By Jake Donovan
The ninth season of Broadway Boxing kicked off Wednesday evening at BB Kings Blues Club and Grill in New York City. The main event saw Luis Rosa fend off a determined Derrick Wilson to take a well-earned - if not a bit wide - unanimous decision in their eight-round super bantamweight battle.
Scores were 77-75 (twice) and 80-72 in favor of Rosa, who remains unbeaten and now tested.
Wilson traveled a long way from Ft. Myers. FL, but showed no desire to play the role of opponent. Rosa, who hails from nearby New Haven, CT, had plenty of his friends in the house cheering his every move as he darted out to an early lead in the opening two rounds.
The fight became interesting in the third round, when Wilson imposed his will on the Puerto Rican prospect. The only drawback to the visiting fighter's attack was his inability to stay on his feet. No official knockdowns were called, but Wilson must have visited the canvas a half-dozen or so times over the course of the contest.
Action was free-flowing for the most part as Rosa had to rely upon more than his slick boxing skills in order to get the job done. His purple trunks bearing "KO KING" across the back, nothing could have been further from the truth as neither fighter was ever in jeopardy of having their night end early.
Both fighters dogged it out to the finish line, with at least two of the three judges recognizing the close nature of the contest. Nevertheless, Rosa remains unbeaten as he improves to 12-0 (6KO).
Wilson falls to 9-4-2 (3KO), having now lost three of his last four contests.
The show also featured the ring return of former 154 lb. titlist Yuri Foreman, who won scored a six-round shutout over Brandon Baue in his first fight in nearly two years.
Scores were 60-54 across the board in a middleweight bout that was more about getting a win than making a statement.
Foreman's last ring appearance resulted in the second loss of his career, both coming in back-to-back fights. A sixth round stoppage loss against Pawel Wolak in March '11 was enough to convince the Belarus export to call it a career, the loss tougher to swallow than when he was stopped in nine rounds by Miguel Cotto in June '10.
His appearance on this card - billed as a "special attraction" - was all about getting in some rounds and testing out two healthy legs. It was mission accomplished on that front, as Foreman was fluid with his movement, though against an opponent used to living his ring life on the case.
Baue never came close to winning any rounds, but picked up the pace later in the fight once he realized Foreman didn't have any intention of imposing physical punishment. It made for fun moments, though Foreman was never in fear of losing a round, never mind the fight.
Chants of "Foreman!" towards fights end were indicative of his popularity in the New York City area since relocating to Brooklyn years ago. A similar reaction was found once identifiable ring announcer David Diamante revealed a shutout among all three cards.
The win advances Foreman's record to 29-2 (8KO), his arm raised in victory for the first time sine dethroning then 154 lb. titlist Daniel Santos way back in Nov. '09.
Baue drops his sixth straight as he heads back to Missouri with a record of 12-9 (10KO).
Lamar Russ was given the toughest test of his young career, but managed to remain unbeaten after a hard-fought eight-round points win over Jose Medina.
Scores were 78-74 (twice) and 77-75 in favor of the 6'1" Russ, who made his first appearance on the Broadway Boxing circuit. The unbeaten middleweight jumped out to an early lead, working largely behind his jab as he put his superior height and reach advantages to good use.
The banked early rounds proved to be just enough to preserve his lead late, as Medina eventually turned the co-feature attraction into an inside fight. Russ was willing to engage, proving his mettle while fighting out of his comfort zone.
The distance win snaps a two-fight knockout streak for Russ, each coming against unbeaten opponents. Still, the win keeps his "0" intact as he improves to 12-0 (7KO). Medina heads back to Mexico with his head held high after an honest night's effort, but with his third straight loss as he falls to 17-13-1 (7KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: