Bantamweight Title fight, Roman vs Amuzu is a thriller

September 6, 2013 No Comments
On Friday evening at the Bing Crosby Hall on the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, CAlifornia, Tijuana's Manuel Roman defeated John Amuzu of Accra, Ghana to win the California State Bantamweight Title. All photos: Jim Wyatt

On Friday evening, September 6, at the Bing Crosby Hall on the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, CA, Tijuana’s Manuel Roman (c) won an unanimous decision victory over John Amuzu of Accra, Ghana to win the California State Bantamweight Title. Photo: J. Wyatt

September 6, 2013

Friday evening, a great many of our local boxing fans were out in force at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to witness the latest Don Chargin, A&T Gym in association with Barron Entertainment offering of “Mexico vs Ghana” featuring a California State Bantamweight title up for grabs between Manuel Roman of Tijuana and John Amuzu of Accra, Ghana. 


 

On Thursday afternoon, the day before his big fight, Manuel Roman (shown here) and his fellow fighters were the guest of the San Diego Hall of Champions located in the Federal Building inside Balboa Park. The 70,000-square-foot facility is loaded with the memorabilia you normally only see in places like Cooperstown, New York or Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Champions is known for recognizing our local homegrown sports heroes.

On Thursday afternoon, the day before his big fight, Manuel Roman (shown here) and his fellow fighters were the guest of the San Diego Hall of Champions located in the Federal Building inside Balboa Park. The 70,000-square-foot facility is loaded with the memorabilia you normally only see in places like Cooperstown, New York or Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Champions is known for recognizing our local homegrown sports heroes.

From the seating arrangements to the many guest celebrities in attendance, everything was first class inside the Bing Crosby Hall.

The promoters even hired a traditional folkloric Mariachi Band to play the passionate melodies of Mexico. All photos: Jim Wyatt

The promoters even hired a traditional folkloric Mariachi Band to play the passionate melodies of Mexico. All photos: Jim Wyatt

The inclusion of the Mariachi Band was a welcome site as more and more local shows are featuring some foul mouthed rapper opening with: “What up, you all? You want to hear something fresh? (That truly isn’t) This is your boy…”

Pre-fight analysis of the championship bout:

Like most gifted athletes Manuel Roman enjoyed his visit to the San Diego Hall of Champions.

Like most gifted athletes Manuel Roman enjoyed his visit to the San Diego Hall of Champions.

Roman, a top prospect, was coming off a disappointing loss to Randy Caballero back on August 24, 2012. Caballero, the 2008 U. S. Amateur Flyweight Champ, who now sports a pro record of 19-0 with 11 KOs, won by an unanimous decision. Despite his yearlong inactivity, Roman came into this bout with a record of 15-2-3 with 6 KOs having faced opponents with a combined record of 142-69-15.

On Thursday, John Amuzu was at the same San Diego Hall of Champions for the weigh-ins for the Friday night fights at Del Mar

On Thursday, John Amuzu was also at the San Diego Hall of Champions for his weigh-in for the Friday night show at Del Mar. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Roman’s opponent, Amuzu had an unblemished record of 14-0 with 13 KOs but that record was built fighting opponents who had a combined record of 53-82-12 and only two of those opponents had a winning record.

It’s also important to note that Amuzu had been competing as a featherweight (122 to 126 pounds) when he put those 13 opponents on their back. At Thursday’s weigh-in, Amuzu appeared famished and listless, likely caused by the extreme diet he’s had to follow in order to reach the catch weight of 118 pounds. In comparison, Roman had no problem making or let’s say maintaining his regular body weight.

In Friday’s contest, it appeared Roman had the tighter defense. Even when Amuzu landed his big right hands, Roman either had a glove there or knew how to deflect the punch by turning his head or body.

SportofBoxing.com’s round by round scoring:

Round #1 – almost equal in the number of blows thrown with Amuzu landing this one, eye catching overhand right. Amuzu 10-9

Round #2 – both fighters showed off their quick hands while Roman made certain to land the finishing touches. Roman 10-9

Round #3 – it’s still a game of inches and since Roman finished the round with a three punch combination he likely took the round. Roman 10-9

Round #4 – early on, Amuzu was in charge and landed two impressive straight rights, but it was Roman who finished the round stronger. His punches, especially inside, seemed more effective. Roman 10-9

Round #5 – in-fighting gave Amuzu the edge, plus a small cut appeared over Roman’s right eye. Amuzu 10-9

Round #6 – After Roman’s cut man did an amazing job, Roman came back with a vengeance. Amuzu got a bit silly and did a Muhammad Ali shimmy or shuffle to tell all that Roman’s punches had little affect. Roman 10-9

Round #7 – Roman, with his eye on the prize, continued to land the harder shots upstairs and downstairs, especially the left hook which was now giving Amuzu trouble and likely blurred his vision from what looked to be a detached retina. Amuzu was then caught for a second time by a punch that sent him flying backwards.

Near the end of round seven, Amuzu’s corner pleaded, “Throw more punches John!” Roman takes round, 10-9.

Round #8 – in desperation mode, Amuzu gave it everything he had to land more than enough blows to secure the final round. Amuzu 10-9

Judge Tom Taylor scored the bout 79-73 for Roman, while judges Alejandro Rochin and Tony Crebs scored the bout 77-75 for Roman. SportofBoxing.com’s tally: 77-75 for Roman.

This terrific bout was so close, it truly could have gone either way with just one big punch.

(top photo) Fighters Manuel Roman and John Amuzu (blue trunks) receive their instructions from referee David Mendoza.

(top photo) Fighters Manuel Roman and John Amuzu (blue trunks) receive their instructions from referee David Mendoza. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout John 2Bout John 4Bout John 6Bout John 7 Bout John hand raising 8Bout John Handraising 2

In the evening’s semi-main event, the show’s opening bout, they featured middleweights, Elias Espadas (2-1, 1 KO) going up against Jair “Pulpo” Aguiar (10-21-0, 4 KOs) from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Like Manuel Roman, Elias Espadas (shown here) went all over the museum checking out the memorabilia.

Like Manuel Roman, Elias Espadas (shown here) went all over the museum checking out the memorabilia from the Padres Baseball Club to the huge bronze statue of Rocky Balboa.

Even though it was a foregone conclusion of who would win, Espadas got off to a precarious start by hitting Aguiar with three low blows. And as it is his duty, referee David Mendoza kept stopping the bout to allow Aguiar time to recover. After the second low blow, Espadas had a point deducted. This development made Espadas work even harder to put Aguiar down for the count.

Aguiar, who’s record is 3-17 over the last seven years, did a remarkable job of slipping punches. His survival through ducking under punches and head bobbing lasted until the 2:59 mark of the third round. It was the fourth, big body shot that finally did him in.

(top right) boxers Elisa Espadas (r) and Jair Aguiar (l) received their instructions from veteran referee David Mendoza prior to the start of their fight at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

(top right) boxers Elisa Espadas (r) and Jair Aguiar (l) received their final instructions from veteran referee David Mendoza prior to the start of their bout at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Bout Espadas 2Bout Espadas 3

(bottom right) After defeating Jair Aguiar, Elias Espadas is joined by the ring card girls for some celebratory photos.

(bottom) After defeating Jair Aguiar (left), Elias Espadas (right) is joined by the ring card girls for some celebratory photos.

In Bout #3, they had local favorite, James “Hollywood” Taylor (3-1) from San Diego, a former sailor, going up against Vicente Guzman (0-2) from Victorville, CA, a gent who runs his own concrete business. 

Vincente Guzman (shown here) of Victorville, CA is a big sports fan.

Vincente Guzman (shown here) of Victorville, CA is a big sports fan.

James Taylor was the first to take an interest in the all-inclusive San Diego Hall of Champions. Here we see him posing in front of the San Diego Chargers exhibit.

James Taylor was the first to show a keen interest in the all-inclusive San Diego Hall of Champions. Here we see him posing in front of the San Diego Chargers exhibit.

The Taylor versus Guzman matchup turned out to be an old fashion slugfest with neither boxer giving an inch. As far as accuracy, Taylor landed the cleaner shots to the head and being that Guzman was being hit so hard and so often, you had to figure he would soon fall to the canvas. That never happened as the two men took their turn pummeling each other. 

Guzman, a late replacement for Danny Ramirez of Hawaiian Gardens, said he wasn’t in the best condition for this fight since he only had two weeks to prepare.

When the scores were announced, you could tell the crowd was a bit miffed by the scores calling for a majority draw. Most thought their homeboy, Taylor had won and won easily. Judge Tom Taylor scored the bout 39-37 for Taylor while both judges Tony Crebs and Alejandro Rochin had it a 38-38 draw.

(top left) Just prior to his bout with James Taylor, Vincente Guzman poses for a photo with his coach and cornermen.

(top left) Just prior to his bout with James Taylor, Vincente Guzman posed for a photo with his coach and cornermen.

Bout Taylor 2 Bout Taylor 3 Bout Taylor 4 Bout Taylor 5 Bout Taylor 6 Bout Taylor 7 Bout Taylor 7a Bout Taylor 8

Bout #2 featured featherweights Roque “Rocky” Ramos (0-0-1) of Escondido, CA going up against Tyshawn “Optimus Prime” Sherman (0-1) of Adelanto, CA.

(photo left) Roque Ramos (l) and his opponent on Friday night, Tyshawn Sherman  (r) pose for a photo at Thursday's weigh-in. On Friday, just prior to his fight with Ramos, Sherman poses for a photo with his two good luck charms, his wife and son.

(photo left) Roque Ramos (l) and his opponent on Friday night, Tyshawn Sherman (r) pose for a photo at Thursday’s weigh-in. Then, on Friday, just prior to his fight with Ramos, Sherman poses for a photo with his two good luck charms, his wife and son.

Every boxing fan I know is familiar with the Mohammad Ali rhyme, “I’m going to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.”

Well, Mr. Sherman must be a proponent, a flag waving crusader for this style of fighting. In his first fight against Guy Robb (who is now 12-1) he only lasted a minute and 28 seconds. On Friday night, against Ramos, he went two rounds and 49 seconds floating like a butterfly before getting caught in Ramos’ net. His defense of darting and dodging is truly remarkable to watch. Now if he can add the heavy hands to go along with that defense, his trainer who just happens to be his dad, might have a true talent on his hands.

Just prior to his match with Tyshawn Sherman,  we see Roque "Rocky" Ramos making his way to the ring with his support group.

(top photo) Just prior to his match with Tyshawn Sherman, we see Roque “Rocky” Ramos making his way to the ring with his support staff which included trainers Kalina Fernandez, and Tony Contreras plus dear friend Jack Ballo.

Bt Rocky vs Tyshawn 2Bt Rocky vs Tyshawn 3aBout Rocky vs Tyshawn 4Bout Rocky vs Tyshawn

During the ceremonial 10 count of the recently departed Pablo "Bronco" Armenta, his dear friends bow their heads.

(bottom photo) During the ceremonial 10 count for the recently departed Pablo “Bronco” Armenta, those in attendance plus his dear friends in the ring bowed their heads.

During intermission, some of San Diego’s top boxers were introduced (top photo, l to r) Emmanuel “Renegade” Robles who in his next bout is expected to fight for the California State Jr. Welterweight Title; 10 year-old Julius Ballo (So Cal State Champion, Boxers for Christ National Champion, Adidas National Champion); San Diego Boxing Promoter/Matchmaker Jorge Marron; former NFL kicker, stand-up comic, ring announcer plus boxing & tennis color commentator for TV & Radio broadcasts, Benny Ricardo; behind him is top ranked super bantamweight Christopher “Marvelous” Martin (27-2-3, 9 KOs); next, super bantamweight Jorge “Tito” Ruiz (4-0-0, 2 KOs), 21 fight veteran, super bantamweight Pablo Cupul, brothers Rey and Genaro Gamez. Rey is a seven time National Champion. His brother Genaro is in the 132 pound division where he won the Gold Medal in this year’s USA National Tournament. He’s also the current Ringside World Champion. 

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