By: William Holmes
Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey was the host site for tonight’s Shobox series on Showtime. DiBella Promotions was the lead promoter for tonight’s card and the undercard featured several local fighters including Thomas LaManna and Joey Dawejko.
Three fights were featured on tonight’s card, but at the start of the televised portion of the card the venue at Bally’s looked emptier than usual in comparison to other no televised boxing events held there.
The first bout of the night was between Regis Prograis (14-0) and Amos Cowart (11-0) in the super lightweight division.
At this point in his career Cowart has not yet faced anyone with double digit victories and he has never gone past six rounds. Prograis had a significant edge in amateur experience, and had fought as high as 151 pounds while Cowart has fought most of his career in the lightweight division.
Both boxers fought out of a southpaw stance but Prograis established early on that he was the better pure boxer and he landed several hard combinations to the body and head of Cowart in the first round. Prograis was able to hurt Cowart with jabs in the second round and was able to land an occasional shot, but Prograis took them well and ended the second round with two right hooks followed by a left uppercut.
By the middle of the third round Prograis had landed 80 out of 214 punches compared to the meager 27 out of 90 punches of Cowart. Prograis dominated the middle rounds and would land four punches in combinations to every one punch that Cowart landed.
Prograis had some blood coming out of his mouth in the fourth round and Cowart’s nose had blood coming out of it in the fifth, but Prograis was landing punches from all angles and seemingly at will while Cowart’s head was mainly being used as a punching bag.
Cowart had his moments and showed tremendous heart. He was able to hurt Prograis near the end of the seventh round, but Prograis recovered and closed the fight strong by dominating the final round and never putting himself in a position to get seriously hurt.
Prograis won an impressive decision with scores of 79-71, 80-72, and 80-72.
The next bout of the night was between Ievgen Khytrov (10-0) and Nick Brinson (17-3-2) in the middleweight division.
Brinson had a big edge in professional experience over Khytrov, but Khytrov was by far the more polished amateur. Khytrov also had four fights in 2015 while Brinson only had fought once in 2015.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance but Khytrov started slow while Brinson was light on his fight and kept Khytrov at bay with a sharp and active jab. Khytrov tried to walk Brinson down in the second round and trap him in the corner, but Brinson did a good job at sticking and moving and countering the forward charing Khytrov.
Brinson did a good job at moving side to side in the third round and was firing off combinations and avoiding danger. Khytrov was visibly getting frustrated and switched to a southpaw stance at one point, but Brinson likely won the round on activity.
The fourth round was close but Brinson was frustrating Khytrov with his movement and combinations. Khytrov began to turn the tide of the fight in the fifth round applying more effective pressure and Brinson’s punches were losing it’s snap.
Brinson was hurt in the middle of the sixth round from a strong right hand and had to hold on near the corner to stop himself form giving up a knockdown. He was backed into a corner several times and he continued to fade in the later rounds.
Khytrov hurt Brinson again in the seventh round with a huge right hand and appeared to be close to scoring a knockout. The referee stopped the bout in the eighth round when Khytrov battered Brinson from corner to corner forcing his opponent to take a knee. At that point in the fight Brinson wasn’t offering much of an offense and he was hurt bad several times.
Khytrov won a closer than expected bout with a TKO at 2:31 of the 8th round.
The main event of the night was between Sergiy Derevyanchenko (5-0) and Elvin Ayala (28-6-1) in the middleweight division.
Ayala was coming off one of the biggest wins of his career over the undefeated Ronald Gavril and he had the height and reach advantage over Derevyanchenko.
But Derevyanchenko had over 300 amateur bouts in comparison to the 14 amateur bouts for Ayala. Derevyanchenko was landing heavy shots early on and even his lead left hands were snapping the head of Ayala in the opening round.
Ayala was a little jumpy in the second round as Derevyanchenko was focusing some of his attacks to the body of Ayala and was landing and throwing heavier punches. He ended the second round with a crisp combination near the corner.
Ayala started to fade in the third round and was getting battered by Derevyanchenko. A small cut opened up over the right eye of Ayala in the fourth round and he was fighting in survival mode for the rest of the fight from that point on.
Ayala’s body and head took some heavy punishment in the sixth and seventh rounds but he was somehow able to stay on his feet. At one point in the seventh Derevyanchenko had landed 210 punches while Ayala had only landed 71.
The bout was never close and Derevyanchenko won on the scorecards with scores of 80-71, 80-71, and 80-72.