LOS ANGELES-A near packed house saw numerous out-of-state and out-of-the country matched bouts with several surprise endings on Saturday night.
The beautiful Westin Bonaventure Hotel was filled from end to end with a boisterous crowd that included celebrities such as James “Lights Out” Toney, Giovani Segura, Kassim “The Dream” Ouma and Beverly Hills power attorney Robert Shapiro. It was promoted by All Star Promotions.
My drive into downtown L.A. was detoured a bit by traffic and a long line at the ticket booth so the first bout passed before I entered the doors.
The first bout I witnessed was a heavyweight bout between Rashi Akzhigitov and Eduardo Ramirez that ended quickly in the first round. Body shots by the bigger Akzhigitov sent Arizona’s Ramirez (1-2) slumped to the floor for a knockdown. He got up but was met by another thumping body shot and did not get up again. Akzhigitov (1-0) was declared the winner by technical knockout in round one.
Ghana’s Isaac Dogboe (4-0, 2Kos), who is supported by both Toney and Buddy McGirt, defeated the much taller Wilberth Lopez (5-4), a southpaw from Arizona. Despite the reach disadvantage, Dogboe used his speedy right hand to catch Lopez cleanly almost every round. Dogboe won by unanimous decision.
In a small shocker, Panama’s much touted Israel “Bomaye” Duffus (6-2, 5 Kos) entered the ring as a clear favorite against Sacramento’s Lamont Williams (6-6-1, 3 Kos). Allegedly the California State Athletic Commission almost did not approve the cruiserweight fight because Williams had been defeated five consecutive times and had not won a fight since 2011.
Duffus was quick, strong and flashy with his boxing approach. A quick right and left to the head by Duffus sent Williams to the floor for the count in the first round. The second round was also bad for Williams who could have quit the fight. He was getting beat to the punch but hung in.
The third round saw Duffus begin to fight with his hands down to prove to Williams he was too quick to be caught. Bad idea. A Williams left hook caught Duffus on the chin and a stunned looked crossed his face. The crowd saw the Panamanian’s look and Williams stormed forward looking to end the fight. Duffus did not know what to do and ran into a right hand and down he went. The referee began to count but could see Duffus was not coherent and ended the fight. Williams was back in the win column.
A junior middleweight bout between Japan’s Gaku Takahashi (13-5-1, 6 Kos) and Las Vegas’ Brian Gordon (4-4-1) ended in a majority decision win for Takahashi, who entered the ring wearing Mexican flag trunks. Two judges favored the more aggressive Takahashi over the pot shot counters of Gordon.
San Francisco’s Brandon Adams (2-2) survived a first round knockdown to win by technical knockout over debuting Alphonso Sanchez in a junior middleweight clash. Sanchez nearly stopped Adams in the first round but had energy from the second round to the fourth. Adams saw the opportunity and unleashed a dozen punches on Sanchez, who could barely keep his hands up. Sanchez left the ring exhausted and needed to be helped to the dressing area.
Saul Bustos (1-0) won his pro debut by decision over Japan’s Tatsuro Irie (0-6) after four rounds of a junior middleweight contest.
A junior featherweight contest saw Arizona’s Walter Santibanes (6-2, 2 Kos) survive six rounds with Azat Hohvannseyan (6-2, 4 Kos) to win a majority decision. The difference was a second round knockdown during a furious exchange.
Vicente Guzman (2-4-1) pulled out a win with a final round knockdown of Manuel Reyes (3-3) to win by majority decision. Reyes was ahead on points when the welterweight bout entered the sixth round but Guzman landed a counter right for a knockdown of Reyes and that proved the difference.