Thunder at the Forum 2

Thunder at the Forum

BY FRANK DROUZAS, Staff Writer

TAMPA —Thunder rumbled once again at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Fri., Aug. 22 in a night of championship boxing. Presented by Panda 5 Star Entertainment in conjunction with the Forum, “Thunder at the Forum 2” featured five bouts, which included two World Boxing Federation, title fights.

In the first of the dual main events, veteran fighter DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley took on journeyman Dedrick Bell (12-20-1, 7 KOs) of Memphis, Tenn. Corley, who hails from the nation’s capital, needed only two rounds to dispatch of Bell and improve his record to 41-22-1 with 25 KOs.

The always histrionic Corley came out sporting a Mexican wrestler’s mask and continued his theatrics when the bell rung, chasing a tentative Bell around while at times even mugging and grinning in between punches. After a fairly uneventful first round Corley opened up in the second, throwing powerful right hands to keep Bell on his heels.

A single massive right hook stunned Bell, who dropped to the canvas after the punch. When action resumed after the count, Corley came across the ring at the wounded and overwhelmed Bell and fired off a fierce combination, finishing with another mighty right to the head that floored Bell this time for good, 40 seconds into the round.

With the victory, Corley notched the WBF North American Junior Welterweight belt. The 40-year-old has also held the USBA Light Welterweight Title and the WBO Light Welterweight World Title.  Corley has fought against such high profile opponents as Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Zab Judah and Miguel Cotto.

Thunder, sports, featuredIn the co-main event for the WBF Female Welterweight World title, Chevelle “Fists of Steel” Hallback (30-8-2, 13 KOs) of Plant City squared off against Victoria “La Reina de Guerra” Cisneros (11-16-2) in what was easily the most action-packed and entertaining fight of the night. The scheduled 10-rounder was their second meeting, as Hallback took the first contest back in 2010 in a fight that went the distance, winning it on a split decision in Cisneros’ hometown of Albuquerque, N.M.

Their clash in Tampa was an all-out war as a determined Cisneros incessantly charged the 42-year-old Hallback and took the fight to her, often pinning Hallback against the ropes. But for a talented and composed boxer like Hallback, it seemed to be almost a comfort zone. When backed up, Hallback kept tagging Cisneros with hooks and uppercuts, methodically scoring with strong blows to the mid-section and head.  Cisneros put her chin down and kept coming at her opponent relentlessly, as the explosive exchanges of both fighters drew a cacophony of roars and shouts from the Forum crowd.

In the third round Cisneros continued to dog Hallback around the ring but Hallback fought back like whenever she found herself against the ropes, dishing out frenzied yet well-timed punches. At round’s end Cisneros gave Hallback a deadly stare before retreating to her corner, as if to say: “I’m still here!”

The action escalated in the ensuing rounds and it became literally a bloodbath as Hallback’s dangerous, hard punches opened up a cut above the eye of Cisneros, which would bleed profusely during the rest of the bout. Hallback reached into her arsenal and seemed to land uppercuts at will, landing punch after punch flush against her tenacious opponent.

Even though the bloody Cisneros seemed ready to collapse from exhaustion in the later rounds, she held on until the eighth when the tables turned. Undoubtedly sensing her opponent weakened, Hallback took the fight to Cisneros for a change and charged her opponent, unleashing merciless uppercuts, crosses and straight hands from a reserve of energy. The spirited Cisneros was finally subdued as the accumulation of blows took their toll, and the referee stopped the fight at 1:49 in the round.

“She gave me all I could handle tonight!” Hallback admitted to the crowd after the bout, and expressed her admiration for Cisneros. With the TKO win Hallback earned her first world title since 2008.

In the undercard action Tayfun Tiryaki made his pro debut against Yasmany Calzadilla (1-1-0, 1 KO) in the night’s opener. Originally from Turkey and now fighting out of Houston, Tiryaki required only one round to stop his opponent. From the opening bell the 138-pound Tiryaki came at Calzadilla, cornered him almost instantly and managed to score a knockdown within the first ten seconds. With less than a minute left in the round a potent combination scored Tiryaki a second knockdown. And with only ten seconds left a vicious right hook finished the job, flooring a hapless Calzadilla for a third and final time. Tiryaki showed poise and composure worthy of a veteran in his impressive debut.

Thunder, fightTampa’s Lee Dawson (2-2-3, 0 KOs) battled Berthin Rousseau (1-8-2, 1 KO) of Orlando, Fla. in a fight that saw both Rousseau and Dawson swinging for the fences, trying to land big power punches with little or no regard for defense. Rousseau did put together some potent, energetic combinations throughout the bout, but failed to floor Dawson. Whenever Dawson managed to pick up some momentum of his own and lash out against his opponent, Rousseau not only held on but at times rebounded strongly, punching Dawson off him. By the last round the see-saw contest devolved into outright brawling, with both fighters firing off wild shots in hopes of landing a deciding haymaker. In the end, the four-round fight went all the way and the judges scored it a 38-38 draw.

Serge “The Haitian Assassin” Cadeus of Miami took on fellow debut fighter Yoeglis Duvertgel, also of Miami, in what was a snoozer of a match. Few real boxing skills were exhibited by either fighter, as Duvertgel spent much of the time either dancing around Cadeus or simply holding him whenever the fighters came within range of each other. Cadeus did drop Duvertgel with a bullet-quick left hand in the second, but that was the apex of the action, which too often resembled grappling rather than boxing. As a result the crowd, 1,800-plus strong, was not shy about booing the lackluster performance. The four-rounder was a unanimous decision for Cadeus.

Celebrity athletes in attendance included former heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe, football greats Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, along with one of Tampa’s own baseball legends Gary Sheffield.  Bay area native and American Idol finalist Jeremy Rosado sang the National Anthem.

To reach Frank Drouzas, email fdrouzas@theweeklychallenger.com.

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