by Johnny Walker
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, broadcast from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, offered up some very compelling action last night, and thankfully, none of the controversial decisions that have marred the sport in recent weeks.
In the show’s opener, favored Canadian Tony Luis put his unbeaten record on the line against Jose Hernandez in a junior welterweight bout. Hernandez had taken the fight on short notice and immediately withstood an early barrage of punches from the busy Luis.
As the bout progressed, it featured the high work rate of the Canadian versus the more clean and effective punching of Hernandez, and as Luis began to tire, his ticky-tack flurried punches began to lose their steam. Luis also made the mistake of standing directly in front of the bigger man instead of utilizing movement and angles, and he finally paid for it in a big way when he was rocked by a hard left hand from Hernandez in round six.
From that point on, Hernandez started to take control, while Luis tried to stay busy but was largely ineffective. Hernandez finally teed off on Luis (15-1, 7 KOs) and dropped him to the floor in round eight, and then continued his assault as a reeling Luis appeared defenseless after beating the referee’s count. Finally, the Canadian’s corner threw in the towel, and an elated Hernandez (14-6-1, 6 KOs) was declared the winner at 2:47 of round eight.
In the main event, rugged middleweight Brian Vera of Texas proved too powerful for slick Ukrainian veteran Sergei Dzinziruk. Two knockdowns (one of them questionable) of the Ukrainian in round one set the stage for Vera, who continued to hammer away with hard right hands in the following round.
However, the southpaw Dzinziruk, a former junior middleweight champion, drew upon all of his experience and soon managed to start scoring regularly with some nasty right up-jabs, while in the middle rounds Vera was often flailing wildly and missing as Dzinziruk did a much better job of maintaining his distance.
Dzinziruk’s sharpshooting finally opened a cut over the Texan’s left eye in round eight, which the Ukrainian began to target repeatedly.
Just as it seemed that the fight could be slipping away from him, a determined Vera finally got to a tiring Dzinziruk in round ten, as the Texan immediately trapped him in the corner and connected with some vicious shots that saw the Ukrainian’s head snap back dramatically, before the latter man slowly began to sink to the canvas in a sitting position.
An overjoyed Brian Vera (22-6, 13KOs) was awarded a TKO win at 1:50 of round ten.