By Ricardo Ibarra
Photos by Mike Blair/Boxingprospects.net
In a closely contested welterweight match-up, Saint Louis, Missouri’s Dannie Williams (24-3, 18 KOs) claimed a ten round unanimous decision win over local favorite Andre Keys (12-2, 5 KOs) on Friday night at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. Fighting in the main event of Brian Halquist Productions’ 125th edition of the ‘Battle at the Boat’ series, Williams used a busier output and more accurate punching to out-score his opponent over the course of the fight.
Williams, who was fighting for only the second time since coming back from a six-year-long hiatus, displayed a crafty style, using a good defense to set up shots and counter effectively. Keys pressed early in the bout and landed well with left hands and straight rights, but as the fight wore on his work-rate slowed and he began to focus more on connecting with single shots instead of firing in combinations.
Williams, meanwhile, worked at a more active pace, setting up his shots in close and tagging Keys as he came in. He repeatedly caught his opponent with counter right hands and maintained a consistent work-rate, ramping up his offense as the rounds went on. The official scorecards read 97-93, 96-94, and 96-94, all for Williams, who takes his second consecutive win in nine months.
In the semi-main event of the night, Kent, Washington’s Niko McFarland (5-5-2, 1 KO) took a six round unanimous decision win over Antonio Neal (5-13-1, 3 KOs), of Yakima, Washington. The taller McFarland used his longer reach to set the range and land the cleaner shots from the outside. Neal tried to cut the distance, stepping in with hooks to the head and body, but it was McFarland’s lengthy one-twos that scored most in the fight. Official tallies read 59-55 twice and 58-56. The two faced off in the welterweight division.
Scoring his second dominant win at the EQC, local fighter Jose Cervantes (2-0, 2 KOs) notched a first-round win over Canada’s Cody Brown (1-1, 1 KO). Brown came out blazing, pressing with looping power shots, but Cervantes countered well and quickly dropped him with a vicious right hand. After the action resumed, Cervantes rocked Brown once again with a right-hand. Cervantes immediately swarmed, buckling his opponent’s knees and sending him down to the canvas once more. The referee stopped counting and called an end to the fight at 1:01 of the round. The bout was contested in the 147-pound weight class.
Heavyweight Nick Mills (3-0, 2 KOs) scored a third round TKO victory over Seattle’s Michael Johnson (0-1), who was making his pro debut. Mills, of Renton, Washington, walked through most of Johnson’s early offensive and delivered a heavy attack to the head and body. After a series of shots in the third round appeared to be wearing Johnson down, his corner motioned to the referee to stop the fight, which he did at 1:02.
Making an impressive entrance into the paid ranks, Portland’s Joe Aguilar (1-0, 1 KO) scored a second-round stoppage win over hometown fighter Juan Jackson (2-3) in a light heavyweight match-up. The bout got off to a brisk start, with both fighters engaging early. In the second, Aguilar scored a knockdown a minute into the round. He forced the stoppage later in the round after a barrage in the corner went unanswered. The referee stepped in and called it at 2:09 of the second round.
A close and action-packed bout opened the card, with Seattle’s Luis DeAlba (1-3) defeating Marco Garcia (0-1-1), of Parkland, Washington, by split decision. Both fighters had their moments in the fight, with Garcia working at a busier pace early on. DeAlba began to dig to the body in the second round, appearing to hurt Garcia with a well-placed hook to the torso in the round. DeAlba continued to work well in close and appeared to have an edge in the latter portion of the fight. The judges’ tallies read 40-36, 39-37 for DeAlba and 39-37 for Garcia. The two met in the lightweight division.
The Brian Halquist Productions crew will be back at the Emerald Queen Casino on March 21st for Battle at the Boat 126.