) of Meridian, Mississippi. Steen connected with some booming body shots to open the first round, highlighted by a double left hook combination. Edmonds flashed some crafty defense throughout the round, especially as Steen trapped him in the corners, but with his hands tied up with defense he spent the duration of the round under duress.
The action halted in the second round as Edmonds opted to take close to all of his allotted five minutes following a low blow. Steen’s impatience with the break showed as he laced Edmonds with his sharp jab to the head and body in the third. Edmonds best moment came in the fourth, while backed up into his corner, he landed a right cross amid a Steen combination. He had more space in the round where he tried to establish some rhythm but shortly after a nasty head clash left Edmonds with a long gash above his left eye. The ringside Dr. examined the injury and directed the referee to end the fight, but with the clash happening before the end of the fourth the bout was declared a no-contest.
In other action:
Columbus Super Welterweights Corey Dulaney (5-8-3, 1 KO) and Ben Slater (4-1-2, 4 KOs) opened the night’s action with six rounds of hard-fought action. Slater stayed committed to his jab throughout the fight, but was rarely able to add his right hand to the mix in his attack against Dulaney’s southpaw stance. Dulaney charged in from time to time, but never punched in combination to maintain a steady attack. Slater seemed to have more of the fight’s bigger moments, but two of judges scored it 58-56 in favor of each fighter, with the third seeing it 57-57 for a split draw decision.
Super Lightweight Alfred Leisure moved his boxing record to 2-0 by soundly defeating Dib Kaddah (0-3-1). The 37-year-old Columbus native employed a Superman punch – a maneuver from his MMA background – to keep Kaddah off-balance for four rounds. Leisure’s quickness and steady high pace was too much for the slower Kaddah, and the Cleveland native gradually gave up trying to time and counter Leisure as he rushed in to connect with a variety of land hand shots. Leisure scored a second round knockdown with a body shot Kaddah claimed was low, on his way to unanimously earning the victory with cards of 39-36, 40-35, 40-35.
The night’s first impressive debut featured Wisconsin Lightweight Rolando Vargas who blew away Virginian Jessie Hackett (1-1, 1 KO) behind a devastating body attack that resulted in two first round knockdowns. The second was a beautifully placed right hook that smashed into the upper left side of Hackett’s midsection.
Super Welterweight Tre Craycraft of Gallipolis, Ohio swept all three cards 40-35 to earn his first victory against Columbus’ Andrew Wilkey. Craycraft unleashed a combination in the first round that dropped Wilkey along the ropes. The hometown fighter got off the canvas to finish the fight, but was rarely able to find the high-energy Craycraft to land something significant enough to turn the fight in his favor. Wilkey connected with a sharp right cross off the ropes in the second round that got Craycraft’s attention, but the punch became one of the few times Craycraft stood still or squared up in front of Wilkey.
All photos by Levi Mormans/Morman’s Photography