By Brad Snyder-The Undercard
Photos by Bob Ryder
Promoter Carlos Llinas promoted Night of Knockouts XXIII at the Soundboard of Motor City Casino on Friday night. The night’s main event may have been the best fight in the area so far this calendar year.
Cruiserweight Demetrius Banks (12-12-1, 5 KOs), a Detroit favorite fighter, was named opponent for up-and-coming Derick Miller (10-0, 6 KOs).
The fight had Metro Detroit excited. Miller was taking a big step up in competition, as Banks has seen almost everything the sport of boxing has to offer. After Round 1 of both fighters feeling each other out, Round 2 had Banks landing a right to the head of Miller dropping him to the canvas. Miller went down on one knee and one glove and beat the count. Miller came out in Round 3 and looked like a different fighter from the previous two. Miller moved forward as Banks moved backwards firing shots. In the 4th, Miller looked the stronger of both fighters. Miller landed his hardest shot of the fight with a right that hit Banks flush. The 5th, also, had Banks earning a point deduction by referee Frank Garza for holding. The 6th had Miller go down in the corner, even though Banks thought his shot was legal. Garza did not, as he deducted another point from Banks for his low blows. Miller finished strong. Round 8 had Miller showing great defense. In Round 9, Miller landed a beautiful right cross to Banks’ head. Banks was at his best when he was ducking and slipping punches, to then come up and fire a hard punch to Miller. The 10th and final round had Miller looking fresher. The fight appeared closer than the scorecards, which read (96-91, 96-91, 99-89) all in favor of Miller for the UD win.
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Kara Ro returned from an 11-year hiatus to fight, again. Ro, who had trained fighters and done ring announcing, has been around the fight game for those years. Ro said to me before the fight that she always knew she wanted to come back. A trip to Auschwitz and reading inspiring books helped sway the decision to do it now. In her corner was former UFC fighter Daron Cruickshank, and Kronk boxer Anthony Barnes. Both had been trained by Kara Ro. Her opponent, junior lightweight Elizabeth Tuani (2-9) brought her best game for the fight. After a round of both finding range, the 2nd and 3rd Rounds had some exciting exchanges. Round 4 had Kara Ro using multiple combinations to score a knockdown. The 6th Round contest had Kara Ro (18-0, 7 KOs) remaining unbeaten. All three judges scored the fight for Ro (58-55, 60-53, 59-54).
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Heavyweight Vernon Webber (5-0, 3 KOs) made quick work of Conway Beaudry (0-1). He ended the bout by a KO at the 34-second mark of the 1st Round – landing 10 consecutive uppercuts and quick body work on Beaudry.
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You do not see a 7’3” boxer every day. Not many people would line up to fight someone that size, either, with the 7-footer weighing in over 325 lbs. You would need a lumberjack to chop down a tree that tall. Dennis Vance (2-6, 1 KO) is exactly that guy. He’s a lumberjack by day and a boxer by night. And he does not back down from a fight. Alfonzo Linares (0-1), who was new to this country and new to boxing looked intimidating. But Vance was quicker and able to land shots to close the distance for a pretty easy win.
Although the fight was a split decision (37-38-Linares, 39-37-Vance, 39-37-Vance), the heavyweights in the bout had the crowd’s attention, for sure.
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Junior Middleweight Andre Byrd (9-13-2, 1 KO) defeated Darryl Cunningham (44-11, 19 KOs) by Majority Decision (58-56-Byrd, 57-57, 58-56-Byrd).
Welterweight Luis Quintero (2-0, 2 KOs) scored multiple knockdowns against Brian Sztykiel (0-1), as he easily won by TKO at the 1:37 mark of the 4th Round.
Welterweight Jermarco Holloway (5-0, 2 KOs) moved up in competition facing a tough 34-fight veteran in Kevin Womack (9-22-4, 7 KOs). Holloway looked good against a lot of experience. Womack had a point taken away for spitting out his mouthpiece multiple times in the 3rd Round. Holloway won the bout (40-35, 40-35, 40-34).
Super Welterweight Mike Johnson (1-0, 1 KO) was able to catch Garrett Ross (3-2-1) with a right to produce a knockout at the 2:45 mark of the 2nd Round.
Opening the night, Marcello Williams (4-14, 1 KO) beat Lightweight Nermin Zalic (0-1) by TKO at the 2:11 mark of the 1st Round.