Mary McGee Raises Her Game, Decisions Kristy Follmar in a War for WBC Belt!

boxingBy Juan C. Ayllon at ringside - HAMMOND, Ind. – Ali needed Frazier. Zale needed Graziano. And tonight at the Hammond Civic Center, Mary McGee needed Kristy Follmar to turn in a masterful performance in winning the vacant World Boxing Council’s International Female Light Welterweight title.

McGee’s trainer, Carlos Jones, said, “I told her you ain’t nobody until you fight somebody.” Well, if there were any doubts, tonight, McGee erased them.

Some 2,500 thundered for Follmar, 26, (133 lbs., 16-1, 9 KO’s) and boos mixed with raucous cheers, greeted Gary, Indiana’s Mary McGee, 22, (133 lbs., 18-0, 10 KO’s) in their introductions. They were stoked for tonight’s battle..

Fireworks kicked off the first round. Punching for dominance, they slugged back and forth, trading in spurts. McGee hit on a break, drawing a warning, but finished the round strongly with a two fisted barrage.

Follmar stunned McGee with a right on the chin along the ropes in the second. They traded vicious punching in bursts. Seeking to slow Follmar down, McGee dug a left to Follmar’s beltline and a right to her hip. In what would become a recurring pattern, McGee trapped her on the ropes with a furious assault only to be repelled by Follmar’s two-fisted counter surge.

Just as Follmar battered McGee to the ropes with full leverage on her punches in the fourth, McGee repelled her with a jarring right to the head. McGee was beginning to pull ahead this round with superior movement and effective blows landed.

Follmar landed some hard straight lefts and rights to McGee’s head in the sixth, but was jarred with crisp counters. Several times, McGee rocked and battered her against the ropes, only to have Follmar claw her way out.

Shouts of “Mary, Mary, Mary” erupted as McGee took the battle to Follmar in the seventh. She hurt her along the ropes and then avoided the counter surge, skipping out when Follmar sought to batter her way out.

The contrast was stark in the ninth: Follmar plodded forward, while McGee circled, used angles and counterpunched with greater effect. Often Follmar lashed out, while McGee darted away, reengaged at her leisure and picked her off at the pass when Follmar pursued.

The tenth and final round was all action, as the two traded back and forth. Trapping McGee on the ropes for a full 15 seconds, Follmar thumped head and body while McGee fired back savagely. Repelling her attacker, McGee cleared the ropes only to be backed to the ropes again with a furious head and body assault. They took turns rallying and were in mid-slugging when the bell halted the action.

Scores were 97-93 McGee, 95-95 and 97-93 for McGee, granting her a split decision win.

“The women are more vicious than the men,” said incredulous first time spectator Helen Kraus. And, tonight, she’d be right.

McGee said afterwards, “I feel great!” She laughed. “Christy was in shape, she came and did a great job. It came down to who wanted it more. I was stronger and faster. It was really who wanted it the most…and I wanted it really bad.”

“I have no disagreement with the decision,” Follmar said, her eyes moist. “I’m just glad I got the opportunity…[and] down the road, I’d like a rematch.”

Ring announcer Joe York said, “It was like having two girlfriends that you like. I announced Christy’s amateur fights…[and] Mary on the other hand, I announced all her pro fights. There was a joke that I’d show up at her fights and we’d kid that she was my wife. Getting in there to announce those two, the crowd was deafening. It truly lived up to the hype!”


In his sternest test so far, Chicago’s Orpheus Waite, 27, (159.5 lbs., 4-0,3 KO’s) survived a few rocky moments and benefited from a missed call on a knockdown in defeating Indianapolis, Indiana’s Cedrick Johnson, 33, (10-3, 8 KO’s) over six rounds.

Johnson caught Waite with a right hand and had him ducking, dodging and retreating in the first. However, Waite caught him with a showy and smacking right hook to the head that drew a huge “ooh” from the crowd and settled Johnson down.

Johnson kicked off the second digging to the body, backs off Waite with a right to the head. Waite drove Johnson into a corner with a left and a right.

And then it happened.

Johnson drilled Waite with a stunning right-left combination that knocked him clearly across the ring into the ropes. Had the ropes not been there, he’d have gone down, plain and simple. Waite was hurt. Ducking, grabbing and moving, Waite cleared his head and boxed his way clear to the end of the round. His moment of crisis had passed.

Waite opened the third by pursuing with behind a jab, while Johnson looked to counter. Waite threw hooks and rights, while ducking under counters. Johnson battered the body and pinned him up against the ropes. Suddenly, a left hook bounced off Waite’s jaw, but instead of folding, Waite exploded back with his own. The two traded blows to the bell.

Orpheus dropped Johnson with a right hand to open the Fourth. Taking a standing eight count, Johnson resumed battle.

Waite landed the uppercut with increasing regularity. Johnson lost the mouthpiece, which bought time as his corner rinsed and reinserted it. Resuming, Johnson circled, jabbed and drove Waite to the ropes with a right and smothered the return fire in a clinch. Orpheus waved him in. Johnson circled and jabbed, missed with a wide right hook, and flinched from a feinted lunge. Waite bounced a left hook Johnson’s head at the bell.

Johnson nearly fell from momentum from a wild missed hook early in the fifth. Trapping Waite on the ropes, he battered and held on tight. Nonchalant, Waite walked him to the opposite ropes where referee Blake separated them. Waite bounced a jab, weaved side-to-side and repeatedly egged Johnson in.

The crowd grew restless with the frequent holding and posturing. Knowing both possessed the potential to hurt the other, neither fighter was anxious to initiate an exchange for fear of being countered. Scattered boos were punctuated by a yelling man’s exhortation, “Do something!”

Moments later, Waite exploded with a left-right-left combination that dumped Johnson into the ropes. Johnson grabbed hold hard. The crowd cheered.

In the seventh round, Waite bounced another showy, looping left hook off the head off Johnson, who shakes his head signaling that it didn’t hurt him. Waite continued to pressure. Johnson held. A right caught Waite off balance, knocking him back to the ropes, but he charged back out.

Fighting near the ropes, Waite bounced a right off the jaw, darted out and caught a right that dumped him back into the ropes. Another wide and showy left hook by Waite thuds off Johnson’s head – drawing cheers. Johnson held on for dear life. They grappled with Waite struggling to break free and they almost fall over.

It was a game of cat and mouse, with both fighters trading roles, in the eighth and final round. Waite lunged in behind hooks, caught a couple of jarring rights, but avoided most while Johnson grabbed here and tossed looping blows there.

Scores were 58-55 thrice for Orpheus Waite.

With one searing right to the chin, Hobart, Indiana’s Ed Ochoa, 27, (147.5 lbs., 7-0, 7 KO’s) dropped and finished Kansas City, Missouri’s Christopher Hill, 43, (4-21-2, 2 KO’s) at 2:10 into the first round. Prior to that, Ochoa was dominating, working his man over and under while Hill did the best to block and parry the incoming.

Gary, Indiana’s Angel Hernandez, Jr., 24, (11-3, 9 KO’s) stopped Mexico by way of Chicago’s opponent of choice, Gustavio Palacios, 32, (2-5, 1 KO) in the first.

Boos for a slow-paced start changed to cheers as Hernandez battered Palacios about the ring with a series of popping rights hands. He dropped Palacios on the seat of his pants with another. Rising, Palacios was examined by referee Blake Allen, who halted it at 2:34 into the first round.

Even though he’s been stopped six times previously, St. Joseph, Missouri’s Jeremie Parks, 25, (162.5 lbs., 9-9-1) looked like he had a chin of granite for the better part of two rounds, absorbing a fierce head beating from Schererville, Indiana’s Josh Crouch (158.5 lbs., 3-0, 3 KO’s).

After being battered, thoroughly dominated and dropped once in the first, Parks came out slugging in the second. That didn’t go so well. He began catching lefts and rights to the head, so much so that he looked like a bobble-headed doll on the dash of an SUV on bumpy roads. Lefts and rights bounced off his head, but he remained upright. Crouch had to take several breaks in between battering sessions. Surely, his hands were sore! He’d pound and batter away, catch a breath, and resume.

Alas, referee Blake Allen had seen enough and halted the bout at one second into the third round.

He’s the right hand man of “One in a Million Boxing” promoter Octavius James, but apparently he can punch a bit, too. Big and tall Merrillville, Indiana’s Tyree Ortiz, 25, (252.5 lbs., pro debut) battered swarthy Michigan City, Indiana’s mixed martial artist Justin Sule, 22, (222.5 lbs., 1-0) into submission inside one round.

Ortiz pumped the jab, but caught a left hook to the side that landed with a loud whack and drew an “ooh” from the crowd. Ortiz mixed up his punches well, jarring with the left hook several times. Working Sule over along the ropes, the accumulation of lefts and rights hurt Sule, who escaped to ring’s center. Moments later, he was sent careening into the ropes where a plethora of lefts and rights dumped him hard on his haunches. Referee Kurt Spivey waved off the bout at 2:55 into the first round.

Gushing afterwards, an elated Ortiz said, “I had an opportunity to dedicate this bout…to J-Ron. Thank you for the opportunity!”

Additional photos:

Promoter: Octavius James’ One in a Million Boxing.

Article posted on 27.04.2009

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