Steve Vukosa and Mike Marshall Battled to a Hard-Fought Ten-Round Majority Draw

By James Stillerman: WBC US heavyweight champion Steve “The Gentle Giant” Vukosa (13-1, 5 KOs) and reigning USA New England heavyweight titleholder “Fly” Mike Marshall battled to a hard-fought ten-round majority draw (99-91 for Marshall, 97-93 in favor of Vukosa, and 95-95). The NABA United States heavyweight title which was up for grabs in this fight will remain vacant.

Photo: Emily Harney/Fightograpy

“I thought it was a very close fight. I thought it was even through the first eight rounds, so I picked it up in the last two rounds to win, but it was not meant to be,” said Vukosa. “The judges’ scores were all over the place, so you can tell how difficult of a fight it was. But it was a great fight and people were happy, so I am happy.”

Vukosa controlled the first four rounds of the fight, as he was the more active fighter. He out-punched and out-landed Marshall, especially with jabs and hooks to Marshall’s body. The second half of the fight was much closer, as Marshall picked up his offensive pace and landed the better, harder combinations from the fifth through the eighth-round. Vukosa regained momentum in the fight in the last two rounds, as he pressed the action a bit more and connected on the more powerful shots.

“I do not know what is next. I was hoping to win the title and retire as a champion, but now I am thinking about just retiring after a great last fight,” said Vukosa. “I am happy that we both gave it a great fight and I am proud of the fight.”

Vukosa (13-1-1, 5 KOs) remains unbeaten in his last four fights and seven of his last eight bouts, dating back to 2014 when he resumed his career following a twelve-year break. Marshall (5-1-1, 4 KOs) has not lost in his last three fights.

The fifteen-bout night fight card, “Breakout” was promoted by Granite Chin Promotions from the New England Sports Center in Derry, New Hampshire, as part of a day-night doubleheader (separate admissions), headlined by Vukosa vs. Marshall.

In the co-feature, former New England heavyweight champion Justin “Crazy Train” Rolfe dominated Jose Humberto “Olimpico” Corral, en route to an eight-round unanimous decision via the judges’ three scorecards (80-71, 79-72, and 77-74). Rolfe controlled the action as he outworked and out-landed Corral. He also connected on the harder punches. Corral was deducted a point in the first-round for excessive holding by referee Jack Morrell. Rolfe, who has won two in a row, improved his record to 6-2-1, 4 KOs. He also obtained the vacant ABF Atlantic heavyweight title. Corral dropped to 20-27, 12 KOs.

Mike “Bad Boy” O’ Han Jr. scored a fifth-round technical knockout over Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey, who did not come out for the sixth. O’ Han, who has won four in a row, upped his record to 13-1, 7 KOs. He also obtained the New England welterweight championship. Luckey dropped to 13-15-4, 9 KOs. O’ Han dropped Luckey towards the end of the fifth-round from a left, right hook combination. O’ Han controlled the fight by landing the better combinations and harder punches.

Kevin “El Gallo” Rodriguez defeated Dee “Outlaw” Venable via a four-round unanimous decision on all three judges’ scorecards (38-37), in the fight-of-the-night. This was an action-packed, back-and-forth battle, in which both fighters threw non-stop, hard punches at one another throughout their junior lightweight bout, but Rodriguez landed a bit more. Rodriguez improved to 1-1. Venable dropped to 2-6. Rodriguez was deducted a point in the third-round by referee Morrell for repeatedly throwing low blows.

Denzel “Double Impact” Whitley beat Paulo DeSouza by way of a third-round technical knockout. Whitley scored two knockdowns in the first round and another in the third, all from right hooks, in their welterweight bout. After the third knockdown, referee Leo Gerstel stopped the one-sided bout at two minutes and twenty-six seconds. Whitley kept this undefeated record intact (5-0, 4 KOs). DeSouza dropped to 0-21.

Middleweight Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste dominated Rodrigo “The Lion” Almeida for four rounds en route to a unanimous decision on all three judges’ scorecards (40-36, 40-36, and 39-37). Baptiste out-punched and out-landed Almeida and connected on the harder punches. Baptiste improved to 3-0, 2 KOs. Almeida fell to 2-11, 1 KO.

Eric “Gladiator” Goff made quick work of Aquilando Brandao with a first-round knockout from a powerful left hook to the body. Brandao beat the ten-second count, however, he was in no shape to continue, so referee Gerstel stopped the welterweight fight at thirty-seven seconds. Goff upped his record to 2-0, 1 KO. Brandao dropped to 0-5.

Junior middleweight Carlos Abel Castillo scored a first-round technical knockout over Jay Gregory at two minutes and thirty-one seconds, as referee Morrell stopped the fight after Castillo landed numerous unanswered punches on a defenseless Gregory. Castillo improved to 2-0, 2 KOs. Gregory fell to 0-4.

Dennis Ventura defeated Marco Nascimento via a second-round technical knockout in an entertaining heavyweight fight that featured four knockdowns, three in the first-round. Ventura improved to 2-0, 2 KOs. Nascimento dropped to 0-3. It appeared that Ventura was headed to a quick victory after he scored two quick knockdowns from right hooks, however, Nascimento roared back and scored a knockdown from a right hook that Ventura barely beat referee Gerstel’s ten-second count. Ventura ended the fight in the next round at one minute and thirty-nine seconds, as he knocked Nascimento down via a hard-right uppercut and Nascimento was unable to beat referee Gerstel’s ten-second count.

Lightweight Brandon Idrogo scored a quick technical knockout over Tommy “T-Mike” Kenney with fifty seconds in the first-round from a hard-right hook, in which Kenney was unable to beat referee Morrell’s ten-second count. Idrogo improved to 3-0, 3 KOs. Kenney dropped to 0-5.

Steve Sumpter made a successful pro debut (1-0, 1 KO) with a technical knockout, as the ringside doctor stopped the one-sided light heavyweight bout at two minutes and fifty-four seconds in the fourth-round after Saul “Spider” Almeida sustained a severe cut over his right eye (from an accidental headbutt) that was bleeding. Almeida dropped to 0-14-4. Sumpter dominated this bout as he threw and landed more punches than Almeida. He also scored a knockdown in the third-round from a hard-right jab to Almeida’s head.

Jelame Garcia remained unbeaten as he scored a four-round unanimous decision over Larry “Slo Mo” Smith via all three judges’ scorecards (40-36), in their middleweight bout. Garcia improved to 8-0, 6 KOs.

Smith fell to 12-48-2, 8 KOs. Garcia, who was fighting for the first time in a little over three years, was the much busier fighter as he threw and landed more punches than Smith, especially to the body.

Josniel “TG” Castro scored a technical knockout victory over Jader Alves after the ringside doctor stopped the one-sided middleweight fight after the third-round. Castro dominated the bout, as he landed whatever he wanted, especially power shots that staggered Alves several times throughout the bout. Alves was deducted a point in the second-round for excessive holding after being warned by referee Gerstel several times not to hold. He lost another point in the third-round for a headbutt. Castro upped his record to 3-0, 2 KOs. Alves dropped to 0-9.

Junior welterweight Nelson “Chino” Perez kept his perfect record intact (3-0, 2 KOs), as referee Morrell disqualified DeWayne Wisdom with forty-eight seconds in the fourth-round for repeated fouls and not following his instructions. Wisdom fell to 7-58-2, 3 KOs. Perez dominated the first three and a half rounds, as he out-punched and out-landed Wisdom.

Three-time New England Golden Gloves champion Demek “Hightower” Edmonds scored a knockout over Wallace Nass Silva just twenty-one seconds in the first-round of their cruiserweight bout. He landed a three-punch combination on Silva, who went down immediately and beat the ten-second count referee Gerstel administered, but not want to continue to fight. Edmonds improved to 2-0, 2 KOs. Silva dropped to 0-1.