“The Contenders” Final Four!
By Ken Hissner, DoghouseBoxing (Feb 14, 2009)  
From Sweet 16 down to the Final Four the cruiserweights have had a couple of surprises along the way going into the February 25th finale in Foxwoods, CT.

Since last report there have been 3 fights starting with the mild upset of Alfredo Escalera, Jr. 16-2-1 (11) of Puerto Rico, who tried to force his confidence onto Akinyemi Laleye 12-1 (6), of Nigeria now living in St. Petersburg, Florida before the fight but ended up on the canvas in the 5th and final round after being punched into the ropes. The fight was fairly even going into the last round. Escalera could not beat the count and was beaten for the first time while Laleye won his 6th straight. Laleye who would be considered a surprise to get into the final four is one of two from the continent of Africa to get this far.

Ryan Coyne had suffered a cut prior to the first round and another on the same spot in a winning effort. He was announced not fit to fight by the show physician which brought back loser Joel Godfrey 9-2-1 (5) of East St Louis, IL, who made quite a run of it going into the 5th and final round against Rico Hoye 22-2 (15) of Detroit. Godfrey got off to a good start with Hoye who started to pick things up late in the 2nd round maybe realizing this is not for 10 but 5 rounds. It was close from this viewpoint when Godfrey took a knee. Though he got up he knew the fight was lost. All judges had different scores of 50-44, 49-45 and 48-46 for Hoye who is a favorite in the show is the lone American to qualify to the final four.

Previously unbeaten Deon Elam 10-1 (5) of Van Nuys, CA, who was a surprise in the opening round was not using his jab as effectively as he could have and it cost him the fight against Hino Ehikamenor 14-3 (7) of Nigeria out of Queens, NY. Hino simply outworked him winning on all scorecards 49-46.

Standing by after scoring 2 knockouts in the first 2 rounds is Guyana’s Troy Ross 19-1 (14), out of Toronto who is on a 7 fight win streak. So we have joining Ross, Ehikamenor, Hoye and Laleye. Either Hoye or Ross could be the favorite.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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