PLANT CITY, FL – At the ProBoxTv Event center, the launch of the latest streaming app for the sport of boxing took place with a light heavyweight main event between China's Fanlong Meng (17-1, 10 KOs) and the returning Jean Pascal (36-6-1, 20 KOs).
The small arena in which the fights were held was an intimate setting with a lively crowd hanging on to every punch. The 2012 Chinese Olympian was rated as the number one ranked fighter in the IBF and would be facing his most experienced opponent in former light heavyweight champion Pascal.
The Haitian-Canadian Pascal would be returning from an extensive layoff, having last fought in 2019, scoring victories over Marcus Browne and Badou Jack. Before a rematch with Jack, Pascal failed a drug test for three banned substances. The fight with Meng was an opportunity to prove to the boxing world that the failed test was an outlier and get himself back into title contention.
Meng began the fight focused on using his jab from the southpaw stance to keep Pascal on the outside. In the second round, the Chinese southpaw began to find a home for the straight left hand. Pascal, who can be described as an ambush fighter, fights in bursts and at times, was held back by Meng's jab. However, in the fourth round, Pascal landed a right hand seemingly out of nowhere that stunned Meng, giving the former light heavyweight champion new life.
The fifth round began with Pascal unloading on Meng against the ropes throwing hook after hook. Meng may have been in control of the bout when in the middle of the ring, but at any moment, Pascal could jump in with a power shot to turn the fight around. Pascal was looking to counter Meng with a left hook throughout the match whenever the Chinese pugilist threw a left hand. At times it did land cleanly, but never to the point where it visibly hurt Meng. The crowd in attendance favored Pascal and cheered almost every punch the Haitian threw. In the eighth round, the pace slowed down, with Meng asserting his jab more and the fatigue of launching attacks in bursts taking a toll on Pascal.
Pascal found his mark in the ninth round, landing a right hand from the outside that sent Meng down. Although Pascal was out of the ring for over two years, he still possessed the patience and timing to anticipate when Meng would be open for a shot. Despite the knockdown and a barrage of punches from Pascal in the 10th, Meng maintained his composure and stayed on track, using his jab to keep Pascal at bay. The championship rounds were competitive. After a relatively quiet 12th round, Pascal unfurled a series of blows on Meng that sent the Chinese Olympian reeling. The ambush style was effective at times for Pascal, but did that approach win him enough rounds in the eyes of the judges?
All three judges agreed and favored Pascal's power punching garnering him a unanimous decision victory with scores of 115-112, 114-113, and 116-111. The win puts Pascal back in a position to fight for a world title.
Joseph Fernandez decisions Zhimin Wang in a thriller
Preceding the Meng-Pascal bout was the quarterfinals of the 140-pound “Last Chance” tournament consisting of fighters who may be on the verge of the final chapters of their careers fighting against one another in eight-round matches. In the co-main event spot and the final televised bout of the “Last Chance” tournament quarterfinals in the super lightweight division, fans witnessed China's Zhimin Wang (11-4, 3 KOs) take on Joseph Fernandez (15-4-3, 5 KOs) out of Saint Petersburg, Florida.
Wang, astonishingly, had been out of the ring for over three years, accounting for over 1330 days out of the ring. He last fought in September 2018. Wang's opponent, Fernandez, had fought as recently as two months earlier, losing a first-round technical knockout to Gonzalez Carlos Dallera.
The Floridian southpaw had a height advantage, standing at 6-feet to Wang's 5'8, but the Chinese fighter was the quicker of the two, landing one-two combinations up top. Fernandez, who works a full-time job and was the biggest unknown in the tournament, didn't look outside of his element against Wang. He landed consistently from the outside with a jab.
As the fight went past its halfway point, fatigue, possibly from all the time spent away from the ring, began to take its toll on Wang. Fernandez started to land more and more as the rounds proceeded. The sixth round saw both fighters trade in the center of the ring, landing bombs on one another. Unfortunately, for Wang, who has primarily fought at lightweight with just three knockouts on his record, his punches didn't have as much impact as Fernandez's. In the eighth and final round, it was clear that the fight was up in the air. And the winner might be determined by who wins the last round. Fernandez repeatedly landed his straight left hand in the southpaw stance while Wang landed hooks in between exchanges on the inside.
The two fighters left nothing in the ring, delivering the tournament's most exciting fight, providing eight rounds of action with a memorable final stanza. After eight rounds, the judges awarded Fernandez a unanimous decision victory with scores of 77-75 and 78-74 twice, to the crowd's delight in attendance.
Kendo Castaneda impresses with first round TKO victory
The following bout in the tournament showcased Toledo, Ohio's Sonny Frederickson (21-6, 14 KOs) against San Antonio, Texas' Kendo Castaneda (18-5, 9 KOs). This fight, arguably more than any other, highlighted the “Last Chance” in the tournament, with Castaneda losing his previous five bouts and Frederickson losing his last four fights.
Castaneda wasted no time against Frederickson landing a devastating left hook that put Frederickson down on the canvas scoring the only knockout of the night. The referee stopped the fight at the 2:02 mark of the first round.
Michael Dutchover squeezes out split decision victory over Clarence Booth
The second match in the quarterfinals featured Saint Petersburg's Clarence Booth (21-5, 13 KOs) against Texas' Michael Dutchover (16-2, 10 KOs). Heading into the tournament, Booth had not lost a fight since 2017. After suffering a near-tragic setback in 2019 following a drive-by shooting where he was shot in both legs and arm, he had to rehab for a year, essentially restarting his career.
Dutchover, who lost his previous bout to Nahir Albright by sixth-round stoppage in a fight in which he was dropped four times, showed no signs that the loss had carried over to his fight with Booth. The fight was tactical from the start, with Booth attempting to use his athleticism to land power shots on the inside. However, Dutchover was timing Booth waiting for the perfect opportunity when the Florida native jumped on the inside.
The 10-year age gap between the 34-year-old Booth and the 24-year-old Dutchover wasn't apparent or seemed like a factor in the fight. Both men were evenly matched, with most of the contest consisting of swing rounds that could have gone to either fighter. During exchanges on the inside initiated by Booth, Dutchover consistently landed the last punch emphatically. Booth, at times, seemed to be doing his best Roy Jones Jr. impression throwing a majority of potshots without setting up the jab. Instead of cutting off the ring, Booth followed Dutchover, allowing him to stay clear of any crucial blows that would have halted his momentum.
We’re midway through Booth vs Dutchover 👊🔥
Who do you have ahead at the halfway stage?
— ProBox TV (@ProBox_TV) May 21, 2022
In the eighth round, Booth began to look somewhat desperate, coming forward with reckless abandon attempting to land power shot after power shot. But, the Florida native's aggression was ineffective, with each attack not amounting to much.
After eight rounds, the judges came to a split decision in favor of Dutchover with scores of 78-74 and 77-75 for the Texas fighter and one score of 77-75 for Booth. Dutchover now advances to the semifinals of the Last Chance tournament.
Antonio Moran moves onto the semi-finals with unanimous decision victory
The first bout of the quarterfinals of the Last Chance tournament was a classic contest featuring boxing's most storied rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico. Jeffrey Torres (10-2, 6 KOs) out of Puerto Rico battled Mexico's Antonio Moran (27-5-1, 19 KOs). Entering the tournament, many-favored Moran to come out the winner in the end.
The 29-year-old Mexican veteran was a step up in competition for Torres, with Moran's losses coming from world champions like Jose Pedraza. In his previous bout, Moran lost a unanimous decision to Arnold Barbaoza Jr. in August 2021.
One of the advantages of having more experience isn't just in the opponents you've faced but the ability to know the correct times to attack. Moran was usually the first to engage throughout the contest and used his movement to avoid Torres' returning punches. However, keeping his composure, Torres began to force Moran into more exchanges and, in the fourth round, landed a combination that put the Mexico fighter on notice.
The outline of the fight changed somewhat after the fourth round, with Torres playing the role of the stalker as Moran adjusted to boxing from the outside. The Puerto Rican kept a tight guard catching many of Moran's shots on the glove. Moran's jab opened up more opportunities for the Mexican to land power punches, specifically with the uppercut in the seventh round. Moran became the aggressor, backing Torres against the ropes and outworking him. The eighth round was back and forth, with both fighters having their moments, but Torres was relegated to landing single punches while Moran landed in combination.
In the end, Moran's more consistent output earned him a unanimous decision victory with scores of 79-73 and 77-75, twice advancing him through to the semifinals of the tournament.
ProBox Future Series Results
Part of ProBox's future star series in the lightweight division Orlando, Florida's Jusiyah “Kid” Shirley (5-0, 4 KOs) took on veteran Miguel Angel Perez (12-13-2, 8 KOs). Although Perez came into the fight with as many losses as victories and has lost his last five fights, he has been in the ring with Devin Haney, Gabriel Flores, and Isaac Cruz and would prove to be a solid test for the 21-year old Shirley.
It was evident from the start that Perez wasn't simply going to allow himself to be a showcase for Shirley as he traded punches to test his young opponent. During exchanges, Perez found success landing a left hook, but Shirley took the punches well.
Following a game plan to walk down his opponent with a snapping jab, Shirley landed combinations to the body and head while his opponent placated to the crowd and referee that he wasn't hurt. None of Perez's antics impacted Shirley, who continued a workman-like performance, chopping down his opponent round after round. The sixth and final round was the slowest paced of the bout, with Shirley more content to counter punch from the outside; however, he landed cleanly on Perez every time he did throw. After six rounds, Shirley earned a unanimous decision victory with scores of 60-53 from all three judges.
The first fight of the evening took place in the super-middleweight division, with Paraguay's Heinrich Coorsseen Caceres (0-1) making his professional debut against Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Daniel “Ice Man” Blancas (2-0, 1KO). The 21-year-old Blancas used a long-reaching jab and body attack to dominate most of the four-round contest. Blancas' punches began to take their toll on Caceres in the third round as right hands over the top and uppercuts began to push the South American fighter back on the ropes. The fourth round was especially brutal, with Blancas landing uppercuts from the outside that visibly shook Caceres.
The fight looked like it was close to being stopped, but Caceres proved to be tough and lasted the four-round distance. Blancas, who made his professional debut in March on the ProBox platform, won a unanimous decision with scores of 40-36 from all three judges.