Battle at the Boat 114

January 12, 2018

Brian Halquist and the

Emerald Queen Casino

Neither John Jackson nor Manuel Perez were names that many local fight fans recognized as neither of them had ventured to a fight venue in the pacific Northwest. However, a look at their previous records, and the slate of opponents they had dispensed, made this main event an interesting match up. Each had lost a de cis on at some point in their last five outings; each was coming off a unanimous decision victory on their home turf. Perez's record showed that he carried some knockout power, while none of Jackson's losses have come by the knockout. So, whether a fight fan new the fighter or not, they were in for a tactical battle between talented fighters.

It did not take long for the men to show their skill. Both were content in the opening round to step in and fire shots with both hands, then retreat, regather and repeat the assault. late in the round, when the stood close, they were able to through combinations targeting the body. Perez took control of the action in the early moments of the second round. He effectively landed his left to Jackson's lanky body. Jackson countered by using his reach advantage in an attempt to keep Perez from getting in close. At the two minute mark Jackson landed a left to Perez's chin that dropped Perez. He rose quickly, took the count and finished the round.

Perez recovered from the knockdown in the second and fought aggressively to open the third. He backed Jackson across the ring, and when he had Jackson on the ropes, Perez landed a flurry of punches that forced Jackson to cover up and then turn out of trouble. Perez's aggressive style continued in the fourth as he moved about the ring more to create angles from which he could shoot his left to land to Jackson's body. Jackson did well to slide away from Perez's heavy right hand.

Perez's steady onslaught continued in the fifth round, and as the round drew to the two minute mark Perez again had Jackson backed in to the corner. Jackson again covered up well to avoid getting caught with heavy shots, but he was not able to block everything Perez threw. Perez put in a workman effort in the sixth as he kept Jackson moving to avoid getting hit. When Perez got close he was able to score by landing shots to Jackson's body.

Jackson fought more aggressively in the seventh round and in so doing he forced Perez to move to avoid getting caught. Perez continued to target Jackson's body, but he was less effective in doing so than he had been in previous rounds. Perhaps because Perez's body assault did not effectively deter Jackson, in the eighth round Perez began to target Jackson's head. Jackson ducked out of trouble and did not allow Perez to land anything solid.

Jackson had a solid ninth round as he was able to land punches while in close. Jackson landed shots to Perez's body and he often coupled those punches with right hands targeting Perez's chin. The final round was action packed as each man fought to end the fight before the final bell. Perez probably fought in such a manner to end the fight with no doubts; Jackson fought in such a manner to end the fight with a win.

At the end of ten rounds, the judges scored the bout 99-92; 97-92; and 96-93 all in Manuel Perez's favor.

Working inside allowed Perez to land his right

Jackson's reach provided him with an advantage

Wright did most of the damage in the first five rounds with his left

 

Tacoma's Walter Wright had not stepped in to the ring to face an opponent since March of 2013. Even with a fair amount of training and work in the gym, it appeared that it would take more than a six round bout against Rafael Valencia to shake the rust. Wright lost in that last appearance, but he may not have been to concerned as Valencia, who has been busy as of late, had not won a fight since January of 2016.

At the opening bell Valencia backed Wright onto the ropes and threw punches with both hands. Wright did well to cover up, and when he stepped off the ropes he threw his jab at Valencia to slowly take control of the action. Wright continued to throw his left hand, both as a jab and a hood to Valencia's body in the second round. The body shots scored fairly often. Valencia also threw his left, but he was not able to follow that with much else, and as such Wright controlled the round.

The pace of the third round was considerably slower than the first two. Once reason for that is because while Wright still focused his attack on Valencia's body using his left, Valencia moved to his left to create distance forcing Wright to reach with the punches. The fourth round did not see much difference in the pace of the fight as Valencia continued to make Wright reach to land shots. Wright did haver mix shots aimed at Valencia's head in with those aimed at his body.

At the midpoint of the fifth round, after relying on his left through the majority of the fight, Wright finally threw an overhand right that caught Valencia's head and slightly shook him. Much of the round before that and after saw Wright continue the assault on Valencia's body. In the sixth round fans finally saw glimpses of the Walter Wright they remembered from a few years ago. He fought effectively behind his jab and threw his right hand when the opportunity arose. Midway through the round Wright threw a straight right hand at Valencia's head and bloodied Valencia's nose. Valencia had few answers for Wright's two handed assault and as such he resorted to holding when the two got in close.

After six rounds all three judges scored the bout 60-54. Walter Wright would win this fight by unanimous decision.

In what turned out to be the most exciting fight of the night, unbeaten Jorge Linares Montejo faced Anthony Zender who was making his professional debut in the boxing ring. Montejo's previous two bouts had seem him win by way of the knockout, but on this night he would face an opponent tougher than his previous two. Zender entered the fight with a 7-10 record as an MMA fighter. He had suffered his two most recent losses to Journey Newsome, the man scheduled as Montejo's original opponent.

The style of the fight was established win the opening moments of the first round. Zender would charge in and throw heavy shots, usually with his right hand. Montejo would box, patiently throwing his jab and occasionally following that with his right. Two minutes in to the round Zender threw a straight right that caught Montejo's head and the punch dropped Montejo. While Montejo stood quickly and listened to the count, he became aware that this MMA fighter would not be put away with ease. Montejo had a good second round, again showing that he could out box Zender, but that did not mean that Zender could not score behind his heavy right hand punches.

Montejo continued to box well in the third round. he effectively shot his jab to make Zender back off, and when Zender got close, Montejo shot his right to Zender's body. At the midpoint of the round Zender was penalized one point for holding Montejo's head while throwing punches. That evened the round as Zender was throwing fewer punches trough the round while Montejo seemed to be gathering some momentum. the fourth round was close. Both men fought through being tired. Montejo controlled the early portions of the round as he was able to catch Zender with punches to Zender's head. Zender fought furiously in the closing minute as he returned to throwing his heavy right hand at Montejo's head, causing Montejo to step back to avoid being dropped again.

At the end of the four rounds all three judges scored the fight 38-36 in favor of Anthony Zender.

Zender threw hard right hands through the fight

Torres (left) dropped Varner to end the fight

While Eduardo Torres' bout against Chris Varner was entertaining, the events prior to the opening bell may have been the most exciting. Varner, an MMA fighter making his professional debut made his walk to the ring shouting. Then when he entered the ring he marched over to Torres corner and looked to go nose to nose with Torres. Torres stood his ground, albeit rather amused. The referee directed Varner back to his corner.

When the bell sounded to open the fight Varner ran to the middle of the ring and began to throw wildly at Torres. Initially confused by the wild antics, Torres could do little but cover up to avoid being caught. Once Torres saw that Varner was not going to move out of the way, Torres began to shoot his jab. Nearly every one of them landed on Varner's head. Torres then threw punches to Varner's body. Nearly every one of them landed. When Torres put together a right to the body and a left to the head he dropped Varner to the canvas.

The fight ended at :42 of the opening round as Torres would claim the knockout victory.

Fatlum Zhuta was scheduled to fight Kian Heidari, but instead found himself in the ring with Eddie Hunter, a man that had not fought since April of 2015. Zhuta has yet to lose a fight while Hunter, prior to the long layoff had dropped four straight, all against tough opponents with winning records. Zhuta's intensity was evident from the moment the referee called the men to the center of the ring to give them instructions. Hunter, as he always has been, stood calm.

the opening of the fight mirrored the action of the instructions. zhuta came out swinging and throwing heavy shots as if to end the bout quickly. Hunter calmly retreated and moved out of trouble. That tactic would work for only a short period. Zhuta then jumped towards Hunter and backed him in to the ropes. While there, Zhuta landed a right and followed that with a left that dropped Hunter to the canvas. The referee began the count, but as Hunter found it difficult to sit up, the referee waved the fight to an end.

Zhuta would claim the knockout win at :39 of the opening round to remain unbeaten.

Zhuta would connect with the right to Hunter's body

Villanueva loads up his left

 

Carlos Villanueva and Alex Cazac opened the night in a four round cruiser weight fight. Both men have been in tough fights as of late and so they were each anxious for a win.

The first round opened in a traditional boxing manner with each man throwing jabs to get the measure of the other. Villanueva threw at a faster pace and as such he was able to control the movement in the round. As the round drew to a close both men started to open up the assault and as such there were more combinations and a few shots to the body thrown. the second round was solid for both men. Villanueva was able to sneak a few more shots through Cazac's defense, but Cazac effectively threw his right hand at Villanueva's body and he was able to score doing so.

In the third round the men focused their attack on the other's body. They abandoned the jab in favor of combinations and counter punches. Cazac had a solid fourth round as he kept busy throughout. Cazac threw a number of shots to Villanueva's body and as such he forced Villanueva to keep moving to avoid getting caught. When the men stepped in close it was Villanueva who had to hold to avoid taking shots to the ribs.

After four rounds one judge scored the fight 39-37 for Cazac, the other two scored it 39-37 for Villanueva who would claim the win by way of split decision.

Kenny Ellis, Brian Halquist and Walter Wright celebrate Wright's Victory