Report and photos by Ricardo Ibarra
Adding his tenth consecutive knockout win, undefeated Pacific Northwest cruiserweight Patrick Ferguson (10-0, 10 KOs) claimed his first title belt on Saturday night at the Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell, Montana, stopping journeyman Damon Reed (48-20, 32 KOs) to claim the vacant WBC US (USNBC) 200-pound championship. Ferguson controlled the fight throughout, scoring six knockdowns before the fight was called. The fight was the main event of a seven bout pro-am card organized by Hard Knocks Fight Promotions.
The first round got off to a tentative start with Ferguson working patiently behind his jab while Reed lunged in looking to land his overhand right. Ferguson slowly upped his tempo as the round wore on and took decisive control of the action with sharp one-twos and hard flurries to the mid-section. By the end of the round Ferguson was pushing his opponent back along the ropes and landing heavily to the head and body.
The Spokane, Washington fighter continued to increase his work-rate in the second round, pushing his way into the pocket more often and drilling Reed with hard hooks to the torso. Early in the third Reed tried to use a few strong-arm tactics to discourage his younger, less experienced foe, wrapping his arm around his neck up and pushing his head down in the clinch, or using his forearm to push his head back when they would get in close, but Ferguson stayed focused and retaliated by increasing his aggression. Towards the middle of the round Ferguson was pressing hard and landing solid combinations. Reed went down to a knee shortly after Ferguson threw a combination, prompting the referee to call a knockdown, although it looked more like a slip. Moments later, though, a precise left hook to the chin did send Reed down and had him fairly hurt. Ferguson pressed as the action was allowed to continue and quickly sent him down again with another well-timed left hook. Reed made it up at eight and held on as Ferguson pressed, making it out of the round without taking any more serious punishment.
In the fourth, Ferguson came out swinging hard, connecting with heavy artillery. A big right to the chin sent Reed down for a count about a minute in. He made it up at eight and rushed forward with overhand rights, but Ferguson did well in covering up and countering. A right hand-left hook combination rocked Reed and sent him to a knee for the second time in the round. Ferguson finished matters moments later, forcing Reed to a knee with a series of hard punches. Referee Ford Jones did not bother counting and called the fight at 2:13 of the fourth round.
Ferguson, who turned pro just eighteen months ago, punctuates a productive year and added a meaningful accomplishment for a young prospect. “I feel good about this win,” said Ferguson. “It went kind of how I expected it to go. I feel good. I feel my progression is going well, especially in the last six to eight weeks. I feel like I’ve really improved. My time in Big Bear (California) helped a lot. Just another step forward.”
Ferguson and his team are looking at another fight possibly before the end of the year.
Reed, meanwhile, suffers his second consecutive loss and his twentieth overall.
In the semi-main event of the card, popular local fighter Jesse Uhde (9-4, 3 KOs) had to dig deep to pull out a six round decision win over Spokane’s Jacob Ruffin (1-11-2). Uhde set an aggressive pace early on, pressing forward with one-twos and landing the heavier punches in close. Ruffin used his lateral movement more effectively early in the second round, shooting from range and maneuvering away from much of Uhde’s offense. Late in the round, though, Uhde cut the distance and worked well in close with the heavier blows.
The two jockeyed for positioning early in the third, each looking to set a distance that favored their style. Uhde, who was visibly the stronger man and the fighter better built for the middleweight limit they were fighting at, took the lead by mid-round, slamming Ruffin with hard body shots and straight rights.
The fourth was a close one, with Ruffin landing at a higher rate and Uhde landing the harder shots. In the fifth, Ruffin stayed disciplined to what had served him best and stayed on the outside, snapping off quick one-twos and lead right hands as Uhde came forward. He set a fast pace and kept it up for most of the round, landing the cleaner shots, while Uhde appeared to tire as the round wound down. Ruffin came out firing in the last round, letting his hands go on his visibly worn opponent and catching him with clean shots. Nearing the end of the round Uhde rallied back, ending the fight trading heavily in the center of the ring. All three judges scored the fight for Uhde with tallies of 59-54, 58-56, and 58-56.
Local Jr. welterweight Jaime Miranda (2-1, 2 KOs) claimed his second professional win, stopping Dennis Creason (0-1) in the second round. Miranda was the aggressor in the first round, landing the harder and cleaner shots. In the second, Miranda dropped Creason with a right hand-left hook pairing. Creason made it up, but was quickly sent back down with a left hook. Referee Ford Jones called it at 2:06 of the round.
Kalispell’s Kenny Guzman (4-1, 1 KO) rebounded from his lone pro defeat suffered last month to former Olympian Michael Conlan, scoring a near shutout win over Atlanta’s Gabriel Braxton (2-19, 1 KO) in a four round featherweight bout. Guzman took control from the start, working off his jab and moving in and out of the pocket with quick combinations. Braxton found some success in the first round with a few right-hand counters, but by the second Guzman was covering up well between flurries and picking up the tempo. Guzman appeared to be fully in his groove in the third and continued to dominate the fight into the fourth with well-timed barrages in the pocket. He pressed hard for the knockout late in the last round after buckling his opponent’s knees with a clean left hook, but Braxton proved to be tough competitor, hanging in and finishing the fight on his feet. Two judges scored all four rounds for Guzman at 40-36, with the last seeing it 39-37.
Scoring his first win in eleven fights, Bakersfield, California’s Tavorus Teague (4-17-2, 3 KOs) scored a mild upset over Spokane’s Sean Quinnett (3-3, 2 KOs), stopping him in the second round. Quinnett had a good start in the first round, pushing his opponent back with one-twos out of a southpaw stance, but Teague slowly worked his way into the fight, finding success with lead straight rights. He stepped up his pace in the second round and began to consistently find his mark with hard and precise combinations. Mid-way through the round he pushed Quinnett back to the ropes with a heavy barrage, cornering him and sending him down with a series of vicious right hands. Teague continued his assault after the mandatory eight-count and, after a sustained rally went unanswered by Quinnett, referee Ford Jones stepped in and called it. The end came at 2:36 of the second round. The bout took place in the welterweight division.
Two amateur fights made up the rest of the card.
Hard Knocks Fight Promotions’ had a good-sized crowd in attendance, with patrons showing up in full Halloween attire. The promotion is looking at holding their next show possibly in December.