Boxing


Shannon Briggs Blasts Calloway in Less than a Round; Seal Knocks Judah Out Cold

briggsBy Neil Dennis: At the Norfolk Scope this past Friday, the ICB Knockout Series lived up its name with a slate of ring wars that thrilled all in attendance. The fact that this fight card was not televised is a tragedy, because it would have been well-received by a television audience of boxing’s faithful. Nonetheless, it was well-received by a few thousand people who did come to see boxing return to this well-loved venue.

Up first came the professional debut of heavyweight Dorsett Barnwell. The 2006 Junior National Champion, he was pitted in his debut against Kareem Wilson, who’s claim to fame so far is being disqualified in the three of his four professional fights. Barnwell was surprisingly cautious in the opening round, and even appeared a bit bothered by a straight Wilson landed, but that was short-lived. As the bell sounded for the second, Barnwell went on the attack and didn’t stop until Wilson was on the floor from a series of brutal hooks..

Then, the crowd was treated to a four-rounder between lightweights Stephan Alexander and Cyprian Khumalo. Khumalo was making his pro debut as well and hammed it up to the crowd as he seemed confident he would win big like Barnwell before him. He was gravely mistaken. Through round one, Khumalo played as Alexander went to work, first to the body and then to the head. By round two, Khumalo had a cut open up over his left eye that flooded the side of his face with a crimson mask. More than a few screaming fans at ringside got a taste of Khumalo’s blood as it was being splashed about, turning Alexander’s trunks as red as Khumalo’s. Khumalo proved slow and without a gameplan, which made his sporting a version of Manny Pacquiao’s trunks more than a bit comical. The only shots of note he could muster on Alexander were several low blows, for which he was only warned once. Referee Chris Wollesen missed Khumalo’s glove touching the canvas after being staggered late in the fight, but ended up stopping the bout due to cuts for a third-round TKO win for Alexander.

Third on the card, middleweight Frankie “The Freight Train” Filippone went to war with Taurean Edwards in a four-rounder that breezed by as the two men traded heavy blows. Filippone (4-1, 1KO), however, had more impact on his punches and rocked Edwards regularly. Filippone even scored an exciting knockdown in the second that had Smoger jumping in to count as Edwards lay heavy against the ropes. It brought the crowd to a fever pitch, begging for Filippone to end it. He didn’t however, as Edwards was given extra time thanks to a time out before the start of the third. The score cards showed a Filippone blowout with all three reading 40-35, but Edwards did give Filippone a real go of it throughout.

Then came proof that fighters with losing records can put on incredible wars too, as John Michael Terry (3-16-3, 1KO) went into a battle royal with Jason Wahr (1-5-2, 0KOs). Though the first round saw their heavy shots mostly bounce off each other’s defenses, by the second they were trading regularly and brutally. Wahr, thinking he had the better of Terry, leaned in at one point and taunted his opponent. It was not long, however, before Wahr found himself dropped for his arrogance. But despite the knockdown, this was closely contested fight and the momentum shifted constantly, especially once Terry had a cut open up on him in the third. It fittingly ended with a split decision in favor of Terry, who threw his mouthpiece out into the crowd as the final bell tolled. If this fight stood for anything, it is the fact that fight fans should never be turned off on fighters simply because they have losing records. If anything, those losing records left these men desperate to prove their worth against each other.

Now we turn to this fight card’s only blemish, as super featherweights Tyrell Samuel and Ron Boyd fought each other. “Fought” is probably too strong a word, as there was more holding and headlocking (mostly of Samuel by Boyd) than actual fighting. Boyd even got a suspect knockdown that seemed to be a slip. To add insult to injury, Boyd got away with an extra shot before Steve Smoger came in for the count. The fight sapped a lot of energy from the crowd. To give some idea how this fight was being received, let’s focus on heavyweight Travis Kauffmann sitting ringside. He watched most these fights pretty intently, but during the Samuel/Boyd fight he was mostly checking messages on his phone or looking around. Occasionally, Kauffmann would look at the fight, shake his head, and go back to looking about or checking his phone. Incidentally, the fight ended in a draw.

Super middleweight Bobby Jordan then put on a show as he beat Frank Armstrong senseless for four rounds. Armstrong, who could be best described as looking like the son of comedian Paul Mooney, did try at first. Unfortunately for him, Jordan just clowned on Armstrong before unloading late in the opening round. Rounds two through four would play out pretty much the same as Jordan, who is on the comeback trail following loses to Henry Buchanan and Farah Ennis, landed at will on Armstrong. Even though it was lopsided, it was thrilling to watch Jordan batter Armstrong about until Chris Wollesen called a stop to in the fourth. Armstrong had shaved his chest hair to form a “V”, presumably for “victory”. It ended up standing for “victim”.

Finally, we came to the co-main events. Adam Seal and Daniel Judah started it off. Judah (23-5-3, 10KOs), a former light heavyweight moving to cruiserweight, beamed as he came into the ring. He looked so confident that he was walking into an easy fight. Seal (8-1, 7KOs), however, made his way to the ring with a steely expression that showed his focus. Having both a height and reach advantage over Seal, you could understand why Judah would think he would have an easy go, but that would be his undoing. Instead, Seal regularly lunged forth at Judah, catching him more often than not. Judah had many moments that made you think he was going to eventually stop the former toughman contestant, such as wobbling Seal with a brutal hook against the red corner of the ring in round one. However, a majority of the time, it was Seal who was in control of the fight’s pace and tempo.

Even in the fifth and final round of this fight, it seemed like Judah was witnessing his own inevitable win at hand. Judah started unloading on a shelled up Seal in one of the neutral corners. Shots were starting to break through Seal's defense. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Seal came up with a vicious right hook that stopped Judah cold in his attack. With a delayed reaction, Judah fell against the ropes beside him and Seal unloaded a few choice shots before Steve Smoger put a stop it.

Judah stayed flat on his back and out of it for a couple of minutes while the ring doctor and others examined him. Seal, on the other hand, was beside himself as the announcer called it, giving him the biggest win on his record to date.



Last, of course, was Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs versus Rob “The All-American Prizefighter” Calloway. Now, most people in attendance figured Briggs to have this one, but surely not in a single round as he had against such lesser opponents as Dominique Alexander (who Shannon broke two ribs on during the seven seconds of the fight he was on his feet) or Rafael Pedro (who hadn’t won a fight in four years). Calloway had been in with a number of the best at both cruiserweight and heavyweight and held his own. Surely, this fight would go a few rounds, or even the distance. Not even close.

In the first thirty seconds, Calloway had already tasted the canvas after taking several heavy shots from Briggs. Still, he fought on, at least until he landed a hard right square in Briggs’s face and didn’t even make Briggs flinch. Once that happened, Calloway seemed to be on full retreat. He ran, but Briggs was now swinging for the fences. Briggs dropped Calloway twice more before referee Chris Wollesen waived it off, giving Briggs a first round knockout win in one minute and thirty-eight seconds.

All in all, there was barely a dull moment (those dull moments can be squarely blamed on Ron Boyd) to be in Friday’s fight card. With Filipino knockout artists Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista and A.J. Banal slated for the ICB’s next card , one can only hope for the same level of excitement at the Scope come June 26.

Article posted on 31.05.2010



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