SAN DIEGO, August 18, 2017 – The undercard put together by Top Rank Boxing delivered all the action fans in Lincoln, Nebraska and watching via live streaming on ESPN could ask for. Two returning heavyweights showed they mean business, and victorious Nebraska native sons thrilled friends and family.
American heavyweight Bryant Jennings of Denver (20-2, 10 KOs) began his career resurrection in good form with a second round TKO of Daniel Martz (15-5-1, 12 KOs) of Clarksburg, West Virginia. Jennings was in good shape and not overly heavy at 230.75 on the scale. His punches were crisp, landing a left to the head for the first knockdown, one to the right for number two, and an effective left to the temple to finally stop Martz in his tracks at 2:18 of the round.
After losses to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz, Jennings, age 32, has been out of the ring 20 months due to the scourge of boxing, “promotional issues.” Now with Top Rank Boxing, Jennings wants to take one more run at a title fight. He’s fun to watch and has several good options including Joseph Parker of New Zealand, and the other heavyweight on the card, Dillian Whyte. Jennings is on the small side at 6-foot-3, but if he can maintain his power he should be able to overcome any disadvantage.
Jennings called the result “a long time coming … The thing about actually fighting and fighting in the gym and training is it’s really just the atmosphere so for 30 seconds I soaked up the atmosphere and then it was just fighting. This was the type of fight you don’t want to take your time on. It felt good but this is just the beginning.”
British heavyweight Dilian Whyte (21-1, 16 KOs) made quick work of Malcoln Tann of Chandler, Arizona (24-6, 13 KOs) before a sparse crowd to open the card at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, scoring a third round knockout. Whyte took an eight-month layoff after his hard won victory over Dereck Chisora to recover from shoulder surgery. Whyte was in good form and delivered a lot of damage to Tann in their few minutes in the ring together. Whyte strafed Tann from the bell, knocking Tann down twice in the second, and twice more in the third before he made it stick with repeated left hooks to the body, so hard Tann hollered in pain. The referee seemed to count Tann out both times he was down in Round 2, but let the fight continue.
Whyte says his power is returning and he’s now got American WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and his title in his gunsights. If Whyte can score to the body on Wilder even close to the way he did against Tann, fans will be in for a competitive heavyweight treat.
It wasn’t looking good for former junior welterweight champion Mike “Mile High” Alvarado (38-4, 26 KOs) in the early rounds against Sidney Siqueira of Brazil (21-13-1, 13 KOs), taking a lot of hard punches for the better part of two rounds. Alvarado didn’t go down, and started to find his footing by the third round.
Staying on the inside, Alvarado found some success landing upper cuts on Siqueira. In the fourth round, Alvarado landed a Knockout of the Year style right hand, dropping Siqueira on the canvas with no need to administer a count. Alvarado didn’t look back as went to the neutral corner, Siqueira was out cold at 1:20 of the round. The crowd showed its appreciation to the veteran, who hopes to have one last chance at a title fight in the welterweight division.
Nebraska went two for two on the undercard as talented prospects put on a show with famiy and friends watching, and no doubt a few new fans watching live streaming on the ESPN app.
Light heavyweight Steve “So Cold” Nelson (9-0, 7 KOs) gets the award for Best Ringwalk of 2017, portraying Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lechter complete with mask and straight jacket as his team rolled him up to the ring. He dressed as Uncle Sam in his last fight over the Fourth of July weekend, walking in to “Living In America” like Apollo Creed in “Rocky IV.”
Nelson, who designs and sews his own gear, wore Husker orange and white en route to a shutout unanimous decision in six rounds over Cesar Ruiz of Mexico (5-6, 2 KOs). Nelson delivered a solid, crowd-pleasing performance. Credit to Ruiz for a tough chin and refusing to call it a day. All three judges scored it 60-54.
Super featherweight Kevin “Bad Ass” Ventura (8-0, 6 KOs) kept his perfect record intact with a textbook perfect breadbasket body shot knockout of Baltazar Ramirez of Mexico (3-4, 3 KOs) at 1:54 of round three. As with his countryman Ruiz, Ramirez took a lot of shots from Ventura but he returned the favor several times. Ventura needs to be cautious about not leaving himself open while he’s dishing out damage. Ventura is only 20 years old and learning quickly working with Brian McIntyre and training alongside Terence Crawford, his boxing role model.
Michael “Indeed” Reed of Waldorf, Maryland (23-0, 12 KOs) ground out a shutdown decision victory over a never-say-die Rob Frankel of Denver (35-18-1, 7 KOs). Reed had the fight in hand throughout, but he couldn’t dispatch Frankel to the disappointment of Reed’s father/trainer in the corner who kept yelling, “Take him out!” and “Put him to sleep!” The 37-year-old Frankel made Reed work for his win through all ten rounds. You had to wonder whether Frankel’s corner should have pulled him after losing every round, but if it turns out to be his farewell fight, Frankel went out on his own two feet.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. She is owner of the Falcon Valley Group based in San Diego, California. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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