By Ricardo Ibarra
Photos by Mike Blair/Boxingprospects.net
Closing out what has been an outstanding year for the young Pacific Northwest cruiserweight prospect, Marquice “Tree” Weston (12-1-1, 6 KOs) defeated Ohio’s Armando Ancona (8-7-2, 5 KOs) on Saturday night at the Jackson Armory in Portland, Oregon, putting on a dominant performance over seven rounds on his way to a unanimous decision win, his fifth consecutive victory of 2017.
The fight headlined the inaugural card for former world champ Steve Forbes’ 2 Pound Sports & Entertainment, who along with partner Christina Lunzman brought professional boxing back to Portland for the first time in over a dozen years.
Weston, of Tacoma, Washington, set a measured pace early on, working patiently behind his jab and unloading in spurts of aggression, consistently pushing his opponent back throughout the first round. He began to pick up his tempo in the second, catching Ancona with hard shots to the head and digging deep with a sustained body attack. Late in the round, after a left hook to the side drew a grimace from Ancona, Weston let his hands go, firing along the ropes up until the sound of the bell.
In the third, Weston continued to increase his output on his game but outmatched foe, drilling him with lead rights and left hooks. His body attack appeared to take a toll on Ancona and late in the round had the Columbus, Ohio fighter in some trouble and covering up on the ropes.
Weston kept up his assault in the fourth and fifth rounds, dominating in close and moving to the outside when Ancona would try to mount an attack, which only served to give Weston more opportunities to counter. As the fifth round neared the end, Weston cornered Ancona and unleashed a vicious barrage, snapping his head back repeatedly with uppercuts and slamming his torso with thudding hooks.
The pace slowed in the sixth with Weston controlling the action with one-twos and tempering his aggression. Early in the seventh Weston continued to fight at a more methodical rate, but as the fight wound down he ramped it up, closing out the fight landing a barrage in close. All three judges scored the fight for Weston with scores of 70-63, giving Weston his twelfth professional win. Ancona, meanwhile, drops his third loss in a row.
“He could take a punch,” said Weston of his opponent after the fight. “That’s about as tough as he was. I wouldn’t say he was tough as a fighter but he’s definitely tough at taking a punch. He was a good punching bag.”
Now, with the busiest and arguably most successful year under his belt, Weston will look to keep his momentum going in 2018.
“I feel great,” said Weston. “I got five in a row, now I just want to keep stepping up, keep moving forward. This is just the beginning. I made my statement and it’s time for everybody to start recognizing. Whoever wants it. Anyone can get it.”
Weston and his team are looking to get him back in the ring possibly on February 24th in Auburn, Washington.
Eight fights were featured on undercard, with four pro and four amateur bouts rounding out the card.
In the semi-main event, Brandon, Mississippi’s Britton Norwood (5-1-1, 4 KOs) scored a third round stoppage win over previously undefeated James Ballard (9-1, 3 KOs), of Detroit. The southpaw style of Norwood appeared to give Ballard problems from the start. As the two fighters jockeyed for a dominant position early in a close first round, it was Norwood who frequently found himself in a better spot to land. Working behind a right jab, he did well shooting straight lefts down the middle, sneaking the punch in as Ballard threw his right. Norwood began to frustrate Ballard in the second round, drawing him into a close quarters, clinch filled fight, a move that allowed Norwood to land more often and avoid Ballard’s long right hands. Norwood continued to control the action in the third and late in the round he rocked Ballard back with a straight left, following up with a flurry, sending the Detroit fighter down with what appeared to be a left hand. The referee ruled it a slip, but as Ballard made it up he appeared dazed. Norwood pounced and soon after deposited his opponent on the mat once more with a left hand. The referee waved it off at 2:58 of the round. The fight was contested in the light heavyweight division
Former Northwest amateur stand-out Nicholas Jefferson (3-0, 3 KOs) scored a first round TKO win over Port Orchard, Washington’s Jesse Barich (0-4) in a welterweight match-up. Jefferson came out pressing from the outset, pushing Barich back with hard straight rights and left hooks. A quick left hook rocked Barich back seconds into the fight. Jefferson upped his pressure and quickly placed his opponent on the canvass with a right uppercut to the chin. After the mandatory eight-count, Jefferson swarmed, dropping Barich for the second time with a left hook to the body and a right upstairs. Barich made it up at nine, but after asking him to step forward and not liking what he saw, referee Dave Hagen made the call to stop it at 1:24 of the round. Jefferson, who as an amateur claimed multiple tournament titles, adds his third straight win inside the distance.
Henderson, Nevada’s Marco Russell (2-1-2) proved to be the craftier fighter against Portland’s Oscar Hernandez (1-2-1), using his superior boxing skills to take a four round unanimous decision win in a Jr. middleweight contest. Russell used a probing jab to set up his right hand early on, catching the local fighter as he came forward and quickly taking control of the action. Using a superior defense and faster, better placed punches, Russell out landed his opponent throughout the four round fight and avoided most of what was being thrown his way. Late in the fight Hernandez mounted a rally, engaging in some heated exchanges, but it was Russell who had the edge, rocking him back with hard right hands. All three official scorecards went to Russell with tallies of 40-36 all around.
In the opening bout of the pro portion of the card, local Jr. middleweight Oscar Herrera (1-0) claimed his first win as a professional fighter, defeating Eureka, California’s Shawn Harwood (0-1) by unanimous decision. It looked like Herrera would make it an early night in the first round after a right hand sent Harwood down for a count, but the Californian survived the knockdown and the follow up assault. Herrera went on to put on a workman like display, pressing forward in measured spurts and rocking Harwood again in the second and late in the fourth. The three judges saw the fight a shutout for Herrera with scores of 40-35. The fight was contested in the Jr. middleweight division.
A large crowd of fight fans packed into the Jackson Armory, a showing that pleased promoter Christina Lunzman. “We are very pleased,” said Lunzman. “Very pleased. Standing room only. We are very happy. We’re happy with all the fighters, too, they all showed a lot of heart. It was great.”
“I feel really good about it,” said Steve Forbes about the show of support from local fans. “We were really going on faith because we didn’t really get to promote it a whole lot, but everyone came out. It was great. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
2 Pound Sports and Entertainment will stage their next show in early 2018.