Holmes too tough for T&T's Azore
Richard 'Frog' Holmes had his numerous and vociferous supporters cheering with glee at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night as he fought his way to a unanimous decision over Trinidad and Tobago's Irwan Azore. Judges Lindell Allen and Eion Jardine scored the fight 49-46, while judge Laurence Neufville had it 50-45.
Holmes, who was seeded at No. 3 after the preliminary round, has now claimed the third semi-final spot in the competition and has set up another clash with Tsetsi Davis, the No. 2 seeded boxer. The last quarter-final bout between American Demarcus 'Chop Chop' Corley and Revlon Lake will take place next Wednesday night.
Despite the unanimous decision, Holmes had to work very hard for his victory, and every round was close and hard fought. In the end, it was the aggressiveness that Holmes showed throughout the fight that paved the way for his victory. Azore was in a defensive groove for most of the night and his infrequent forays did not give the judges any reason to vote for him after the first round.
The first minute of the fight saw Holmes and Azore engaging in a feeling-out process, with Holmes trying to set the pace. Azore kept low and tried to find the mark with his jabs, while Holmes made the body his target. Azore was able to score with a few jabs and hooks to the body and head, while Holmes tried to find his range, with limited success.
Shortly after the second round started, Azore literally drew first blood, as a straight left followed quickly afterwards by an accidental butting of the two heads left Holmes with a gash on his right eyebrow. Blood flowed freely, and referee Peter Richards stopped the action and asked ringside physician Dr Andre McDonald to take a look at the injury. He signalled that although there was damage, the fight could continue.
Holmes showed his anxiety on the resumption and stepped up the pace of his attacks. Azore's response was to initiate a lot of clinches, and the crowd booed and urged him to fight. Holmes stepped up the pace in the third and kept Azore on the defensive throughout the round. Holmes fought in spurts and drew applause from the crowd when he successfully landed the necessary punches to clinch the round.
There was intermittent bleeding from the cut, but never enough to give a hint of a stoppage. As the bell for the final round sounded, Holmes moved in resolutely, and with cheers from the crowd of "Frog! Frog! Frog!" ringing in his ears, he kept the pressure on his opponent, and left his fans pleased with his performance.
Holmes has now put himself in line for some of the prize money that is at stake in the competition. The winner will take home $2 million, the runner-up $500, 000, third place $250,000, and fourth place $200,000.
It was a good night for Bruising Gym as, apart from Holmes winning his fight, two amateurs from the gym were also successful. Light heavyweight Omar Campbell scored a 43 seconds first-round knockout victory over Sugar Olympic gym's Oshane Campbell, and their welterweight boxer, Shavon Lindo, defeated Raheim Pitter from Boys' Town, who was disqualified in the third round for persistent holding.