Fights at the Fitz Full Report
By Tracy Morin at ringside, Photos By Wesley Ortiz, MemphisBoxing.com
On May 12, at the Fitz Hotel & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, Fights at the Fitz showcased successful pro debuts and veterans trying to move up the ranks.
The main event featured hard-hitting heavyweight Quincey Palmer (3-0, 3 KOs) and Chris Miller, who was making his pro debut. Miller was able to make his first pro boxing fight a success by using his legs and jabbing at the plodding Palmer, who absorbed nearly every shot thrown, thanks to nonexistent head movement or footwork. Though Palmer’s shots carried firepower, he looked for one knockout shot rather than putting together an offense–a tactic that went unrewarded in the four-rounder, as all judges (Gerald Deming, Mack Thornton and Reccia Mullins) scored the contest 39-37 for Miller.
Post-fight interview with Chris Miller:
What did you want to do in the ring tonight?
Fight! He had a lot of power, but I stayed away from that.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m not sure. I’m an MMA fighter too, so I do both.
What would you like people to know about you?
It’s crunch time!
The opening bout of the evening saw cruiserweight Billy Cunningham (5-14, 4 KOs) snap a six-fight losing streak with a victory over Chris Doyle from New Orleans. Doyle seemed unable to avoid Cunningham’s right hooks and was sucking wind by the second round; the accumulation of punches caused referee Randy Phillips to step in for a standing eight count in the third round, after which he waved off the fight.
Post-fight interview with Billy Cunningham:
What was your fight plan coming in tonight?
Attack the body, get some good rounds in, and use everything I’ve been working on in the gym.
What have you been working on?
The body attack, more moving around, and using the jab to work my way in.
Were you trying to go for the knockout in this fight?
He was a warrior, so I couldn’t just knock him out like I wanted to. He was real tough, but I hit him with great shots.
What are you going to work on now, and what’s next for you?
We’re going to keep going for more work on the body, being more defensive and having more accuracy. I hope to fight next month and get my record back on top.
In his pro debut, Donald Ward found a game and durable opponent in fellow middleweight Dustin Christy from Monroe, Louisiana. Ward lived up to his nickname, “Bulldog,” by unleashing flurries of punches from the opening bell and overwhelming Christy, whose main accomplishment was surviving the four-rounder (though he received a standing eight count in the opening stanza). The crowd stirred with excitement as the young fighter from nearby Memphis peppered his opponent with multiple-punch combinations and jolting body shots, and the judges agreed on the unanimous decision, with tallies of 40-35 on all scorecards.
Post-fight interview with Donald Ward:
Your right hooks tonight were really successful. What was your plan coming in?
My plan was to come out and work my jab, because I never saw him fight before and I wanted to feel him out. When I saw he was going for the feints when I threw my jab, I knew my right was going to land every time.
You seemed to fight in spurts. Were you waiting for him to come to you at times?
Yeah, I would fight in spurts and try to counterpunch.
Were you surprised he lasted the four rounds?
Oh, yeah. A lot of fighters couldn’t be able to take that. They couldn’t take it in the amateurs! I thought it was going to be easy, but he has a hard head.
What are you going to work on now?
My stamina, and keeping my hands up. I might have a fight coming up in Kentucky next week. This is going to be the next Memphis champion right here!
In a cruiserweight six-rounder, Joell Godfrey (13-6-1, 6 KOs) got in a workout against Leo Bercier (8-17-1, 4 KOs), using the match as an opportunity to showcase his range of punches with minimal resistance from his overmatched opponent. Godfrey came out strong (Bercier received a standing eight count before he threw a single punch in the first round) but then settled in to work his long jab and array of right crosses, hooks and body shots. The judges agreed on a shutout, all scoring it 60-53.
Post-fight interview with Joell Godfrey:
What did you want to accomplish tonight?
I saw the knockout, but I didn’t take it because I need rounds. I’m about to fight Guillermo Jones the 24th of next month in Hollywood, Florida. We’re going to do eight rounds down there, so I wanted to get some rounds in, get a win and tune up, and then get back in the gym Monday and get ready for Guillermo.
Did you want to work on anything in particular in the ring?
I wanted to work on my jab, set down on my punches, and try to be fast.
What are your goals now?
I’m hoping to fight in Rhode Island also coming up; Don King is going see the contract Monday. I want to fight for a belt, so hopefully that is coming up too.
The final fight before the main event was a one-sided affair between super middleweights Morgan Fitch (5-0, 3 KOs) and Dennis Williams (1-2, 1 KO). Fitch was able to use his considerable size and reach advantage to tag his opponent at will, especially with effective body shots. Though Williams looked hurt at several moments, he was able to strategically tie up and hold on to last the four rounds. All judges scored the fight 40-36.
Post-fight interview with Morgan Fitch:
What was your fight plan coming in tonight?
We wanted to just get the job done, go to the body and head. I give my performance a B. I fought two weeks ago. I’m not giving excuses, but I might have had a little fatigue from that. But we got the job done, and that’s all that matters.
Did you want to get the KO?
I never expect a KO. I wanted it, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t. I wanted to go out there and finish him, which I didn’t do, but next fight we’re going to get it.
What will you work on now?
Just stay working hard. We’re probably fighting again in about two weeks, June 2.
Do you have any goals for 2012?
I want to get to 15-0 by the end of the year.