The 2006 Friday Night Fights NYC Series opened on January 13th as close to 1,200 people came out in force to support another exciting evening at the fights.
The Scratch DJ Academy introduced DJ Jesse Feller to the show and the Scion half time show featuring “The Animated Breaks Crew” stunned the crowd with their high energy and athletic dance routine.
This time we kicked off the evening’s entertainment with Muay Thai rather than Amateur Boxing. With three Muay Thai bouts originally scheduled, the Muay Thai portion of the show was cut to two as Terrence “Extreme” Hill’s opponent withdrew at the last minute. Nonetheless, the crowd (including some of Hill’s supporters) was thrilled to have 2 exciting Muay Thai bouts to start off the night.
Ricardo Ponce from Nebraska managed to overcome a low blow from his opponent, Konstantin Andreanov to take control of the fight and take the 3-round decision. Andreanov and Ponce exchanged evenly and with high intensity throughout the first 2 rounds with Ponce taking control of the fight in the third round.
The second fighter from Nebraksa, Anthony Johnson, lost the decision to Al Karim Wactor from Pennsylvania, a veteran of the Friday Night Fights Series. Wactor who was far more focused than the last time we saw him, was the more aggressive of the two fighters. Johnson’s big right hand kept him very much in the fight. Both fighters landed effectively and although neither fighter was ever in serious trouble the fight was entertaining and opened many fight fans eyes to just how exciting Muay Thai can be.
First timer, Alyson Friedman (Church Street) showed tremendous heart and determination as she fought against the more experienced Kimberly Tome. Both fighters exchanged throughout the fight however it was Tome that gave a bit more and was able to take the decision after 4 rounds of fighting.
In the forth fight of the evening Basha Marguiles (Church Street) fought against Sasha McKenzie. In what was also her first fight, Marguiles was a very game opponent however McKenzie was more aggressive and was able to take control of the fight thereby taking the decision.
In a rematch of the Best Fight of The Night from The Rumble on the River, August 25th, Olade Thomas (Church Street’s own) and Mike Reno (FDNY Boxing Team) faced one another in their long awaited rematch. Thomas took control of the bout early with effective aggression while Reno was unable to mount an attack strong enough to take back control. Thomas was the winner after 4 rounds and the fight was the best that the crowd had seen that night.
For the fifth fight of the night Simone Levine and her fans were all disappointed when her opponent, Walley Wallo failed to show up.
After the Thomas / Reno fight the crowd was treated to a special half time show. Scion delivered The Animated Breaks Crew. After an incredible dance routine covering everything from “B-Boy” and “Popping” the crowd was energized for the second half of the evening’s bouts.
Yohei “The Specimen” Nishiyama (Church Street’s own) thrilled the crowd in his dramatic 3rd round stoppage of Paul Bishun. Bishun let Nishiyama and the crowd know from the beginning of the match that he came prepared. Both fighters kept a blistering pace throughout the fight with what appeared to be one long exchange from the beginning to the end of each bell. Early in the first round Bishun caught Nishiyama with a solid punch to the nose creating a steady flow of blood requiring several inspections by the ringside physician. Sensing the possible stoppage, Nishiyama managed to pick up what was already and incredible pace to overwhelm Bishun in the middle of the 3rd round.
In an extremely controversial loss, Friday Night Fights NYC regular Mohamid Habib dropped the decision against Sean Castro. Habib, known for his incredible power, was unable to use it effectively enough to take the decision and at the end of 3 rounds a surprised Castro took the decision.
In September of 2005, Joey Arroyo (Church Street’s own) and Victor Mantero fought against one another thrilling the crowd with their skill and intensity. At the end of their first fight Mantero walked with the decision. The two met again with Arroyo pressing the action in an effort to make it clear to the judges who would be most deserving. In most people’s eyes another questionable decision was made when once again Mantero was given the win. Arroyo took it in his stride and from the looks of it, this will not be the last time these two meet one anther.
John Ortiz and Mark Mclean fought for 3 rounds, both fighters were competitive however Ortiz managed to impress the judges enough to walk with the 3rd round decision.
Ed Iskander (Church Street’s own) and Lambrose Karolides fought for three rounds in what was Karolides first bout of his amateur career. Coming off of two wins in a row Iskander was eager for a challenge. And that is just what he got from Karolides. While Karolides was incredibly aggressive, Iskander fought back enough to make the fight interesting. After three rounds there was little doubt in anyone’s mind who had the decision and following suit, the judges gave it to Karolides.
In the second to last bout of the evening Jamel Spencer (Church Street’s own) completely blew out his opponent, Laquan Lewis. The fighters met at the “catch weight” of 138lbs and it was clear from the opening bell that it was Spencer’s fight. After about 60 seconds the doctors called a halt to the action and the referee raised Spencer’s arm in victory. This match marked two stoppages in a row for Jamel!
The final bout of the evening was also the final time we will be seeing Friday Night Fights NYC/Church Street Boxing Gym veteran Mike Adams. For the last 5 years “Big Mike” has been a staple on our shows and those closest to Mike knew that this was a big fight for him. In a rematch from the December 2nd Best Fight of the Night – Sean Mclean and Mike Adams met once again to test their skills against one another before the Golden Gloves Tournament. Mclean was clearly in control of the first 2 ½ rounds using his range and lateral movement to outbox and frustrate Adams. In the middle of the third round Adam’s, knowing that he had to do something dramatic to turn the fight around pressed the attack and stunned Mclean with a solid right hand. In the fourth round, Adams let his hand go and while Mclean was still scoring it was clearly Adams that was in control for the final round. In the middle of the 4th round Adams gave Mclean a standing 8 count however it seemed that it was too little, too late.
Once again, Mclean and Adams won the Best Fight of the Night with the decision going to Mclean. Adams will be entering the Golden Gloves (we all hope he wins) but will then be retiring from the sport.
If January 13th is any indication of how the 2006 Friday Night Fights NYC Series is going to be then our fans have a lot to look forward to!