Report and photos by Ricardo Ibarra
Adding his ninth consecutive knockout win, undefeated cruiserweight Patrick Ferguson (9-0, 9 KOs) stopped Missouri’s Gary Tapusoa (9-7-1, 8 KOs) in the third of a scheduled ten rounds on Saturday night at the Oregon State Fair and Expo in Salem, Oregon, highlighting Rogue Promotions’ second installment of its mixed boxing/MMA series ‘Arena Wars: Total Kombat.’ Ferguson, of Spokane, Washington, picked Tapusoa apart over the course of three rounds, dropping him once in the second and three times in the third before the referee waved it off.
Ferguson employed a measured and patient approach early in the fight, working off his jab and periodically stepping in close to drill his opponent with heavy combinations before moving out of the pocket. Tapusoa continued to come forward in the round, even while taking shots, firing off looping overhand rights, but Ferguson rolled with the punches well and countered effectively.
In the second, Ferguson came out blazing with a sustained attack to the body, slamming Tapusoa with hard shots to the mid-section. A big right caught Tapusoa as he pushed in close and sent him down to a knee. Ferguson went back to the body as the action was allowed to resume, digging hard downstairs and coming back upstairs as Tapusoa looked to cover up his body. Ferguson finished up the round working off his jab and continuing to slam his opponent’s torso.
A thudding left hook to the ribcage dropped Tapusoa seconds into the third round. Tapusoa rallied after the mandatory eight-count, cornering his adversary and letting his hands go, but Ferguson covered up and used his opponent’s aggression against him, exploiting it to set up short counter punches in close. A series of body shots buckled Tapusoa, at which point he dropped his hands close to the ring mat, which led to the referee calling another knockdown. Near the end of the round Ferguson sent Tapusoa down with a big right hand. This time referee Steve Newport didn’t bother counting, waving the fight off at 2:57 of the round.
“I felt good about this one,” said Ferguson after the fight. “My game plan was to box and take him out of his plan. I knew he could hit hard. I knew he was a solid guy, so I just wanted to see what he had first. Once I hurt him, I knew I had it.”
“I’m satisfied, but I’m not really happy. I want to get back to work and keep working on my skills and I want to keep fighting better opponents. Whoever is out there that I need to fight, I’ll fight.”
Ferguson added his fourth win of the year, while Tapusoa drops his first loss in three fights.
In a middleweight match-up, Othello, Washington’s Abel Alvarez Zayas (2-1, 1 KO) added his second win as a pro, out-boxing Medford, Oregon’s Travis Cavalli (0-2) over four rounds to take a unanimous decision. Zayas used his lateral movement well in the first two rounds, working at range and landing solid hooks to the body when the fight made its way in close. Cavalli proved to be a tough competitor, keeping the pressure up even as he was getting beat to the punch. That determination began to pay off in the third round as Cavalli started to make more contact with his overhand right hands. Cavalli, seeing an opportunity, upped his output and continued to land as his opponent decided to trade with him. Zayas went back to boxing in the last round, working off his jab and landing from range. Cavalli came on again late in the round, but Zayas had done enough at that point to secure the round and take the win. All three judges scored the bout for Zayas with tallies of 40-36, and 39-37 twice.
Local crowd favorite Blaiwas Eaglepipe (1-0) had a memorable entrance into the paid ranks, taking a hard fought five round majority decision win over Albany, Oregon’s Felipe Medina (0-2). The fight erupted into an all-out slugfest from the start, with Medina pressing forward and Eaglepipe obliging the early aggression with his own, making for a fierce early pace. Eaglepipe stunned Medina late in the round, pushing him back to the ropes where he unloaded with a blistering barrage. A nasty gash that had opened along the left eye of Eaglepipe early started to pour blood as the round closed out.
The pace continued in the second and third rounds with Eaglepipe having a slight edge in the second and Medina coming back with the more accurate shots in the third. Medina had a point taken away for leading with his head in the third. Eaglepipe began to use his legs more in the fourth and slowly began to take more control as the fight moved to a long-range contest. Still, Medina maintained his aggression, pressing the action and giving the pro Eaglepipe contingent some anxious moments and some wild exchanges. The two closed out the fight swinging heavily at each other to the cheers of a raucous crowd. The final scores read 49-45, 50-44, and 47-47, giving the nod to Eaglepipe. The bout was contested in the Jr. lightweight division.
A fourth fight between Alex Cazac and Justin Milani was scrapped after Milani withdrew from the contest. The remainder of the card featured MMA and grappling matches.
“It was a pretty good event,” said promoter Matt Phillips after the show. “The boxing matches were great. I knew the Medina-Eaglepipe fight would be fight of the night and could be fight of the year up here. It was just non-stop. Ferguson is good fighter and I think we’re going to see him on T.V. in a big show soon, I’m guessing…Overall the show was great and I think everyone was happy with it.”
Rogue Promotions will stage their next event in Redding, California September 30th.