Report and photos by Ricardo Ibarra
Making the first defense of his WBC United States (USNBC) cruiserweight title, Spokane’s Patrick Ferguson (11-0-1, 10 KOs) claimed a hard-fought ten round unanimous decision win over Topeka, Kansas’ Mario Munoz (12-5-1, 4 KOs) on Thursday night at the Coeur d’Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho.
After a grueling start to the fight, Ferguson took over mid-way through with the more accurate and damaging punches.
Over the first three rounds the two fighters battled in a vicious close quarters affair with both sitting in the pocket for much of the action and unloading with heavy artillery. Ferguson appeared to land the more accurate shots, but Munoz found his fair share of success in the early going, catching Ferguson with hard uppercuts and hooks to the head.
Early in the fourth Munoz unloaded with a hard left hook and right hand that landed flush to the jaw. The early assault seemed to spur on Ferguson, who stepped up his aggression after taking the shots and began smashing Munoz with hard combinations to the head and body. Munoz withstood the assault and rallied back late in the round, but Ferguson did well in defending against the assault, blocking better than had been the case earlier in the fight
Ferguson made a slight adjustment in the fifth round, choosing to fight from a longer range more often, which allowed him to land consistently with solid one-twos and follow-up with hard hooks to the mid-section. The move served Ferguson well as he was able to slow a lot of Munoz’ attack and control the pace of the fight. In the sixth Ferguson appeared to find a rhythm, working behind his jab and unloading with hard right hands. Munoz kept pressing forward, but his aggression was starting to slow.
For the remainder of the fight Ferguson controlled much of the action with precise shots from the outside and consistent work to the body in close. Munoz made a late rally in the final round, stepping in and letting his hands go even as he took some hellacious shots, making for an exciting close to the fight. All three judges scored it for Ferguson with tallies of 100-90 twice and 99-91. Ferguson adds his eleventh win as a pro, while Munoz suffers his fifth career loss.
“He was a tough, durable opponent,” said Ferguson after the fight. “I feel good about the win. I feel like I threw a lot of shots and landed a lot of hard punches. Of course, I would’ve rather gotten him out of there, but I feel Ok about the win. Now I just keep preparing and stay busy.”
Four additional fights made up the remainder of the card. In the semi-main event, undefeated New Zealand cruiserweight Craig Thomson (9-0, 5 KOs) made his U.S. debut, stopping former UFC veteran Dennis Hallman (1-2), of Olympia, Washington, in the second round. Thomson controlled the first round with a steady work-rate, landing solidly to the body with short hooks in close. In the second round he upped his output and quickly cornered Hallman, drilling him with a barrage. Referee Mike Grow, seeing Hallman sitting along the ropes not firing back, stepped in and issued an eight count. After the action was allowed to continue, Thomson again unloaded with a series of unanswered punches, forcing the referee to step in and call it at 1:27 of the round.
Spokane’s Sean Quinnett (4-3, 2 KOs) scored a six round majority decision victory over Kevin Davila (1-7-2), of Puyallup, Washington in a welterweight fight. Quinnett used good lateral movement and combination punching from a southpaw stance to control most of the action in the fight. Staying at range, Quinnett peppered the oncoming Davila with crisp one-twos and lead lefts, landing at a higher rate for a majority of the fight. Davila pressed forward throughout, making particularly the last round a close one, but Quinnett clearly had the upper hand. Two judges agreed, giving Quinnett the nod by scores of 59-55 and 58-56, with the last judge scoring the fight a draw at 57-57.
In a closely contested four round cruiserweight bout, Butte, Montana’s Kaden LeCoure (1-0) made a successful entrance into the pro ranks, taking a four round split decision win over Lewiston, Idaho’s Ron Simmons (3-5-1, 2 KOs). It appeared that LeCoure might end matters early seconds into the fight after he rocked Simmons with a left hook and then proceeded to unload with a vicious, sustained attack. The Montana youngster appeared to punch himself out, though, and by the end of the round Simmons was doing well moving away and avoiding a lot of his opponent’s aggression. LeCoure took a more measured approach in the second, working from the outside and landing well with one-twos. Simmons’ greater experience as a pro began to show in the third as he maneuvered around the ring, using a crafty defense to avoid LeCoure’s attack and set up his own combinations. In the fourth Simmons caught LeCoure with a solid right hand that buckled his knees and caused his glove to touch the canvas, prompting referee Joel Scobie to step in and call a knockdown. LeCoure roared back after the count, stepping into the pocket and trading with his willing foe, giving the fans an intense back and forth exchange to close out an entertaining fight. The judges’ scores read 39-37 and 38-37 for LeCoure with the last judge seeing it 38-37 for Simmons. LeCoure walks away with his first win as a professional fighter.
Tacoma, Washington’s Andre Keys (6-1, 2 KOs) opened the card, scoring a second round stoppage win over Eureka, California’s Shawn Harwood (0-2) in a scheduled four round middleweight fight. Keys began the bout stalking patiently behind his jab and by the end of the first round was catching his opponent with sharp right hands, rocking him on two occasions. Keys began to open up more in the second round, unloading with sharp combinations. Keys caught his opponent with a right uppercut at the end of a series of punches, sending him down for a count late in the round. Soon after, Keys followed up with a left hook-right hand combo, dropping Harwood again. After another barrage sent Harwood back onto the ropes, referee Mike Grow waved the fight off at 2:36, giving Keyes the second round TKO victory.
A sixth fight between Steven Villalobos and Jose Leon was scrapped earlier in the week after a dispute over the weight couldn’t be resolved.
The first ‘House of Fury’ card to take place at the Coeur d’Alene since 2011 was well received with a large crowd filling the event center. The show opened with a tribute to late former promoter Moe Smith with a few people stepping into the ring to speak, including retired fighters Joe Hipp and Cleveland Corder. The Coeur d’Alene Casino plans on staging another event in July.