ESPN2 Friday Night Fights Goes Out With a Bang
By Adam Ewing
The final broadcast of ESPN Friday Night Fights started off in the super welterweight division, as John Thompson, IV., 16-1, 6 KO’s, faced off against heavily favored, yet overweight, Brandon Adams, 17-1, 12 KO’s, for the ESPN Boxcino Tournament crown.
Round one started off with a bit of controversy as Adams scored a knockdown within the first minute. It appeared as though Thompson had slipped, but Adams landed a punch to the body almost simultaneously, so the referee had to score it a knockdown. Adams landed a few more wild rights, winning a pretty exciting first round.
In the second, things escalated quickly, when Thompson proved the knockdown was a fluke. He responded with a barrage of left hooks, putting Adams on the canvass. Adams was not ready after making it to his feet, when he got up, he ate a few more left hooks, and crumbled yet again. Getting up a second time, he was pelted with more heavy shots. It was a straight right hand that snapped Adams head back while he was sitting on the ropes, forcing the referee, David Mendoza, to stop the fight.
Thompson improved to 17-1, while scoring only his sixth career knockout. He showed enough poise, as he responded nicely from a questionable knockdown, exhibited legit power in both hands, and now has to be considered a contender in the super welterweight division.
The main event of the evening was for ESPN’s Boxcino Tournament Final in the heavyweight division. It featured Andrey Fedosov, 27-3, 22 KO’s, against Donovan Dennis, 12-1, 10 KO’s. This fight was guaranteed to send Friday Night Fights off in style, as both fighters ended the majority of their fights by way of knockout.
Things started off with Dennis using his reach advantage, a few jabs, and didn’t allow Fedosov to establish himself on the inside. With not much action, Dennis took the early lead on my card.
A top heavyweight in the Boxcino tournament, Fedosov, scored easily, chopping away at the body of Dennis, and near the end of round two, Fedosov was able to sneak in a couple rights upstairs as he began to figure out the length of Dennis. Fedosov evened the fight at the end of the second.
In round three, Fedosov caught Dennis early, putting him down for the first time in the fight. Fedosov looked to press the action as he charged Dennis, but responded with a few heavy punches of his own, forcing Fedosov to rethink his approach. Fedosov went up 29-28, with the knockdown winning it for him.
Round four gave us both fighters smacking each other a few times, if this fight went to a decision, it would be a swing round. I
Round five belonged to Dennis as he tapped Fedosov with a few jabs, eventually sneaking in a nice left or two. Donovan began to realize if he simply threw a lazy jab, the plodding Fedosov was hesitant on coming forward.
In round six, just as Fedosov’s right hand began to drop, he rocked Dennis with a right hook that almost sent him to the canvass. Dennis was able to regain his composure by holding Fedosov whenever he got in close. At this point in the fight, Fedosov made it clear he was hunting for a knockout.
The short rest on the stool wasn’t enough for Dennis, as Fedosov inserted his will from the opening bell. Knocking Dennis down with 1:30 left in the seventh, the dedication to the body in the early rounds gave Fedosov a severely immobile target and went to work as if he was hitting a heavy bag. Dennis returned to his corner gasping for air and down on my scorecard yet again.
With about 2:20 left in round eight, Dennis ate a right, sending him down for the final time. When Dennis returned to his feet, referee Tom Taylor, jumped in and called an end to the fight, giving Andrey Fedosov the victory by TKO, improving his record to 28-3.
ESPN Friday Night Fights (FNF) has been a staple of my Friday’s, on and off, for about ten years. I feel I am speaking for fans of the sweet science when I say this series will be greatly missed. This sensational broadcast would not be the same without Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas guiding us through. Tessitore is one of the best color commentators in the business, and will and will be a great mouthpiece for the debut of Premier Boxing Champions on the ESPN network. I have always enjoyed Teddy Atlas letting his feelings be known when there is disputed decision. Teddy is a respected guy in the sport. He knows when an injustice goes down in the ring. I am relieved he will continue to donate his knowledge of the sport on ESPN/PBC events. These two call fights right down the middle; there is no preference, they do so incandescently.
When the broadcast came to a close, and I sat there thinking about my favorite moment, I realized how many future champions I watched come through the ranks. The most recent fighter I can remember that quickly charged through was Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade. He always put on a show for the FNF audience. For me, his most memorable moments came when he destroyed Angel Hernandez and Omar Bell, both in the second round of their respected fights, showing the boxing world he was ready for a title shot. He subsequently went on to win the WBO super welterweight title.
Teddy Atlas bids farewell to Friday night fights: