Regis Prograis vs Abel Ramos, Bryant Cruz vs Dardan Zenunaj, Steve Rolls vs Steed Woodall, Ivan Baranchyk vs Shawareb
BY KID HERSH
ShoBox prospect card from Houston Texas featuring some up and coming fighters that have not been before televised. First up was Shadi Shawareb (9-0-2, 5ko's) vs Ivan Baranchyk (8-0, 7ko's). The fight did not last long as Shawareb came out throwing but not looking like he has been highly trained as his punches were. Not very well thrown and he was leaving himself open very frequently. Ivan was getting in some solid blows infrequently when he threw but surprisingly was not establishing himself fully for the majority of the round. Perhaps he was feeling out but I was surprised to see him allowing Shawareb to get off shots and get into a rhythm for a period of time. In any case, Ivan ended the fight near the end of the round when helanded a right hand followed by a left hook that snapped his opponents head and sent him down, where he stayed down and spit out his mouthpiece.
Next up was Steve Rolls (12-0, 6ko's) vs Steed Woodall (9-0-1, 6ko's). In the first round you could tell that both of these fighters are very well schooled and know how to handle themselves. Woodall just started training with Ronnie Shields and he looked to establish his jab in the first round - which we all know Ronnie likes to drill into his fighters. He had respect for Rolls though, and Rolls landed some good shots by using his speed and athleticism. Rolls continued to use his speed and timing to pick his spots on Woodall in the second round and had Woodall missing frequently and looking unsure how to get started. In the third round Woodall turned the fight right around with a left hand that landed very awkwardly behind the ear on the back of the head but yet not a rabbit punch. It was a ruled a knockdown although Rolls was protesting it - despite being on wobbly legs. Woodall went right at him and hurt him again from combinations but couldn't take him out as he managed to recoup enough to make it through the round. In the fourth round Rolls went back to boxing and suddenly started landing the right hand flush. He lead with it sometimes and set it up with a throw away jab at other times but he could not miss it as he set it up time and time again. Suddenly, Woodall was looking like he was broken down from the right hands - completely sapped of energy and looking lethargic. Rolls continued the right hand and was sitting down on it with as much power as he had and Woodall was in serious trouble so Rolls went for the kill and got it as the referee stopped the fight near the end of the fourth with Woodall still standing but clearly incapable of defending himself. Surprising end to this fight but that is why I like these prospect fights that are seemingly evenly matched but we don't know how they will react to adversity from another schooled fighter. Good win for Rolls but he showed some big flaws to work on at the same time, such as leaving his hands so low. He looks like he has great reflexes but he needs to keep his hands up to prevent shots like the one that caused him to get knocked down.
Next up was Dardan Zenunaj (10-1, 8ko's) vs Bryant Cruz (16-0, 8ko's). In the first round it was obvious that the two men had totally different styles and totally different game plans. Zenunaj was pressing heavily and looking to land a knockout punch while Cruz was moving and countering at first but then started to lead to set back his man from getting his own shots off due to his much quicker hands. The second round was a lot like the first except that Zenunaj had more success trapping Cruz on the ropes. He did not land anything big or devastating but he was continuing forward and it could be a start of success in getting his heavy shots to land flush and more often. Right now Cruz is still outworking him and his legs are also helping him control the fight. In the third round Cruz really peppered the leather on Zenunaj. He was throwing quick combinations in high volumes and while Cruz won the round in dominant fashion I have to wonder if he can keep this work rate up even though he is not taking very much damage. Well, sure as what I thought I was seeing before my eyes, Cruz crumbled in the fifth round when Zenunaj landed a wide left hook as Cruz got a bit tired and sloppy with his defense backing up. He rose and was not in terrible condition but clearly might have worn himself out and gotten himself into this position by not pacing himself or using his legs like he started the fight doing to just more so hit and move. In thee fifth round Cruz was throwing lots of punches to start again but then showed that he is indeed a very tired fighter that cannot keep the pace up. Zenunaj landed the bigger shots in the round as he patiently waited until he was in range and threw his slow shots where he would get one through occasionally that did damage to his man. Cruz's punches at this point - which he somehow keeps throwing - have no snap in them and are sometimes very sloppy punches, with his elbows sagging and nothing but some shoulder going into them. Still though the sixth round was great action in this close fight that is really interesting. I'm not even sure who is on top of this ebb and flow because Zenunaj is running out of time to get the knockout that looked like it was right in front of him because Cruz is still pulling out a high work rate seemingly when he should be finished. In the seventh round was more of the same (which is great and interesting action by the way) until near the very end of the round Cruz was looking very tired again and weary. Zenunaj's corner yelled out "He is looking for a way out give it to him!" And the crew was wondering why they would give him that advice, with the rest of us chuckling because they didn't mean a way off the ropes - the intention was a way out of the fight via a goodnight sleeping pill! And go figure, just then, Zenunaj ramped up the tempo a bit and knocked Cruz down with a combination that started with an uppercut - which is a punch he has not landed or thrown many of so far! He landed another uppercut and then a left hook that snapped Cruz's chin and put him down. He was hurt badly but he rose and the round was over but his trainer Ronnie Shields stopped the fight, saying that he didn't want to see him take any more punishment because it was over. Wow, what another great prospect fight - this card is really surprising me so far!
Main event time featuring Abel Ramos (14-0-2, 9ko's) vs Regis "Rougarou" Prograis (15-0, 12ko's). For the opening rounds the fighters were looking to figure each other out, with Prograis stabbing quick punches from the outside and Ramos keeping a tight defense and being patient but yet Leary of Prograis due to his lateral movement and uncharacteristic but yet natural boxing style. This continued as Prograis took more and more risks in keeping his hands low and not protecting himself at all while relying not just on his superior skills and speed but his reflexes - which is very dangerous with how he is going about it in my opinion, despite dominating the fight. He was starting to break down Ramos by the end of the fourth round who has a cutover his eye from the punishment and is looking a bit weary. In the fifth round Ramos was the victim of an accidental head butt that was an odd one on the top of his head but yet it was a really nasty one that was flowing lots of blood, in addition to the cut on the same eye from a punch earlier that is flowing also. The doctor took a good look at Ramos before the sixth round started due to him bleeding before the round even began but he was allowed to continue and the blood flowed everywhere. The doctor was called to take a look at him yet again in the round but said he was ok yet again and the crowd was even booing due to Ramos clearly not having a chance in this one and suffering quite a bit of blood loss as his trunks were just painted Crimson. The fight surprisingly went until through the eighth round and then it was finally stopped due to the blood flow mainly, because I think Ramos could have otherwise still been fighting. Prograis looked fantastic to most people but I saw lots and lots of risks taken that could easily get him into serious trouble in the future. Nonetheless he won in dominant fashion.