ShoBox results: Yuandale Evans edges Luis Rosa in a featherweight war
Closing out the 2017 on a high note for Showtime, Yuandale Evans got the split decision nod over Luis Rosa, on Friday night, after 10 rounds of entertaining action. The featherweight contest was the main event of a “ShoBox: The New Generation” quadrupleheader and from the Masonic Temple & Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
They ended the fight exactly how they started it: ready and willing to take a punch in order to deliver one. Right off the bat, Evans and Rosa stepped into the proverbial phone booth, forgoing any feeling-out process, and traded hooks laced with worst of intentions. With both having the same exact mindset, every one of those in the arena had the same instinct to get on his or her feet.
Fighting in front of his hometown, Evans, 20-1 (14), was able to relax the crowd, after the opening round, thanks to his busier, quicker right jab and it proved to be what separated the southpaw as the fight reached the middle rounds. Before the fight got there, however, Rosa, New Haven, Connecticut, decided to just bull-rush through those rapid punches in order to get on the inside, where he had more success. Evans would get lulled into a back-and-forth scrap, once Rosa did get the fight on the inside and, while it made for a thrilling scrap, it wasn’t helping his cause.
Thanks to the sustained early action, both men tired out a bit at the fight’s midway point and because Evan’s jab was able to take over, as the pace dissipated, for the time being, the 28-year-old started taking full control of the fight, with his boxing. His power left hand was starting to connect off the jab, as well, but just when it looked like he could run away with it completely, the eighth round happened.
It was by far the best round of the fight and, in it, Rosa snuck in an overhand right to Evans’ chin and it drastically turned him from a confident boxer to hurt fighter looking for a way out. Rosa, 23-1 (11), smelled an opportunity to drastically turn the fight around and proceeded to let his hands go, mixing in body shots for good measure. He forced Evans to shell up in a corner, with about a minute to go in the round, but, all of the sudden, the Clevelander returned the favor with a right hand of his own. Rosa was clearly stunned the same way Evans was earlier and, just after it happened, Evans turned Rosa around and proceeded to wail on him in that same corner throughout the remainder of the round. Like many times in the fight, the crowd couldn’t help but disregard the seats for which they paid good money – especially because they knew anything could happen at that point.
After a ninth round that ended with the two butting at each other’s heads after the bell, Evans and Rosa quickly started the final round in the thrilling fashion in which the fight started. It seemed like both were having success in the heated exchanges throughout the fight but, in the end, Evans landed the cleaner shots more consistently. The two scores of 96-94 and 97-93 for Evans overruled the lone card for Rosa (96-94) and, although the hometown kid got the deserved victory, Rosa helped make it memorable.
Radzhab “The Python” Butaev earned a unanimous decision (80-72, 79-73 and 77-75) victory over Janer Gonzalez after eight rounds between two undefeated welterweights.
Fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, by way of Salsk, Russia, Butaev, 8-0 (6), showed good hand speed and accuracy in the opening round, and those assets sustained a reluctance from Gonzalez that lasted for much of the fight. Gonzalez, 19-1-1 (15), a Colombian making his United States debut, was only looking to counterpunch in the first half of the fight and, with Butaev sticking to his quick one-twos alongside his footwork, there weren’t many opportunities for him to do so. Gonzalez finally found success in the fifth round, in which a counter left caught Butaev lunging inside. The shot momentarily stunned Butaev and it gave Gonzalez the chance to throw more, making it somewhat of a competitive fight, at that point. Butaev, whose lead left hook often beat Gonzalez to the punch, eventually found his commanding form in the final rounds but did nothing to make this bout a notable performance, thanks to the awkward match-up of styles.
In a match-up of unbeaten heavyweights, Junior Fa quickly disposed of Fred Latham in the first round to keep his record perfect. The contest was scheduled for eight.
Fa, 13-0 (8), a 28-year-old behemoth out of New Zealand, saw an opportunity to take advantage of an apprehensive opponent and his urgency delivered. Before Latham, 9-1-2 (5), could show any semblance of warming up, the 27-year-old found himself bullied to the ropes and taking combination punches from the 262-pounder. Fa let his hands go as Latham shelled up and, once his target slid into a corner, Fa kept him there without stopping. An accumulation of shots pelted Latham’s chin flush and, just like that, he was out on his feet, forcing referee Clifford Pinkney to halt the beating at the 1:07 mark. Latham would’ve eventually fallen to the canvas hadn’t Pinkney been there to hold him up and, once slumped on his stool, soon afterward, even Latham seemed shocked it was over so quickly.
In the opening bout of the Showtime telecast, Charles “Bad News” Conwell scored three knockdowns of Roque Zapata en route to a unanimous decision (60-51 twice, 60-53) victory.
Fighting in front of his hometown, and for the first time on national television, Conwell, 20, didn’t let the spotlight get to him. A former U.S. Olympian, Conwell, 6-0 (5), was composed from the jump, working off the jab and trying to shoot a power right hand behind it. Zapata, 4-2-3, relied on his mobility to get out of harm’s way and even kept up with Conwell’s volume of punches but none of which had much threat of power behind them.
By the third round, Zapata’s portability began to lessen and Conwell started landing some serious power shots with his right uppercut. One caught Zapata square on the face, early in the round, for the fight’s first knockdown and he barely got up in time to beat referee George Nichols’ 10-count. Moments later, Conwell landed a beautiful left hook undeneath the armpit to make Zapata spill to the canvas. Again, Zapata beat the count and somehow survived the round.
Fighting out of Culpeper, Virgina, Zapata hung in there long enough to create some good action throughout the remainder of the six-round junior middleweight contest. Conwell unabashedly looked for the knockout and thought he had it, once another body shot dropped Zapata early in the fifth, but the latter continued to push himself in the one-sided affair, forcing the hometown kid to go the distance for the first time.