By John Unland
Monte Cox presented an outdoor kickboxing/pro boxing show at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa, billed as ‘The Clash of Legends.’ There were a lot of local fighters on the card, and quite a few debuts, with 2 former UFC fighters taking their first shot at professional boxing. There were a total of 11 fights, 8 of which were professional boxing and a main event featuring Pat Miletich and Michael Nunn in a kickboxing bout!
The night opened up with a lightweight bout between Roberto Negrete and Daniel Buenaventura. This was an entertaining four rounder as both fighters were aggressive and willing to exchange. Negrete was looking to land power shots and threw a lot of wild of hooks, but he landed enough keep Buenaventura at a distance and pick up most of the rounds. Buenaventura was able to counter effectively to the body and showed a nice left uppercut but in the end he came up short and dropped a decision by scores of 39-37, 39-37 and 40-36. Negrete continues to impress and is now 3-0, while Buenaventura loses his debut and returns to Chicago 0-1.
Next up were super lightweights Anthony Crowder of Des Moines, and the debuting Mitchell Leconte of Cedar Rapids. This one was all Leconte as he dropped Crowder twice in the first round with body shots, and twice more in the second to score the stoppage. Leconte was a solid amateur and is now off to a good start in the pro ranks.
Heavyweights Ryan Antle of Davenport and Terrence Walker of Minneapolis both made their debuts in the next bout of the evening. At 6’3″ Walker held a big height advantage over the 5’10” Antle. Antle showed good footwork and some skill but he was unable to get inside the reach of Walker and that was the difference. The first round saw Antle press the action and he had Walker backing up, but he was unable to sustain any kind of offense or do any real damage. Walker got into a bit of a groove in the second and started landing big right hands that had Antle stuck in the corners and along the ropes for most of the round. Walker just came forward throwing straight rights that had Antle backing up, but for some reason he was hesitant to throw combinations. Antle’s face was pretty busted up and the fight was stopped after the second round due to cuts. Antle starts his career 0-1, while Walker gets off to a 1-0 start. Walker was extremely raw but showed some decent power in his right hand. If he is willing to put the work in, he might be worth keeping an eye on.
Two local MMA fighters made their boxing debuts in the fourth bout of the evening. A four round middleweight bout between former UFC fighter Junior Hernandez and Jeremy Castro turned in to a highly competitive affair. Both fighters were aggressive and neither was willing to give the other the satisfaction of backing up. There were a lot of punches thrown and landed by both men but in the end Hernandez took the decision by scores of 39-37 twice and 40-36. He pressed the action a little more and landed more punches to pick up the win.
A pair of local super-middleweights were next with Pachino Hill of Davenport taking on Will Omer of East Moline, Illinois. Hill had the crowd on his side from the beginning, as he was a popular amateur, and he showed why from the opening bell. Hill starting throwing relentless combinations to the head and body of Omer, who was willing to trade shots at first, but it was evident early on that he was over matched. Omer quickly started backpedaling and pretty much kept at it the rest of the fight. It didn’t last much longer though as Hill put him down at 2:01 of the second round and it was waved off. Hill improves to 2-0 picking up his second KO, and Omer (0-1) drops his debut.
Former UFC fighter Jeremy Horn, now fighting out of Salt Lake City made his boxing debut against Marty Lindquist of Blaine, Minnesota. Lindquist was game but a little wild with his punches. Horn was able to counter nicely and land 3 to 4 punches for every one Lindquist could land. Horn would counter then back up out of trouble and Lindquist could never really find a rhythm or keep any kind of pressure on Horn. The punches started to accumulate and Horn finished the fight in the third to begin his career 1-0. With the loss Lindquist sees his record fall to 14-11.
Donovan Dennis was in against West Virginia heavyweight Anthony Williams, and the Davenport fighter did not disappoint. Williams was a little bit awkward and he stayed well out of range in the first round. He would kind of jump in and throw a punch then jump back out before Dennis could counter. He showed some respectable power so Dennis couldn’t just come rushing in without getting caught. Dennis started to get his timing down in the second round and was able to get in close and land some power shots of his own, but Williams hung tough and fought back well. He was able to back Dennis up a few times and had him staggering back at least twice, but there was no upset in the cards for Williams tonight. The third round was all Dennis and he picked up the stoppage about halfway through when Williams went down and could not beat the count. It was good to see Dennis get back in the win column, especially in front of his hometown fans. He is now 13-4 with 11 KOs, while Williams goes to 5-10-1.
The co-main event saw two guys who don’t like each other go at it for four rounds, and the fans loved it. Stephen Edwards and Fred Thomas, both of Davenport, have been going back and forth for years, so this fight has been the making for a while. Edwards is probably the most polarizing boxer in the Quad Cities, you either love him or you hate him, and there are not a lot of people in the middle. Thomas on the other hand is a highly regarded and respected boxing coach in the area so the crowd was leaning his way a little bit. Thomas started off well and kept the highly aggressive Edwards from pressing the action in the first round. Thomas was able to land some clean shots and keep Edwards from getting inside for most of the round. Things started to change in the second when Edwards started to dictate the pace of the fight and take over. Edwards just kept coming forward throwing punches and Thomas couldn’t get enough on his punches to slow him down, which left him no option but to back up. Thomas looked a little tired after the second round, and Edwards took full advantage of that in the third. Edwards just kept coming forward, backing his opponent up and Thomas wasn’t really able to get anything off. In the final round Thomas mustered up some offense, but it was too little, too late and Edwards picked up a comfortable decision (40-36 twice and 39-37) to improve to 13-1-1.
The main event saw two area legends face off in a 4 round kickboxing match. UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich and former champ Michael Nunn took center stage in a ‘Fight 2 Unite’, trying to give something back to their fans and the Quad Cities.
Both men took this seriously and it was fun for what it was. They both showed why at one point they were considered the best in their respective sports, and it was nice to see that after all of their time out of the ring how much the hometown fans still appreciate them.
Nunn used his reach and height advantage effectively to keep Miletich from using his kicks and showed some of the footwork that made him untouchable when he was in his prime. Miletich buckled Nunn a few times with leg kicks and even dropped him in the third with a well-placed kick, but he didn’t land many and could not match Nunn’s punch output. It didn’t appear that Nunn attempted any kicks of his own, but he still found a way to edge out the always gritty Miletich by split decision.