FEBRUARY 17, 2008

The “Punisher” Punishes and Witherspoon Thrills with stunning KO
February 17, 2008
  With one “Punisher” looking on, another ascended to the Carolinas Boxing Organization welterweight title Saturday night at Jamil Temple.

Omar “The Punisher” Pena knocked out Kenrick Watkins with a vicious right at the 2:37 mark of the fourth round. Applauding the feat from among the crowd of 1,500 was Paul “The Punisher” Williams, the former WBO welterweight champion.
“This means so much. I trained very, very, very hard for this,” Pena said. “My jab helped me out a lot. (Watkins) was running around and I was able to track him down.”

It was a battle of unbeatens and, for Pena, the first time he had been extended past the first round. Watkins withstood Pena’s withering flurry at the end of the first round then survived a knockdown in the second.

Pena appeared to be wilting after that, something Williams’ trainer, George Peterson, thought could have worked in Watkins’ favor if he had gone on the offensive.

“Pena was getting tired. If (Watkins) had put up a little more at that point, I think it could have been a different fight,” Peterson said. “If it went the distance, (Watkins) would have won, no doubt.”

The critical decision in the fight took place just past the halfway point of the fourth round. Pena threw everything into tracking down Watkins and keeping him against the ropes. Constantly backpedaling, Watkins’ punches had little behind them, while Pena stepped into his combinations. The decisive right hand caught Watkins just as he threw his own right while off-balance.

“I just had to track him down,” Pena said.

“Real tough kid, and he was consistent,” Peterson said.

Later in the evening, CBO heavyweight champion Moultrie Witherspoon defended his title against Curtis Taylor in spectacular fashion, downing the southpaw with a wicked right hook at the 1:43 mark in the second round.

It was Witherspoon’s first action since losing his first fight as a professional in West Virginia earlier this year.

“He came in here in great condition and we decided ever since that fight in West Virginia we weren’t going to take prisoners any longer,” said Dominic Robinson-Neal, Witherspoon’s trainer.

Indeed, Witherspoon, brandishing a new nickname “Jack Hammer,” wailed away on Turner, setting up his strong hook with a jaw-splitting uppercut.

“My last fight, I wasn’t putting enough pressure on my opponent,” Witherspoon said. “What I’ve realized is that I’m in great condition, so I’m going to go straight after my opponent and fight out what kind of condition he’s in.”

The easy win puts Witherspoon on track for what might be the biggest bout of his 15-fight career later this year in New Zealand.

Another Robinson-Neal fighter, Melvin Cummings, had an interesting – if brief – battle with newcomer Roger Locklear. The first punch of Locklear’s professional career landed solidly against Cummings’ chin, but that was just about the only highlight of the night for him.

Cummings, a middleweight from Aiken, landed blows at will throughout the first two rounds, leading referee Bill Clancy to end the bout before the third.
In other bouts Saturday night:

-- Heavyweight Jessie Turner scored a TKO in the second round against Joseph Rabotte.

-- Light heavyweight Jessie Blount scored a unanimous decision against Derrick Buchanan.

-- Blythewood’s Markell Johnson made a successful pro debut in the cruiserweight division with a second-round TKO against fellow newcomer Winfred Green.

Reach Obley at (803) 771-8473.





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