By Joe Harrison
After 16 months of inactivity, Chicago heavyweight Mike Mollo (20-3, 12 KOs) defeated Billy Zumbrun (23-12-1, 13 KOs) by an eight-round unanimous decision on Friday night at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. Mollo took time off after suffering two consecutive losses against Andrew Golota and Jameel McCline in 2008, but returned to his winning ways in front of his hometown fans.
In the opening round, there was little action as Mollo patiently worked his jab while occasionally landing punches to the body of his opponent. Although Zumbrun rarely threw a punch and showed little fight, he did not seem bothered by Mollo’s connections.
In the second round, as Mollo continued to throw body punches, Zumbrun countered with a flurry of punches upstairs, forcing the Chicagoan to back off. This pattern continued round after round.
By the fifth round, both boxers were continuously smiling and nodding at each other every time a punch connected. Zumbrun was clearly bothered by Mollo’s precise jab, and would retaliate by throwing wild hooks, sometimes landing one, but to no avail.
During the final rounds, Zumbrun gradually picked up the pace as he tried to land his wild hooks while forcing Mollo against the ropes. Still, Mollo avoided many of Zumbrun’s attacks while continuing to throw jabs and body punches.
Eventually, it appeared that Zumbrun was beginning to outland Mollo, but it was too little too late. The final scorecards read 78-74 and 79-73 twice, all in favor of Mollo.
Also on the card, Adrian Granados (4-1, 3 KOs) scored a second-round technical knockout over William Ware (1-2, 1 KO). Granados immediately attacked the body of Ware, throwing punches that visibly hurt Ware and caused him to take a knee. Even though Ware was forced to take a knee for a second time from body punches, he avoided the rest of Granados’ attacks and survived the round.
In the second round, Ware found himself back to the canvas from a flurry of punches. He rose again, but a combination of lefts to the body and head sent Ware down for the last time. The time of stoppage was 1:12.
In addition, Polish heavyweight Krzysztof Zimnoch (2-0, 2 KOs) defeated Dustin Hedrick (1-4) by a first-round technical knockout. Only 40 seconds into the first round, Zimnoch landed a perfect right hand to the left cheek of Hedrick, dropping him to the canvas. Although Hedrick beat the count, he was still wobbly and the contest was called off.