By: Michael Sheffield, Photos: JD Meredith / Memphisboxing.com
A sweltering New Daisy Theater on Beale Street provided the backdrop for ESPN’s Friday Night Fights Friday night.
The broadcast included an NABO Lightweight title fight that exceeded expectations and a main event featuring two up and coming heavyweights looking to take their careers to another level in front of a national audience. The undercard featured two former Olympians looking to establish their own young careers. Neither would disappoint against two out-classed opponents.
Heavyweights Tony Thompson (33-2 21 KOs) Owen Beck (29-4 20 KOs) would plod through 4 rounds of a scheduled 10 rounder with Thompson gaining an early advantage he would never relinquish.
Thompson ended the first round dropping Beck with a right-left combination before the end of the round. Thompson would end every round hurting Beck before isolating him on the ropes in the fourth round. To his credit, Beck, who ended the second and third rounds almost going to the wrong corner, wouldn’t go down. But his corner would throw in the towel before their fighter received any serious damage. Thompson would record a TKO at 2:30 of the fourth round.
Lightweights Tyrese Hendrix (18-0-1 17 KOs) and Henry Lundy (17-0 10 KOs) began a fireworks-loaded fight for the vacant NABO Lightweight Title, by knocking each other down with simultaneous hooks. Lundy, would get the better of Hendrix for the majority of the fight, knocking him down a second time in the first round and putting him on the verge of a knockout in the second round. Hendrix, whose speed and power had been previously displayed during bouts in Tunica, had those same attributes negated by the speed and strength of Lundy.
Lundy threw everything he had at Hendrix and may have been frustrated by the fact he couldn’t knock his opponent out. However, Lundy utterly dominated the fight. Hendrix, on the other hand showed that he was more than a power punching fighter, giving as good as he got and possibly stealing one or two later rounds. Lundy would take the fight and the vacant NABO title by unanimous decision, 90-98, 88-100, 88-99. Based on his performance during the fight, Hendrix will have a title in the near future if he keeps performing on the level he showed Friday night.
U.S Olympian Gary Russell Jr. (8-0 5 KOs) would have an impressive showing against journeyman Carlos Diaz (10-22 4 KOs), who he eliminated in 1:32 of the first round. Russell wouldn’t allow Diaz to land anything before disposing of him.
Bahamian Olympic team member Taureano Johnson (1-0 1 KO) would make even quicker work of Ryan Bianchini (0-1) in 43 seconds of the first round.
Jr. Welterweight and native Memphian Marlon Lewis would take a majority decision 39-37, 39-32, 38-38 over Arkansas native Chris Gray (1-0) in 4 round fight. Jr. Welterweight Lanard Lane (11-0 7 KOs) would take a decision over John Brown (24-17-2 11 KOs) 60-54, 60-54, 60-54 in a 6 round fight.