Ringside Report From Verona: Ergashev Sparkles and Shields Marches On

Although she did not get the knockout she desired, Clarissa Shields (5-0, 2 KO’s) successfully defended her 168-pound title belts with a dominant unanimous decision win against Tori Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KO’s) on Friday, Jan. 13, at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, NY.

Nelson was game throughout but completely outgunned and outclassed by Shields who won by margins of 100-90 on all three judges’ cards. Shields found Nelson an easy target, landing hard crisp power shots seemingly at will on Nelson throughout the night. Shields threw well in combination and also countered effectively on the wildly swinging Nelson who never stopped trying but did not come close to winning a round while scoring a moral victory in going the distance. As for Shields, her power will be questioned as a 41-year-old Nelson took her the distance and never really seemed badly hurt though she was caught clean on several occasions.

Shields seems destined for a big fight later this year against 160-pound champion Christina Hammer (22-0, 10 KO’s) who was in attendance for this fight though her own fight on the undercard fell apart at the last moment.

In an action packed competitive 122-pound fight, Jesse Angel Hernandez (11-1, 7 KO’s) scored a split decision win against the gritty Ernesto Garza (9-3, 5 KO’s). Garza started strong, working his way inside and landing short crisp effective punches. Near the end of round two, Garza put Hernandez on the canvas with a short left hand in what can best be described as a flash knockdown.

Beginning in round three, Hernandez’s power shots seemed to be finding a home more consistently though Garza still had his spots in what was turning into a slugfest. The fourth saw Hernandez commit to the body and seemingly hurt Garza with some hard shots downstairs. Hernandez’s power shots continued to be the telling tale the next couple rounds and he stunned Garza at one point in the sixth with a counter right. Just as the power of Hernandez seemed to be taking control of the fight, Garza found a second wind, outworking as well as out-boxing Hernandez in rounds eight and nine, but Hernandez rallied with a big round ten with his clean power shots once again finding a home and staggering Garza as the fight concluded. Two judges saw the fight in favor of Hernandez by scores of 95-94 and 97-93 while the third judge sided with Garza 95-94. In the end, Hernandez escaped with a hard fought grueling win.

Making his US television debut, junior welterweight prospect Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11 KO’s) put on a power punching display in easily dispatching of the previously undefeated Sonny Fredrickson (18-1, 12 KO’s) in the third round of their scheduled eight round contest.

In the opening round, Ergashev (in the white trunks) raked Fredrickson with straight left after straight left, masterfully using subtle footwork to set up the right angles to land these telling punches. It was more of the same in round two with Ergashev at one point clowning in ring center as he bedazzled Fredrickson with sharp punching. In round three, a straight left about a minute into the round put Fredrickson on jelly legs and a vicious lengthy follow-up assault forced referee Benjy Esteves to intervene to stop the one-sided beating. It was a coming out party for Uzbekistan’s Ergashev.

Heavyweight prospect Apti Davtaev (14-0-1, 13 KO’s) struggled mightily with veteran Garrett Wilson (18-14-1, 9 KO’s) in their six round bout, edging out a tight but unanimous decision victory. Davtaev was busier throughout and found a home with frequency for his straight right along with a well-timed right uppercut. But Wilson countered effectively in spots and landed some big eye catching shots, including briefly staggering Davtaev in round four with an overhand right. There was some real drama as the cards were read but the judges favored the busier Davtaev with all three turning in identical scorecards of 58-56.

The six round scheduled welterweight contest between undefeated knockout artist Bakhtiyar Eyubov (13-0, 11 KO’s) and journeyman Maurice Chalmers (14-13-1, 8 KO’s) ended prematurely in round one after an accidental head butt opened a bad cut over the right eye of Chalmers resulting in a no-contest. Just as the aggressive hard charging Eyubov seemed to be closing the distance and finding a home for his power shots, the heads came together with Chalmers back to the ropes, causing the cut that ended the bout.

Franchon Crews-Dezurn (3-1, 1 KO) scored a wide six round unanimous decision win against Tiffany Woodard (4-10-3, 3 KO’s) in a 168-pound female contest. It was not the most aesthetically pleasing contest as the bout looked more MMA than boxing at times. There were several takedowns and numerous uses of dirty tactics by both fighters. However, Crews-Dezurn completely controlled the action, landing the cleaner, more telling blows.

In the opening fight of the night, Alexey Zubov (17-1, 9 KO’s) put on a workmanlike performance in scoring a six round unanimous decision win against Lamont Capers (8-11-3, 2 KO’s) in a cruiserweight contest. The underdog Capers had his moments, including rocking Zubov in round one with an overhand right, but Zubov was busier in most rounds which was enough to carry him to a clear decision victory.

Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp / Showtime

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