By Barbara Pinnella
Fight Photos by Marlene Marquez
Warren photo by Linda Jolicoeur
Fantasy Springs Hotel and Casino was the host for Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions card shown on ShoBox: The New Generation. We were given something a little bit different. Five fighters that competed in the Olympics made their professional debut on this night, and all of their fights were for a scheduled four rounds. They were Terrell Gausha, Errol Spence, Marcus Browne, Dominic Breazeale, and Rau’Shee Warren.
In the main event, a fight scheduled for 10 rounds in the featherweight division, Gary Russell Jr. (21-0, 13 KOs) went up against Roberto Castaneda (20-3-1, 15 KOs). No fireworks in the first round, but Gary was able to show his speed. In the second there were a couple of rough spots for Russell when Castaneda had him on the ropes and was connecting, but Russell returned the favor later in the round.
In the third round a quick right laid Castaneda out at 1:35. He was out for many seconds before he moved at all, but he finally made it to the stool they brought over and eventually made it out of the ring under his own power. Interestingly, they had to call for a doctor to come to the ring, and I’m not sure if that ever happened. But Roberto seemed to be alright. A stunning win for Russell.
Super middleweight Terrell Gausha faced off against Dustin Caplinger (2-4, 1 KO). A right hand by Gausha staggered Caplinger, and then a combination put him down. This was a very ugly round, with Dustin doing a lot of holding whenever he could.
Two lefts in a row put Dustin down again in the second. When he was down again for the third time, twice in that round, his corner waved the towel and the fight was stopped at 1:55.
Errol Spence walked into the ring for the first time as a pro against Jonathan Garcia (3-4, 1 KO), in a light middleweight contest. Entrance music took a dump during Garcia’s entrance, so none for Spence. Ah well.
The first minute or so of the first round was all Garcia, but then Spence really came to life and took over from that point forward. He threw some great combinations that rocked Jonathan. Round two saw Spence continue his assault and at one point it was a surprise that Garcia did not go down.
A right hand did put Garcia down near the end of the third round. Spence tasted blood and dove right back in, causing referee Pat Russell to stop the fight at 2:41.
Marcus Browne started off his pro debut standing across the ring from Codale Ford (2-1) in a light heavyweight battle. Browne was dominating in this first round, looking patient as he waited for his shots. Ford may have been undefeated coming into this fight, but Marcus was making him look like an 0-10 fighter.
Body punches took their toll when a huge one thrown by the left hand put Ford down. When Codale got up Browne just kept throwing them, connecting, and finally put an end to the fight at 1:04 of the third round.
Heavyweights stepped up to the plate, as Dominic Breazeale made his debut as he took on Curtis Tate (4-4, 4 KOs). A right hand put Tate on the canvas but he argued when the ref tried to stop it. The fight continued, but in a matter of a couple of seconds he found himself down again. A win for Breazeale even though it was a strange one and the fight was stopped at 1:06 of that first round.
Starting us off with the Olympians was the debut of bantamweight Rau’Shee Warren going up against Luis Rivera (1-2). Both men showed some offense in the first, but Warren was by far the quickest of the pair and got in a few more shots.
Round two saw Rau’Shee dominate once again with his speed and accuracy. There was nothing much different in the third. While Warren was in complete control of the final round, he went down in what really appeared to be a slip but was ruled a knockdown. Other than that, he was dominating. We went to the scorecards, and those scores were 40-36 and 38-36 twice all for Warren, making him victorious in his pro debut. Interestingly, one judge did not call the knockdown.
In a super bantamweight fight that was scheduled for four rounds Manuel Robles Jr. (2-0) went up against Tim Ibarra (2-2). From the outset Robles controlled all the action which culminated in Ibarra’s corner waving the towel at 2:31 to end the fight.
Starting off the evening was Daquan Arnett (9-0, 6 KOs), who faced off against Jeremiah Wiggins (10-1-1, 5 KOs) in a light middleweight fight scheduled for six rounds. As they always say, someone’s 0 has got to go, and tonight it was Jeremiah Wiggins.
Both men landed a few blows in the first, but overall it was uneventful. In the second it was Arnett who connected with the more powerful punches. A quick little flurry of punches to the head and body of Arnett put Daquan on the canvas. He appeared hurt for the moment, then was able to fight back some. Still, a knockdown for Wiggins.
In the fourth and what proved to be the final, Arnett came back with a flourish. The fight was called at 1:59 in this round after Daquan just teed off on Wiggins. Arnett remained undefeated while handing Wiggins his first loss.
We had quite a long wait before the television fights began, but once that happened there was no more delay. All the Olympians won their respective fights, with all but one fight ending in an early stoppage. Keep your eyes on some of these young men. They look to have the talent to make a statement in the pros, particularly Spence and Warren.