The Contender 4 Finalist Is Troy Ross

New Contender Champion, Troy Ross.
Scott Duncan photo

By Barbara Pinnella

Canada’s Troy Ross proved that the two knockouts he administered to his opponents during The Contender tournament were no fluke... Taking out his first opponent, Lawrence Tauasa, with a right hook, and Felix Cora, Jr. with a hard and well-placed left, Ross stuck it on Ehinomen “Hino” Ehikhamenor with both hands. At 2:00 of the fourth round of the scheduled 10, referee Steve Smoger jumped in and waved off the fight. Just that fast it was a TKO victory for Ross.

Hino, who had previously gone through Darnell Wilson, Deon Elam, and Rico Hoye to earn his place in the finale, did not come into the fight unprepared, however. Make no mistake about that. Knowing that Troy is a southpaw, he had been sparring exclusively with southpaws since his return from Singapore.

Prior to the premature ending of the fight, Hino held his own pretty well. He did try to answer back when Ross pressed him. But Troy was unrelenting in his attack. Interesting to note here that as much as Ross effectively uses his jab, he was 0-11 with it in the second round. This was also the round that turned from a boxing match into a brawl, as both men became sluggers.

Regardless of the method, Troy was able to wear down his opponent. It was mentioned during their fight that both men looked a bit awkward. As is always the case, each boxer has his own style, and sometimes that is not as pleasing to the eye to some. Still, the fight wasn’t won on its beauty, and Ross proved that he was the best one on the night.

Ross thanked The Contender. “Contender’s a great show and it brought life back to boxing,” he said during his post-fight interview.

Hino felt that the fight should not have been stopped. (Wait, how many fighters really DO believe that their fight should end early?) At any rate, he said, “I’m disappointed. I definitely could have gone on.”

The match they called the Bronze Medal Match was between Rico Hoye and Akinyemi “A.K. 47” Laleye. It took all eight rounds to determine the winner, but after the final bell the decision was unanimous; all the judges found it to be 79-72 for Hoye.

A.K. came out with his guns blazing in the first round, continuing to successfully jump in on Hoye, but that was the only round that the little man from Nigeria clearly won. The second round could have gone either way. After that, Rico’s size (6’4”), strength, and experience started to take its toll.

It appeared that A.K. was hurt in the third round by a hard body shot, which allowed Hoye to start adding up his points. Unfortunately, it went from bad to worse for A.K., as he was docked a point for holding in the fifth round, and then was chastised in that same round for not acting professional after heaving Rico out of the ring.

But regardless, after the second round it was all Hoye. True, both men appeared tired at times, and a lot of the fight, particularly in the later rounds, was spent throwing punches that had no power behind them, but it was clearly Rico here.

Hoye attributed part of his victory to listening. “I followed the instruction of my coach, Shadeed Saluki.”

A.K. also had some words in the post-fight interview. “I was down on myself when I didn’t do my best against Hino. I should have won that fight (the semi-final match). But the one thing my training camp told me NOT to do was, ‘do not go to the ropes.’ That’s what I did (tonight), and that’s what caught me.”

They also televised the fight between Tim Flamos and Felix Cora, Jr. Flamos showed again that he is one tough customer, but Cora just kept at him. In round three of the scheduled six, Felix found his opening and went on the attack, ant at 1:59 of that round the referee stopped the fight, and I don’t think too many would argue with that decision. It was obvious that Tim was in no condition to continue, although this 41-year-old is as tough and stubborn as a bull.

There were two other fights that were on the undercard that were not televised. Alfredo Escalera, Jr. got a TKO over Erick Vega at 2:50 of the sixth and final round. Also, Ryan Coyne won a unanimous decision (60-54, 59-55, 59-55) over Richard Gingras. I would have loved to see these other two fights, particularly the Escalera/Vega contest. Next time I WILL make it to the finale!

I am scheduled to speak with both Troy and Hino on Friday, and will bring those interviews to you as soon as possible.  

Congratulations to the NEW Contender Champion, Troy Ross!


Be safe and God Bless,

Viva La Raza,