By Jeff Zimmerman
Former world title contender, super welterweight Charles “The Future” Hatley (30-2-1, 20 KOs) out of Dallas stopped Frederic “General Okunda” Lawson (28-3, 21 KOs) from Chicago by way of Ghana in the waning seconds of their entertaining fight last night in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole to capture the WBC USNBC title.
Hatley, 35, came out the aggressor from the opening bell in his southpaw stance and landed hard shots to the head of Lawson. Lawson, behind a tight guard, countered Hatley as both fighters traded blows over the first few rounds. Hatley switched to orthodox in the 4th round, while Lawson was on the attack, only to eat a power shot from a Hatley right hand, that slowed him down.
Over rounds 6-8, Hatley stepped on the gas, and was throwing combinations to the head and body of Lawson while back in his preferred southpaw stance. In the 9th round, Hatley landed a huge punch that staggered Lawson and Hatley immediately jumped on him looking for the knockout with referee Laurence Cole watching closely. And in the 10th and final round, Hatley poured it on again, before Cole witnessed enough punishment and waived it off at 2:36 to a slight protest from Lawson’s corner.
Hatley was once one of Dallas’ top rising boxers as he comes from a fighting family and had a stellar amateur career. And although he has had success as a pro, he has never been able to capture the elusive big world title. After stopping Australian’s Anthony Mundine in 2015, Hatley earned the WBC Silver belt and parlayed that into a showdown with fellow Texan Jermell Charlo in 2017, only to lose by a brutal KO.
Last night was only Hatley’s 4th fight since April 2018, but after his strong performance against Lawson, Hatley may have very well earned another shot at the 154lb crown with WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman in attendance.
This black-tie affair brought in some of the biggest names in boxing including unified welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. and his trainer Derrick James plus 2X world champion Paulie Ayala. Jimmy Lennon Jr. did the ring announcing along with local radio host from The Ticket Mark Elfenbein.
This was FightNight XXXII – The Comeback -after the cancellation of last year’s event due to COVID. FightNight is the commercial real estate industry’s hottest philanthropic event and is a spectacular evening featuring professional boxing, exceptional cuisine, casino gaming, Vegas-style entertainment, and the opportunity to be among the top decision makers in the real estate industry and political community. FightNight is produced by The Real Estate Council.
Deon Nicholson vs. Craig Baker
Cruiserweight Deon “The Equalizer” Nicholson (15-1, 13 KOs) out of Tuscaloosa, AL and built like a tank used a diverse attack to the head and body to outlast the lankier Craig Baker (21-3, 14 KOs) from Baytown, TX over eight rounds. Nicholson had most of his success inside, while Baker was able to use his reach successfully on the outside. Nicholson landed the biggest punch in the fight in the 4th round, a right hand that sent Baker staggering backwards. Baker survived the round and the fight on his feet but lost a hard-fought unanimous decision. The scores read 78-74, 79-73 and 80-72 as Nicholson earned his 15th win with only one loss.
Benjamin Whitaker vs. Terry Chatwood
After a one-year hiatus due to COVID, the always anticipated FightNight in Dallas hosted by The Real Estate Council was back in the saddle on Thursday night in front of a packed black-tie audience. It was aptly called FightNight XXXII – The Comeback.
In the opening bout, welterweights Benjamin Whitaker (4-4) out of San Antonio squared off against Terry Chatwood (1-1) from Little Rock, Arkansas. Chatwood landed his straight right hand all night and finally dropped Whitaker in the sixth and final round. Whitaker survived to the bell, but Chatwood earned his first win in a unanimous decision by scores of 60-53 on all cards.