DETROIT, MICH. (August 20, 2020) — Dmitry Salita and his Salita Promotions should be commended for a successful return to boxing, and for bringing an event to a host site such as Detroit’s legendary Kronk Gym. Late Hall of Fame trainer Emmanuel Steward would be proud. UFC Fight Pass stepped up to stream the 6-fight Detroit Brawl at the Legendary Kronk. Due to Covid-19 the combatants fought in an empty gym, but the promotion didn’t lose any of its bouts to the highly infectious virus.
Undefeated Vladimir Shishkin – the WBC’s No. 10-ranked Super Middleweight – defended his home gym in the featured bout against Mexico’s 36-year old southpaw Oscar Riojas. He looked sharp and fought aggressively from the start. Riojas fell behind in the scoring from the outset, and he stepped into a short left hook in the opening round that snapped his head around. Shishkin’s combination of movement and power immediately posed major problems for any hopes of Riojas figuring out a path to a decision.
Nine rounds later, an early outburst of punishing Shishkin right hands in the center of the ring abruptly changed the course of a fight that had slowed down considerably. The second right hand dropped Riojas, who just made it through a pair of pedestrian rounds over the previous six minutes of action. Hints of a finish line started to appear as Shishkin appeared to run out of ways to fully open up his opponent to get the kind of conclusion that could propel him to contention.
Once Riojas got to his feet to fight on, Shishkin stalked him and unleashed the punches that convinced the referee to deliver him the stoppage his earlier work foreshadowed was possible.
Shishkin’s fought sharply in the opening round. His jab was busy, and he bounced in and out to give his opponent limited openings to score. Amid the jabbing and body shots, at one point Riojas stepped into a sharp, short left hook from Shishkin.
Shishkin moving well, in the second round, still looked poised and light on his feet. Riojas landed a solid shot early in the round to fend off the early pressure. Shishkin quickly regrouped and walked forward behind his jab while feinting to help vary his attack.
Shishkin scored with his right hand in a variety of ways in the third round. Riojas fought through it, finished the round, but got caught with a big right uppercut with about 20 seconds left.
Shishkin’s upper body movement, feinting and well-timed jabs to the body were on display to open the fourth round. He stood within range of Riojas’ front right foot but he remained patient while unloading a steady, balanced attack.
With the damage rapidly increasing for Riojas into round five, the fight reached its midpoint and the aggression and effective punching remained one-sided. Shishkin’s offense remained sharp and balanced. Riojas fought cautiously but continued to land inconsequential punches that did little to effect the scoring.
Total control of the fight remained with Shishkin to start the second half of the fight, but the pace slowed down noticeably through most of the sixth round. Riojas did little to capitalize on the lull.
With Riojas neutralized by the seventh and eighth round, Shishkin landed a booming right hand towards the end of round eight that knocked Riojas into the ropes where he stood dazed briefly.
A pair of crushing right hands at the top of the ninth round started the beginning of the ending for Riojas. Sweat flew from the southpaw’s head from both blows. Riojas visited the canvas, and beat the count, but once back up onto his feet Shishkin forced the issue. With nowhere to hide and recover, Shishkin punched freely until the referee parted the fighters and brought the fight to an end with 2:12 remaining.
The ninth round TKO took a while to develop, but the dominant victory improved the Kronk gym product to 11-0 with his seventh stoppage.
In chief support bout undefeated Middleweight Timur Kerefov’s U.S. debut went according to plan – or exceeded expectations. Calvin Metcalf entered the bout attempting to play spoiler, being that he was the only man in the fight with a Covid-19 fight to his credit. That was an advantage up until the first bell.
Kerefov (9-0, 4 KOs) displayed his complete arsenal the entire way versus a durable Metcalf (10-5-1, 3 KOs) en route to a unanimous decision with cards of 80-72, 80-72, 78-74.
In a Welterweight bout that featured both Morris Young Jr. and Jeader Alves De Oliveira making their pro debuts, the action got off to a sloppy start in the first stanza. Young connected early but Oliveira, a fighter with an MMA background, weathered the storm. Around the final 30 seconds Young closed the distance to land a flush right hand with 30 seconds to go that made the balance of the round difficult.
Into the second, Oliveira started off letting his hands go. Young cleaned up his technique and looked to set up his power with his boxing. He also attacked the body, and at the 1:59 mark a flurry of blows, taken without response, forced the stoppage.
Young improved to 1-0 with his promising start in the pro ranks.
Ray Flores, of PBC fame, handled the play-by-play and in-ring interviews, while Corey Erdman provided context and round-by-round scoring throughout the broadcast. Detroit’s former two-time Junior Middleweight champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage served as the ringside analyst alongside Flores. Mark Taffet, President of Mark Taffet Media, was the Executive Producer of the telecast as well as a consultant.
Photos provided by Big Media Buzz/Salita Promotions