Sun | Aug 20, 2017

‘Chop Chop’ cuts down Holmes in Contender final

Published:Monday | July 4, 2016 | 7:00 AMLeroy Brown
Newly crowned Wray & Nephew Contender champion DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley (second right) celebrates his victory with (from left) Michaela Francis, brand marketing manager, Schweppes; Gary Dixon, marketing director, Wray & Nephew Limited, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange; and Pietro Gramegna, marketing manager, white spirits, Wray & Nephew. The United States’ Corley defeated Jamaica’s Richard ‘Frog’ Holmes by technical knockout to win the 2016 Wray & Nephew Welterweight Contender Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday night.

Sparks literally flew at the National Indoor Sports Centre (NISC) on Saturday night as the curtain came down on the Wray and Nephew Welterweight Contender 2016 series. United States boxer DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley, who hails from Washington DC, won the title by defeating Jamaica’s Richard ‘Frog’ Holmes by technical knockout (TKO) in round seven of a fight that was scheduled for 10 rounds.

A large crowd that included Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Sports Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange packed the sports centre. In addition to the title belt, Corley took home the first prize of $2 million. Holmes received $500,000, Michael Gardener won $250,000 for third place, and Tsetsi Davis, $200,000, for fourth place.

Corley, who is 42 years and a seasoned campaigner, went into the ring with a 46-27-1 record and his experience allowed him to fight off a stiff challenge from the 28-year old Holmes, who exceeded expectations with a gutsy performance.

Corley was the betting favourite, but Holmes stated before the fight that he was fighting the man, not his record and proceeded to show in the early stages of the fight that he was not intimidated by his opponent.

After a very colourful entry to the ring, both men settled down quickly and there were several good exchanges between the two combatants. Holmes used a left-right combination successfully to win the first round and, in the meantime, caused Corley to miss with a lot of the punches that he threw.

They stepped up the tempo of the fight appreciably in the second stanza and indulged in close combat as they strove for ascendancy. This progression continued into the third round, but near the end of the round, Corley, who is a southpaw, made a strong surge behind his right jabs and quickly started to show signs of his full capabilities.

Holmes kept the fight close as they moved into the fourth round and became more aggressive.

To everyone’s surprise, a quick left jab and right uppercut combination shook Corley, and he went down for the count.

Later in this round, however, both men received cuts over the right eye and, for Holmes, this turned out to be crucial.

Corley slowed down the pace after this and made the cut his target. Not only did Holmes have to contend with the cut, but there was also swelling around the eye and he became distracted. He was hit consistently with jabs and the tide turned noticeably at this stage of the fight.

BEGINNING OF THE END

In the seventh round, Corley, caught Holmes flush in the right eye with a straight left and this was the beginning of the end. There was more blood and Corley turned on the pressure.

To give himself some breathing room, Holmes went down on one knee in his corner and referee Eion Jardine started the mandatory eight count.

Carl Grant, who trains Holmes, gave a signal to the referee to end it and he did. Corley, therefore, became the 2016 champion by TKO.

In the two other professional fights on the card, middleweight Kemahl Russell – last year’s Contender champion – scored a fourth-round TKO victory over Denny Dalton in a fight that was scheduled for eight rounds; and Michael Gardener finished his six-round fight against Anson Green in only 15 seconds, by knockout.

In his fight, Russell kept the pressure on Denton from the first bell, and in round three, shortly after Denton went down for a count, referee Keith Richards mercifully called a halt after two minutes and 23 seconds.

Gardener won his fight after only 15 seconds with a right to the head, a straight left that seemed to miss the target, and then a hard right hook to the temple that knocked Green out cold.

He was taken from the ring on a stretcher and revived in the medical room at the NISC.

In the curtain raiser – for amateur boxers – Shimon Gayle from Boys’ Town defeated Samuel Grant from Sugar Knockout gym on points in a junior welterweight contest.