Accidental Butt Gives Minto Technical Decision
Holmes Suffers First Professional Loss
By: Brady Crytzer at ringside
Photography by Gary Sarti
Donnell “The Real Touch of Sleep” Holmes - ranked #13 by the WBC - was surprisingly gracious in the days leading to his scheduled twelve round NABO heavyweight title bout against Brian “The Beast” Minto - ranked #8 by the WBO and #15 by the WBA.
Like his opponent Friday night, the undefeated Holmes had found success in the heavyweight division largely without the assistance of a high profile promoter. With the big fights eluding him for most of his career, Holmes was thankful for the opportunity to fight a world ranked contender and for a highly prized regional title.
Unfortunately opportunity came at a price for Holmes. The price was that Holmes would challenge a hometown hero in front of over 4,000 of his closest friends at the Pullman Park in Butler, PA.
Although Minto has grown accustomed to enjoying local support throughout his career, there was a new addition to his entourage this evening that spoke volumes despite his quiet demeanor.
Freddie Roach, world class trainer and owner of LA’s Wild Card Gym, stood meekly in the corner of Minto projecting a calming confidence after seven long weeks of hard training with his new charge.
Any indication of goodwill disappeared come fight time however.
Minto was the first to score as he bullied Holmes into the ropes and unloaded with a ripping body combination. With his opponent marching toward him Holmes fired a large number of left-right combinations with hopes of catching Minto coming in. On the ropes again, Minto scored with three hard hooks to the chin of Holmes forcing the taller man to clinch at the bell.
The second round saw the fighters square off in a calculated chess match. From a distance, both Minto and Holmes found success with looping left hooks to the body and, during a pose, Holmes snapped back the head of his opponent with a wicked right cross. Momentarily stunned Minto quickly pressed Holmes to the ropes and began to score with body shots.
Minto caught his opponent with a hard left hook after timing a weak Holmes jab to kickoff the third round. Though Holmes found success by timing short right hooks, Minto launched an overhand right that landed flush on the chin. To his credit “The Real Touch of Sleep” shook off the punch well and continued to jab with bad intentions. Round four was largely a wrestling match as the contest was beginning to take its toll on its’ valiant participants.
As the bell sounded to end round four, Minto landed a well timed right uppercut to the jaw of Holmes.
It was between the rounds that the drama began. Before the start of the fifth round it was announced that the bleeding from the left eye of Minto was caused by an accidental headbutt. The ringside physician quickly stopped the contest.
The bout would be decided by the scorecards.
With the scorecards reading 40-36 twice and 39-37, Minto became the new NABO world heavyweight champion.
Holmes’ cornerman John Butler was, needless to say, infuriated with the decision.
“It was a hometown decision,” Butler said. “The plan was to take him into the later rounds, Minto was breaking down. They never called any accidental headbutt during the fight.”
Minto, following the bout, admitted that his vision was blurred and his vision was impaired.
“It was a pretty nasty cut,” Minto explained. “I told the physician the truth that I couldn’t see. It was his (the doctor’s) decision. It was one of those freak accidents. This is boxing.”
Though he was dejected, Holmes was not surprised by the decision but was upset with the outcome.
“I felt that he was ahead,” Holmes admitted. “But the plan was to take him into the later rounds. He was tired, he was doing exactly what we wanted him to do. He caught me with his best shots and I was ok. It may have been a headbutt, I don’t remember. He was running in with his head because he was tired.”
“He was glad the physician stopped it.”
Ringside discussion revealed that Holmes’ camp is likely to appeal the decision.
With this win Brian Minto improves to 34-2 with 21 knockouts while Donnell Holmes falls to 31-1-2 with 27 knockouts.
Zalus Rumbles Past Novaria
Heavyweight Paul Zalus finished a debuting Justin “T-Bear” Navario late in the second round with a thumping flurry of punches giving him his second victory.
The former Golden Gloves champion Zalus wowed onlookers with a vicious display of brute force this night as he did during his debut in April.
Over twenty pounds lighter than in his debut, the hulking Zalus moved more quickly than his opponent Novaria and was not shy about throwing bombs early. After backing his opponent into a corner, Zalus ripped heavy body punches to the soft midsection of Novaria. Although “T-Bear” gave up nearly four inches in height, the former Toughman standout never stopped returning fire with wild hooks to his much bigger opponent.
In the second Zalus finished a heated exchange by badly wobbling Novaria with a stiff jab. Referee Ernie Sherif quickly stepped in to give the Novaria a standing eight count. Once action resumed “Zeus” forced his overmatched opponent back with a hard jab and unloaded a flurry of punches. Overwhelmed, Novaria was forced to take a knee.
The end came at the 2:35 mark when, after a heavy left hook, Zalus pounced on the battered Novario forcing referee Sherif to halt the rough and tumble affair. Zalus is now 2-0 with 2 knockouts and Novario begins his career at 0-1.
“I was just mad,” Zalus said. “He was holding my head and hitting me with some dirty shots. It just fired me up. It didn’t matter what he wanted to do tonight!”
Niggemeyer Erases Hampton
In just his second fight, Russ Niggemeyer needed only :52 seconds to knock out William Hampton with a single right hook in a middleweight bout scheduled for four rounds.
After missing the prefight weigh-in by nearly an hour, Niggemeyer had no trouble making up for lost time as the bell sounded.
Following a brief feeling out period, the highly focused Niggemeyer showed tremendous patience not to wrestle with the inexperienced Hampton. After shoving his opponent into the ropes, Hampton was quickly and violently knocked unconscious
with a perfectly timed, short right hook.
Referee Ernie Sherif wasted no time waving the fight off as Hampton stared blankly into the night sky. The official time of the stoppage was :52 seconds. Niggemeyer is now 2-0, with 2 knockouts while Hampton starts his record at 0-1.
Gregory Wins First Bout
After eight fights going the opposite direction, “Raw” Cliff Gregory won his first bout after earning a majority decision against Gabe Morris during a four-round welterweight contest.
Morris controlled the first round with hard overhand rights and stunned Gregory badly as the bell sounded. Gregory never surrendered however and opened a large gash over the right eye of Morris in the final round. Judges’ scorecards read 38-38, and 39-37 twice in favor of Gregory.
Gregory is 1-5-3 and Morris drops to 1-3-1.
Winner Overcomes Cook
Brandon Winner earned a hard-fought majority decision over Brian Cook in a heavyweight four round attraction. Scorecards read 38-38, and 39-37 twice in favor of winner. Winner’s record raises to 3-6 and Cook to 2-3, with 2 knockouts.