People’s Champ Boxing Delivers the Goods in Debut Outing
By Debbie Duran at ringside (Nov 10, 2008) (Photo © Doghouse Boxing)  
Every promoter has to start somewhere so Friday night might just be historical in the long run. People's Champ Boxing, former writer Mike Leanardi's brand new promotional venture, kicked off with a five-fight card that showed how much of a fight city Chicago (Cicero Stadium in nearby Cicero, to be exact) really is.

Concentrating on young, celebrated amateurs-turned-pro, "New Blood" had more "main event" than the filler one might expect from a card laden with relative unknowns. In fact, these "unknowns" gave a whole lot more than many established professionals with three times the fights.

The main event was an eight-round affair between Guadalupe Diaz and Robert Jones that topped off a card full of pulse-pounding action. Jones, 7-5-1 (2), known as "The Wolf” was just about as hungry as one but underestimated his prey in Diaz, 5-4-3 (1), as a lesser fighter, early on.

Jones opened the fight with a true, honest jab, pushing Diaz for a response or some kind of counter plan. The jabs were effective but Jones’ momentum wouldn’t last as Diaz would stem Jones’ offense with wild attempts at a connect. Clinches were frequent but as either fighter escaped, a wild trade would ensue. Jones was effective with the occasional hook but Diaz was feisty. Jones would make ground eventually with his circling after the jab but he also was a little too face-first with his crosses, weakening his punch control.

Round two had an early clinch with Diaz getting aggressive early. Another wild, tight brawl would open up. Jones found himself in trouble and served another clinch as Diaz threw shots into Jones’ ribs to break the clinch. Jones would get his pace back but Diaz was there to exchange with every opportunity, mauling to the end of the round. The third and fourth rounds were just as aggressive so by the time the fifth rolled around, the crowd was firmly behind the unlikely Latino welterweight, chanting “Diaz!” over and over. Jones became tentative with the jab in round six so Diaz took advantage of the measured approach in order to back up Jones. Jones’ fatigue started getting the better of him while Diaz only seemed to get stronger, throwing wild bombs and combos.

The seventh opened up with Diaz jabbing and reducing Jones to counterpuncher. This didn’t turn out too bad for Jones who was actually very effective on the retreat, taking advantage of a rushing Diaz. Jones would end the seventh looking good and punching in bunches.

Diaz’ excitement was brisk in the final round but his enthusiasm started to take its toll on his defense. Jones would throw more combinations but Diaz would lessen the impact with slicing uppercuts on the inside.

A wild night full of surprises in the heart department culminated in unanimous scores of 79-73, 80-72 and 78-75 for Diaz. Doghouse Boxing scored a little closer with Diaz as the victor with 77-76.

The co-main event featured light heavyweight/cruiserweight prospect Ismayl Sillakh, 5-0 (4), taking on Indiana’s Dewayne “D” Warren, 2-5 (2). Not much to report on here as the buzzworthy Ukrainian wiped out the hapless Warren within a minute of the first round with two consecutive left hooks to the body that shut down Warren quicker than the cops busting a high school kegger. At this very early point in his career, Sillakh is already the kind of fighter that captures the imagination. Having had a very successful amateur career behind him, it seems Sillakh has adjusted well, scooping up his fourth KO win in five total.

If you love heart in boxing (and if you don’t, face it, you’re comatose), you would’ve loved the heavies. That’s right, you heard correctly. The heavyweights were in full force Friday night when Chicago’s own Isaac Ruiz, 3-3 (2), took on the game Lance “The Iceman” Gauch, 1-1 (1). What resulted was a five-round brawl that saw a better conditioned (visibly) powerhouse in Ruiz against a mountain (and I don’t mean that in a bad way!) of will in Gauch. The fight started out with the one-fight Gauch picking his spots but losing focus as Ruiz’ steam picked up. Subsequent rounds were a lot of the same action which was all action. Ruiz tried his best to get Gauch out of there but “Iceman” wasn’t going anywhere. Not exactly a body beautiful, Gauch weathered through rude chants of “Ice Cream” in order to dig up the heart to give back to Ruiz as good, if not better. Frequent cornering would occur with either fighter gaining the advantage. Gauch, however, would always find a way to punch from extreme angles, defying his size and giving Ruiz fits. Soon enough, the crowd dispensed with “Ice Cream” and started cheering for the right nickname with the enthusiasm reserved for a true winner. Neither man’s job was easy but, admittedly, Ruiz got the job done only slightly better. By the time the unanimous scores of 49-46 on all cards were read for Ruiz, the once-needling crowd was booing Ruiz and cheering wildly for Gauch. Doghouse Boxing’s card read closer for Ruiz, 48-47.

If you glance quickly enough at Juan Dominguez, you can really see a resemblance to Puerto Rican legend Felix Trinidad. But “Baby Tito” is from the Dominican Republic but no less explosive. Marsay Buggs, 1-6, found that out soon enough against the confident Dominguez, 3-0 (1), but you couldn’t say he didn’t try. Dominguez opened the fight jabbing and was surprised by Buggs’ combinations. Buggs wanted to be no one’s victim but couldn’t keep up the pace necessary to calm the much focused “Baby Tito.” Round two opened up with Buggs immediately on the defensive while Dominguez smelled blood in the water. Dominguez started taking it to the body which opened up Buggs to a vicious right hand. Buggs dropped but beat the count, only to fall to a string of left hooks topped by a cuffing left that kept him down. The time was 2:28.

In a confusing state of affairs, Allante Davis discovered that not even running would save him from pursuit as it took two rounds for Oswaldo Lopez Escobedo to knock down Davis twice. Ref Pete Podgorski called the fight after the second knockdown at 1:55 of round two.

Throughout the evening’s action, former IBF junior lightweight champ Stevie “2 Pound” Forbes could be seen strolling among the fans, hanging out and enjoying the excellent action. Word has it that Forbes might just return to Chicago himself for a People’s Champ fight of his own.

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