PALA RESERVATION, CA-Bad legs and all Grady Brewer, 38, keeps hanging around until some youngster can convince him to hang up the gloves. On Saturday night Canada’s Albert Onolunose took a crack and got shot down.
In front of a large crowd at Pala Casino, Brewer the old rooster proved he has plenty of fight with a wily whacking of Nigerian born Onolunose (18-1, 7 KOs). Brewer picked up the IBC junior middleweight world title, the first of any kind for the Oklahoma fighter.
“I knew it was very possible. I train hard,” said Brewer (26-11, 15 KOs) about winning title at his advanced age.
Onolunose, 28, was a replacement for Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson who pulled out of the fight with a week’s notice. The formerly undefeated fighter had youth, speed, and strength over Brewer. That made it a fair fight.
In the first round you could see Brewer maneuvering the Nigerian boxer into little skirmishes evaluating the defensive strategies used. A couple of fake right hands, some loose left hooks, just enough to test the defense of the younger boxer.
After using the first round Brewer emerged in the second frame with a little more pizzazz in his step and purpose on his punches. Each blow was crisper and deadlier than displayed in the first three minutes of the fight.
The end was near.
When Onolunose fired a quick combination he dropped his left hand and Brewer fired a right hand counter that exploded on the jaw and sent the Canadian fighter to the floor. He got up groggily as referee Pat Russell examined him carefully and though slightly out of sorts was rightly allowed to get back into action. Brewer jumped on the hurt fighter with body shots and lefts to the head and back to the body, then, almost as if in stop action, paused to fire an uppercut that came from deep in his knees and crumbled Onolunose in a heap. He was out.
“Once I saw the way he looked I knew he was hurt,” said Brewer who won the Contender reality show in the second season and continues to show up younger fighters. “I can defend my title tomorrow, I didn’t get my work in.”
Watching the contest and commentating on the fight was former WBC junior middleweight titleholder Sergio Mora, another Contender alum.
Former mixed martial arts EliteXC lightweight world champion KJ Noons (11-2, 6 KOs) wants to try his hand in boxing and found it a little mixed up in facing Randy Pogue (8-9-2, 2 KOs), a former Thai kickboxing world champion.
Pogue, a southpaw with an awkward style and a granite chin, proved perplexing to Noons in the first three rounds. Then a big right to the kickboxer’s body suddenly changed the complexion of the fight and Noons had a freer reign with his blows.
“He’s a tricky guy,” said Noons who landed about a dozen counter right hands to the chin to little effect. The only thing that happened was Pogues would nod his head and tap gloves with Noons for a job well done.
If Noons had attacked the body more he might have ended the contest, but he continued to load up toward the head of his opponent. After six rounds the judges scored it 60-54 twice and 59-55 for Noons.
A great match up between Dat Nguyen and Mexico’s Noe Lopez ended in a unanimous decision for the Vietnamese-American in a six round featherweight bout. Nguyen was the constant aggressor as Lopez preferred to use his height and reach in a counter-punching mode. It was good back and forth action for brief spots in all six rounds but the judges favored Nguyen’s pressure style to Lopez’s box and move tactics 58-56 by all three judges.
“He wouldn’t fight me. He was a southpaw,” said Nguyen who had a large supportive crowd.
Bantamweight Leo Santa Cruz (9-0-1) was dropped from two overhand rights by Rhode Island’s Robert Da Luz (12-20-3, 9 KOs) in the fourth round but captured all the remaining rounds with a steady supply of accurate punching to the head and body. All three judges scored it 58-55 for Santa Cruz of San Gabriel.
In a middleweight bout featuring two Russian boxers, it didn’t take long to figure out who was the better fighter as Fedor Chudinov unleashed a quick left hook and laser-like right hand to drop Mikhail Lyubarsky (3-11-1) within seconds of the opening round. When the fight resumed a blistering four-punch combination sent Lyubarsky a second and final time at 1:11 of the first round.
“It’s not easy to win a fight. I trained to fight for four rounds,” Chudinov (2-0) who now trains in Los Angeles but is a native of Serpukhov, Russia.
A second middleweight match up saw Dmitry Chudinov (2-0), brother of Fedor, survive a first round knockdown from a Eddie Hunter (1-1) counter left hook and cuts over both eyes to rally in the last three rounds. It was conditioning and body shots that allowed the Russian middleweight to out-battle San Diego’s Hunter 39-37 on all three judge’s cards.