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Napoleon Decision Watkins on Uprising Card
by Bernie McCoy
July 23,  2016
Courtesy Photo:  Napoleon

(JULY 23)   Alicia Napoleon won a unanimous decision over Kita Watkins, in a six round middleweight bout, on the top of Ronson Frank's Uprising Promotions' action packed seven fight card at the Five Star Banquet Hall in Long Island City in Queens, NY, on Friday night. Napoleon, 155, raised her record to 7-0 while the veteran Watkins, 154, dropped to 7-14.

Watkins who had been absent from the ring for slightly over a year, came to the Queens bout having lost her previous five fights, although the last two bouts were UBF title fights against highly regarded Tori Nelson, indicative of the Tyler, TX fighter's ten year career of being in with many of the quality fighters in the middleweight class.

Watkins needed all that accumulated experience in the first two stanzas as Napoleon came storming out of her corner, looking to make the main go of the evening a brief affair. Watkins parried Napoleon's aggressiveness with backward movement and a flicking left jab, but seemed to be deep into a survival mode as the first four minutes of the bout ticked by with Napoleon in complete control.

In the succeeding rounds, Watkins, like a veteran fighter, gathered herself, sharpened her jab and had some good moments in both the third and fourth rounds. As evidence of this turnaround, Napoleon incurred a slight abrasion over her left eye as a result of a Watkins flurry in a neutral corner. Napoleon, between rounds, kept reassuring her corner and, subsequently, the ring doctors along with referee Steve Smoger that the nick was of little consequence.

Napoleon gave evidence of that lack of concern in the fifth and sixth rounds as she quickened the pace, following Watkins around the ring, trying to end the contest before the final bell. To her credit, Watkins maintained her experienced cool and weathered Napoleon's storms of offensive flurries which had the raucous, pro-Napoleon crowd on it's feet as the Long Island fighter closed out the bout, strongly. The scorecards accurately reflected the tenor of the contest, chiming a 60-54, 59-55 (2X) toll for the clear winner.

Next for Napoleon? She confronts a problem that has seemed to plague almost all female middleweight fighters, dating back to Laila Ali; the dearth of quality competition, particularly in this country. Kali Reis, the WBC titleholder, looms large as a possible future match up and given Napoleon manger, Brian Cohen's penchant for eschewing a long gestation period of "carefully selected" match-ups for his up and coming fighters, that would appear a logical ring destination for Napoleon. She currently has a very sizable following in the metro New York area, seems to be a comfortable media spokesperson for the sport (she was recently featured in a New York Magazine profile) and she fits comfortably into the label of "developing talent in the ring, seems to get better each time out." And that's a category that the sport needs as much as it can get.

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