By: William Holmes
ESPN held a special edition of Friday Night Fights on Wednesday this week from the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut. This was a part of musician and boxing promoter 50 Cent’s birthday bash and featured three televised bouts.
The first televised fight of the night was a four round bout between Matthew Baca (4-1-1) and Ryan Martin (6-0) in the lightweight division.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Martin was the slightly taller man in the ring. It was a slow first round to start, but Martin had significantly more amateur fights than Baca and it was apparent in the ring. Martin picked up the pace in the second half of the first round and was beginning to land his two punch combinations.
Martin allowed Baca to get in close more often than expected in the second round, but Baca was unable to do any damage when in close. Martin was letting his hands go more towards the end of the second round and was connecting with clean and precise combinations.
The third round was another dominant round from Martin as his punches were landing crisply and he was blocking most of Baca’s punches. His effectiveness increased in the final round as he had Baca hurt from head snapping uppercuts.
It was an easy and comfortable fight for Martin. He won the decision with scores of 40-36 on all three scorecards.
Billy Dib (36-3) and Alberto Garza (26-7-1) met in the co-main event of the night in the junior lightweight division. This was Billy Dib’s first fight in the junior lightweight division, and it was apparent in the ring as Garza looked to be the bigger man.
Dib came out in the first round going to the body of Garza, but it was obvious early on that this was going to be an ugly fight. A clash of heads occurred in the first round and Dib had some blood near his hairline.
Dib was changing his level in the second round and missed with several wild shots, but he was landing more often than Garza. He landed two crisp straight right hands to the head of Garza as the round came to a close.
The clinches started in the third round, but Dib was landing counter right hands and left hooks. His left hooks would land repeatedly throughout the night, but none of them really hurt Garza badly. Garza was throwing arm punches by the fourth round, but he was landing to the body of Dib.
In the fifth round Dib’s mouthpiece came out but he was controlling the action. Garza lost a point in the sixth round and ate a hard left hook.
Garza was unable to mount any effective offense in the later rounds and was prone to the pressure of Dib. It wasn’t a terribly entertaining bout, but Dib did enough to win a decision.
The judges scored it 98-91, 96-93, and 96-93 for Billy Dib.
The main event of the night was between Mark Davis (18-0) and Filipino boxer Michael Farenas (37-4-4) in the junior lightweight division. On paper, Farenas was the much more powerful boxer as he had twenty nine knockouts while Davis only had five stoppage victories on his record.
Farenas, a southpaw, established his straight left hand early and landed it with power in the first round. Davis smiled at Farenas after a punch banged against his guard, but it was clear Farenas’ punches were affecting Davis early on. Davis suffered a cut near his eye from a punch by Farenas, and was not hurting Farenas with his punches.
Farenas came out stalking Davis in the second round and landed two lefts to the body of Davis early on. He continued to the body of Davis and it opened up clean head shots for Farenas. Davis continued to get tagged and took the harder punches when both fighters exchanged.
Farenas continued with a mix of combinations to the body and head in the third round and landed several hard uppercuts. Davis was able to show off his hand speed in the third, but was not doing any damage. Farenas did not step off the gas pedal in the fourth round and loaded up on his left hands while Davis was short with his punches.
Farenas really hurt Davis in the fifth round with two hard left uppercuts and a left hook at the end of the round that left Davis on wobbly legs. Davis did not look like he was fully recovered by the sixth round and ate several hard left hands throughout the round.
Davis was warned by the ringside physician and referee Steve Smoger that the fight was close to getting stopped before the start of the seventh round. Davis responded to the warning by staying on the defensive and not actively engaging with Farenas.
The end came in the eighth round when a left hook by Farenas hurt Davis and sent him stumbling backwards to the corner. The referee immediately stepped in and stopped the fight.
Farenas wins by TKO at 0:59 of the eighth round.