Kendall Holt is back! Paterson native earns NABO title with impressive win

04.11.06 - Atlantic City, NJ - Tough luck and injury plagued, Kendall Holt was once labeled a "can’t miss" prospect - before enduring his hardships, along with an unthinkable knockout loss (Thomas Davis TKO 1) in 2004. Out of action for well over a year, Holt was pitted against the dangerous and undefeated South African fighter Issac Hlatshwayo (25-0); who had beaten fellow South Africans Phillip N’dou and Cassius Baloyi, as well as Nate Campbell.. Many of the so-called boxing experts tabbed Holt the underdog against the stronger, and busier, South African fighter. Even the online sports book had Hlatshwayo a 2-1 betting favorite.

After Kendall Holt’s championship performance tonight, it is unlikely the highly talented fighter will ever be called an "underdog" again!

Fighting on the Showtime network’s "ShoBox-The Next Generation" series, in the main event, for the NABO title, Holt fought the most impressive and meaningful fight in his career; totally dominating his rugged opponent and dropping him to the canvas three times late in the fight.

Starting off quickly, it was apparent that Holt’s speed could possibly be the determining factor in the bout, if he could also stave off Hlatshwayo’s relentless attack and constant pressure. Picture perfect combinations and blistering counter punches enabled Holt to offset Hlatshwayo’s offensive threat and build a commanding lead.

A clash of heads midway through round six opened up a serious gash over Hlatshwayo’s left eye and sent the blood streaming down the South African’s face. Fortunately one of the premier cut men in boxing, Danny Milano, was waiting in his corner as the bell sounded.

Nothing could help Hlatshwayo though, as Holt kept snapping his razor-like jab into the wound, re-opening the cut, and sending a cause for concern into the damaged fighter’s corner. Heading into round nine and with his team urging and pleading Hlatshwayo to throw more uppercuts, continue the pressure and attack Holt’s body, the game fighter became more desperate, and more susceptible; getting caught with a short, solid right hand, which drove the hurt fighter stumbling onto the canvas near his corner. After beating referee Alan Huggins count, Hlatshwayo forged ahead and took more punishment. In round ten, Hlatshwayo was pummeled with Holt’s biggest shots, yet somehow managed to fight on; bleeding and looking like a defeated fighter.

Heading into the championship rounds both fighters came out throwing bombs and looking to end this exciting battle with one punch. 3-4-5 clean, head-snapping punches by Holt staggered Hlatshwayo. Sensing the opportunity, Holt bored in and hammered away; driving his hurt foe to the canvas, again.

Heading out for the twelfth and final round, Hlatshwayo, who had never tasted defeat in his seven years fighting as a pro, knew he had only one chance. Loading up on every punch, the bull-like, South African fighter missed more often then he hit and was running on empty. Getting mercilessly tagged the diminished fighter was clobbered to the canvas for the third time in the bout and was out on his feet. Showing the heart and courage that any fighter would be proud of, Isaac Hlatshwayo willed himself to his feet and admirably absorbed more punishment, all the while remaining, in a very Jake LaMotta-like way, on his feet to survive the fight.

While the fight was a real battle, as ring announcer Joe Antonacci read aloud the judges scores of 119-106, 116-109 and 119-106 which declared Kendall Holt the unanimous decision winner, it showed how truly dominating a performance Holt had displayed.

Afterwards a jubilant Holt stated, "It was up to me to make this fight easy or hard. I made it easy with all my training."
Holt, who showed some real class and character by wearing a patch in support of the Retired Boxers Foundation on his white trimmed, black Everlast boxing trunks, also let it be known the impact of his awesome victory, emphatically shouting, "Now I can’t be overlooked, it’s time to take me serious!"

Holt improved to 21-1 (12 KO’s) with tonight’s career defining victory, and appears to be headed to a much deserved, more lucrative fight on Showtime Championship Boxing, fighting as the co-feature of the Samuel Peter-James Toney rematch, slated for early ‘07.

In the night’s Showtime co-feature bout, Atlantic City’s own Shamone Alvarez improved on his perfect record, (16-0, 10 KO’s), and delighted his hometown crowd with a hard fought 8 round majority decision victory against the previously undefeated Enrique Gutierrez, now 10-1.

Alvarez established control of the fight early on, with a fluid jab and stinging body attack, which bewildered the Californian, who was definitely stepping up his level of opposition.

After getting out-boxed for the first 4-5 rounds, Gutierrez came on strong, landed some bigger shots and gave a good account of himself against the difficult and skilled boxer, Alvarez.

"I felt I was in control of the fight early, but by the 5th round I felt him coming on," stated the victorious Alvarez, adding "He (Gutierrez) is a typical Mexican fighter, constantly coming forward. I knew it was close, but I felt I controlled the fight."

Luckily for Alvarez, two of the three judges also felt he had controlled the fight. Judges Tony Perez (77-74) and Lawrence Layton (76-75) scored the bout for Alvarez, while judge John Poturaz saw it an even draw (76-76), giving Shamone Alvarez the victory via majority decision.

On the Duva Boxing promoted, "ShoBox - The New Generation" under card…..
Mike Stafford, making his pro debut, powered his way to a convincing second round technical knockout victory against a game, yet over-powered Jimmy Saurez. Saurez, now 0-2, was dropped in the first round and unable to defend himself as his corner wisely called for a halt to the one-sided cruiserweight bout, at the 1:12 mark of round two.

In a scheduled four round jr. middleweight contest, one-time hot prospect Steve Ham peppered journeyman David Gogichaisvilli, now 8-15, forcing veteran referee Eddie Cotton to stop the mismatch 33 seconds into round three. Gogichaisvilli, who wore trunks bearing the word "pain" on his front waistband was dealt three rounds of hurt by the slick and quick handed Ham. The Philadelphia-born Ham, who now calls Newark, NJ home, looked sharp while improving to 11-1.

Roberto Acevedo and Bryon Anderson hooked up for an exciting four round lightweight fight which came down to the final bell. Acevedo, fighting out of West Berlin, NJ and trained by the incomparable Oscar Saurez, was the more polished boxer and pounded Anderson at will for the first three rounds. Anderson, making his pro debut against the difficult southpaw Acevedo, showed he had a big heart and a granite jaw. The Atlantic City native caught Acevedo early in round four, hurting the offensive-minded fighter and gave the Bally’s crowd much to cheer about as he forged forward and dropped Acevedo with a homerun shot! To his credit Acevedo got to his feet and while now bleeding heavily from a cut over his right eye, battled for the remainder of the final round and earned the unanimous decision win, to even his record at 1-1. All three judges scored the bout 38-37.

An action packed night of boxing, highlighted by the new NABO jr. welterweight champion Kendall Holt’s awe inspiring performance, thrilled the filled to capacity ballroom at Bally’s Casino as well as the Showtime network’s television audience. A great night for Kendall Holt, and a great night for all boxing fans.

Article posted on 05.11.2006

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