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Zahir Raheem Snags WBO’s NABO Title on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights

Tacoma, WA (January 11th, 2014) – On ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, Zahir Raheem (35-3, 21 KOs) continued his dominance fighting under the Halquist Productions’ banner, easily taking care of business against Star Boxing’s Bayan Jargal (17-5-3, 11 KOs), winning unanimously on the judge’s scorecards and becoming the new WBO NABO junior welterweight champion.

A sold out crowd was on hand in the 1500 seat Emerald Queen Casino showroom to witness the nationally televised Battle at the Boat 94 broadcasted live on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.

In Raheem’s fight with Jargal, Raheem was nearly untouchable throughout the 10 round bout as he controlled the tempo of the fight with a steady jab and a solid left hook to the body. Usually a counter puncher, Raheem wasn’t able to take advantage of that aspect of his game as Jargal pressed the fight, but didn’t throw many punches. While Raheem took the first six rounds, Jargal rebounded a bit in the next two rounds as he continued to press the fight and catch Raheem with a few solid hooks giving him some momentum in a fight that he was way behind in.

Midway through the fight, Raheem’s left hand began to give him trouble taking away his power and leaving him fighting more cautiously. After ten rounds, the fight went to the score cards where the judges scored the fight (99-91)(99-91)(97-93) all in favor of Zahir Raheem giving him the impressive unanimous decision victory.

The first fight of the night featured heavyweights Lateef Kayode (20-0, 16 KOs) and Jonte Willis (9-8-1, 3 KOs) in a scheduled six round heavyweight bout with many around the nation believing there would be a quick stoppage to the fight. Willis was able to stay active, but his punches weren’t effective enough to give him any type of momentum. Kayode, who was only fighting for the second time in the heavyweight division boxed more cautiously, but showed impressive power that kept Willis in protection mode. In the sixth round, Kayode unleashed what many were waiting for, pinning Willis against the ropes and throwing big power combinations that Willis couldn’t keep up with. At the 1:07 mark, the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight giving Kayode the TKO victory and improving his record to 2-0 in the heavyweight division.

The main event featured a scrappy battle between junior lightweights Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs) and Yenifel Vicente (25-1-2, 17 KOs). Rodriguez was fighting in the United States for the first time and impressed mightily in his first fight in front of a live national audience. It took Vicente a while to get going in the fight as Rodriguez was consistent in applying the pressure and keeping Vicente off balance. In the later rounds, Vicente began to open up more, catching Rodriguez a few times and switching the momentum leading to a solid tenth round where Vicente was the one who applied the pressure and even threw a powerful haymaker, albeit missing, as the final seconds ticked away. After eight rounds, the judges came to a majority draw, scoring the bout (77-75)(77-5)(76-76) in favor of Juan Antonio Rodriguez.

Undercard Results

Jeremy McCleary def. Gerardo Reyes UD(39-37)(40-36)(40-36)

Cameron Sevilla-Rivera def. Jared Teer KO1 1:46

Eduardo Alicea def. Jas Phipps MD(38-38)(39-37)(39-37)

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