Hero takes the Belt on Memorial Day Weekend

By on June 5, 2019

Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida was home to Herring vs Ito on Memorial Day weekend. After winning the title in Kissimmee just under a year ago, Ito has had one successful defense going into the bout. Herring, a USMC Veteran entered the fight having won three consecutive fights in the last year. However, this was not the only exciting fight on the 11-fight card, nor was it the only title fight.

to Jordan Raiff Photograhy)

Jamel ‘Semper Fi’ Herring def Masayuki ‘The Judge’ Ito- Unanimous Decision

WBO World Super Featherweight Title

Fighting on Memorial Day weekend always means something to a Veteran, and for USMC Veteran Jamel Herring there were ultimately multiple reasons for this fight to mean more. Aside from this being for the WBO title, this was also the weekend of the birthdate of his daughter, who passed away from SIDS while he was representing the US as Captain of the Olympic boxing team in 2012.

Ito was also fighting for something too; to prove he has what it takes after winning the title just under a year ago in Kissimmee against Christopher Diaz in another decision deciding bout.

Kicking off the bout with a Marine Corps lineup for this way to the ring, Herring entered with the confidence of a seasoned champ.  Ito walked past these guards as well and showed that stone focus that helped make him champ in the first place.

to Jordan Raiff Photograhy)

Starting off the 1st round, both fighters were eager to set the tempo for the fight and they were making sure they had their power behind every punch. At one-point Ito found himself slipping a bit on the canvas trying to put a little extra mustard on his punch.

The 2nd round continued on with the highly energetic punches from Ito, Herring defending them with almost a smile on his face. Keeping a steady pace, they moved around and made use of the whole ring without much damage.

It seems that the 3rd round is classically the slower round when fights begin like this, and this one was no different. Ito kept leading the charge, and Herring’s footwork was able to help keep him from taking much damage. As the round ended, both fighters seemed to come alive just a bit more.

to Jordan Raiff Photograhy)

The 4th round found Herring coming to life as he battled Ito. Connecting solidly with both sides of Ito’s head, the damage Herring’s punches can inflict was apparent rapidly as he sent Ito lowering, stopping just shy of kissing the canvas. As the round drew to a close you could see the swelling showing up on both fighters, and their movements had become more deliberate and calculated.

The 5th round featured a lot of clinching and ref breaks. As both fighters were starting to show signs of wear, it was apparent that both fighters would need to guard against one another’s punches as they became more and more damaging despite them being slower than in previous rounds.

to Jordan Raiff Photograhy)

Inside the 6th round both fighters came back to life, with some heavy shots being exchanged by both boxers. Their power punches were beginning to fly and it was evident that they both were looking to put the other away.

These punches wore on Ito a bit and in the 7th round his focus seemed to have blurred. As if Herring had found a way into his psyche. Herring used this to his advantage to deal some serious damage to the champion. The blood was now showing a bit on both fighters.

to Jordan Raiff Photograhy)

With the 8th and 9th rounds going slower by comparison, their shots were beginning to get sloppier. Vastly missed shots were becoming a bit more common but considering the level of damage each fighter and done to the other, it made sense. Ito had gotten a chance to recover and was still well in the fight. His defense and strong jaw proved crucial in keeping him there too.

In the 10th round Herring was able to get in more head shots on Ito while boxing him on the inside. As the champ looked a bit stunned at times, Herring took advantage and kept him on his toes the whole round.

Showing signs of exhaustion, both fighters entered the 11th round with intensions to end the fight now. Ito was knocked pretty good and found himself hitting the canvas with a little nudge. Getting up well before the count, Ito was still able to go, and did he ever. Playing defense, Herring was eating up the points as he went to work smartly on Ito.

to Jordan Raiff Photograhy)

For the 12th and final round both fighters went all out. Touching gloves to start the round, they battled the whole three minutes, consistently tying one another up to prevent the onslaught from being too much to take. As they traded shots off and on, you could see the look of relief run over both their faces as the final bell rang and they went to separate corners to get a breath.

Standing in the middle of the ring surrounded by family and loved ones, Referee Frank Gentile stood holding each man’s arm as the scores were read aloud. As Herring was announced as the winner, his family and loved ones reacted.
His face enveloping in tears of joy as he was announced as the winner, his wife behind him screaming in joy. Part of the ring even collapsed as they celebrated the victory on live TV. He had finally achieved his dream, and it could not come on any less of an important day.


Marco Diaz defeated Edgar Figueroa- 1st round KO

Diaz simply caught Figueroa sleeping in his second professional fight and second KO. The quick right Diaz caught Figueroa with as he was playing defense just 36 seconds into the first round, wasn’t even seen. Despite trying to beat the 10 count, there was no getting up from that hit. Diaz is a young Featherweight, but one to keep an eye on. With KOs like this, there is a lot of potential for him in boxing.

Orlando Gonzalez defeated Roxberg Riley- 3rd round KO

Roxberg Riley and Orlando Gonzalez (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Orlando Gonzalez is currently 11-0 with 8 KO’s and earned the latest KO in dominating fashion over Roxberg Riley. Despite Riley showing some promise with quick jabs and quick head movements, once Gonzalez timed his movements out it was all over. Riley attempted to get to his feet, but Gonzalez had just rung his bell far too hard. Gonzalez was throwing incredibly hard punches with little to no telegraphing to them which was crucial in making such quick work of Riley.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Henry Lebron defeated Luis Ruiz Lizarraga- 1st round KO

Henry Lebron (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

In another 1st round KO, Lebron absolutely decimated Lizarraga from the moment they hit the ring. 8-0 with 6 KOs going into the bout, Lebron added another to his total over the 6-12-1 Lizarraga in quick fashion. At a total time of 2:43, this fight was over before you could even order another Modelo. With lightning quick combos, and some of the surest feet in the Super Featherweight division, this young man has ‘CHAMPION’ written all over him. He fought with a level of calmness not usually seen in your average 21-year-old, he enters and exits the ring with humbleness that many boxers seem to forget when they win in such dominating fashion.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Steve Nelson defeated Victor Darocha- 7th round TKO

Steve Nelson pummels Victor Darocha (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Nelson came into this fight 13-0 with 10 KO’s and simply out classed Darocha the whole fight. The only reason this fight went 7 rounds is because Darocha has one hell of a chin on him. Nelson’s footwork is simply second to none and he had Darocha guessing the whole bout where the next punch was coming from. The 7th round TKO was more than overdue with the beating Nelson was dishing out.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)
(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Edgar Berlanga defeated Gyorgy Varju- 1st round KO

Berlanga lands a clean one on Varju (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

At 10-0 with 10 first round knock outs Berlanga is making waves in boxing. Varju showed up 7-4 with 4 KOs and took the ring looking nervous. Berlanga capitalized on this quickly. Before Varju could even establish a jab, Berlanga was on him and taking advantage of every misstep he made. Making quick work of him Berlanga got the KO at 0:43 of the 1st round, and Varju looked like someone from the amateur circuit against Tyson in his prime.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)
Edgar Berlanga (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Berlanga is someone to look out for. There is no limit for this young Middleweight, and if they keep training him like this a title shot is absolutely certain.

Jose Maria Cardenas defeated Antonio Vargas-1st round rd KO

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Guided to the ring with a ‘John 3:16’ cross, it was unfortunate that God had other plans for Antonio Vargas. Despite walking in at 10-0, he was KO’d viciously by a right hand he never saw coming, at 1:53 in the 1st round. It looked like the now 17-4 Cardenas’ experience simply gave him the guidance to make quick work of Vargas.

Hopefully this is not the last we see of Vargas. Knockouts like these don’t happen often, but when they do you don’t always see them back in the ring.

Adam ‘BluNose’ Lopez defeated Jean Carlos ‘Chapito’ Rivera- 7th round TKO

Junior NABF Featherweight Title

Rivera (left) – Lopez (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

One of the most controversial stoppages of the night, Lopez and Rivera was also one of the hardest fought bouts of the night. Standing toe to toe, and trading punch for punch, these two put on one hell of a show. Following the usual ‘first round feelers’ these two unleashed hell upon one another. With Rivera tossing Lopez down in the second round, he was quickly back on his feet and eating Rivera’s punches for the whole round. After an evenly matched third round, in the fourth round Lopez was on the short end of the stick again as Rivera was lining up combo after combo.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

The fifth round is where everything turned around for Lopez. It was like when he left his stool he had found something new; an opening that had not existed before. Decimating Rivera with combinations and taking the punches like they were powder puffs, Lopez showed the vigor that made him a contender. Lopez started wearing Rivera down.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)
(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

By the end of the 6th round Rivera was bracing himself on the ropes to stay up and was saved by the bell. The 7th (and ultimately final) round was quick for Lopez. In 16 seconds of the round, Rivera had shown signs of being unable to intelligently defend himself, thus resulting in the TKO, and Lopez to win the vacant title.

Jeyvier Cintron vs Koki Eto- No Contest

WBO International Junior Bantamweight Title

to Jordan Raiff Photography)

After each fighter had thrown a few punches to the face of the other, Eto landed what looked to be a clean shot to the jaw of Cintron, sending him to the mat. A strong shot that looked un-recoverable. After celebrating in the ring, and being presented the title, they cleared the ring as the replay continued. After multiple viewings, it was clear that as Eto had stepped in to punch, he inadvertently headbutt to the jaw of Cintron. The force was intense, and would have sent nearly anyone to the mat after that shot.

to Jordan Raiff Photography)

Jose Pedraza defeated Antonio Lozada- 9th round TKO

WBO Lightweight Latino Title

Lozada lands one on Pedraza (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Entering the fight, Pedraza’s 25-2 record with 12 KOs simply paled in comparison size wise to the 40-2-1 with 34 KOs of Lozada, despite being a year older. Yet experience in boxing doesn’t mean anything as Pedraza proved.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

With a fight that had a slow start to the first two rounds, this looked like it would be more of a chess match than a slobber knocker like we had seen in most of the fights so far that night. How wrong we all were. With both fighters trading blows off and on through the 3rd round, you could see how the aggression Lozada had introduced to the round was wearing on both boxers. Despite this strain, Pedraza answered back and was keeping Lozada on his toes. Towards the end of the round Lozada had Pedraza cornered with the bell being his saving grace.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

The 4th round featured Pedraza staying in defense against the ropes and in the corner. As Lozada’s reach and footwork was keeping him at bay, Pedraza was having a very difficult time staying off the edge of the ring and it seemed all but over before the bell once again saved him.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

The 5th round was the power punch round, with Pedraza taking the majority of these as he found himself back in the corner for most of the round. This gassed both fighters and led to a slow and weak sixth round. The punches not only lacked power, they also lacked speed and accuracy. You could tell how worn out both fighters had become.

Lozada (photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

Within the 7th round Pedraza showed some signs of life, but unfortunately these were from errant punches that drew the ref’s attention, and lead to a chorus of boos from the audience. He even managed to corner Lozada for a few moments before that long reach got him space yet again.

The 8th round suddenly turned into nothing less than the Pedraza show; with Lozada doing the best he could to keep up, and keep the pace. Pedraza put together a solid 20-45 seconds of combinations that left Lozada looking ready for the canvas, but he stayed up.

With the 9th round starting aggressively by both fighters, you could still see the wear and tear on Lozada from the previous round. He just wasn’t about to answer back, or move as well as he needed to by this point. His focus had gone  and Pedraza gave him a little shove to the canvas. Despite this,  Lozada got up and was able to continue until his own corner stopped the fight due to concerns over the health of their fighter.

(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)
(photo Jordan Raiff Photography)

This was one hell of a fight despite its pace. These fighters knew what the other one would bring to the table and they studied for it. The showmanship and skill both boxers showcased here was nothing short of amazing. Despite being down in some of the rounds, Pedraza was able to battle back and won the title in convincing fashion.

I’d like to give special thanks to Top Rank Boxing, and their official photographer Mikey Williams for the hospitality, guidance, and mentorship at the fight. I truly appreciate all of you and everything you do.

tography Complete Gallery

from: Top Ranking Boxing
Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida

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