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Stevenson Shines; West Coast Prospects Impress

By Alec Kohut at ringside


The Winchester Virginia Sportsplex played host to a card promoted by United Boxers featuring a mix of local favorites and out-of-town prospects. From the West Coast came a quartet of prospects from Robert Garcia’s gym in Oxnard, California: Andy Ruiz, Ronald Ellis, Saul Rodriguez and Trevor McCumby. Cruiserweight Venroy July and welterweight James Stevenson, both undefeated, highlighted the local portion of the card.
 
Over two-and-a-half years, Baltimore’s James Stevenson had only two fights, both against then-11-32-5 Jose Angel Roman. But he has now fought twice in a 30-day span and is scheduled to fight again November 8. Saturday night, he faced Angel Rios, 9-15 (6), who’s never been stopped against some very good competition. He gave Stevenson rounds but for all six of them, it was all Stevenson.

Stevenson ended a somewhat slow first round with a very good flurry of punches and from that point on, the outcome was never in doubt. Rios started the second more actively but was quickly slowed down by a hard, right uppercut from Stevenson. Stevenson wisely kept the action in the center of the ring where he used his sharp left jab to set up right hands to the head and body.
 
Stevenson’s movement kept Rios from ever being comfortable in the fight. Midway through the third stanza, Stevenson backed Rios to the ropes and banged at his body before Rios freed himself just long enough to again find himself on the opposite side ropes. From there, Stevenson landed a solid combination punctuated with a head-snapping, right uppercut. When Rios did manage to land an overhand right, it only seemed to motivate Stevenson, who again backed Rios to the ropes to inflict more damage.
 
Stevenson continued outboxing Rios en route to a well-earned 60-54 shutout on all three cards. At 17-0 (11), Stevenson has to start stepping up his competition if he is to make any kind of move in the sport. Trainer and former pro cruiserweight David Sewell feels that Stevenson should turn the corner in 2013 and is expecting his fighter to face some big names and move into the rankings. But he also knows Stevenson has work to do, mentioning his fighter’s balance and maximizing his power, “I gave him a B+ tonight.”
 
Stevenson will need that power as he steps up in competition and will have to fight off his back foot more to increase the power of his punches. And now that he is becoming active again and mentally focused, he definitely a guy to keep an eye on.
 

Venroy July KO 4 Cullen Rogers

 
Venroy July stayed undefeated but that was hardly an accomplishment considering the opposition. Cullen Rogers came into the bout on a 10-fight losing streak and showed no interest in trying to break that string. From the opening bell, it was absolutely no contest as Rogers looked like an apathetic participant just there for a paycheck. July stalked Rogers and patiently landed solid shots when Rogers wasn’t holding on or moving away from the action.
 
July bloodied Rogers’ ear in the third and the referee took a point from Rogers for hitting behind the head during clinches. Finally in the fourth round, July landed a decent but hardly brain-rattling combination and Rogers simply went down of his own volition and took the 10-count.
 
One cannot blame July for the lousy competition he was given but I - and many D.C. area boxing fans – am looking forward to seeing just how good July can become and how he’ll do against better fighters. But for now, he remains undefeated and untested at 12-0-2 (5).
 

Trevor McCumby KO 4 Daniel Shull

 
Daniel Shull was not going to beat 8-0 (8) Trevor McCumby. But Daniel Shull was not going to lie down for Trevor McCumby either. Despite his 3-18-1 (1) record, Shull comes to fight and is not intimidated by anyone. In front of Shull’s hometown fans and with his scrappy style, he provided a good learning experience for the young McCumby, who stayed patient and on his game plan, easily dismantling Shull.
 
In the first round, McCumby took his time finding his range but when he did, he used two left hooks to stun Shull and a third, 20 seconds later, to put Shull down. It was quickly obvious that Shull had nothing for the polished prospect from Arizona. In the second round, Shull’s corner was yelling for Shull to use his jab but that was never really an option as Shull remained upright throughout the round, before getting stunned with a McCumby left hook.
 
In the third, it was another McCumby left that sent Shull to the canvas again, before Shull arose and continued the fight, motioning with his arms for McCumby to bring it on, which the latter did. A fast and hard combination sent Shull down once again, from which he rose, this time not motioning to McCumby to bring it.
 
To Shull’s credit, he survived the round and came out for the final stanza to fight, not just survive. But like in the previous rounds, he was simply outclassed as McCumby used another left hook to drop Shull for the fourth time. Again, Shull fought on but after another hard combination, the referee wisely stepped in and called a halt to the action.
 
McCumby put in a solid performance and stayed on his game plan, never allowing the scrappy Shull to get in close and brawl. He displayed good balance and is definitely someone you’ll hear more of in the future.
 
Shull was an able and tough opponent who deserves enormous credit for coming to the fight in shape and giving his all. When too many opponents today merely show up for a paycheck, Shull fights to win and never quits. He is a credit to the sport.
 

Ronald Ellis KO 1 Tierre King

 
Speaking of an opponent who most definitely did not come to fight, Tierre King didn’t make Ronald Ellis even break a sweat to earn his fifth victory as a pro. Just half a minute into the fight, Ellis landed a soft straight right and King quickly went to the canvas, causing Ellis to look at him and audibly say, “What; you went down from that?!” And although King arose, he was quickly down again and soon after, the fight was waved off. Immediately following the bout, Ellis confirmed his frustration in King going down after the first punch and was obviously frustrated at his opponent’s unwillingness to fight.
 

Richie Andrews TKO 2 Curtis Morton

 
In what was shaping up as the best scrap of the evening, hometown welterweight Richie Andrews scored a second round TKO after Curtis Morton injured his arm during a clinch and could not continue. An action-packed first round saw both fighters throwing and landing punches in volume, with Maxboxing giving Morton a slight edge in the round. Early in the second round, while in a clinch, Morton dropped to one knee signaling he had hurt his arm. It was hard to see if it was due to Morton moving his arm to throw a punch from the clinch or, as Morton’s corner contended, Andrews purposely twisted the arm.
 
It was clear that Morton’s trainer felt that Andrews had caused the injury and verbally protested the ruling of a TKO victory for Andrews. Virginia Commissioner Dave Holland was having no part of the protest, even having the trainer removed from the facility by the Sheriff’s Deputies on duty. That move was a bit of overkill since Morton’s trainer was not threatening anyone or acting any different than any trainer would who felt his fighter was wronged. The trainer left without incident.
 

Saul Rodriguez UD 4 Quincy Johnson

 
Despite taking the fight on short notice and despite his 0-6 record, Cincinnati’s Quincy Johnson came to fight and gave L.A.’s Saul Rodriguez four solid rounds before dropping a unanimous decision by the score of 40-36 on all three cards.
 
After not fighting in a year, Johnson quickly had any cobwebs shaken out with a pair of left hooks from Rodriguez. Rodriguez easily won the first round but Johnson was not going to be an easy out. Johnson was busy in the second round, landing body shots and although not hurting Rodriguez, Johnson kept him from finding his rhythm. But Rodriguez did find his rhythm in round three and for the entire second half of the round, threw nonstop rapid-fire combinations to both the head and body of Johnson.
 
Johnson continued to try and pressure Rodriguez but despite his heart, Rodriguez was just too skillful and in better shape given that Johnson had little time to prepare. Rodriguez improved to 7-0-1 (5).
 

Andy Ruiz KO 2 Tobias Molina

 
Andy Ruiz had little trouble with a game but overmatched Tobias Molina, earning his third victory and second knockout of his young career. The Oxnard welterweight wasted little time after the opening bell, dropping Molina just seconds into the fight with an overhand right. Molina quickly recovered and tried to press the action but later in the round, Ruiz pinned Molina to the ropes and after a series of punches from both hands, Molina wisely took a seat on the ropes to provide time to recover. Molina survived the round but early in the second, a roundhouse right from Ruiz buckled Molina’s legs and dropped him hard, signaling the end of the contest.
 
Ring Announcer: Terrence “TNT” Crawford
 
It was my first time hearing this ring announcer and to say the least, he was very impressive. With a deep, resounding voice, Crawford understands that he is there to facilitate the show, not try to be the show. It was pleasure meeting the man and I look forward to future shows where he may be working.
 
Questions or comments can be directed to aleckohut@hotmail.com. Please visit Alec at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1255732257&ref=ts or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alecmaxboxing. You can also tune in to Alec’s new weekly online show every Tuesday at 9:00 PM EST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search/aleckohut/.
 
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