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  From the desk of Brian J. Kennedy
October 23, 2006

With a couple of fights falling out at the last minute and the added pressure of a packed house, promoters Andrew Stokes and Billy Stanick pulled off yet another successful boxing show and continue to bring in quality prospects (Marcus Upshaw, Rommel Rene and Omri Louther) from around the country. Knowing how hard it is to put on a good competitive boxing show, it all comes down to the quality and experience of the fighters involved. On Saturday night at the Jamil Temple in Columbia, South Carolina, the professional fighters and trainers did their part. But sometimes boxers in the early stages of their careers have to try and look impressive regardless of the quality of opposition.

Starting off the show was an interesting matchup of veteran trial horse Rohan Nanton and 6'3" brawler Erick Kirkland. Kirkland came out aggressive with a toughman style that the slick Nanton easily dodged and countered. Junior middleweight Rohan Nanton may have a less than stellar record but he is a true professional fighter. It did not take long for Nanton as the reckless Kirkland was on the canvas and counted out after many solid counters from the laid back yet entertaining Nanton.

Next up was the George Peterson trained, Omwri Louther taking on the very aggressive Vanderlei Barnes in a battle of junior welterweights. Louther showed solid skills and good combination punching while knocking out Barnes early in the first round. Omri Louther showed a lot of maturity and kept his composure throughout fight.

In his much anticipated return to the ring, local power puncher Robert Dunton calmly felt out his opponent Michael Hopper, before executing a vicious left hook to the body that ended matters. After two pro fights Dunton is already starting to show signs of serious potential at either super middleweight or light heavyweight. To his credit Hopper tried to get up, but he obviously has never been hit like that before.
In what was shaping up as a competitive matchup between super middleweights Marcus Upshaw and Chris Cook turned into a no contest due to a violent clash of heads. Both fighters sustained cuts with Upshaw receiving the worst of it. The tall and rangy Upshaw showed excellent skills and movement while being the first man to knock Chris Cook down. Cook is considered a tough guy on the southern circuit and came to fight. The undefeated Upshaw with a record of (3-0) dominated the first round and nearly scored a first round knockout but Cook beat the count at nine. Showing his usual grit and determination Cook fought into the second round until the clash of heads ended the match. Marcus Upshaw has definite potential and hopefully he is not discouraged by the disappointing ending in this one.
The next fight on the card was between local welterweight prospect Kenrick Watkins and Nick Gilbert, who was making his pro debut. After feeling the strength of Watkins early on Gilbert stayed on his bicycle which led to the inevitable combination of punches that put him down and out in the second round. Watkins looked sharp and more focused than he did in his pro debut.

Also tonight, was another win for the rejuvenated Mike Rayner who got his second win in row by knockout. It was not handed to him as he had to earn the third round knockout over the well conditioned Vincent Robbins. The crowd definitely enjoyed this one between two evenly matched middleweights.

In what would be considered fight of the night, former national amateur champion Rommel Rene took on fellow cruiserweight Derrick Buchanan. Rene raised his impressive record to 8-0 5kos but could not take out the always tough Buchanan. While Buchanan came in on short notice he still fought a very competitive and crowd-pleasing fight. Despite being the smaller man, Buchanan fought his heart out and made Rommel Rene work every second of every round. The decision win for Rommel Rene was soundly booed by the crowd that appreciated Buchanan's strong effort. Both fighters had their moments in this one.

The pressure was on Ernest "Zeus" Mazyck to give the people a show of his awesome size and power. The majority of the crowd was there to see for themselves whether or not "Zeus" was for real. While there are still lingering questions after such a quick ending, Mazyck did what he does best, overwhelming his opponent with power and intimidation. In reality, the 6'2" Gary Britt was put down from the first good combination that Mazyck landed, unfortunately catching a right uppercut that was already in motion as Britt fell to his knees. At this point Britt had to save himself as he was truly dazed. Gary Britt gets high marks for taking the fight with a "one of a kind" heavyweight prospect like Zeus, a fighter no one wants to fight for any amount of money. The proof being that three other opponents lined up for Zeus all fell out at the last minute. It has to be frustrating for a fighter like Zeus, who was in tremendous shape for this fight and did not get the chance to show more of what he is truly capable of. It has been equally frustrating for the promoters who are finding it a difficult task to find opponents, especially for a fighter of Zeus' caliber. The public will just have to sit, wait and continue to support South Carolina boxing as they scour the country looking for opponents willing to fight this massive and amazingly agile heavyweight star in the making.
I know it takes time to develop fighters but it looks like the local boys are ready for a higher level of competition and this will be a good thing for the fighters and the fans. On a side note it was my great honor to meet the best welterweight in the world, Paul "The Punisher" Williams, who was in attendance and is from right here in South Carolina.
 
 
 

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