By Cliff Rold
26-year old Jr. Welterweight Regis Prograis (16-0, 13 KO), 140, of Houston, Texas, picked up his second straight over another undefeated prospect with a lopsided eighth round stoppage of 24-year old Abel Ramos (14-1-2, 9 KO), 139, of Casa Grande, Arizona, in the main event on Friday night at the Bayou Event Center in Houston, Texas. The fight lingered on for more rounds than it need have but allowed Prograis to garner the experience of rounds. The referee was Laurence Cole.
Prograis put on a clinical boxing exhibition from the outset, befuddling Ramos from the southpaw stance and beating him to the punch with ease. In the fifth, an accidental clash of heads opened a cut over the right eye of Ramos. The ring doctor deemed he could continue. The sight of blood brought out the vicious side of Prograis.
Coming forward, he beat Ramos up for the first two minutes of the round and had the crimson flowing from the cut and badly bruised eye. The ring doctor took another look and again opted to let it go on. Ramos dug in and threw a little more in the final minute and his corner implored him for more effort prior to the seventh.
Ramos did his best for the next two rounds, but his best mostly just ended with him taking a beating. Claiming he couldn’t see, Ramos was halted in the corner prior to the start of the ninth round. It was thorough domination from Prograis who increasingly has the look of a serious future contender.
In the final bout before the main event, unheralded 28-year old Kosovo-born Jr. lightweight Dardan Zenunaj (11-1, 9 KO), 131 ½, of Braine le Comte, Hainaut, Belgium, scored knockdowns in round four and seven, leaving the corner of previously undefeated 26-year old Bryant Cruz (16-1, 8 KO), 132 ¾, of Port Chester, New York, to stop the fight prior to the start of the eighth. It was Zenunaj’s first start since November of 2014. Cruz battled back hard after the knockdown of the fourth but couldn’t answer the sharper shots of Zenunaj. The referee was Sam Garza.
Prior to the main event, there was another pair of undefeated fighters on tap, this time in the middleweight division.
31-year old Steve Rolls (13-0, 7 KO), 159 ½, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, came off the floor in the third to score a rousing stoppage in four of 21-year old UK native Steed Woodall (9-1-1, 6 KO), 159 ¼, of Miami Florida. Woodall’s knockdown came awkwardly, catching Rolls with a left behind the as both men were moving towards one another. Rolls’ response was more definite. He hurt Woodall with a flush right and followed up with a torrent of punches, forcing referee Laurence Cole to step in and save the standing but defenseless Woodall at 2:46 of round four.
The night’s first clash of undefeated battlers came in the televised opener.
22-year old Russian Jr. welterweight prospect Ivan Baranchyk (9-0, 8 KO), 139 ¼, of Brooklyn, New York, scored the fifth first round knockout of his nascent career, going through 25-year old Shadi Shawareb (9-1-2, 5 KO), 141 ¾, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Baranchyk got the job done with an echoing right hand and a big left to put Shawareb on the deck. Shawareb was waved off by referee Sam Garza at the 2:28 mark and was still flat on his back minutes after the fight had ended and got a round of applause from the crowd when he made it to his stool.
The card was televised in the US on Showtime as part of its “ShoBox” series, promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]