Mark “TNT’ Tucker defeats George “El Gallo” Armenta to Retain USBO title
By Ken Hissner at ringside (Dec 18, 2009) DoghouseBoxing  
Mark “TNT” Tucker, 13-0 (7), of Eldersburg, MD, retained his USBO light heavyweight title defeating George “El Gallo” Armenta, 13-5 (11), of Silver Spring, MD, over 10 rounds Dec.11th at the Shipley Arena Agricultural Center in Westminster, Maryland.

Tucker enters the ring with his trademark Mohawk haircut to the sound of country music while Armenta awaits his arrival with the Mexican flag and the same color trunks. You could sense these two Maryland fighters knew each other well. The crowd is vocal for both.

The 22 year old (Armenta 32) southpaw with the crowd yelling “TNT” used a steady stiff jab and countered his opponent with right hooks to win a hard fought decision over 10 rounds. Armenta has an iron jaw, never being stopped and never stopping to come forward up until the final bell. The two boxers gave the fans plenty to cheer about. Armenta was only having his second comeback fight in 5 years having started in August with a win.

In the 1st round Tucker came out controlling things with his jab and right hooks. In the 2nd round a straight left following a jab rocked Armenta who would continue to come back against the taller Tucker. Armenta seemed to start to get warmed up in the 3rd round landing several straight rights in a close round that Tucker seemed to edge out. In the 4th and 5th rounds Armenta seemed to start to score better. He ended the 4th with a straight right and seemed to pull out the round. He did his best work when he got Tucker against the ropes. He seemed to dominate the 5th until about 30 seconds left when Tucker came alive again.

In the 6th round it was all Tucker, who seems to feed off the crowd and is not afraid to mix it up. The 7th round had Tucker finally going to the body and it seemed to slow Armenta down quite a bit. Tucker seemed to outwork Armenta in the 8th round and all of the 9th until just before the bell when Armenta rocked him with a straight right.

The 10th round was the best round of the fight as both fighters were willing to let it all hang out. Armenta may have sensed he needed a knockout and may have pulled this round out at the bell. Both camps eagerly awaited the decision and in Maryland that is never quick. It took almost 3 hours for 24 rounds of boxing in the 4 fights. Only the concession stands were happy about that. Malik Waleed was the referee.

The scores of Gary Camponeschi of 98-92 and of John Gradowski and Don Risher both of 96-94 were all for Tucker. This writer had Tucker ahead 97-93. Only one of the four members of the press in my immediate vicinity had it for Armenta. Tucker does make some mistakes that I am sure his trainer James “Buddy” McGirt, the former WBC welterweight and IBF light welterweight champion and Mark Tucker, Sr. work on. TNT Promotions and The Maryland Boxing Club, Inc., were the co-promoters. Rick Glaser did a fine job of matchmaking the show. Unfortunately Emmanuel Taylor’s opponent fell out. He scored 4 straight knockouts and has probably had as many opponents pull out.

A 6 round middleweight bout brought together two boxers for the third time in their young careers pro careers. Prospect Jamar “Da Truth” Freeman, 5-0-2 (1), of Wilson, NC, seemed to always be one step ahead of Omar Sims, 3-2-3 (1), of Baltimore, and proved to be the stronger of the two. To his credit Sims, a slow starter, never stopped trying. The closest round was the 4th when both fighters stood toe to toe at times. Judge Risher had it 60-54 while judges Dave Braslow and Gradowski had scores of 59-55 all for Freeman who remained unbeaten in 7 fights. Except for sticking his tongue out in the last couple of rounds I thought Freeman reminded me of a young Larry Holmes in looks and style. Not to say Holmes has not done some showboating of his own. Freeman’s jab controlled the entire fight. He has had 5 of his 7 fights in Maryland. This writer had him ahead 60-54. Gary Camponeschi was the referee.

In a very competitive 4 round middleweight match Vincent Batteast, 1-1-1 (0), of Annapolis, used his southpaw stance to good advantage in dropping Allen “Pitbull” Perkins, 1-2 (0), of Frederick, in the 2nd round. He kept one step ahead of his opponent who never stopping trying. The knockdown proved to be the difference as all three judges had it scored 38-37 as did this writer for Batteast. Camponeschi was the referee.

The opening fight was a good one with a strange 4th round between cruiserweights. Philly’s Garrett Wilson, 7-2 (2), came in on a week’s since fighting 16 days ago and 14 pounds heavier. “I didn’t know I was fighting a southpaw,” said Wilson. Not only was the taller Adam Willet 1-1 (0), a southpaw but has had a very good amateur career. Only problem he hasn’t fought since his debut in January. Wilson has also had some amateur experience and is always willing to mix it up. Wilson outworked Willet in the 1st round but got hit with a good left hook in the 2nd, a round Willet seemed to win. In the 3rd Wilson started off good but gave Willet too much room and got outworked. In the 4th both fighters knowing the fight was on the line let it all hang out when Willet suddenly took a knee. The referee, Gradbowski, had no choice but rule it a knockdown. When asked later, Willet had no answer why he did what he did. He may have needed a breather. Anyway you look at it, it cost him the fight. His trainer, McGirt, was not pleased with this action rightfully so. “I hurt him with an uppercut in the round,” said Wilson. He needs to remain at light heavyweight. He has gone from cruiser to super middleweight and back up to cruiser. This South Philly boxer comes to fight. The judges were split with the decision. A somewhat distracted Waleed saw it 38-37 Willet. Risher had it 39-36 and Braslow 38-37 as did this writer giving Wilson a split decision win.

It was announced that on March 27th Tucker will fight at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, for the IBO title. Since Chad Dawson now holds that title I gather it will be a lesser IBO title. His opponent may be Ronson Frank, 13-0 (7), of Guyana, living in New York, and scheduled January 3rd to fight in Ohio. That was the word at ringside and not announced from the ring as the opponent. Right now they have the same records and it would be an interesting fight.

Comments/disputes/questions?
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Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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