Kassim Ouma Stops Clay in Five!
By Ken Hissner at ringside for DoghouseBoxing (Oct 7, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com  
Former IBF light middleweight champion Kassim Ouma, 26-5-1 (16), of Uganda, living in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, scored a 5th round technical knockout at 1:48 over Martinus Clay, 13-19-4 (5), now fighting out of Philly at the National Guard Armory Saturday night in Northeast Philly.

Tom Moran of Philadelphia Worldwide put on a tribute to the Irish like one that has not been seen in this writers eyes in many a year. From an Irish band to the import of several Irish boxers along with
bagpipes sounding “Amazing Grace” for one of the fallen of Philly’s finest, it was a night to remember! Don Elbaum served as matchmaker.

Clay started fast in taking the first two rounds by having Ouma follow him around the ring and landing straight rights off of a solid jab. In the 3rd round the southpaw former champion, loser of his last 3 fights, started to slow Clay down with a body attack that continued into the 5th round. Though it was not the Ouma of old, he still managed to drop Clay twice in the 5th and final round until referee Benji Estevez waved it off.

In the previous bout there was a major upset as Reading’s Lucian Gonzales, 8-4-1 (1) won a close 4 round decision over previously unbeaten Paul Hyland, 21-1 (4) of Dublin, Ireland in a featherweight match-up. Since Gonzalez took the fight at noon on the day of the fight it was reduced from a 6. Both fighters came out strong with Gonzales stunning Hyland into the ropes but being outworked otherwise. In the 2nd round there were good exchanges with Hyland the busier of the two. In the 3rd round the tide turned as Gonzales stunned the crowd with a left right combination that put Hyland on the canvas and obviously hurt. He did his best to hold on the rest of the round. Being urged by his trainer Marshall Kauffman, Gonzales started the 4th and final round strong with Hyland still trying to clear his head. To his credit Hyland was fighting back ay the bell but it was a Gonzales round. The decision seemed to stun Hyland as all 3 officials, Al Dorsey 38-37, Joe Pasquale 38-37 and Rich Hopkins 39-36 gave it to Gonzales. The knockdown proved to be the difference in the fight. Originally from Puerto Rico, Gonzales has been a local fan favorite and might find himself in Ireland for a lucrative rematch with Hyland. Hurley McCall was the referee.

In a 6 round middleweight match, Simon O’Donnell, 7-1 (4), of Galway, Ireland, now fighting out of Philly, had his hands full with Antonio Baker, 6-11-1 (4) of Orun, North Carolina, scoring a sudden knockout in 0:58 of the 5th round as Referee Estevez counted him out. Both fighters were using rough house tactics from the start. The smaller Baker was making his 3rd appearance in these parts after wins over Richie Stewart and Tommy Speller. Winning the 1st round Baker threw a right hand to the jaw of O’Donnell seconds after the bell which cost him a point and the round. In the 3rd round the referee would again take away a point from Baker for holding and hitting. The 4th round was the best round of the fight with both fighters finally letting it all hang out.

Baker was still upset after the loss and had to be ushered from the ring as he seemed in disbelief he had been stopped and wanted to continue, but by this time O’Donnell was celebrating in the dressing room.

There are times in boxing even this writer is ashamed of the sport and this was one of them. Lightweight Patrick Hyland, 15-0 (8), of Dublin, Ireland was given a sacrificial lamb in Elvis Martinez, 11-27-2 (5) from the Dominican Republic. Loser of 17 of his last 18 fights, Martinez should no longer be licensed. Hyland came out for the kill and finally dropped the defensive minded Martinez at the bell. Not long into the 2nd round Hyland again dropped the battered Martinez to the canvas. As he got up, referee McCall waved it on as many of us yelled to stop it. Finally Pennsylvania commissioner Greg Sirb called a halt to it at 1:24 of the 2nd round. He was about 2 days late. Martinez should never been accepted as an opponent for Hyland. Though stopped in 10 of those 17 losses, Martinez somehow went the distance with Gary Stark, Jr. and Philly’s Rashiem Jefferson. That could have been the only reason the normally strict Sirb could have allowed this bout to be sanctioned. It was so brutal this writer found himself turning away from the beating Martinez was taking.

Philly’s Jamal Davis, 8-4 (6) stopped a 3 fight losing streak to dominate Philly southpaw Chris Hall, 3-5-1 (2) in a 4 round bout. Seems Hall was quite outspoken at the weigh-in and Davis teaching him a lesson in the art of boxing that had the judges scoring it a shut out. Davis who lost his wife to cancer was dedicating this fight to that cause and even wearing pink gloves. He gave a talk after the fight with both his young children by his side pertaining to prevention in the ring that caused many a teary eye in the crowd.

The opening bout was a very competitive one featuring Tim Witherspoon, Jr., 1-1, posting a 4 round majority decision over Julius Edmonds, 2-3 in a junior welter match with both boxers hailing from nearby Fairless Hills. The taller Witherspoon was being encouraged by his father, the former two time heavyweight champion. Edmonds seemed to get the better of it in the 3rd round after splitting the 1st two, but Witherspoon had him out on his feet at the bell ending the fight and it seemed to seal the win. Judge’s Hopkins and Dorsey scored it 39-37 while Pasquale had it even at 38-38.

The Philadelphia Worldwide promotions may be coming back next month featuring the return of “Smokin” Bert Cooper, whose classic battles with Evander Holyfield, Ray Mercer and Michael Moorer thrilled the fans over the years. Cooper, at ringside, said he has been in training for sometime while being inactive since 2002. All in all it was a successful night of boxing for the first time promoter.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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