FRIDAY NIGHT FURY: Louisiana fighters thrive with four wins out of five fights

By: SCOTT JOINER
CHARENTON — Prior to the lightweight title fight on Friday at The Pavilion at Cypress Bayou Casino four fights took place with three ending in knockouts and one going four rounds for a decision.

All four fights involved Louisiana-based brawlers with all but one coming away victorious.

The most dominant performance was from Lafayette’s Bailey Bobbit, who won midway through the first round by TKO after sending Cleo Rice to the mat once and kept plugging away when the bout was restarted. The fight was quickly stopped when Rice appeared to be dazed and wasn’t defending himself.

Once the fight stopped, Rice tried to lean against the ropes and fell face first into the mat.

Rice entered the fight winless at 0-3 and had an awkward approach that Bobbit had to adjust to.

“I don’t really spar anybody like that, they’re mostly more skilled opponents,” Bobbit said. “It is hard when you get an unorthodox fighter in there. It kind of throws you off a little bit. I hadn’t been in the ring since March so I was a little over-excited.”

The winless record of Rice made the fight a must-win for Bobbit and he didn’t disappoint.

“It’s hard, it’s good to get in there and get active, but you have a lot to lose with a good record and a guy coming in like that with no wins really,” Bobbit said. “But anybody that has the confidence to get in that ring with you — they can end your night real quick. You have to respect everybody.”

Bobbit is now 5-1 overall and said that he’s fought locally but never at a place as nice as The Pavilion.

“This is unbelievable, I’ve only fought close to home but in a casino like this — we’ve been treated five-star all week,” Bobbit said.

The first knockout of the night came in the second fight as Josh Joseph from Breaux Bridge improved to 3-0 with two knockouts in a first-round win over Gerald Fisher.

Fisher was 1-2 coming into the bout and was quickly knocked out under a minute into the round.

A right uppercut brought Fisher down and he was unable to continue after the hard fall.

“I didn’t think it was going to land like that, especially the second one,” Joseph said. “It feels good (to be undefeated). I’m going to try and stay undefeated.”

Joseph didn’t expect to win so quickly.

“No, not really, but I work hard in the gym and just do what my coach tells me,” Joseph said. “At first I was trying to feel him out, but my jab wasn’t landing at first. Then I went to the body and that kind of opened everything up for me.”

The only loss on the card by a Louisiana fighter came in the co-main event with Golden Meadow’s Thomas Dardar losing by TKO in the first round.

Keuntray Henson from Chicago came into the bout 3-3 against the 8-2 Dardar, who had five knockouts to his credit.

The records went out the window when the bell sounded and Henson was the aggressor.

“I already knew he wasn’t really a strong puncher and I knew I was,” Henson said. “We both were southpaws and I don’t think he had ever fought another southpaw. It was more so to hit him with shots and keep coming.”

Henson unleashed a flurry of punches that Dardar struggled to stop and he was sent to the mat face first and was dazed to the point of trying to block punches while on the ground.

Dardar got back to his feet by the eight-count and was able to continue.

Henson didn’t let up and Dardar was still struggling. The fight was soon called after Henson continued to land punches without much response.

The fight looked like it could’ve been stopped after the first knock down, but Henson expected it to continue.

“I did because he had already warned us that if we were not in the neutral corner he would delay the count,” Henson said. “I was already expecting that, but I knew to jump on him as soon as he got up.”

The first fight of the night was the only bout to go the distance and decided on the scorecards.

New Orleans fighter Quantas Graves, an Olympic alternate in 2008, took on Grover Young from Memphis and was hesitant throughout the fight.

His hesitance seemed to aggravate Young, who resorted to low blows and had trouble keeping his mouthpiece in.

Graves was docked a point in the third round for the mouthpiece continually coming out and he lost another point in the fourth round.

The Daily Review scored the bout 40-36 Graves with the first round tied 10-10, the second 10-9 Graves, the third round 10-9 Graves, and the fourth 10-8 Graves due to the mouthpiece point being docked.

The judges scorecards were similar with one judge calling it 37-37, one judged it 40-34 and the other judge had it 39-35 Graves, to give the Olympic alternate the victory improving his record to 4-0.

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