Canada Day weekend victory for Clayton

Louis Joshua Eisen
30/06/2019 6:14pm

An entertaining night of prizefighting in Niagara Falls on Saturday saw wins for welterweight prospect Custio Clayton among others. Louis Joshua Eisen reports from ringside...

A large and boisterous sold out crowd filled the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Canada on Saturday night. They were all there to see former Canadian Olympian and welterweight pro stand-out, Custio Clayton, the Pride of Nova Scotia, improve his pro record to 17-0 (11 KOs) by scoring a unanimous, lopsided decision over Mexico’s Johan Perez, who falls to 24-5-2.

Clayton won the headline fight in fine style by putting his impressive boxing skill-set to good use, dominating Perez from the outset. Clayton consistently landed his jab to both the head and body of Perez throughout the match, while throwing all of his punches in combinations.

Clayton possesses a quick but heavy jab, behind which, he threw a slew of sizzling right hand leads. Clayton consistently came forward, jabbing his way into punching range and then landing a plethora of booming straight right hands which, rocked Perez’ head back countless times during the bout. Truth be told, Perez deserves credit for lasting the distance as Clayton had him all but out in rounds eight, nine and ten from multiple short, concussive right-hand leads, all of which landed flush on the jaw.

Clayton’s left and right hooks to the body in the first half of the fight paid off handsomely in the later rounds as Perez started to experience obvious fatigue near the end of the bout. By round eight, Perez no longer had the strength in his legs to move and thus was forced to lay on the ropes while absorbing a fearful, full body beating from Clayton for the last three rounds.

With his victory, Clayton won the vacant NABA welterweight title along with the vacant World Boxing Organisation International welterweight title. It’s onwards and upwards for this former Olympian. He is about four fights away from being a real force among the elite of the welterweight division.

The co-main event featured Toronto’s rugged and tough as nails Samuel Vargas (30-5-2), a well-travelled welterweight veteran of the Canadian fight scene. Some of you may remember Vargas going 12 rounds with Amir Khan not too long ago, even managing to drop the former world champion in the process.

On this night, Vargas fought tough Mexican veteran, Silverio Ortiz (37-25) from Mexico. This was an all-action fight from the first round on. There was no feeling out process in this bout as both men went to war and let their hands go in the first ten seconds of the fight.

The first round was even as Ortiz landed frequently with harder shots. The fight had an odd, inconsistent pace to it as each man took turns dominating every other round, or so it seemed. Early in round two, Ortiz went down from what he claimed was a low blow, although the punch was legit, landing on the beltline. Ortiz got up and relentlessly pummeled Vargas for the remainder of the round, rocking him with repeated left hands to the head.

The third round was all Vargas as he staged a strong rally, by cornering Ortiz and pounding away at his body in frenzied fashion. The tide turned again in round four as Ortiz landed a bevy of beautiful left hooks to the head and body of Vargas, who found himself trapped on the ropes during the round. A weary Ortiz tired in round five, allowing Vargas to win the round by teeing off on him for a full three minutes.

An accidental head butt in round six opened up a deep cut over the right eye of Vargas, which bled profusely for the rest of the fight. Ortiz was warned repeatedly by the referee for foul tactics, such as butting, rabbit punching and holding and hitting. Vargas won the sixth round although Ortiz staged a big rally in the last 30 seconds of the stanza.

Round seven was quite bloody as a noticeably tired Vargas constantly held Ortiz during the round. Ortiz managed to get his hands free at times to dish out further punishment to Vargas’ already crimson visage. Ortiz widened the cut over Vargas’ right eye in round eight with looping left hooks to the temple. Vargas looked as if he was running on empty but managed to rally late in the round.

Round nine featured another momentum shift as Vargas was more active in the round although he absorbed the more damaging shots. Round ten belonged to Ortiz as he landed repeatedly with left hand counters over Vargas’ straight rand hands. The cut definitely affected Vargas’ vision, forcing him to fight more tentatively than he would have liked.

Most of the crowd thought that Ortiz had won the fight. However, the judges thought otherwise, giving Vargas a unanimous decision victory by three identical scores of 77-75. Vargas - as is his habit - emerged bloody but unbowed, with another bout in his win column.

The first of the three televised welterweight bouts to be broadcast featured Ireland’s Lee Reeves, fresh off fighting at Madison Square Garden in New York, on St. Patrick’s Day. Reeves took his 4-0 record into the squared circle to face Hungary’s Dominik Karoly (2-1-1). Reeves used his (6’1’) height and reach advantages to good use by playing a steady tattoo on the unfortunate Hungarian’s face in the opening round.

Reeves often trapped Karoly on the ropes, where he mercilessly pounded Karoly’s body with vicious hooks from both hands. Reeves is a very technically sound boxer who combines raw power with excellent ring smarts.

Round two was all Reeves as he relied mostly on his superior boxing skills and thudding jab to bust up Karoly’s face. Reeves continually circled Karoly in every round, forcing the Hungarian pugilist to constantly reset his feet, as Reeves scored often with lefts to the belly and rights to the head. Reeves owned round three as well while pounding Karoly to the body with brutal left hands thrown off of his razor sharp double jabs. Reeves almost feral body attack had taken a huge toll on Karoly by round four, having the Hungarian fighter ready to go several times in the round.

By round five the end was nigh for Karoly. He was steadily bleeding from a cut over his left eye which was definitely adversely affecting his vision. Reeves continued to pound away incessantly at the head of Karoly and staggered him with a vicious right uppercut squarely on the button. Referee Donovan Boucher wisely stepped in to stop the fight at the 2:48 mark of round five, awarding Reeves a TKO victory while improving his pro record to 5-0.

All three of the televised headliners gave the fans at home and in attendance more than their money’s worth, keeping the audience excited and entertained throughout the entire card. Much credit goes to Lee Baxter Promotions and veteran boxing manager and promoter Adam Harris for staging a fun and action-packed night of prizefighting in Niagara Falls on a very busy Canada Day weekend.