By Brad Snyder-The Undercard
Photos by Bob Ryder
The Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio served as the backdrop to a great night of boxing Saturday evening. With Mother Nature on their side to provide a beautiful sky and cool temperatures, promoter Troy Speakman, along with, event coordinator Steve Weaver produced a quality event named “Duel in the Park”.
The main event of the evening was the fight of the night. The 8-round bout had defending champion, Zak Rollins’ Ohio Jr. Middleweight Championship on the line. Zak would face an undefeated challenger in Jamie Walker. The fight, which provided a lot of action, showcased both fighters’ skills. Rollins, who worked from the southpaw position, was able to find early success with a lead overhand right. He was, also, able to mix in a lead left from the southpaw position in the first two rounds. Round 3 found challenger, Walker, coming out aggressive. Rollins still fired the lead left, then immediately after, Walker pushed forward delivering body work and pressure. This constant forward movement had Rollins firing back against the ropes.
The middle rounds saw the aggressiveness of Walker paying off, as he smothered Rollins. His corner complained to the Referee Lonnie Scott, that a cut that appeared under Rollins’ eye resulted from too much head contact. The ref continued to watch closely, as the two fighters battled to the end. The last few seconds of the fight ended with as much action as any boxing match could possible achieve. The judges scored the bout (76-76, 77-75, 77-75) Majority Decision in favor of the new champion, Jamie Walker (8-0-1 Draw, 3 KO’s). As the public address announcer, George Phillips, interviewed Walker, Jamie urged the crowd to not give up on Rollins (5-1-1 Draw, 2 KO’s) stating, “Don’t give up on this kid, he is a champion in my book.”
Boxing prospect, featherweight, Tyler McCreary (14-0, 6 KO’s) furthered his claim for a title shot, as he defeated Edward Kakembo (10-3, 3 KO’s) (80-72, 80-72, 79-73) by UD. McCreary faced an opponent who acted like he wanted to be anywhere else in the world other than the ring. Little offense was produced by Kakembo. Most of the action was McCreary stalking his prey, while getting work in. When asked about his performance in the ring, McCreary replied, “Boxing is a dangerous sport. You can’t get a knockout every fight. An ugly win is a good win.” McCreary entered the contest ranked #10 by WBA.
Top heavyweight prospect, Jermaine Franklin (12-0, 10 KO’s) continued his journey as a pro with a tough battle against Axror Murlimov (16-3, 13 KO’s). Franklin looked quick and was able to apply jabs to the midsection of Murlimov. As Franklin worked Murlimov’s head, Axror fired left hooks to the body. The middle rounds saw Murlimov charging. Round 3 had Murlimov clip Franklin with a left to the chin, sending Franklin back a bit. As the fight progressed, Murlimov continued charging as Franklin would then counter the charge. After Round 6, Franklin may have tired a bit. Both fighters continued to throw blows in the final rounds. The 8-round heavyweight bout saw Franklin winning (79-73, 78-74, 78-74) for the UD victory.
Cruiserweight Mike Glasscox (6-1-2 Draws, 5 KO’s) went toe to toe over four rounds with Mohammed Abdullah (2-0-1 Draw, 1 KO). The fight was close and hard to score, even from ringside. The judges scored the bout (39-37 Glasscox, 39-37 Abdullah, 38-38) for the Draw.
The opening fight of the night had Travis Davis (1-0) winning his pro debut with a (40-35, 40-35, 40-35) UD over cruiserweight, Harrison Watkins (0-2). Watkins, who weighed in at 183, was giving up a ton of weight to Davis, who weighed in at 198.