Ringside Report: River Valley Fight Night

21.01.07 - William Doherty: Fort Smith, Arkansas - Bill Calogero’s TheDailySports.Com kicked off it’s 10 fight series Saturday night in Fort Smith despite inclement weather which failed to deter a good gate showing. This event was brought about due to Calogero’s commitment to the Fort Smith Boxing Assoc. Inc. , (the area amateur program) as honorary board member. Held at the new Kay Rodgers Park Expo Center, the crowd was entertained by Memphis sound masters, The Gregory Brothers and various musicians. The Fort Smith All-Stars as they were known tonight added a flare to the evening..

Auto-graphed Gloves, a Silver necklace and other donated articles raised funds for the amatuer program and TheDailySports.Com tossed dozens of shirts, hats, and other articles to the crowd, leaving few without a memory of the evening.

When the evening ended it was the most competitive and entertaining showing for professional boxing that Fort Smith has seen in a great many years.

In the six round main event, promoted former NABC Inter-Continental Champion heavyweight now Cruiserweight Kenny Craven (28-18) punished late replacement Shane Davis for four rounds. Davis (9-13) a game opponent brought a stick and move style to Craven and had him on the ropes on several occasions but Craven weathered his attacks and landed the majority of power shots slowly breaking down Davis until he failed to make it for the fifth round.

Craven displayed better speed at the lower weight and is confident that he will move into the title mix by the end of 2007.

“Its great to be fighting at my natural weight and finally having a promoter that believes in me at this weight is something I have never had. It was a good beginning and I look forward to training in Fort Smith with Keith Terceira and making this my base for another title run.” Craven informed us.

The Co-Main six rounder featured Charleston, Arkansas boxer Justin “Iron Man” Flanagan (6-1) against Conway’s Omid Bahreini (1-2) . Flanagan showed more skill in this bout than his others and patiently battled the brawling Omid who left it all in the ring. Flanagan who previously had trouble fighting in the inside has learned not to smother himself and though he took some good blows in the early going from the Conway fighter stood back and worked his game plan using uppercuts and good combinations to wear his opponent down. Both fighters showed good chins and at the end the nod went to Flanagan by UD. Reports are that Flanagan is considering a promotional deal with the event promoter.

Rodney “Pitbull” Jones (27-6) made a triumphant return to the ring Saturday after nearly three years out of action , the former title contender has fought the likes of Damgaard, Spadafora, Paez, and Morales. Ring veteran Lee Cargil used his savvy to hang on until the end of this four round comeback fight. Jones rocked Cargil in the first sending him staggering back to the ropes. The exchanges were furious at times between the two with Cargil having some quicker combinations but Jones definitely has recommitted himself to the sport and is in tremendous shape looking sharp with little ring rust apparent in his power shots. Judges scored the UD for Jones.

World Champion “Hotstuff” Hollie Dunaway and Ashlin “Hotshot” Hensley entertained the crowd with a four round exhibition bout that at times seemed more than just a show for the crowd. The exchanges got heated at time and even the bell couldn’t stop the two from throwing punches. The undefeated prospect Hensley looked very skilled and don’t be surprised if Arkansas gets another Champion soon.

Other ringside guests included #14 WBC ranked heavyweight J.D.Chapman who is training at the Fort Smith Club getting ready to travel abroad to spar in some camps. The Mansfield, Arkansas native Chapman is showing vast improvement since signing with manager Scott Hirsch and training in Florida.

Other results from the prelims

Phillip Lars of Shreveport La .(1-1, 1 ko) got on the winning track with a devastating KO in the first round of debuting Melvin Thomas, Pine Bluff AR. Thomas was winning the first round until Lars unleashed a straight right that dropped Thomas to the canvas.

Russellville’s Joe Kenney (1-0) debuted against veteran Dominique Azeez (1-8) in the third fight of the night and the crowd went crazy as these two slugged it out for the entire four rounds. “King Joe” was twice dropped in the first but survived the round enough to hang on and return the favor in the next two rounds twice putting Azeez to the canvas. Azeez ran out of gas first as both fighters tired in the forth but both fighters displayed huge heart this night. Kenney took the bout by shear will alone. UD Kenney

Albert “Atomic” Martin (1-1) of Russellville made quick work of Shawn Dismuke (0-4) in this someone’s 0 must go bout by stopping Dismuke at 2.17 of the first round. Martin displayed a vicious hook in this bout .

Heavyweight Robert “The Brawler” Bentley moved to 3-4-1 with a first round KO of Jonathon Hayes of Memphis. Bentley has found some added aggression lately in the gym and it showed in the ring tonight.

Veteran Rohan Nanton 6-21 KO’ed Justin Hill of Memphis at 1:25 of the first

Article posted on 22.01.2007

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