Roc Nation Sports Brings Different Vibe in Boxing Debut

Tureano Johnson overwhelmed Alex Theran for five rounds before a sixth round stoppage (Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports).

Ringside Report by Resolution Sports

Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports made a successful debut in the world of professional boxing on Friday night, with 4,253 spectators making their way into the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The music and entertainment mogul put his own twist on the event, which included radio personality Angie Martinez as host and a performance midway through the FOX Sports 1 telecast by rapper Fabolous.

Roc Nation Sports, which now has all of Gary Shaw Productions’ fighters under its banner, made a huge splash earlier in the day when it announced that pound-for-pound great Andre Ward had inked a deal with the promotion. Ward joined Jay Z and his wife Beyonce ringside at the debut show of Throne Boxing, along with heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (former Gary Shaw fighter), entertainer Rihanna and Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia.

Despite all of the fanfare, some boxing also went down at the venue on Friday night. In the main event of the evening, Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (25-0, 13 KOs) earned a wide-margin unanimous decision over hometown favorite Tommy Rainone (22-6-1, 4 KOs) by scores of 100-90 (twice) and 99-91. With the win, Hernandez-Harrison claimed the vacant WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Championship.

Rainone, who has never been stopped in his career, showed heart and grit throughout the 10-round encounter, but the range of Hernandez-Harrison made it too difficult for him to ever truly close the gap. He likely did his best work in the opening frames, but Hernandez-Harrison controlled most of the action and eventually out-landed him, 152-46.

The best punch of the outing came in the seventh round, with Hernandez-Harrison backing Rainone to the ropes before snapping his head back with a straight right hand. Rainone continued to hang tough the rest of the way, but the lopsided decision was imminent when the final bell rang to conclude this bout.

In the co-feature, action middleweight Tureano Johnson (17-1, 12 KOs) completely overwhelmed Alex Theran (17-2, 9 KOs) for five frames before earning a TKO stoppage one second into the sixth round. The official reason for the stoppage was due to the advice of the ringside physicians, who said Theran suffered an ankle injury that rendered him unable to continue.

As he is known to do, Johnson immediately took this fight into a phone booth and smothered Theran, allowing him no space to work or breathe. The constant pressure made Theran very uncomfortable, and at no point did Johnson take his foot off the gas. He consistently stalked inside with a swinging right hook and delivered a series of short left hands once he got there.

Johnson earned two knockdowns in the fight, the first coming in the third frame. After bullying Theran to the ropes, Johnson fired a looping overhand right that clearly hurt his opposition, and Theran was on the canvas a short flurry later.

The second knockdown came another dominant round later, with Johnson swarming Theran until he took a non-contact knee late in the frame. Sometime around this point is where the apparent ankle injury occurred, as Theran hobbled to the bell. In between rounds, a long delay occurred until this bout was officially waved off, with Johnson earning the TKO victory.

In the contest, 101 of the 102 punches landed by Johnson were power punches.

In the swing bout of the evening, Monmouth Beach native Dustin Fleischer (1-0, 1 KO) made his pro debut against Frank Jordan (0-3) of Elizabeth, NJ. In the opening round of this fight, Fleischer looked to break down the guard of Jordan, who had his gloves glued to his chin. In the second stanza, he finally got through and hurt Jordan, and he did not let him off the hook. Fleischer pressured his opponent into his own corner, pummeling him until referee Shada Murdaugh stopped it at the 1:27 mark to make it a successful debut.

In a meeting between two undefeated light heavyweights, Jerry Odom and Andrew Hernandez met in the last bout before this card went live on FOX Sports 1. Hernandez came out better than expected in the opening frame, remaining active and bringing decent offensive output. Odom started to reverse the momentum in the second round and took overall control of the ring. At this point, he became busier and eventually opened a cut outside the right eye of Hernandez late in the third round, which the doctors gave a good look before allowing him to begin the ensuing frame. Sensing blood in the water, Odom turned up the tempo and quickly had Hernandez on his heels. The Phoenix native also showed signs that the blood was bothering him as he pawed at the drops before taking a knee early in the fourth round.

Once he took a knee, Odom inexplicably hit Hernandez twice while he was down, and he then fell onto his stomach and laid his entire body out. Referee Arthur McCante first started to count out Hernandez before stopping and calling for a pause of the clock. After some brief consultation, McCante decided that the infraction was worthy of a disqualification, ordering a halt to the fight at the 30-second mark of the fourth frame.

With the result, Odom falls to 12-1 with 11 knockouts while Hernandez improves to 8-0-1 with a single stoppage.

Roc Nation welterweight Kenneth Sims (5-0, 4 KOs) impressed in the longest outing of his young professional career, going the six-round distance against gritty veteran Christian Steele (4-12-2, 1 KO). With all four of his previous fights resulting in stoppages, fitness and patience were two things that needed to be tested, and Sims passed both with flying colors. Displaying good pop and quick hands, Sims stalked intelligently and never showed any signs of fatigue. He controlled the action from start to finish and displayed an extremely impressive skill set that unquestionably left witnesses wanting to see the Chicago native in action again.

When all was said and done, it was a six-frame shutout for Sims, improving to 5-0 with flush 60-54 tallies from the ringside officials.

Welterweights Cecil McCalla (20-1, 7 KOs) and Chris Van Heerden (22-1-1, 11 KOs) put on an entertaining 10-round scrap that was for the vacant IBF International Welterweight Championship, although McCalla was ineligible to win the belt after coming in overweight on the scales on Thursday afternoon.

McCalla appeared to be the busier man in the opening frame while Freddie Roach trained Van Heerden looked to size up his opposition. Throughout the bout, both fighters remained in the pocket and were willing to exchange, with timing and counters playing a critical role in the action. Neither man was ever in any type of serious danger, but Van Heerden seemingly began to take an edge in the activity and accuracy over the second half of the fight.

When the bell sounded to conclude the 10th and final stanza, the judges were divided. Despite a 99-91 card against him, Van Heerden claimed the vacant IBF International Welterweight strap by split decision with counts of 96-94 and 97-93 in his favor.

Featherweight Eduardo Martinez (5-0, 1 KO) kept his perfect record intact with a four-round unanimous decision over winless Rigoberto Miranda (0-3-2), earning scores of 40-36 and 39-37 (twice). Martinez was able to land the overhand right with ease throughout the bout while an aggressive but ineffective Miranda did all he could to find some kind of groove. The New York native was able to ignite a spark at the start of the third round, but he was unable to garner any significant momentum after that. Martinez put a stamp on the fight late in the fourth frame, opening up a cut outside of Miranda’s left eye, sealing his fifth professional victory.

In the opening bout of the night, junior welterweight Wellington Romero (5-0-1, 3 KOs) made quick work of Leo Kreischer (3-7-1, 2 KOs), knocking out the Cleveland native at the 1:24 mark of the first frame via left hook.

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