Windy City Fight Night
By Steven Weinberg
January 21, 2017
Chicago- Warriors Boxing held another Windy City Fight Night, showcasing local boxing talent at the UIC Pavilion. The night including seven bouts, including an exciting match up for the American Boxing Organization super welterweight championship. It was an action-packed evening that included three knockouts and plenty of punches.
In the evening’s first fight, Chicago, IL’s Ruben Schobitz (2-0, 1 KO) faced off against Decatur, IL’s Joel Blair (1-3) in a super middleweight bout. It was a relatively uneventful fight, designed to get Schobitz some ring experience. The most exciting moment came in the first round when a slip by Blair was ruled a knockdown. Blair threw lunging punches throughout the fight, which allowed Schobitz to control so long as he remained composed, which he was. Schobitz won the four round contest by unanimous decision.
Newly signed Warriors Boxing fighter Jessica McCaskill (3-1, 2 KOs) of Chicago, IL, faced off against former WIBA champion Carla Torres (5-4) of Cleveland, OH in four rounds of women’s lightweight action. This fight was full of heavy punches thrown by both fighters with McCaskill coming out on top with a four-round unanimous decision. McCaskill showed incredible poise in handling the hard-charging Torres and did a great job working the inside with body shots and uppercuts.
In the upset of the evening, Cesar Ruiz (3-4, 2 KOs), Chicago, IL, scored a TKO victory at 2:59 of the 1st round over Martez McGregor, Maywood, IL (3-1, 3 KOs) in a super middleweight attraction. Ruiz overcame a significant height disadvantage by rushing inside and hammering McGregor by punching upwards with combinations that continuously hit their mark. Ruiz set up the knockout with a vicious right uppercut. It was too much for McGregor to handle, and after a being hammered with a number of combinations, fell face first without bracing his fall. On the standing 8 count, the referee did his job and protected the fighter by determining that McGregor was not fit to continue.
At super featherweight, Yousif Saleh, Chicago, IL (2-0, 1 KO) in his second professional fight, looked significantly more composed than in his debut back in October of 2016, this time against Luis Ramos, Carolina, PR (0-4). Saleh threw punches at will as Ramos appeared unprepared to fight, even turtling up immediately after a break. Saleh won by 1st round TKO.
The evening’s main event featured cross-town rivals, Achour Esho, Chicago, IL (13-0, 8 KOs), and Anthony Abbruzzese, Chicago, IL (5-5, 3 KOs) for the American Boxing Organizations’ super welterweight championship. In a blistering first round, Abbruzzese hammered the crowd favorite Esho with repeated body shots, then went upstairs as Esho dropped his hands. Esho had no answer for Abbruzzese’s attack. In the second, Abbruzzese again came out strong, but Esho, refreshed from the break, was able stay composed and rally, knocking down Abbruzzese with a strong right hand, knocking out Abbruzzese’s mouthpiece in the process. The tide had turned, and Abbruzzese, on shaky legs, was knocked down for a second time at end of the round. Smelling blood, Esho jumped on Abbruzzese at the start of the third, scoring an immediate knockdown. On the standing eight count, the fight should have been stopped, but the referee let it continue. Abbruzzese, clearly dazed, attempted to continue but was knocked out by Esho at 0:58 of the third round after sustaining at least 15 seconds of unanswered blows. Achour Esho, after being awarded the ABO super welterweight belt, called out MMA star Conor McGregor as his next opponent.
With a significant size advantage, Palatine, IL’s Shawn Simpson (4-0, 2 KOs) faced Tijuana, MX’s Leonardo Reyes (5-12, 2 KOs) in a four-round bantamweight fight. Simpson used his size to control, continually walking down Reyes, and landing hard left hooks to the body throughout the fight. Reyes was able to survive by keeping his distance, causing Simpson to attempt to showboat, which drew loud jeers from the crowd during the fourth round. Simpson won by a clear unanimous decision.
In the evening’s last fight, Josh Hernandez, Chicago, IL (5-0, 4 KOs), another newly signed Warriors Boxing fighter, faced Thomas Smith, Dallas, TX (3-3-1 , 2 KOs), in a six round super featherweight bout. Both fighters used their jabs to not allow the other to get in range, causing both to mostly hit air throughout the night. But Hernandez, showing composure beyond his record, was able to control and generally dictate the pace. Smith’s awkward style kept Hernandez on the outside, reducing Hernandez’s ability to throw any power shots. Hernandez won by unanimous decision, but his knockout streak came to and end.
The crowd left the UIC Pavilion pleased. Warriors Boxing had put together another great card. It only remains to be seen if any of the young fighters tonight will be the next Adrian Granados or Andrzej Fonfara getting the chance to represent Chicago on a larger stage.