BY: Rich Quiñones
Friday night fights at Dover Downs proved to be an overall exciting night of boxing as well as a night of redemption for one man.
When Edgar Santana stepped into the ring to face Michael Clark in a scheduled 10 round main event for the vacant NABA light welterweight title, he seemed different.
Not only did he look like he was incredible shape but he had a look in his eyes that he knew something we didn’t.
It did not take long for everyone else to figure out what that was.
Santana was back and his vicious first round KO of Clark proved it.
Santana wasted little time in dispatching the veteran Clark in the opening round.
After a couple of seconds of feeling each other out, Santana stalked Clark and after both men traded some solid punches, Santana backed Clark against the ropes.
Clark was stunned by several quick jabs, but it was a gorgeous right cross that floored Clark that brought the crowd to their feet, ending the fight at the 2:27 mark.
The tough luck Santana, who lost the same belt to Manuel Perez back in February, pumped his right first in the air, as the referee raised his left hand in triumph.
You can see and feel the emotion of a boxer who had worked so hard to get to this point of their career.
“I am back, that is all I can really say, everyone else better watch out,” a jubilant Santana said afterwards.
The native of Spanish Harlem also had one more message for any doubters out there.
“All Jr. Welterweight Champions better hold on real tight to their title belts because I am coming for them,” he concluded.
Going into the contest Santana knew what was at stake. “A win can definitely jump start things for me, I understand what I am fighting for and I work hard and I am ready,” he said moments before his stunning KO against Clark.
It showed. With the win, Santana improved to an impressive 29-4 record with 20 Ko’s, while Clark fell to 44-9.
Omar Douglas stamped his mark as a young boxer on the rise, after his dominating performance against Jean Javier Sotelo in a slated 10-round affair for the vacant NABA super featherweight title.
From the onset, Douglas showed his speed and power from the opening bell and never let up. Sotelo made the mistake of trying to trade punches with Douglas but was caught with a flurry and dropped in the second round with a nasty liver shot.
“I think he (Sotelo) might have broken a rib,” heavyweight Amir Mansour said ringside during the bout. Sotelo sowed heart and was able to survive the round, but Douglas remained aggressive, firing off with vicious body shots. Midway through the third round, Sotelo’s corner saw enough, and called it off at the 2:33 mark of the round.
“If you look at his body language he is hurt, I think his corner told him, try to give me one more round and when they knew he had nothing left, they did the right thing, live to fight another day,” Mansour added.
With the win, Douglas captured his first Regional Title, and improved his unblemished record to 11-0, but the talk after the bout was his ability to go to the body.
“I knew I would work the body and I am just happy it went well. I knew what I wanted to do and I stuck with a plan. I am so happy right now, all my hard work paid off and I just am very happy right now, and thank you to all my fans that came out and supported me during this time,” a humble Douglas said.
Sotelo fell to 18-12-2 with the loss.
In other action, Dusty Hernandez-Harrison proved too much for a game Marlon Lewis, dropping the native of Memphis, TN, three times in the first round of their scheduled eight-round welterweight affair.
Harrison dropped Lewis early in the first, but Lewis beat the count. Harrison continued to pour it on and dropped Lewis two more times before the bout was stopped at the 2:20 mark of round one. With the triumph, Harrison moves to 19-0 and closes out a very impressive 2013 campaign with eight wins in the calendar year.
Lewis, who was very vocal after the bout, saw his record drop to 6-3-2 but would like a rematch down the road.
“I moved up in weight to fight him, if Dusty went down to 140 I would fight him again. I think he is a smart and talented fighter, and has some good people around him and all, but I realize he didn’t want to counter-punch with me because I was so fast I would have caught him,” said Lewis.
Asked if Lewis would call out Harrison or any other opponent on social media again, the quiet and soft spoken boxer did not hesitate.
“I am going to do it again, I would love a rematch, I do not want to sound like the bad guy, but I was surprised they stopped it, after that one knock down I knew I had to switch game plans and I was ready to do that. He is motivated and a real discipline kid, but I think I have more talent,” added Lewis.
In other action, Alex Guerrero earned a very hard fought unanimous decision over veteran Galen Brown in a six-round cruiserweight bout that saw both men suffer cuts.
However, Guerrero suffered the worst of the two, with a deep cut right above his right eye. In a very entertaining bout, Brown looked like he was going to end the night early when he stung Guerrero with solid jabs and combinations. Guerrero, though, cut Brown in the third round, and Brown returned the favor with a right cross that rocked Guerrero. The fight doctors and Guerrero’s corner did a great job of limiting the damage of the cut and Guerrero fought through.
He is more active in rounds five and six and earned the win. After the final bell, the judges scored the fight 60-54, 58-56 and 59-55 in favor of Guerrero, who improved to 10-0-1. Brown slipped to 41-24-1.
Guerrero’s younger brother Fernando, who is the eighth-ranked middleweight was excited for his brother after the tough win.
“I am so proud of him,” Fernando said.
Rounded out the action, Mike Tiberi easily defeated last minute opponent Edgar Perez to move to 21-1. The lopsided six-round cruiserweight belt was not competitive.
In a four-round super middleweight affair, John Bowman won an unanimous decision over Jess Noriega to move to 8-0-1, while Noriega drops to 2-8.