(November 25, HAMMOND, IN) – Hitz Boxing once again provided pre-Thanksgiving entertainment at the Horseshoe casino, and fans that were looking for exciting knockouts went home (or, more likely, out to the bars) happy.
It was an especially good night for Chicago Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Sam Colonna and Rita Figueroa, who were in the red corner for 6 of the 9 bouts and came out victorious in all of them.
Puerto Rican Lightweight Kevin Cruz, now living in Iowa, ramped up his record to 4-0 (3 KO) with a barrage of power shots that battered opponent Zach Knox for most of 3 rounds. Cruz alternated peppering Knox’s face with sharp jabs, then unleashing punishing body blows. The referee called a stop to the fight at 2:58 of round 3 after Cruz dropped Knox with a right hook to the body.
Making his pro debut, Light Heavyweight Ivan Gonzalez fought a catch-weight fight at Cruiser versus Chicago’s Brandon Johnson. Trainers Sam Colonna and Rita Figueroa along with coach Antonio Canas must have a great deal of respect for Gonzalez’ ability, because Brandon Johnson is not the usual powder puff opponent many prospects face in their pro debut. Johnson put Gonzalez to the test early, coming out strong and landing several thudding power shots. Gonzalez survived the round, and came out in the second more composed and focused.
Midway through Round 2 Gonzalez found his footing, his confidence and his power. Finding success going to the body of Johnson, he sent him to the canvas 3 times in the final 2 rounds to win his debut in impressive fashion over a very solid opponent. Judges scored the fight 40-33 (twice) and 38-35 in favor of Ivan Gonzalez (1-0).
Shawndell Winters (6-0, 5 KO) stepped up to face his first opponent with a winning record in Colorado’s Joey Montoya (9-4-3). Montoya suffered a bloody nose after Winters first punch of the fight, but never wilted under the pressure and forced Winters to go the distance for the first time in his young career. The judges scored the fight 40-36 on all 3 cards, as did I. Winters was never in trouble, and this was a nice step up in competition for the impressive Harvey, Illinois fighter.
Chicago’s Mike Hollywood Jimenez (19-1, 13 KO), was supposed to face Thomas Awimbono of Ghana, but because of unrest in Africa, he was unable to secure a work visa allowing him to travel to Chicago for the fight. Instead, Hitz Boxing scrambled to find him a last minute opponent, and did so with Dezi Ford, a 47 year old who hadn’t fought in 5 years. Jimenez did exactly what he is supposed to do with a fighter of Ford’s calibre, knocking him out with a body shot 90 seconds into the first round.
“I want to apologize to all the fans for not getting to see the fight that was originally scheduled, but sometimes things beyond our control happen and we have to make the best of it. We came out tonight and got another knockout, another win, and I hope to see you all when I fight for the WBC title on Feb. 20th.”
Jimenez handled himself with class throughout the entire awkward situation of having to fight a boxer that had no business being in the ring with a fighter of Jimenez’ status. Jimenez took care of business, and entertained his fans with another first round KO.
Sam “The Russian Concussion” Horowitz continued his path on the journey to become a serious prospect. After looking a bit sluggish in the first round, he came out strong in round 2 and punished opponent Ronez McGrady of Indianapolis. After knocking down McGrady, Horowitz continued to unload forcing his opponent to turn his back to avoid the assault. The referee correctly called a stop to the fight, upping the Russian Concussions record to 5-1 (4 KO).
Chicago’s Ed ‘Bad Boy’ Brown scored his 13th KO in 15 fights against a quality opponent in Gilbert Venegas. Venegas has 19 losses on his record but has been in the ring with guys like Nate Campbell and Jermall Charlo, making him a great step up for a prospect like Brown. Brown has now won an astounding 12 fights since May of this year.
Heavyweight Nicholas “Kid Salami” Manzurek made short work of his severely out of shape opponent Marquis Benson of Indianapolis. Kid Salami showed nice boxing skills and good power, knocking down Benson 3 times in the first round. Benson failed to answer when the referee asked him if he’d like to continue after the 3rd knockdown, forcing the ref to wave the fight off and raising Manzureks record to 2-0 (2 KO).
Chicago welterweight Nick “Bad Boy” Ramirez (8-0-1, 2 KO) continued to do what he does best, completely outbox his opponent. Using his great jab, patience, and balance, he won a wide unanimous decision victory versus Agustin Cicero.
Making his pro debut in front of a loud crowd of his friends and family, Light Heavyweight Gorjan “Gogo” Slaveski of Chicago (via Macedonia) looked great in defeating his opponent Anthony Morgan.