ESPN’s Friday Night Fights Delivers Action Packed Night of Bouts From Chicago
by Chris Cella
Tonight the action got underway live from U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago with a replay of the heavyweight showdown between Chicago native Mike Mollo (20-4-1, 12 KO) and Poland’s colorful Artur “The Pin” Szpilka (15-0, 11 KO), a fight which Szpilka won via sixth-round stoppage this past February 1. The first fight was a war, and there was much anticipation built around this rematch.
Much like their first meeting, both warriors came out for the rematch and put on a show comparable to a fight scene from the movie Rocky. Once again, Mollo displayed heart and determination, but clearly lacked the skill and elusiveness to avoid the ongoing punishment and more polished attacks from Szpilka.
The action really heated up in the third round: Szpilka looked like he was en route to stopping Mollo when the Chicago native and ring veteran caught the undefeated Polish fighter with a wild left hand, sending him to the canvas. But the resilient Szpilka was able to recover from the knockdown, as he was able to do in the first fight, and continued on to dominate the fight.
In the fifth round, Szpilka once again let his hands go and caught Mollo with a short left hand on the chin that resulted in an early stoppage.
In the main event of the evening, Andrzej Fonfara (23-2, 13 KO) met Gabriel Campillo (22-5-1, 9 KO) in a light heavyweight showdown where the victor would set himself up for a shot at the world title in his next outing.
Campillo is a former title holder who lost to Tavoris Cloud for the IBF title last year, and was looking to make an impact against the favorite Fonfara and earn another shot at the hardware.
The fight began and continued with the nonstop action as was the theme of the night from U.S. Cellular Field, with both men going to battle throwing bad intentions with each and every shot.
Early on in the fight, Campillo was able to get off first and land the more powerful shots on Fonfara, winning round by round as he was cheered on by announcer Teddy Atlas, who suggested severe punishment for any judges who saw the fight for Fonfara. Although at times Campillo looked like he was going to mount an attack to finish the Polish fighter, Fonfara was able to hang on and fight on.
In the eighth round, the fight changed drastically as Fonfara hurt Campillo, nearly stopping him at the end of the round. He picked up the pace in the ninth round and continued to move forward while throwing vicious shots, and sent Campillo to the canvas with a body shot, ending the former champion’s hopes of fighting for another title at 1:37 of round nine. As for Fonfara, he is hoping for a shot at ageless light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins.