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New Mexico’s Holly Holm Keeps Title; Hallback and Hernandez Draw
By Bill Ortega
February 8, 2008

     
   
   
   
   

It was another setting, a different state, but the same results for IFBA welterweight titleholder Holly Holm in her win over Puerto Rico’s Belinda Laracuente on Thursday.

New Mexico’s Holm continued her quest to show fight fans that she may just be one of the best female boxers today with a workman-like win over Laracuente before more than 1,200 people at Pechanga Resort and Casino.

The fight will be shown on Fox Sports Net on Friday night- check your local times for airing.

Accustomed to fighting in front of thousands of hometown fans in Albuquerque, the redhead Holm showed California fans that she’s not just a desert apparition, but also a real prizefighter.

“She was a crafty fighter with a lot of moves and feints,” said Holm (21-1-2). “I was glad I fought somebody like her.”

Laracuente entered with more than 40 professional fights on her record and has a ton of experience against fighters like Layla McCarter, Christy Martin and others. But she couldn’t find the antidote to Holm’s style.

“Styles make fights,” said Holm. “Belinda has fought everyone.”

Holm was taller and used her reach and quickness to stave off each attack by Laracuente. From the first round on Laracuente dove into Holm’s guard trying to make something happen, but the New Mexico fighter was just too slick.

“She was holding a lot,” Holm said.

Holm used her steady jabs and movement to keep away from Laracuente’s combination attempts. Each round began to look like a carbon copy of the last as Holm built up an insurmountable lead.

Fighting in another state in front of California fans and judges did have Holm a bit worried. But the judges had it all for Holm 97-93, 99-91, 98-92.

“The judges scored it the way I felt it went,” said Holm. “And the fans seemed to be cheering for me. It was kind of like home.”

Hallback-Hernandez

It was the “fight of the night” with Chevelle Hallback and Melissa Hernandez intent on showing how good a female bout can be.

“That’s what I’m talking about,” shouted Hernandez (7-1-2) after 10 brutal but skillful rounds.

The vacant IFBA lightweight bout was at stake but both Hallback and Hernandez are titleholders already. It wasn’t so much the title they wanted, but the chance to prove to the world female boxing at its highest level.

“I think we proved it today,” said Hallback (25-5-2, 11 KOs).

The first round began with Hallback connecting with a one-two combination that rocked Hernandez and had her looking dazed. Then Hallback seemed to retreat and that was all Hernandez needed to recover her senses. The fight was on.

The Bronx fighter jumped on Hallback with her busy combination punching and when Hallback tried to retaliate, Hernandez would move out of range.

Hallback, a very athletic fighter with quickness and power in each hand, returned in the third round with powerful shots that once again seemed to hurt the gritty New Yorker. But she backed off again.

“I don’t know why I kept backing off,” said Hallback. “Maybe it’s because we’re good friends.”

Back and forth each round seemed to go until the final two rounds. Then Hallback seemed to realize she needed to dominate the last two rounds and stepped up her punch output. Big blows rained off Hernandez’s head but she refused to buckle under the intense pressure. With only 10 seconds left, Hallback blasted a right hand off Hernandez’s jaw but she survived by firing back though trapped in the corner.

The crowd roared wildly.

When the judges scorecards were read the fight was called a split-decision draw 97-94, 97-93 and 95-95.

“I thought I won the fight,” said Hallback. “She threw more punches but mine were harder and more effective.”

Brown-Sitzes

IFBA junior featherweight Lisa Brown (14-3-3) of Canada looked beaten and battered but she was successful in defending her title with a unanimous decision over Jeri Sitzes (14-6-1). The fans booed the decision.

For most of the fight Sitzes seemed to regularly find a home for her right hand counter that throttled Brown repeatedly. Left hooks left an imprint under Brown’s left eye in the form of a large bump.

In the ninth round Brown scored a knockdown that seemed more a slip. Sitzes remained in her attacking mode and might have even won that round.

The final round saw Sitzes land a stunning one-two combination that buckled Brown’s legs and forced the Canadian to hold on tight. It didn’t look good for Brown but she made it to the final bell.

The judges scored it 97-92, 98-91 and 98-93 for Brown to the surprise and dismay of the vocal crowd in attendance.

Preliminary bouts

Jennifer “the Razor” Barber absorbed a quick left hook at the beginning of the first round then went to work with some pretty boxing and razor sharp punching in stopping Arizona’s Handi Hernandez (5-3, 3 KOs) in the third round.

“After the left hook I kept my right hand up and threw my combinations,” said Barber (5-0, 3 KOs).

In the second round Barber landed a three-punch combination that had Hernandez teetering backward. She immediately cornered the Arizona fighter and rained punches on her. For a moment it looked like the referee was going to stop the fight, but he let it go on after Hernandez landed a left hook.

The third round wasn’t so lucky for Hernandez. Barber landed a left hook and saw that her opponent was hurt and piled on the punches. Referee Tony Crebs stopped the fight at 50 seconds into the third round.

“I want three more fights then I want to fight for the world title,” said Barber. “I’m only saying this because I have a lot of amateur fights.”

Former Filipina amateur star Ana Julaton (2-0) used a good stiff left jab to keep San Diego’s Carly Batey (3-3-2) from getting too comfortable and eked out a split-decision win after six rounds.

“She was tough,” said Julaton. “I tried to keep busy against her.”

Julaton, who is trained by famed boxing guru Freddie Roach, seemed the heavier puncher and unleashed more combinations.

Batey had her moments too but seemed to warm up a little too late in the first two rounds before scoring with her own combinations.

“Ana landed the heavier punches,” said Roach.

San Diego’s Batey had her best moments in the third round when she quickly stepped to the side and landed a left hook twice to Julaton’s head.

Note: We were going to hold off on the results but due to the results being posted on other boxing sites we will post our breaking story from last night.

 
     
     
   
 
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