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ESPN FNF Report *Spoilers*


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Isaac Chilemba Steals the Show on FNF


By Paul Strauss: The featherweight matchup between Juan Carlos Burgos (25W 1L with 19KO's) and Frankie Archuleta (27W 7L with 13KO's) was billed as Friday Night Fight's (FNF) main event at the Million Dollar Elm Casino in Tulsa, OK. However, it turned out to be a quick and easy night of work for the once defeated Burgos as he scored a 2nd round KO. The veteran Archuleta came out looking like an easy target. His posture was odd and awkward. Burgos looked very much at ease, almost like he was just looking for a bit of work. The first time Burgos threw a right hand it appeared it was going to be a short night. The punch missed, but not because of anything Archuleta did. You knew the opening would be there again.


The first round proved to be uneventful, and judges probably gave it to Archuleta for that reason. He was just a bit more active. He didn't appear to pose any kind of threat for Burgos, though. In the second round, Burgos backed Archuleta into a corner and caught him with a so so one/two combination. Neither punch was particularly hard, but they seemed to dishevel Archuleta, and his knees locked up on him. He bounced stiff legged and got turned to his right. Burgo quickly took advantage of his out of position prey, and planted a nice left hook on the kisser. Down went Archuleta. When he got to his feet, he looked embarrassed, but more importantly he was wobbly.


Burgos closed in for the kill, but before he could land anything substantial, Archuleta fell to the canvas. Referee Gerald Ritter signaled it was not a knockdown. He wiped off Archuleta's gloves and let the action resume. Burgos landed a few solid punches and down went Archuleta again. This time Ritter did signal a knockdown, but again Archuleta beat the count. Burgos moved in again, but the same thing happened as before, Archuleta just seemed to crumble That was the fourth time he was on the canvas and that was the end of the fight. Not much to cheer about.


There was plenty to cheer about in the semi main event, though, which had two tall, rangy super middleweights matched up. Undefeated Maxim Vlasov (19W 0Lwith 10KO's) was favored over Isaac Chilemba (15W 1L 1D with 8KO's) but with reservations, because all of Chilemba's fights took place in South Africa, so there wasn't much of a book on him He had gone twelve rounds five times, and Vlasov had never fought past eight. Stamina and experience were questions.


As the fight opened up, it was evident both men had fast hands, plus Vlasov showed very good head movement. Chilemba was quick to move his punches up and down, and landed some good uppercuts to the body early on in the fight. Vlasov continue to avoid many of Chilemba's shots to the head, but didn't make him pay in return. That would prove to be very costly for him as the fight progressed.


Vlasov became a bit frustrated with Chilemba's style and speed. Chilemba used a good jab, and hooked off it, and also mixed in an occasional lead right, all of which kept Vlasov off balance a bit. Chilemba also continued to go to the body and when Vlasov did get in close, he wasn't able to muscle the bigger Chilemba around. It was obvious he wanted to push Chilemba straight back, but he couldn't for the most part, and several times Chilemba was able to spin him. As a result, Vlasov got a little rough when on the inside and "healed" Chilemba a bit, but Referee Gary Ritter didn't warn him, so it wasn't flagrant at all.


A couple of times Chilemba jabbed to the body, but he did so without first setting it up, and Vlasov just barely missed with counter right hands. Chilemba could have set a trap for Vlasov once he saw what he was attempting to do, but he didn't. What Chilemba did do though was to stay busier than Vlasov; although, hedid get a bit wild at times. His quickness kept him out of harms way.


Vlasov tried to step up the pressure, but for the most part Chilemba continued to befuddle him, and he stayed busier. A couple of times Vlasov dropped his hands, and wiggled his arms, while taunting Chilemba with his chin sticking out. He was doing so at a distance and was obviously trying to draw out a lead that he could counter. But, when Chilemba did punch, Vlasov would put up the ear muffs instead of slipping the punch and countering. So, it made one wonder if he wasn't dropping his hands because he was a bit arm weary?


The big excitement occurred in the eighth round, when Vlasov timed a nice straight right over the left jab of Chilemba. The punch caught Chilemba flush on the nose, and down he went. Chilemba was definitely hurt, but he managed to beat the count. As soon as the Referee Ritter finished dusting off Chilemba's gloves, Vlasov came on hard. It was obvious Chilemba hadn't fully recovered, and Vlasov was able to catch him again. This time the punch was a short inside right to the chin. Down went Chilemba again, and it looked pretty dire for him, but once again he beat the count, and upon rising he immediately tried to tie up Vlasov.


Vlasov made a mistake of not first going to the body to set up the final touches. As a result, Chilemba gradually recovered his senses, and started firing back. He was wild, but had to good sense to smother Vlasov as much as he could to prevent further damage. By the end of the round, he was landing a few of his own good shots.


Vlasov's inability to finish off Chilemba cost him dearly, as Chilemba continued to be busier, and exhibited a much more varied attack, piling up the points. Many of the rounds were very close, but the punch totals were heavily in favor of Chilemba. Teddy Atlas had the fight scored a draw going into the final round, and scored that one even as well, so he had the fight a draw despite the knockdowns.


The three judges saw it much like Teddy, but even more so. Gerald Ritter (yes, the brother of Gary) scored the fight 95-94, and judges David Sutherland and Henry Elick both scored it 96-92, all in favor of Chilemba. So, Vlasov suffers his first defeat and goes away with the realization that he was so close to being victorious. In addition, when he views film of the fight, he will undoubtedly see that he needs to put the counters together with the good head movement. A little more of that and it might have been a different story. All in all it was a very exciting fight. It's always thrilling to see a fighter to come off the canvas to win.


Part of the chit chat between Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore revolved around the spectacular left hook knockout by Nonito Donaire of Fernando Montiel. Teddy and Bernard Hopkins (back in studio) cautioned fans not to be too eager in designating Donaire a super star because of one great knockout, but they failed to mentioned the equally stunning one punch left hook knockout he scored against Vic Darchinyan.


The conversation continued with great left hookers, and names such as Jack Dempsey, Joe Frazier Sugar Ray Robinson and even Micky Ward were mentioned. A few more great left hooks thrown that could have been mentioned: Jersey Joe Walcott when he knocked out Ezzard Charles for the heavyweight championship. Or, how about Floyd Patterson's leaping left hook against Ingemar Johannson. Maybe a lesser remembered one is Muhammad Ali's beautiful short left hook against Oscar Bonavena. Or, how about the Executioner's left hook to the Golden Boy's right side? Have fun thinking of your favorites.




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