On another edition of Friday Night Fights, promoter/rapper Curtis Jackson aka 50cent, celebrated his birthday with a seven bout card in Hartford, Connecticut. With the headlining bout between Eleider Alvarez and Allan Green falling out due to Green having food poisoning; the co main event between former featherweight champion Billy Dib and Mike Oliver was bumped up to cap off a fairly entertaining night of fights.
In the main event, Billy “The Kid” Dib (35-2 21KO’s) had his hands full in a majority decision win against the tougher than expected Mike “Machine” Oliver (25-3 8KO’s). Coming back from losing his title in his last fight, the Australian import Dib; changed his style from his last bout as he took the fight to the Hartford, CT native Oliver. Starting aggressive and looking to impress by stopping his opponent, Dib was inside for most of the bout but he didn’t look sure that he would have any problems as Oliver was at times able to match him with speed and occasionally hurt him with overhand punches off the ropes that had the fans cheering. “The Kid” was able to keep his pace and salvage a majority draw after having a point deducted in round two for a low blow and again in round three, with scores of 94-94 and 96-92 twice, definitely look as if Dib is going to have his work cut out for him if he plans on exacting revenge on Gradovich while Oliver has possibly rejuvenated his career with an entertaining scrap.
Up and coming Puerto Rican brawler Emmanuel “Pirata” DeJesus (4-0 4KO’s) looked to keep his deadly streak alive as he took on Rikardo “Surgeon” Smith (6-3 1KO) in a welterweight fight over four rounds. Looking to knock his opponent out for most of the fight, DeJesus started with a steady jab that turned into wild hooks and straight rights as he tried to exchange with his more experienced opponent. Demonstrating his power, “Pirata” was able to back his opponent up and knock him down hard on the canvas with a beautiful left hook-right uppercut combination that had the whole room standing and Smith temporarily on unsteady legs. Smith of Kissimmee, FL was able to survive and was almost dropped again in the last round but ultimately ruined the plans of DeJesus by not offering him a knock out win as the judges gave out scores of 39-36 x 2 and 40-35 brining the record of DeJesus to 5-0 with 4 KO’s.
The first televised fight of the night was between Mark “Too Sharp” Davis (16-0 5KO’s) of Baton Rouge, LA and tough African lightweight Robert Osiobe (14-5-4 6KO’s) now fighting out of Las Vegas, NV. In a lack luster eight round bout, Davis out worked and generally landed the better shots on the tough as nails Osiobe who had the height and reach advantage. Fighting as his nick named suggested, Davis was usually “Too Sharp” and ducked low and came up top with the better shots as Osiobe trudged forward for most of the fight. In the end scores of 78-74 78-74 and 77-75 were read out giving Davis his 17th win in a well-earned victory.
Making his second appearance on the East Coast after being robbed of a win in his last fight, SMS Promotions fighter Donte “The Real Deal” Strayhorn (1-1) of Cincinnati, OH brought out everything in his artillery to try and put out Oscar Diaz (0-1) of Hartford, CT. Involved in a shoving match and bringing bad blood in to the four round super lightweight contest, the two fighters looked to start quickly as Diaz tried to bum rush Strayhorn who used his vast amateur experience and skill to keep composure and pick off shots. Strayhorn turned it up though starting in the second round as he tagged the taunting Diaz with an array of hooks upstairs and downstairs as Diaz bravely came forward for the whole fight. Really eager to get his opponent out of the fight with a knockout punch, Strayhorn continually landed power shots and was able to hurt Diaz on a few occasions but wasn’t able to seal the deal with his strong willed foe. Overall Strayhorn dominated the bout to win by scores of 40-36 40-36 and 38-38 to earn a majority decision as he continues to impress in his young career.
In a matchup of fighters making their pro debuts in the super welterweight division, Rodrigo “The Young Lion” Almeida of Woburn, MA took on south paw David Wilson of nearby New Haven, CT over four fast rounds. In an entertaining bout both men came out swinging for the fences but as they settled down, Wilson, the taller man; was able to find his range and remember what he was taught as he constantly beat Almeida to the punch and generally landed the harder blows. Battling through like a “Young Lion”, Almeida was game and had his own success but was usually turned off balance by better footwork from Wilson who did enough to earn a unanimous decision for his first win.
The first bout of the evening was between local featherweight Nate “The great one” Green (3-0 1KO) and Micah “The Real Deal” Branch (1-6-1). Green a former football standout was able to use his athleticism and speed to land leaping punches from all angles to confuse and dominate his opponent Branch, to a unanimous decision with scores of 40-36 across the board.
In a swing bout at the end of the night New Haven, CT’s Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” Williams (3-0 2KO’s) won a unanimous decision over Framingham, MA’s Saul Almedia (0-1) over four rounds in the welterweight division.