Sunday, August 10, 2014
Fight night is full of fisticuffs and fireworks
On a beautiful summer evening from the Sands Casino Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, amidst the shadows of the old Bethlehem Steel mill with the sound of harmonies from the annual 'Musikfest' outdoor music festival blaring literally yards away, fisticuffs and fireworks were going off indoors. That's because the latest installment of NBC Sports 'Fight Night' series featured a triple-header of "Big Boy" boxing; as there were two heavyweight and one light-heavyweight bout headlining the card.
In the main event, it was a showdown between world #2 ranked Vyacheslav 'Czar' Glaskov (18-0-1, 11 KO's) from the Ukraine and upset minded veteran Derric Rossy (29-9, 14 KO's). Glaskov nay have been the headline attraction, but someone forgot to tell Rossy as the big man from Medford, NY nicknamed 'El Leon' (The Lion), displayed the heart of one early on and throughout.
Not your typical slow and methodical heavyweights, both Glaskov (218.5 lbs.) and Rossy (232.5 lbs.) moved around the ring displaying impressive boxing skills, including effective jabs and multiple combinations. Surprisingly though, it was Rossy who was getting the better of the exchanges in the beginning as he was catching Glaskov with some clean shots. In the second round an uppercut that caught the Ukrainian flush on the chin, drew oohs and aahs from crowd, but Glaskov was able to walk right through it.
Glaskov, who was coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over former two-division champion Tomasz Adamek, was expected to have an easy time of it with the journeyman; however Rossy was more than game as he gave 'The Czar' all he could handle and then some. After an entertaining back and forth ten rounds it was Glaskov who barely got out with a majority decision win as one judge had it even at 95-95; many on press row, including myself had Rossy winning 96-94.
In his post fight interview, Glaskov stated he injured his right hand early. He also stated that his first fight with new trainer John David Jackson might have contributed to his lackluster performance. Personally, I think he underestimated his opponent who surprised everyone, especially Glaskov with his will to win.
The co-main event featured a title fight in the light-heavyweight division for the PABA and WBO Oriental titles between Robert 'The Butcher' Berridge (24-2-1, 20 KO's) and Vasily 'The Professor' Leplikhin (16-0, 9 KO's). The height of Leplikhin proved the difference in this one, as at 6'4", he was at least 4-5 inches taller than the New Zealander Berridge.
'The Professor' was smart enough to use that length advantage to keep 'The Butcher' on the outside and pick him apart. With Berridge unable to figure out how to get inside of Leplikhin's reach, inevitably he was caught. Once at the end of the second round with a straight right that dropped him and two separate times in the fifth that ultimately finished him. The undefeated Russian Leplikhin looks like a force to be reckoned with at 175 pounds.
The first televised and featured bout of the evening was another heavyweight tilt between Auckland, New Zealand's Joseph Parker (10-0, 9 KO's) and Keith 'Untouchable' Thompson (7-3 4 KO's). Unfortunately for Thompson, he couldn't live up to his nickname as Parker peppered him quickly and often with jabs right from the start. Eventually that led to vicious one-two (left-right) combinations that finished the more often than not "Touchable" Thompson at 2:41 of third round.
On the under card it was a couple of local light-welterweights as Allentown, PA's Jonathan Williams (0-3) took on Bethlehem's own Ismael 'Speedy' Serrano. As expected, these 140-pound pugilists started a lot faster than their heavier counterparts. Slick boxing and punches in bunches was the order over four rounds. In the end it was the hometown boy Serrano who walked away with a split decision victory upping his record to (2-1).
Another Bethlehem product featherweight Luis 'Chiki' Acevedo also won on the under card improving his record to (1-0-1) in arguably the most entertaining fight of the night. It was an exciting high energy four round affair against Francisco Aguilar (0-2-2) of The Bronx, NY, which Acevedo won unanimously.
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