By: William Holmes
At Indio, Calif. (Showtime): Gary Russell Jr. vs. Roberto Castaneda, 10 rounds, featherweights; Dominic Breazeale vs. Curtis Tate, 4 rounds, heavyweights; Marcus Browne vs. Codale Ford, 4 rounds, cruiserweights; Terrell Gausha vs. Dustin Caplinger, 4 rounds, super middleweights; Errol Spencer Jr. vs. Jonathan Garcia, 4 rounds, junior middleweights; Rau’shee Warren (319-12) vs. Luis Rivera, 4 rounds, bantamweights;
Members of the United States Olympic Boxing Team highlighted tonight’s ShoBox card at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Five members from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team made their pro debut, and 2008 US Olympian Gary Russell Jr. continued his path towards a future title shot.
The first bout of the night was between 2012 team captain and three time Olympian Rau’shee Warren (8-0) and Luis Rivera (1-2) in the bantamweight division. Warren dominated a clearly overmatched Rivera, and he displayed a tremendous right hand for a southpaw fighter. Warren doubled up his right hooks often and had Rivera in trouble by the ropes several times in the fight. Rivera scored a very questionable knockdown in the fourth round that appeared to be a slip. But the fight was not close and Rau’shee Warren won a decision with scores of 40-36, 38-37, and 38-37.
The second bout of the night was between Dominic Breazeale (0-0) and Curtis Tate (4-3) in the heavyweight division. Breazeale towered over Tate and had a six inch height advantage and a ten inch reach advantage. Breazeale kept Tate at bay with his jab and knocked Tate down early in the first round with a straight right hand. The referee almost stopped the fight after the knockdown because he thought Tate said he could not see, but Tate protested and the referee allowed him to continue fighting. It did not last long however as Breazeale quickly dropped Tate again with a right hand upstairs and the referee stopped the fight at 1:06 of the first round.
Marcus Browne (0-0) made his professional debut against Codale Ford (2-0 ) in the cruiserweight division. Marcus Browne was a southpaw who had a clear height advantage over the cautious and tentative Ford. Browne clearly dominated the first two rounds and a visibly frustrated Ford went for a double leg takedown in the second round. A hard left hook to the body by Browne dropped Ford in the third round, and Browne quickly ended the fight with a barrage of punches when Ford got back to his feet. Marcus Browne scored a TKO in his first fight at 1:04 of the third round.
The next fight of the night was between Errol Spence Jr. (0-0) and Jonathan Garcia (3-3) in the junior middleweight division. Garcia was the first Olympic opponent to come out swinging and make an honest attempt to win a round, but Spence’s hand speed and power were clearly superior. A left uppercut right hook combination by Spence knocked Garcia down in the third round and he was clearly wobbly when he got back to his feet. Spence landed a few more punches and the fight was quickly stopped at 2:41 of the third round.
The final 2012 Olympian to fight on tonight’s card was Terrell Gausha (5-2) as he took on Dustin Caplinger (2-3) in the super middleweight division. A straight right hand hurt Caplinger late in the first round and a right hook that appeared to clip Caplinger in the back of his head knocked him down. Two short right hands in the second round knocked Caplinger down again. Another short right hand knocked Caplinger down, and Caplinger’s corner wisely threw in the towel at 1:55 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Gary Russell Jr. (20-0) and Roberto Castaneda (20-2-1) in the featherweight division. Castaneda had the best record of the opponents of the Olympians tonight, but he suffered the most brutal knockout of the night. Russell displayed his superior hand speed early on and was extremely effective with his counter punches. A brutal right hook knocked Castaneda down in the third round and the referee had no reason to even count Castaneda out as he immediately waived off the fight at 1:25 of the third round.