By: William Holmes
ESPN Friday Night Fights brought a solid card to St. Charles, Missouri featuring a main event between an undefeated prospect and a former title contender known for delivering exciting fights. On paper, the main event looked to be one of the better main events for Friday Night Fights, but the crowd in attendance looked sparse.
This first bout of the night was between Vince Thompson (10-0) and Joel Godfrey (14-6-1) in the heavyweight division.
Godfrey came into the fight giving up over twenty pounds, and both fighters took the fight on four days’ notice. Thompson clearly controlled the fight from the outset. He established his jab early and Godfrey was unable to dodge his way out of the way incoming jab. Godfrey was unnecessarily passive in the fight, and with the exception of an occasional combination to the body, was unable to offer much. By the fifth round, Thompson began landing his right hand with more regularity, and was stinging two punch Godfrey with two-punch combinations, even knocking the Godfrey’s contact lens of out of his eye. Godfrey came out more aggressive in the eighth round, but it was too little, too late.
There was no surprise when the final scores of 80-72, 80-72, and 78-74 were announced of in the favor of Vince Thompson.
The main event of the night was between Ji-Hoon Kim (23-7) and Alisher Rahimov (23-0) in the lightweight division.
Kim is known for throwing an insane amount of punches in his fights, and tonight was no different. Both fighters fought out of the orthodox stance, and Kim threw over 100 punches a round and kept Rahimov at bay for most of the fight. Rahimov at times was able to get inside and land some combinations, but Kim’s work rate was absolutely ridiculous and he tagged Rahimov often. The fight was filled with low blows and head butts, but that should be expected with a fighter who is as aggressive as Kim. Kim was clearly winning the early rounds, and faded a little bit at the end, but not enough to lose the fight.
At the end of the fight, Kim threw 1225 punches, nearly doubling the 624 by Rahimov. Teddy Atlas somehow scored the fight a draw, but luckily for Kim the judges saw the same fight the audience watching it on TV saw. The official scores were 96-94, 98-92, and 97-93 for Ji-Hoon Kim.