Friday Night Fight Referee Stoppages: Kim, Provodnikov, Vlasov, Johnson, & Simon get the TKO’s

By John G. Thompson - Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov improved to 15-0 (10 KO’s) as he outworked the experienced Mexican Javier Jauregui 53-17-2 (36 KO’s). Juaregui’s extensive resume boasts names such as Anthony Peterson, Joan Guzman, Julio Diaz, Acelino Freitas, Jesus Chavez, Leavander Johnson, and Jose Luis Castillo. Unfortunately for Jauregui, most of these names are reflected by losses on his record. Javier did get the win over Leavander Johnson for the vacant IBF Lightweight title back in 2003 and scored a tenth round KO win over Castillo back in 1994 for the Mexico Featherweight Title.

Provodnikov boasts no names on his resume and most of his fights have been in Russia. Yet with some 115 amateur bouts under his belt, the twenty-six year old light welterweight pressed the action from the start, pushing the overweight Jauregui back into the ropes and nailing him with body shots. Jauregui did show moments where his experience served him well. In the second round he landed a decent combo and a right uppercut which seemed to stagger Provodnikov. Jauregui did not do enough work to win the round, however, seemingly trying to conserve his energy and pick his shots. Ringside commentator Teddy Atlas mentioned, “He won’t throw unless he can make it count..

Provodnikov controlled the action and in round eight went to work with such dedication that referee Jack Reiss was forced to stop the bout. Swarmed by shots, though not necessarily hurt, Jauregui simply could not respond to Provodnikov’s onslaught and the stoppage was fair. Commentator Joe Tessitore stated, “That was a stretch of about twenty uninterrupted seconds of pure offence from Provodnikov, and it earns him the TKO win.”

If the stoppage in this bout seemed appropriate, it was one of the only of the evening. In the main event Ji-Hoon Kim 20-5 (17 KO’s) of South Korea won a TKO victory over Tyrone Harris 24-6 (16 KO’s) of Lansing, Michigan when referee Wayne Hedgpeth prematurely stopped the bout. The 2000 Golden Gloves National Champion Harris clearly won the first two rounds, dictating a fast pace in which he landed cleaner and more effective punches. Ji-Hoon came on strong in the third round, picking up the pace and outworking Harris. The change was subtle and became more apparent as the rounds went on.

In the fifth round Ji-Hoon Kim really came out swinging, throwing fast haymakers and getting full extension on almost every punch. Harris went down though it appeared to be due more to an accumulation of punches rather than any single shot. Referee Wayne Hedgpeth then began the count at FIVE. True, sometimes referees do not always begin the count at one; however, Harris had only been down for a second or so. Three seconds would be the maximum and that would be pushing it. Yet after seeing that Kim had started back to a neutral corner instead of focusing on the fallen Harris, Referee Hedgpeth looked at someone in the audience for a full second or two. Hedgepeth, appearing on camera to acknowledge someone outside the ring and off camera began the count at the seemingly arbitrary count of five, thereby denying Harris his eight count, and potentially time to recover.

Harris got up and Kim did what he needed to do by swarming Harris with combinations and loaded shots, backing him into the ropes. Referee Wayne Hedgpeth stepped in immediately to stop the bout. An argument could be made that this was a fair stoppage. Referee Hedgpeth’s view of the action surpasses anyone else’s. Perhaps he saw danger in letting the action continue when looking into the eyes of Harris. To the onlooker, however, Harris blocked virtually every punch (with the exception of a good hook to the body and one which snuck in after being muffled by the guard of Harris). Harris did what any hurt fighter would do; buying time, blocking shots and waiting for his opportunity, which as Teddy Atlas put it, the referee “denied him.” Despite the questionable stoppage, Ji-Hoon Kim showed a strong chin, heart, and looked better and better as the rounds went on.

Another awkward stoppage occurred as American Julius Fogle 15-2 (10 KO’s) got up on the count of nine after being knocked down by Russian Maxim Vlasov 16-0 (7 KO’s) in the first round, only to be counted out by the referee. Sure, Fogle should have gotten up on the count of eight; however, his eyes were clear and the stoppage seemed unnecessary. On the other hand, Fogle went down for no apparent reason, as no single shot or combination seemed to land cleanly against him; almost as if he simply did now want to be in a fight and perhaps did not deserve to continue.

Dashon Johnson 9-2-2 (3 KO’s) extended his winning streak to seven straight, as he landed the “Friday Night Fights Punch of the Night” with a vicious uppercut which stung fellow Californian Sergio Macias 14-20-1, and forced a much needed stoppage moments later. Sergio Macias has now won only one fight (in 2004) in his last thirteen bouts.

Eighteen-year-old Garret Simon 2-0 (2 KO’s) of Puyallup, Washington had been scheduled to fight Chris Miranda in Miranda’s debut. Instead Simon stopped Francisco Mireles 5-5 (0 KO’s) in the first round. Mireles has now lost his last four fights by knockout and took this fight on only one day’s notice. Garret Simon stands at a trim and muscular 6’5”. At 5’10” and 262 pounds, Mireles was simply no match for the taller, faster, younger, slimmer, sharper, and properly balanced Simon. Joe Tessitore described them as looking like the number “10” when standing next to one another.

The next ESPN Friday Night Fights unfortunately promises more mismatches, though at least provides a look at exciting up and coming power puncher Shawn Porter 12-0 (10 KO’s) who takes on Russell Jordan 15-6 (10 KO’s), a fighter with losses to experienced opposition. Porter is an excellent prospect who won the 2007 National Golden Gloves Championship and worked as the lead sparring partner with pound for pound great Manny Pacquiao prior to his bout with Miguel Cotto.


Article posted on 13.02.2010

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