The night started out at the Target Center from chilly Minneapolis with a rematch from a spirited first fight featuring Milwaukee prospect Adrian Martinez fighting Duluth native Trevor Marmon.
The 1st round was evenly fought until the fighters exchanged left hooks with Adrian getting the better of it forcing Marmon to hold avoiding a knockdown.
Beginning of the 2nd round Marmon got to the body but Martinez’s uppercuts, body shots, and several huge right hands seem to bother Trevor. Martinez landed another flush left hook that closed the show with a knockout at the 1:18 mark in the 3rd round.
In the second fight Iron Mike Productions prospect Dennis Galarza took on a fighter in Celiel Castillo who was making his pro debut. Galaraza, who drew a lot of attention from signing as a pro at 18 instead of chasing the Olympics dominated the fight with stiff straight jabs, left hooks to the head and body, managing to score a looping left hook in the 1st round stifling any minor rally that Castillo attempted to win by wide decision.
The ESPN2 Friday Night Fights co-feature pitted local attraction and middleweight contender Caleb Truax against tough as nails and late sub Ossie Duran.
The pace was slow but steady with both fighters using the jab followed by overhand rights. Early body work by Truax helped control for the first 3 rounds.
In the fourth Duran’s jab and right hand starting to get through clean blooding the nose of Truax by rounds end. Truax bounced back in the fifth by being the busier fighter combined with right hands to the body. Duran mounted rallies in spots in the six and seventh round but Truax drawing energy from the crowd landed uppercuts on the inside.
The 8th round was a swing round that had the best two way action since the 5th. The 9th round saw more uppercuts by Truax, both able to land their 1-2’s but Caleb seem to close out the last minute strong enough to steal the round.
The 10th and final round was a slugfest both combatants swinging for the fences landing bombs all the way until the final bell. Duran seem to land the bigger shots to win the last round.
In a bit of a surprise on the scorecards to most on media row all 3 scorecards agreed on a unanimous draw to the dismay of the hometown crowd who rang boos down from the Target Center rafters.
The main event matched the IBF super featherweight champion Argenis Mendez with his mandatory challenger Rances Barthelemy, who came in to the bout with a record of 19-0 (12KO).
The fight started slowly with the only substantial punch coming from Mendez rocking Barthelemy on the ropes. Both fighters flicked a jab Mendez using his to get inside, Barthelemy moving on the outside trying to find range.
In the third round Barthelemy caught Mendez with a hook that sent him crashing to the canvas. The rest of the round was filled with drama when Barthelemy landed a left that appeared to be before the bell and maybe another right, maybe, but clearly a left hand came after the bell sending the champion back to this canvas this time for good. The unhappy crowd clearly in shock chanted “after the bell”.
The swing fight featured a battle of prospects, 7-0 Javonte Starks versus 6-0 Limberth Ponce. At times it was uneventful with moments of exchanges sprinkled in from time to time. The judges were split with one card favoring Ponce 57-56 while the other two cards read 57-56 keeping Starks record clean in the “L” column.
St. Paul native Tony Lee put his Minnesota belt on the line versus Willishaun Boxely in a 6 round fight. The action started early when Boxley slung a looping right that scored along with chopping rights to win the open round. Lee worked the body in rounds 2 and 4 with Boxely buzzing Lee a bit in the 3rd.
Boxely began to fade late in the last part of rounds 4 and 5 as Tony Lee pumped his jab, scored to the body, and even threw in a little “Ali Shuffle” for his hometown cheering section. Lee won a competitive fight on all 3 scorecards.
The last fight of the evening was a rematch from a M.M.A. fight that Damion Hall won over Nate Richardson. Hill landed a few good shots to come away with the 1st 2 rounds. Richardson rallied in the 3rd round with hard shots to the head and body but it wasn’t enough to secure victory as the judges saw a split decision in favor of Damion Hall.
All and all the card from top to bottom had plenty of two way action and of course plenty of drama in the co-main events. It will be interesting to see if either of the headliner fights get’s a second chance for a rematch this spring or summer back on the ESPN Network. The card was promoted by Seconds Out Promotions, Warrior Boxing, and Iron Mike Productions.