Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hart & Conto Provide Philly Flavor in Sin City

By Luis A. Cortes III

Saturday night in Las Vegas is no doubt another chance for the glamour division of the sport to bask in the spotlight of the sporting world as Tyson Fury (27-0-1) (19 KO’s) defends his lineal championship against German Tom Schwarz (24-0) (16 KO’s).  After the shocking results at Madison Square Garden that saw Andy Ruiz win portions of the heavyweight crown by knocking out the unbeaten Anthony Joshua, Saturday is a great chance for Fury to solidify his claim as the “baddest” man on the planet (a moniker which comes with being the best heavyweight in the world). 

While Fury fights for the first time since his draw against the other champion thought of as one of the best, Deontay Wilder, and begins his partnership with promotional juggernaut Top Rank, the undercard features a co-main event that easily is worthy of its own main event status when Philadelphia native Jesse Hart (25-2) (21 KO’s) battles Sullivan Barrera (22-2) (14 KO’s) in a ten round light heavyweight contest.  Also, on the undercard is heavyweight and Top Rank prospect South Philadelphia’s future real life “Rocky” Sonny Conto (2-0) (2 KO’s).

Since his last fight, a second go around defeat at the hands of former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez, Hart has continued to reinforce that it is only a matter of time before he is known as a world champion.  His quest for the super middleweight crown was well documented by this writer prior to his first clash with Ramirez in the fall of 2017.  After the close defeat, Hart regrouped with the knowledge that he was one point away from fulfilling his dream.  Three knockout victories and a year later saw Hart back in the ring with Ramirez.  It seemed entering the final rounds that Hart would clear the Ramirez hurdle, but he was hurt by an injured Ramirez and the result wound up being the same. 

With the two Ramirez fights being the only blemishes on his record, and Ramirez stating his desire to move up and join the talent loaded light heavyweight division, it was thought by many that Hart was poised to stick around the 168-pound super middleweight division and not only finally win the vacated championship by Ramirez, but in doing so would set himself up for big pay dates against some of the other talented champions and challengers in the division.

It was a bit of a shock when he told The Weigh-In directly that he was planning a move up to join the rest of the talent at 175-pounds in the light heavyweight division.  He stated that he was planning on fighting a big name in his debut and had targeted former world champion, Sergey Kovalev conqueror Eleider Alvarez.  “That division is so full of talent and now I’m going to add my name to the mix,” stated Hart.  Kudos to Hart for making the decision to not play it easy and defeat a lesser challenge to earn the championship he craves, and for chasing both greener pastures and tougher terrain at light heavyweight.

Enter Sullivan Barrera (22-2) (14 KO’s), himself a former title challenger, who like Hart only has two losses. These defeats came at the hands of future Hall of Famer Andre Ward and the current WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.  At 37 years old, Barrera has been less active than the 29-year-old Hart and struggled a bit during his last fight back in November against the durable Sean Monaghan.  Barrera seemed a bit off during the early portions of the fight, maybe it was due to disinterest because just eight months earlier he was stopped in twelve grueling rounds in his championship bid against Bivol.  Whatever it was, Barrera handled himself like the true professional and wound up battering Monaghan in route to the decision victory.

With Alvarez dropping out of the proposed fight with Hart, Barrera was the name that filled in and allowed Hart to remain as the co-feature on this big night in Vegas.  Hart is never shy to speak his mind and has traded barbs with Barrera over social media. Recently, he informed the media on his thoughts regarding this fight in career terms and Barrera.  “The 175-pound division is wide open and I’m finally ready to win that world title.  Sullivan Barrera is in my way, so I am going to smash him,” stated Hart.  Barrera is indeed a seasoned veteran, but at the age of 37, the idea that a fighter can get “old” overnight is always close by.  “After Saturday night we’re going to put him (Barrera) into retirement, you’re not going to hear from him again,” said Hart. 

Barrera puts all of that to the side and thinks its just Hart trying to avoid dealing with nerves he may be facing since he is moving up in weight. “Jesse Hart knows he’s never fought anyone like me, he is scared.  He is coming up from 168, but the punching power at 175 is not the same.  I am a different level than what he’s used to.  It’s going to be a long night for him,” remarked Barrera.

ESPN analysts, former world champions, and future Hall of Famers Timothy Bradley and Andre Ward also had interesting takes on this fight.  “I think it’s a good move for Jesse.  I thought that at 168 pounds he may have been zapping some of his strength to make the weight.  He is a big strong guy, so 175 may just be the better fit for him,” stated Bradley.  “This is going to be a good fight and is a good way to lead into the Fury fight.  Barrera is a seasoned fighter that is technically sound,” replied Ward.  Both agreed that the winner of the fight aligns himself for bigger fights and bigger purses against the rest of the division that is rich with talent.  With the champions (Kovalev, Bivol, Beterbiev, and Gvozdyk), seemingly on a collusion course to unify their titles.  If Hart can get by Barrera (who is ranked #7 in the division) he will stake his claim for a shot at one of those champions in the future.

Also, on this loaded undercard is the aforementioned heavyweight prospect Sonny Conto.  With just two fights as a professional, Conto is indeed at the prospect stage of his career.  He has the amateur pedigree that included being crowned a National Golden Gloves champion.  His stock was high enough that Top Rank signed him right away.  With both of his wins coming at home in Philadelphia in front of an adoring crowd (and Conto already has a nice size fan base at home to build off), it made sense for Top Rank to have him continue his nurturing process by taking part in a big fight week in Sin City featuring a current heavyweight champion. 

Conto was flown out to Vegas where he spent time training and sparring with Fury as well as Joseph Parker, the only man to beat Andy Ruiz.  As Conto progresses inside of the ring, it will be a bit of time before we see the 23-year-old in a meaningful fight.  Especially a fight that begins the test to see just how far he truly can go. 

Full of talent, Conto continues to progress that talent and build the foundation to handle big fight weeks and fight nights when his name will be the one in the lights.  “Sparring with a champion is great work for a young fighter.  You don’t want to be just a sparring partner though,” stated Ward.  Bradley also agreed with Ward, “Terrance Crawford spent time with me in camp before anyone knew his name.  I think for him it was just as good outside of the ring as it was in terms of the work that we gave each other.  He got to see how I handled myself as a champion and the way I dealt with my family.”  So just what does Conto think about his time sparring Fury, “It was awesome, a great experience, and priceless.”

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame

By Luis A. Cortes III

For the past two years the early summer months have brought the sport of boxing back to the Atlantic City Boardwalk.  No, not in the traditional way that fans remember how the Casino/Resort city of Atlantis would shake up the boardwalk with one or two, sometimes as many as three different fight cards on the same day.  This will be the third year that the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) provides fight fans with the chance to both discover and reconnect with the rich boxing history that has transpired in Atlantic City.  Yes, it is true and has been well documented that Atlantic City has fallen on some tough times in recent memory.  However, starting in 2017 there was a call for a resurgence for the city to try and bring it back to the glory days as a summer destination for all prior to the economic crash. 

Last year, while there was a start to bringing back actual fights of meaning to the city with new casinos like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the Ocean Casino Resorts rising from the ashes of the past eight wonders of the world, a new boxing tradition has become the norm for the city.  So much so that for the first time the induction weekend will be kicked off by a special night of fights presented by Golden Boy Promotions on Thursday night June 20th. (More on this fight card along with ticket information coming to TWI next week.) 

Over the course of the past two years, the ACBHOF has been a three-day weekend hosted at the Claridge Hotel complete with an intimate VIP reception on Friday night that greeted all the inductees and honorees.  The second day provided fans the chance to see special exhibits while they met with past world champions and got to buy merchandise and take pictures with their heroes.  “Our mission is to honor, preserve, and celebrate the excellence of Atlantic City’s rich boxing history and there's no better place to highlight this tradition than at the historic Claridge-A Radisson Hotel. My team and I are excited about this collaboration,” stated Ray McCline the President of the ACBHOF. 

Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Arturo Gatti, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, and Mike Tyson are some of the fighters that have been inducted into the ACBHOF in the past two years.  Of course, the third day was the when the inductees had their ceremony and official induction. 

With the success from the past two years, this third year of events has been updated and includes the special night of fights.  Of course, there will be the return of the VIP reception along with the opening of the Legends Café.  Also, on the night of June 21st, there will be the screening of the 30-minute documentary, Muhammed Ali: Me Whee.  It’s an in depth look at the “Greatest's” time in between fights at his training camp in Deer Lake Pennsylvania.  Directed by Drew Stone, it’s a personal piece of film for Stone, since his father recorded the footage during his time with Ali.  Most of the footage has never been seen by fight fans.    

The Legends Café has been added to the event will feature coffee and conversation with many boxing legends from the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area.  Artwork and exhibits including work by famed boxing artist Patrick Killiam will also be on hand.  A fan experience will continue at the Tennessee Beer Hall, which will be open to the public.  With a comedy show back at the Claridge closing out the third night of festivities, the main event takes place on Sunday in the late afternoon when the 2019 Hall of Fame class receives their induction honors.  

This year’s class features former world champion Iran Barkley, who has been popular with fans the past two years.  Virgil Hill Sr., along with John Brown, and Tim Witherspoon Jr. are also decorated fighters that have had memorable fights in Atlantic City.  Bernard Hopkins, Micky Ward, and Roberto Duran will most likely garner the most fanfare, as each have had made boxing history in Atlantic City.  Hopkins had his first fight, a loss, in A.C. and returned to the city several times before capturing two of his biggest victories over Kelly Pavlik and Antonio Tarver at Boardwalk Hall. 

Micky Ward will forever be linked with Arturo Gatti due to their trilogy that inspired many sports fans in the early 2000’s.  Ward rightly joins Gatti who was inducted in the first class, but had many other memorable nights in A.C. during his career.  Each year, along with the fighters that are inducted, there are always inductees that are contributors to the world of the sport outside of the ring. 

Famed cutman Ace Marotta and trainer English “Bouie” Fisher will also join the class of 2019.  Nigel Collins, who currently writes for ESPN, is a former editor and chief for the “Bible of Boxing,” Ring Magazine will be honored for his tremendous career of not only following and reporting on the sport.  But also, for his unique voice that has helped to define a lot of the history that has taken place in the sport, especially in Atlantic City. 

Tickets for the ACBHOF weekend are still available and can be purchased by visiting or by calling the ACBHOF for more information at: (609) 318-3188.

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Sunday, June 9, 2019


By Justin Dohnson, The People's Red Head

Finally! The People’s Redhead has Come Back to the Weigh-In!

For those who do not know, I am pretty much Canadian. I love hockey, heavy drinking, and poutine. Our very own Matt Ward asked his father (me) to write about hockey fights. I had two reactions when he asked me to cover such an article. The first, I became instantly hard. The second, as a fan, I owed it to the public to research and truly advocate for this great sport. Plus, with the NHL Stanley Cup possibility being awarded on Sunday, June 9, 2019, what better time than to post this piece now.

Hockey is a wonderful sport that continues to evolve. Hockey players are known for their toughness. I honestly think grit is a better term for the elite players of the NHL. Hockey players often lose teeth and get cuts requiring stitches. This may seem like nothing, but even when they require stitches, or lose chiclets, they return to the game after being patched up.

Hockey’s elite wheel, snipe and celey, doing whatever is necessary for the boys. It is nothing for a pantene pro to put the biscuit top shelf and get some digis from a snipe in the audience. All you fight fans better bone up on your hockey lingo. Hockey, and maybe I am biased, is still one of the true sports. The players are playing for the boys, and salaries are modest for professional athletes. It is still aboot the love of the sport.

The current landscape of the NHL has truly killed the old enforcer and fighting days. There are now rules that the players cannot remove their helmets, which leads to broken hands and a huge refrain from tossing the mitts. That being said, hockey has long celebrated a rich history of men who played to chuck knucks. These warriors even trained in MMA or boxing to further assist them in their nightly matches. Additionally, after a game concluded, many players used to go out drinking. Hockey has everything a fan could ever want.

The little Domi was known for being a ticking time bomb. He never took any shit and fought as if he were eight feet tall. The 5-foot-10 Domi took on the 6-foot-3 Brashear, as each threw bombs during game two of the playoff series.

This fight means a lot to me, growing up in Detroit, I ride or die with my Wings. Also, for those of you who do not know, this is a fight between two goalies. This fight means two men skated out of their nets with so much hatred, they met at center ice and attempted to destroy each other. This fight was due to chaos going on between one of hockey’s most vicious rivalries, the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche. It is a must watch as Ozzie takes Roy down.

Probert was one of the most prolific fighters of all time. Also, he was a Red Wing, so I love him, and I insist you do as well. Probert highlights are a reason for all of the rules surrounding modern day hockey fighting. To witness both men throw caution to the wind and their health, look at this donnybrook.
St. Louis versus Chicago Blackhawks, both teams fighting for the President’s Cup, and tensions boiled over after a hard Jeremy Roenick check.

The 2019 NHL playoffs were underway when Alex Ovechkin was challenged by the Hurricanes' Andrei Svechnikov. It went exactly how you thought it would go when a rookie challenges the great eight.

McSorley is unable to get over being dusted by Brashear. As the game unfolds, they fight and McSorley slashes Brashear in the head with his stick!

Both of these career fighters deserve to make this list over and over again. Somewhere around 70 punches were thrown between these two in this donnybrook.

These two show mutual respect for one another while throwing bombs. There are some well-landed punches and clever tactics to pop a helmet and that’s not a euphemism.

Kocur with a brutal KO of Kyte.

With Chara currently playing for a Stanley Cup, we felt it fitting to add this fight. The big guy bloodies Koci.

These fights were not ranked and are not in any particular order. I merely tried to provide some footage that I felt was worth seeing. Hockey can quite often become a combat sport and the boys are tough.

Special Thanks to

You Tube for housing amazing puck fight footage
Matt Ward for his upcoming union to a woman (surprised us all)
Steve Gruber (introducing me into world of cat yoga)
Pappy van Winkle Bourbon (look that shit up if you don’t know)
Frank Grillo for his fighter workout routines

Bob Probert

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Friday, June 7, 2019

WWE Super Showdown Aftermath

By Steve Ward

WWE presented it’s latest Saudi Arabian cash-grab today from the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with Super Showdown.  This show aired at 2 PM ET/11 AM PST while most of North America was at work  -including myself. Despite the time difference, it was still about 100 degrees in the stadium at the start of the show which certainly would create an additional dynamic for the Superstars. The ridiculously stacked card was arguably as good as, if not better than, this year’s installment of Wrestlemania as it featured nine matches with three titles contested, including a 50 man over-the-top battle royal thrown in for good measure. As has been the case with all of the previous Saudi Arabian shows, there were no women’s matches featured on the card, however, Renee Young was still featured on the commentary team - my one question here is with her present and her long blonde hair fully exposed, did this earn a TV-MA rating on Saudi television???

WWE Universal Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

Lesnar made his way to the ring after the contest with a referee and The Advocate with the intention of cashing in his Money In The Bank contract, however, Paul Heyman “tripped” over the ropes. This mishap distracted Brock long enough for Rollins to low blow The Beast. With Lesnar subdued, Rollins subsequently laid waste to him with a steel chair before he finally finished him off with a curb stomp that drove Lesnar’s skull into his own briefcase.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
“The Demon” Finn Balor (c) vs. Andrade
Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall

Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon
Winner: Shane McMahon via pinfall

While Shane McMahon continued to impress me with his ability to hang in with some of WWE’s top talent at age 49, he needed the assist in the form of a brutal Claymore Kick from Drew McIntyre to score the pinfall.

3 on 1 Handicap Match
Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, & Kalisto) vs. Lars Sullivan
Winner: Lars Sullivan via DQ

Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall (RKO Outta Nowhere)

Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall (Running Powerslam)

WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Kofi Kingston via pinfall (Trouble In Paradise)

50-Man Over-the-Top Battle Royal
Winner: Mansoor

Once the luster of the spectacle that was 50 men in the ring at one time faded, this match turned into kind of an uninspired cluster. Essentially, the WWE threw in all of the Superstars who haven’t been on tv in quite a while with those they didn’t book a match for (except for The Revival and The Usos who squared off on the kick-off show) and allowed the bodies to start flying. Another disappointment was the lack of  any legends in the contest along with the continued burial of EC3 as he was the first participant eliminated. The match concluded as virtual unknown and the first Saudi born WWE Superstar Mansoor (Am I the only one who immediately thinks of Mantaur when I see this name? Look him up if you need to, you won’t regret it.) eliminated Elias to walk out victorious in front of his fellow countrymen.

Goldberg vs. The Undertaker
Winner: The Undertaker

Two legends collided in the main event, unfortunately it was twenty years beyond the time this collision should have occurred. I give the utmost respect to these two 50+ year old men for still stepping into the ring, however, The Undertaker (54) and Goldberg (52) both appeared to be slowed by the intense heat and Goldberg by the blood he lost from a gash to his forehead early in the contest. Late in the match, Goldberg hoisted up the near seven foot Undertaker for the Jackhammer, however, he was unable to land all of it as it essentially turned into a Brainbuster. After The Undertaker kicked out of the subsequent pinfall attempt, Goldberg appeared to attempt a Tombstone but both men fell to the canvas seemingly exhausted. As soon as they returned to their feet, The Undertaker quickly executed a chokeslam (barely lifting Goldberg off the canvas) and covered him for the pinfall. Personally, the ending of this bout left me and seemingly many of the fans in attendance dissatisfied so I would not be opposed to seeing a rematch in an air conditioned venue with about five minutes shaved off of it.

Fun fact: Before Goldberg debuted in WCW way back in 1997, his now famous entrance theme had been used by Pat Tanaka - best known as a member of the Orient Express in his WWF days and Badd Company in the early days of ECW.

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Sunday, May 26, 2019


By Steve Ward, Cageside 

Allow me to set the mood for you if I may…deep in the heart of Phoenix, AZ stands the Celebrity Theatre, a structure that has stood since it first opened its doors in 1963, a structure that was designed by Beverly Hills architect Perry Neuschatz, a structure that was listed on the national Register of Historic Places this year, and a structure that has hosted such legendary performers as B.B. King, Black Sabbath, and Willie Nelson among countless others. Well tonight when the lights went down the fans in attendance weren’t gazing upon a stage complimented by instruments of music but rather the visceral octagon that set the stage for Iron Boy MMA 15.

Tonight, there were instruments but not those of the conventional sense, instead, they were the competitors themselves who entered ready to fight for whatever their cause may be – pride, competition, glory, hopes of a career in MMA, etc. Phoenix based Iron Boy Promotions was poised yet again to deliver an evening of competitive and thrilling bouts that featured a bevy of young fighters from local MMA gyms such as Fight Ready MMA, Driven Boxing & MMA, and Notorious Fight Sports. The card this evening boasted eight bouts in both the amateur and professional ranks with the main event pitting Tyler Cole against Kasey Tanner in a 155 lb clash.

Amateur Bouts

Edward Rang vs. Swar Boatthoughthugal
Three Rounds, 125 lbs
Decision: Swar Boatthoughthugal via submission (rear naked choke) in round 1.

The opening contest of the evening featured two men making their debuts, Edward Rang who hailed from the Marshall Islands and Swar Boatthoughthugal from Phoenix. Rang displayed lightning quickness from the onset of round one and quickly attempted to take Swar to the ground. Swar displayed great poise in his debut and was able to quickly take advantage and lock in a rear naked choke for the victory.

Jontae McCowan vs. Mario Marquez
Three Rounds, 155 lbs
Decision: Jontae McCowan via submission (rear naked choke) in round 1.

Arizona’s Jontae McCowan came out quickly in the opening round with his game plan clearly in mind as he wasted no time cinching in a rear naked choke to claim victory in his debut.

Blass Gutierrez vs. An Ho
Three Rounds, 125 lbs
Decision: An Ho via KO in round 2.

Fight Ready MMA’s An Ho came out in round one displaying some apt striking ability and appeared poised to claim a first round stoppage as he gained the advantage with some mounted strikes, however, Gutierrez escaped and managed to survive the round. Round two saw more of Ho’s striking ability displayed as he quickly drew blood from the nose of Gutierrez. It became apparent that Gutierrez was struggling to breathe through his nose as An Ho took advantage of the fatiguing fighter and struck him with a devastating roundhouse kick square in the face that dropped him straight to the canvas.

Aiden Ingram vs. Stephen Esparza-Owens
Three Rounds, 155 lbs
Decision: Stephen Esparza-Owens via SD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Much to my surprise, this fight featured a fighter from my home state, as Wildwood, New Jersey’s Aiden Ingram competed against Chandler, Arizona’s Stephen Esparza-Owens. After a quick flurry of wildly thrown strikes by each fighter to open the bout, round one was rather uneventful as the only takedown, by Owens, was not capitalized upon. Round two saw Esparza-Owens make better use of an early takedown as he was able to control the majority of the round landing some solid strikes from the mounted position and avoided a near fatal error as he escaped a triangle choke attempt by Ingram. Ingram showed continued resilience and again managed to survive the round. In the third and final round, Esparza-Owens found himself on his back but again made the best of his positioning as he attempted to cinch in a triangle choke but again Ingram displayed a resounding will and was able to persevere leaving the decision in the hands of the judges.

Kemoy Anderson vs. James Scott
Three Rounds, 170 lbs
Decision: Kemoy Anderson via submission (triangle choke) in round 3.

Round one saw James Scott utilize his wrestling background to quickly take down Kemoy Anderson, however, Anderson used his speed to turn the tables leaving Scott defending himself from the guard position for the majority of the round. Round two again saw Scott score a quick takedown only to allow Anderson to slip out when Scott attempted to go for the ground and pound. Anderson then controlled the remainder of the round with Scott defending from the guard and sustaining a few solid shots. Round three ended quickly as Scott was a bit overzealous with his takedown of Anderson as he again attempted to land strikes on his opponent. Anderson found the opening he needed this time as he was able to apply a triangle choke for the submission victory.

Estevan Ulibarri vs. Francisco Suarez
Three Rounds, 150 lbs
Decision: Estevan Ulibarri via TKO in round 1.

It was clear from the start of this contest that these two combatants had no interest in doing anything but trading strikes with one another and that it probably was going to make it an easy night for the judges. Ulibarri was able to land a solid right that staggered Suarez enough that he was able to pounce on him and landed vicious blows until the referee needed to wrestle him off of Suarez.

Deran Martinez vs. Ryan Taylor
Three Rounds, Heavyweights
Decision: Deran Martinez via submission (standing guillotine choke) in round 1.

In the co-main event of the evening, Deran Martinez became the first fighter representing the Gila River Indian Community for Iron Boy Promotions as he went toe to toe with Ryan Taylor in a clash of heavyweights. Martinez scored a quick takedown on a well placed kick to Taylor’s ankle and wasted no time pouncing on him. Martinez maintained control of Taylor’s head as the two men rose to their feet and proceeded to wrench on his head forcing Taylor to tap out solidifying the submission victory by standing guillotine choke. Another note of significance in this fight was in the history of Iron Boy MMA, this was the first bout to end with a standing guillotine.

Professional Bout

Tyler Cole (0-1-0) vs. Kasey Tanner (3-0-0; 2 submissions)
Three Rounds, 155 lbs
Decision: Kasey Tanner via submission (rear naked choke) in round 2.

In the main event, Roswell, New Mexico’s Tyler Cole made his professional debut and probably wished he had been abducted by aliens after the pounding he sustained in round one. Cole remained on his back the entire round and sustained countless straight rights and elbows to the face that left him a blood soaked mess. Round two displayed much of the same as Tanner overwhelmed Cole with another barrage of damage-inducing strikes before he closed the round trapping Cole in a rear mount position. Just after the signal of 10 seconds remaining resonated throughout Celebrity Theatre, Tanner finally put Cole out of his misery as he succumbed to a rear naked choke. I will give credit to Cole however – he had a significant reach disadvantage, sustained a mauling, and refused to tap out as he was put to sleep to end the fight showing the propensity to fight with the heart of a champion.

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Saturday, May 25, 2019


By Steve Ward

Carnal chaos returns to the desert this Saturday night, May 25, as Phoenix based Iron Boy Promotions is primed to deliver yet again with Iron Boy MMA 15! This weekend’s card will once again emanate from the home of Iron Boy, the storied Celebrity Theatre nestled in the heart of Phoenix. A plethora of young talent from local MMA gyms, such as Scottsdale’s Fight Ready MMA and Notorious Fight Sports, as well as, Tempe’s JAB Fitness, will be showcased as Iron Boy continues their proud tradition of introducing rabid fight fans to the stars of tomorrow.

The main event will pit Fight Ready MMA’s Kasey Tanner (1-0-0, 1 submission) against New Mexico’s Tyler Cole (0-0-0) who will be making his professional debut. This fight will supply many interesting dynamics as it is hard to determine what the audience can expect from these two fighters, both men should be out there looking to make a name for themselves, and lastly, the victor will walk out with the Iron Boy MMA 155 lb Title.

In the co-feature, fans will have the pleasure of witnessing what has the potential to be a hard hitting clash as heavyweights Deran Martinez and Ryan Taylor will do battle in the cage. Arizona’s Deran Martinez will attempt to right the ship riding the heels of a four fight losing streak as he battles JAB Fitness’ Ryan Taylor.

Other notable bouts featured on the card will include James Scott, associated with Notorious Fight Sports, fighting Kemoy Anderson for the Iron Boy MMA 170 lb Amateur Title and Swar Boatthoughthugal versus Edward Rang for the Iron Boy MMA 125 lb Amateur Title.

If you’re going to be in the Phoenix area this Saturday, don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to bear witness to this action packed card live and in person. Tickets are still available through the Celebrity Theatre at starting at only $30 with the opening bout kicking off at 6 pm PT. For those of you that are unable to attend, you can still experience the fights as they will be streamed on

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Monday, May 20, 2019

WWE Money In The Bank 2019

By Steve Ward

Now that the dust has settled from Wrestlemania, it’s time for what has become one of the biggest pay per views of the year (aside from the “Big 4”) as it has dictated the landscape of WWE year after year. This year’s installment of Money In The Bank emanated from the back yard of WWE Headquaters at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Six titles were scheduled to be contested on the card that also boasted two massive Money In The Bank Ladder Matches and a steel cage match between The Miz and Shane McMahon. One factor to take into consideration heading into this event, was whether WWE would push the envelope with their PG rating and pedestrian booking due to the ever increasing pressure being put on by AEW who will present their debut pay per view, Double Or Nothing, next Saturday in Las Vegas.

Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Naomi vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose vs. Ember Moon vs. Dana Brooke vs. Natalya vs. Bayley
Winner: Bayley

My only real gripe with this match was that it did not feature Alexa Bliss, other than that it was quite entertaining and a great opener to the main card. Towards the conclusion of the match, it appeared that Sonya Deville was going to hand the victory to her running mate Mandy Rose after an impressive display of strength where she threw Rose into a fireman’s carry and scaled the ladder with her on her back. Just as the briefcase was at Rose’s fingertips, Bayley emerged from nowhere to race up the ladder and shove the women off of the ladder leaving her unopposed to retrieve the Money In The Bank contract.

United States Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (c)
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pinfall

This match presented an opportunity for Rey Mysterio to seek redemption after he was embarrassed by The Samoan Submission Machine at Wrestlemania with a submission loss in barely a minute. Well Rey certainly gained retribution as he countered a power bomb attempt by Joe and rolled him into a pin to steal the title on a missed call by the ref as Joe’s shoulder was off the mat.

Steel Cage Match
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
Winner: Shane McMahon

In another Wrestlemania rematch, The Miz sought retribution for his Falls Count Anywhere loss to Shane last month…this time however, it was going to be settled in the carnal confines of a steel cage. After a grueling contest, Shane-o-Mac won in quite entertaining fashion. With Shane McMahon hanging on from the top of the cage on the outside and The Miz attempting to pull him back in from the inside, McMahon slipped out of his shirt to drop to the floor for the victory.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Tony Nese  (c) vs. Ariya Daivari
Winner: Tony Nese via pinfall

“The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese made the second defense, first on pay per view, of the title he won from longtime champ Buddy Murphy at Wrestlemania. In a match that the crowd was just not into unfortunately, Tony Nese put his athleticism on full display, including execution of a 450 splash, on his way to retaining the Cruiserweight title.

WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Winner: Becky Lynch

In the first of two title defenses scheduled for “Becky Two Belts” on the evening, The Man squared off with Lacey Evans. Lacey Evans put on a strong showing in her first pay per view singles match as she took Becky to the limit. In the end, Becky reversed a pinfall attempt by the Southern Belle into the Disarmer for the submission victory.

As Becky started to leave for the locker rooms, she was intercepted on the ramp by Charlotte Flair.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Winner: Charlotte Flair via pinfall

As it appeared that Becky would overcome adversity and retain both of her titles, Lacey Evans returned to ringside and delivered a Woman’s Right to The Man while the referee was engaged in a ten count directed towards Charlotte who was outside the ring. Charlotte then returned to the ring and delivered a big boot to Becky to regain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Flair and Evans proceeded to lay waste to Becky until the new Miss Money in the Bank, Bayley, came to the rescue. After Bayley subdued Charlotte, she immediately cashed in her briefcase, ascended to the top turnbuckle and landed an elbow drop to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion!

Elias vs. Roman Reigns
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Elias shattered a guitar over Roman’s back as he made his way through the backstage area seemingly taking him out of the match. After Elias proceeded to insult the city of Hartford he was greeted with a Superman Punch on his way out. Roman then tossed Elias back into the ring and as soon as the referee called for the bell, Reigns speared Elias out of his boots for a laughably fast victory.

WWE Universal Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs. A.J. Styles
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

This match was a bit of a snoozer until A.J. Styles stepped it up a gear and executed a Styles Clash. Styles then attempted to seal the deal with a Phenomenal Forearm, however, Rollins caught him with a knee to the face that dropped him to his knees. Rollins then super kicked Styles and followed up with the Curb Stomp to retain his title.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado) vs. Lars Sullivan

Well this wasn’t exactly a match. Lars Sullivan made his way to the ring and left a pile of carnage without an opening bell ever ringing. Essentially, this was WWE exposing Lars Sullivan to a pay per view audience as he continues to lay waste to everyone in his path every week.

WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi Kingston

Kevin Owens baited Kofi into a title match after he posed as a member of the New Day for a couple weeks prior to turning his back on them during Kofi’s match with Shinsuke Nakamura a couple weeks ago. Kofi was able to withstand a Pop-Up Powerbomb and then turned the tables on Owens top rope senton attempt to land the Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall victory.

Men’s Money In The Bank Match
Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor vs. Ricochet vs. Andrade vs. Mustafa Ali (now known as Ali) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. ???
Winner: Brock Lesnar

Sami Zayn was supposed to be the eighth competitor in this match until Braun Strowman earned a small measure of payback after Zayn enlisted Corbin and McIntyre to help him “earn” the final spot in this match recently on RAW. Zayn who was found hanging upside down in the back earlier in the evening got a trip to the hospital while Strowman was banned from the building. The crowd was under the assumption that there would be a replacement but the opening bell rang with only seven competitors in the ring…that is until the ring had later transformed into a war zone. The shocker of the night occurred as it seemed that Ali was going to retrieve the briefcase until the unmistakable music of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar resonated through the arena! Lesnar made his way to the ring, disposed of Ali, and scaled the ladder to become Mr. Money In The Bank.

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