Thoughts on Friday Night Fights

By Tom Donelson, BASN boxing writer
Updated: May 3, 2012
IOWA CITY, IOWA (BASN)—Two undefeated talent started the ESPN Friday Night Fights and the first round saw fireworks begin immediately as Javier Fortuna caught Yuandale Evans with a left hand and right hand that forced Evans hand to hit the canvas but the referee did not catch the hands hitting the canvas. Fortuna moved forward with several power punches and as Evans attempted to fight back, Fortuna nailed Evans with a straight left that sent Evans down. Evans barely got up and Fortuna finished the job as he nailed Evans with a second left that turned Evans head 180 degrees and sent him crashing to the canvas. The referee stopped the fight but there was no way that Evans was getting up.
The second bout featured Ismayhl Sillakh challenging Denis Grachev in another battle of undefeated. Sillakh jab and occasionally left hook connected while Grachev moved awkwardly forward and unable to avoid the punches. Sillakh continued to fight defensively in the second round as he showed caution as he simply jab while maintaining distance. Grachev had problems reaching his opponent as his punches kept coming up short and missing, so Sillakh cruised to easy round.
In the third round, Grachev moved right into a Sillakh right hand but Sillakh continued to play it safe after knocking Grachev down. Sillakh nailed Grachev with an uppercut and left hook in the fourth round but Grachev continued to come and continued to be a target for Sillakh’s punches. Throughout fifth and sixth rounds, fans started to get impatient while Sillakh never seem to fight with any urgency.

Grachev landed his best punch, a right with time running in the sixth round, but there was nothing indicated that it hurt or even bother Sillakh. In the seventh round, Grachev close the gap against Sillakh and near the end of the round, Grachev threw a left jab to the body before landing a beautiful right that seem to bother Sillakh for the first time in the fight.

Grachev began the round by pursuing as he did the previous rounds but after closing the gap in the seventh round, he continued to close the gap even further. He was now close enough to land right hands consistently and halfway through the round, Grachev landed a right hand that sent Sillakh into the corner and followed with three rights hand that sent Sillakh to the canvas. As Sillakh’s eyes rolled up, the referee stopped the fight. This was a fight that saw Sillakh controlling the fight but as Ted Atlas noted, he was vulnerable to a right. For the first 20 minutes and 50 seconds, Grachev could not connect on a right hand. At the end of the seventh round, he landed his first right that showed damage. Grachev right hand erased a seven round deficit with one punch.
On Shobox the Next Generation, Christ Martin started the fireworks as he fought Luis Del Valle in a battle of 122 pound fighters. Del Valle attacked in the first round and put Martin on the defensive as Martin retreated and looked for places to counter. Martin did very little countering as Del Valle did a good job of pressuring Martin. Del Valle continued to move forward in the second round without much fear of retaliation from Martin as Martin never could effectively jab or counter with his right as he was too busy keeping his hands up in defending himself from De Valle punches.
Martin started to stand and fight in the fourth round as he looked to be more engaged as he retreated less. De Valle landed two good left hooks to body but Martin countered right hand that nailed De Valle and as the round ended, Del Valle retreated for the first time in the fight.
Del Valle came out with a sense of urgency next round as he attacked Martin but Martin landed two left hooks in the corner. Martin right hand started to land effectively against the hard charging Del Valle but Del Valle managed to land some body shots. In the sixth round, Martin allowed his hands to go but De Valle was more active but his nose was bloody and right eye started to swell.
Del Valle took control of the fight as he landed some body shots and he landed a solid left hook to Martin chin that sent Martin down for an eight count. Martin got back up but De Valle continued to pursue Martin as he took an easy 10-8 round.
Del Valle continued to be aggressive as he scored with upper cuts to the body followed by hooks while slowing down Martin comeback but in the ninth round, Martin came forward as he feared that he was behind. Martin landed some solid rights and over the final minute, he added some lefts that forced De Valle to retreat as the bell rang ended the round. Both fighters fought with determination for the first two minutes and thirty seconds of the final round, it was even as both fighters exchanged blows. Over the final thirty seconds, Martin landed three solid lefts that pushed Del Valle back.
Del Valle won the decision but it was a brutal fight and while the scorecard had it for Del Valle in wide numbers, the fight was closer in the ring than on the scorecard but Del Valle was the winner.
Tom Oosthuizen fought Marcus Johnson in a battle of Super Middleweights in the main event. Oosthuizen came out in a southpaw stance and Johnson unleashed some rights against the southpaw. Johnson strategy was to attack and Oosthuizen volley with some solid body shots while both fighters unloaded at close range. In the second round Tommy “Gun” Oosthuizen unleashed barrages of punches to begin the round as Johnson trapped Oosthuizen on the rope but Oosthuizen landed multiple punches on the inside.
The third and fourth round were fought along the rope as both fighters exchanged punches and making it difficult for judges to really determine who was winning the round. At the opening of the fifth round, Oosthuizen attempted to keep the fight in the middle of the ring while Johnson did managed to get Oosthuizen on the rope for brief moments. In the sixth round saw Oosthuizen maneuver Johnson in the middle of the ring but over the last minute of the round, Johnson scored on two effective rights and a left hook that shook Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen was the busier fighter between the fourth and seventh round as Johnson was often throwing one punch at a time wheareas, Oosthuizen threw in combinations. With two minutes in the eighth round, a body shot from Oosthuizen followed by a straight left sent Johnson down. Oosthuizen nailed Johnson with three body shots followed by an upper cut. Johnson managed to land some solid rights in the ninth round but the round may have belonged to Oosthuizen as he continued to outpunch Johnson. While Johnson attacked in the final round but not effectively as he was getting nailed two punches for every one he threw in Oosthuizen direction. Oosthuizen won the easy decision and the deciding factor was his ability to out punch Johnson while showing will to survive the early rounds. Oosthuizen showed boxing skills as he could jab from distance but he also showed that he could fight inside as he wore Johnson down.