'Da Bomb' bombs Naugler
Ringside by Jacob Chavez
Photos by John Booz
Chicago fight fans were treated to an exciting night of boxing action Friday at the UIC pavilion when local favorite up and coming super middleweight prospect, Donovan "Da Bomb" George (18-0-1, 16 KOs) made a return to Windy City after more than two years, to face veteran Jason Robert Naugler (19-10-1, 11 Kos) in the scheduled for the main event.
This fight was huge step up in competition for George and he delivered big by becoming the first man among many, including Chad Dawson to stop Naugler.
Naugler started off with a quick jab and tended to follow up with overhand rights, but pretty much all of his arsenal was either blocked or dodged by George. George walked him down and also pumped his own jab with a minute in, but, like Naugler, he was unable to land anything significant. Naugler came out looking very sharp in the second, connecting with stinging combinations to the head and body.
George continued to press forward, picking his punches. Midway into the round, he landed a huge right to the head that dropped Naugler hard. He got up and took some more hard blows to the head but managed to survive the round.
Naugler came out just as aggressive and undeterred in the third, but with about 30 seconds into the round, displaying a great deal of waist movement on the inside, Naugler ran into George's elbow and was cut on top of the head. He complained about this for a moment but more pressure and accurate shots by George followed, prompting Naugler to back peddle and looking to counter. Naugler came out briefly as a leftie in the fourth, but George stuck to his game plan and midway into the round, connected with monster of a right cross that staggered Naugler once more. George immediately jumped all over him and proceeded to clobber him with power shots to the head.
After several had connected and Naugler was desperately trying to hold and block further assaults, Referee Geno Rodriguez stopped the match. Naugler tried to complain and convince the ref that he was aright, but to no avail. The official end came at 2:26 round four.
Figueroa loses decision
Local favorite Rita Figueroa of the (10-2-0, 3 KOs) had a tough outing against Kita Nikeya Watkins (4-5-0, 1 KO), losing a unanimous decision after six rounds.
Figueroa started off by walking Watkins down and being the aggressor. Watkins showed good hand speed, but was on the retreat for most of the round.
The second showed similar action but during an exchange in close quarters, a big counter right dropped Figueroa. She showed true grit by getting up and resuming her pursuit of her opponent.
Round three again saw Figueroa walking Watkins down and looking to suffocate with pressure, but Watkins displayed solid counter punching skills and good balance when delivering power shots. Watkins' confidence appeared to soar in the fourth as she came out letting her hands go early on, tagging Figueroa upstairs. To her credit, Figueroa pinned Watkins against the ropes in the second half of the stanza and unloaded her own assault-they traded violently.
Rounds five and six saw very competitive action. Watkins showed the higher punch output with more accuracy while Figueroa pressured relentlessly.
In the end, all three judges saw it for Watkins, scoring the match 57-56 unanimously.
Figueroa was rushed to the hospital following the fight after she complained about vision problems.
Ryan Smedick (4-0-1, 1 KO) of the super lightweight division took on left-handed Jeremy Lee Marts (5-9-0, 3 KOs) beating him by way of unanimous decision.
The taller Smedick maintained good range early on, walking forward and using his jab effectively. Marts was gutsy and willing to attack when in the pocket, but seconds before the first round ended, Smedick dropped him with a straight right to the body.
The situation got worse for Marts in the second, as another right to the head dropped him early on. He got up, but Smedick pounced on him right away and proceeded to punish him for the remainder of the round. Marts showed impressive heart, trading with Smedick for rounds three and four, making it to the final round. All judges scored it for 40-35 for Smedick.
The opening bout of the evening featured Russell Fiore's (3-0-0, 3 KOs) quick destruction of Jose Luis Hernandez (0-2). Fiore opened up early with aggressive shots at the head, but the taller Hernandez responded well during the first of the round, using his jab and unloading his own power shots.
During the second half of the opening stanza Fiore found a home for the right cross. As the second got underway, the two came together and Hernandez left himself very open during a violent exchange. A left hook by Fiore found its mark perfectly and dropped Hernandez hard. He got up on very shaky legs and before Referee Celestino Ruiz could complete the count, Hernandez stumbled back to the canvas.
The fight was immediately waved off; the time was :28 of round two.
Juan Gonzalez (0-2) and Antonio Avila (2-0, 1 KO) of the lightweight division did battle in terrific fashion in a match that was won by Avila by majority decision.
He showed the edge in hand speed and managed to keep Gonzalez on the defensive in the opening round. Round two favored Gonzalez early on, as he rocked Avila with a counter right cross. Moments later Avila came back and landed a big left hook that staggered Gonzalez. The two punished each other with heavy blows for the remainder of the round.
Gonzalez again started off more effectively in the beginning of the third with good combinations to the head followed by a dominant jab. During the second half of the round Avila picked up the pace and closed the gap, tagging the taller Gonzalez with multiple left hooks to the head.
The fourth saw Gonzalez adjust very well, keeping good distance and boxing well. Avila continued to pressure, but not with the same level of effectiveness. The judges scored the match 38-38 and 39-37 twice for Avila.