By: William Holmes
Tonight was the last telecast of ESPN Friday Night Fights, which has been on the air for seventeen years and gave several fighters opportunities to showcase their talents before taking the next step to fighting on premium networks and championship fights.
The Omega Products International in Corona, California was the host site for tonight’s ESPN Friday Night Fights card and the Boxcino tournament finals in the junior middleweight and heavyweight divisions were televised.
The first televised bout from California was between Fernando Fuentes (5-4) and Isaac Zarate (10-1-1) in the junior featherweight division. Alexander Povetkin’s dominating one round knockout over Mike Perez was shown earlier, so ESPN had time to show this matchup.
Zarate was a southpaw and was able to last lead left hands in the opening round. Zarate, however, was not planting his feet when he was throwing punches and his bouncing may have sapped some power from his shots.
Zarate was winning the first four rounds, as he was landing at a higher clip and Fuentes’ punches were wide and inaccurate. Zarate had a very strong third round when he opened up a cut under Fuentes’ right eye and was landing hard shots.
Fuentes may have outworked Zarate in the final two rounds as he remained aggressive and focused to the body, but it was too little too late.
Isaac Zarate wins the decision with scores of 58-56 on all three scorecards.
Brandon Adams (17-1) faced John Thompson (16-1 ) in the finals in the junior middleweight division. Adams however missed weight the night before by less than a pound, but he lost a percentage of his purse and the fight was allowed to continue.
Thompson was five inches taller than Adams but Adams looked like the physically stronger fighter. Adams scored a quick knockdown within fifteen seconds of the first round with a body shot followed by a rising jab that look like it barely clipped Thompson. Thompson was not hurt at all when he got back to his feet and in fact out boxed Adams for the remainder of the first round including a flush three punch combination. Adams was throwing bombs but they were predictable and Thompson was able to easily avoid them.
Adams opened up the second round with a sharp counter straight right hand to Thompson’s chin followed later by a hard looping right hand that stunned Thompson momentarily. Thompson however recovered well and began landing combinations that were hurt Adams and forced him to take a knee in the corner. Adams was wobbly when he got back to his feet and was met with bombs by Thompson and was landing hard shots and almost looked out on his feet. The referee ruled another knockdown and really could have stopped the fight at this point, but he allowed the bout to continue. Adams, who was clearly rocked badly, got rocked with several more hard shots before the referee finally stopped it.
Thompson, a 6:1 underdog to win the tournament, won by TKO at 2:18 of the second round.
A swing bout between Angel Martinez (5-1-1) and Andres Figueroa (5-0) in the junior lightweight division was shown before the heavyweight final.
This was an action packed bout with Figueroa pressing the pace and Martinez landing hard left hooks and left uppercuts. Martinez had Figueroa rocked in the second round with a left hook but Figueroa was able to survive.
Martinez was landing measured punches in the third round but Figueroa was able to press the action in the fourth round and perhaps won it with more activity.
The end came in the fifth round when Figueroa unwisely decided to exchange hooks with Martinez and got obliterated with a left hook and was sent to the mat. Figueroa got back to his feet but was crushed in the corner with hard punches from both hands and the referee had to jump in and stop the bout.
Angel Martinez gave Andres Figueroa his first loss of the year with a TKO at 1:09 of the fifth round.
Donovan Dennis (14-2) faced Andrey Fedosov (27-3) in the finals of the Boxcino heavyweight tournament.
Fedosov was the favorite and Dennis has been knocked out twice in his career, but Dennis had a significant height advantage.
Dennis relied on his jab in the first round and was also able to connect his straight left hands from his southpaw stance. Fedosov was able to connect with one clubbing right hook, but he was unable to get inside and was ineffective when he did.
Fedosov was able to land his first good punch of the night in the second round, a right to the head of Dennis, but Dennis was able to tie up immediately. Dennis outworked Fedosov in the second round, but Fedosov was able to land some good shots.
Fedosov was able to score a knockdown in the third round with a right hook, but reply showed that Dennis got a thumb in the eye and may have decided to go down to recover his vision. When Dennis got back to his feet he was met with an aggressive Fedosov, but he boxed well and kept Fedosov at bay with his jab.
Dennis controlled Fedosov with his jab in the fourth round and even landed the harder and cleaner punches when they were able to exchange. He continued to stick and move in the fifth round and Fedosov seemed unable to handle the reach of Dennis.
Dennis continued to pop shot Fedosov in the first half of the sixth round until Fedosov landed a hard right hand that had Dennis rocked and holding on when he could. However, Fedosov was unable to capitalize on his good punch and was instead eating the jab of Dennis for the last minute of the round.
Fedosov was able to score his second knockdown of the night in the seventh round when he connected with a left uppercut that stunned Dennis and followed it up with a combination that forced Dennis to take a knee. Dennis was able to survive the rest of the round, but his confidence was visibly starting to fade.
Fedosov sent Dennis down for the third and final time of the night in the eighth round with a crushing right hand. Dennis got up at the count of nine but was still wobbly and shaky and the referee waived off the fight.
Andrey Fedosov wins by TKO at 0:54 of round eight.