(JAN 19) The Silver Reef Casino
filled half of the fight card on January 17th with women’s bouts.
Six women, three fights, two of the rematches, and two Northwest
belts resulted in just about everything a fight fan would like to
Molly McConnell stepped in to the
ring to face Tammie Johnson in a rematch of a fight last year that
though McConnell won, there were those ringside who believed should
have leaned toward Johnson.
There would be no such controversy in
this fight. McConnell answered the opening bell, met Johnson in the
middle of the ring and threw a jab straight and hard at her head.
Johnson answered throwing both the left and right, from the outside,
and while keeping her head down, plowing forward.
While Johnson was certainly the
busier fighter in the first round, if one counts punches thrown, she
did not counter McConnell’s accuracy and efficiency.
In the second round, McConnell struck an advantage in
the inside. While Johnson continued to step forward and though she
tightened up her punches a bit, was still throwing wide, McConnell
found the range for and the position from which to launch the
uppercut. McConnell popped Johnson’s head back a couple of times in
the round. While Johnson continued to pursue McConnell she was also
burning a lot of energy.
McConnell on the other hand was
content to let Johnson come to her, and when she did jab and move to
work inside. Even at the moments with Johnson had McConnell pinned
to the ropes, and was landing to the body, McConnell was able to
McConnell emerged for the beginning of the third with a
different look in her eyes. She seemed to sense that she could
control the fight, and that the shots she was landing were taking a
heavy toll on Johnson. Johnson, on the other hand, appeared tired,
but no less active.
McConnell seemed to land almost every
punch she threw, and when she backed Johnson across the ring about a
minute and a half in, her right hand found a target flush to
Johnson’s chin and dropped her. Hard. To Johnson’s credit, she
rose and on shaky legs finished the round. A lesser fighter would
have stayed down.
Johnson’s corner waved an end to the fight after examining her in
the corner at the end of the third. McConnell would earn the 4th
round TKO victory and the Northwest Welterweight Championship with a
focused and intense display of boxing skill. Johnson is now 3-2,
while McConnell climbs to 10-1 with 5Kos. Perhaps it is time for
Molly to get the chance to step up in the bright lights.
Merced Nunez faced Elizabeth
Villarreal [aka: Moreno] for the second time. The last time the two
met, in Oregon, the fight ended in a draw. In Ferndale they would be
fighting for the Northwest Featherweight Title. Nunez had the
advantage early in the fight as she covered up and pressured
Villarreal with body shots. Villarreal adjusted and used her height
and reach to keep Nunez from taking the fight inside. From there,
Villarreal used her jab to set up her right, and in the second round
she threw a number of quick combinations. Those Villarreal shots
took a little of the snap off Nunez’s punches.
The first minute of the third round was all Nunez as she caught her
breath and landed the harder shots, many to the midsection. Then,
Villarreal closed the round by returning to the combinations. Moreno
continued to gain momentum early in the fourth. Nunez had to cover
up to avoid many of the shots, and she found it a bit more difficult
to fight from a defensive position.
The fifth and sixth rounds were fought inside and on the outside.
Nunez took her game inside and when she did she scored. She landed
shots to the lanky Villarreal’s body, but could not break her all
the way down. Villarreal continued to move backward and fight on the
outside. She appeared to sense that she could not allow Nunez to
take the fight in close.
After six rounds one judge scored the bout 58-56 Villarreal; the
second judge scored it 58-56 Nunez; and the third judge scored the
fight 57 each. Another draw, and neither could claim the belt.
Villarreal is now 5-7-4, while Nunez is 7-1-2 with 2KOs. The crowd
was screaming for a rematch, and it could happen, but I don’t know
that these two want it right away – it would be tough to fight the
same person three times in a row.
Stephanie Eggink, of Ferndale, made
her professional debut facing unbeaten Brittany Cruz in a four round
featherweight bout. Eggink certainly had the local crowd on her
side, though as the opening round progressed, some may have wondered
if taking on Cruz was a wise choice.
The opening round was close because Cruz was often first with
her jab, and that kept Eggink from gaining any rhythm. However, as
the round approached its end, Eggink had figured out when to counter
punch, and she did so well. Once the first round jitters had
cleared, Eggink, not content to jump in behind the jab, used her jab
to work inside. And she was tough inside. She blistered Cruz’s
Cruz tired a bit in the third, the effects of the body work Eggink
applied, but she was still pretty accurate with the jab. That
however did not counter act Eggink’s continued body assault.
By the fourth round, Eggink had found her rhythm, and
virtually everything she tried worked. Her overall quickness kept
Cruz at bay.
After four rounds, all three judges
agreed, scoring the fight 40-36 in favor of Stephanie Eggink.
Brittany Cruz suffered her first loss. She is now 2-1.