By Boxing Bob Newman at ringside

Ares Promotions put on FIGHT NIGHT 8 at the Empire Plaza Convention Center under “The Egg’ in Albany, New York. In Upstate, New York’s first pro show of 2012, new signee Jose “Stinger” Medina took on Michael Rayner in a middleweight eight rounder. Medina took a hard fought unanimous decision over eight rounds.

Adopted son Jose Medina, fighting out of Tilton, NH, but now promoted by Ares Promotions, took on Fayetteville, North Carolina’s Mike Rayner in a scheduled eight round middleweight encounter. Medina continued where he left off when last Albany area fans saw him pick apart Rayner with relative ease. Rayner did have his moments in the fourth as he caught Medina with some telling head shots to keep Medina honest. Medina continued with his unorthodox, all-angles style of throwing punches in bunches in rounds five. Rayner would not give up though, as he kept pressing forward to the end, with Medina boxing out of harm’s way. After several low blows, but only one warning that this writer saw issued, referee John Callas finally took a point away from Rayner in the eighth and final round. In the end it only added insult to injury as Medina took a 80-71, 79-72 and 78-73 unanimous decision to move to an ever improving 17-9-1, 7 KOs. The tough luck Rayner slithers to 8-17-1, 5 KOs.

Opening up the night, Boston’s Gabriel DuLuc took on Toledo’s Calvin Pritchard in a welterweight clash. It wasn’t pretty, but DuLuc impressed the judges enough to only lose one round on one judge’s card, taking a 40-36 x 2 and 39-37 unanimous decision to improve to 4-0, 1KO, while the unlucky Pritchard keeps his winless streak going at 0-4-2.

Bout #2 saw Tre’Sean “Trigger” Wiggins of Newburgh, NY take on Dwayne Hall of Rochester, NY, also welterweights in a scheduled four rounder. Tre’Sean took little time in living up to his nickname and pulling the”Trigger” on Hall, landing a lightning-quick left right combo dropping his foe hard late in the opening round. Hall beat the count and made it back to his corner on shaky legs. Wiggins reloaded during the rest period and pulled the trigger again about twenty seconds into round two, forcing Hall to take a knee in the neutral corner. Hall rose, but as referee Ken Ezzo attempted to steady the stricken fighter, Hall fell like he was shot, hard on his back! Ezzo immediately waved off the massacre at :29 of the second session. Wiggin’s moves to 3-0, 3KOs, while Hall evens up at 2-2.

In a welterweight battle of the New York City boroughs, Javier Baez of the Bronx and Brooklyn’s Anthony Birmingham went at it for four full rounds. Their novice status was evident, as the bout got sloppy by the midway point and Baez was noticeably fatigued and taking some hard head shots. Baez came back to life in the final round, but as well as he did, he also took Birmingham’s best. IN the end there was little to choose between the two combatants as judge Tom Schreck saw it 40-36 for Baez, but was over ruled by judges Wynn Kintz and Frank Lombardi both saw it 38-38, for a majority draw. Baez starts his career at 0-0-1 and Birmingham still looks for his first win at 0-1-1.

Popular Delmar, NY lightweight Zachary “Li’l Freak” Smith took on New York City’s Ramon Santos in a scheduled four. After a feel ‘em out first round, Smith got “Freaky” on Santos, unleashing a body barrage against the ropes in Santos’ corner, dropping his foe to his hands and knees. As referee Ken Ezzo tolled the count, Santos motioned to his right ribs, grimacing in pain. Ezzo reached the count of ten at 1:25. Smith improves to 6-2, 1 KO, while Santos dips to 0-3.

Yonkers, New York’s Chazz “Magnificent” McDowell had more than he could handle in Rochester’s Jamell Tyson in a lightweight six. In a fast paced first round, McDowell seemed to have the slight edge until a southpaw straight left from Tyson deposited him on his rear end late in the round. Tyson got stunned briefly in the second as McDowell got back on track. Immediately in the third, McDowell was staggered again along the ropes, but somehow survived. In the fifth, all seemed over for McDowell as he walked into a massive left hand, and stiffened into the ropes in his own corner, where Tyson teed off, McDowell seemingly out on his feet. Referee Joe Cusano opted to call it a knockdown as the ropes held McDowell up. A follow up flurry had McDowell hanging on for dear life, falling to the canvas as Tyson backed away. Cusano ruled that a slip. Incredibly, McDowell summoned incredibly will power and roared back with flurries against the winded Tyson, to the delight of the crowd. McDowell seemed to win the sixth and final round as Tyson appeared to have shot his wad trying to finish his stricken foe in the previous rounds. It was not to be however, as all three judges saw it 57-56, and 57-55 twice for upset winner Tyson, now 3-5-1, 1 KO, while McDowell loses his first at 5-1, 1KO.

Fellow Albany Middleweights Stephen Scott and Markus Williams locked horns over six rounds. It was a contrast in styles between the stylish boxer Scott and the hard-as-nails, deliberate punching “Rude Boi” Williams. It was evident from the get-go that Williams was honed in on body work with impunity. In the third, it looked as if Scott would cave in from the pounding his midsection was taking. Miraculously, Scott looked to have cleanly won the fourth with slick boxing as Williams may have punched himself out. Round five was a back and forth affair with each man taking turns imposing his will. Williams seemed to have more in the tank in the sixth and final round, pounding not only to the body, but issuing loads f lefts to the right side of Scott’s head, as evidenced by the many welts that rose on Scott’s temple by the end of the battle. Scores were 60-54 and 59-55 twice, all for “Rude Boi” Williams, now 9-2, 1 KO. Scott, the New York State Jr. Middleweight champ, title not on the line, dips to 8-4, 1KO.

Popular former New York State Lightweight champ Brian Miller, of nearby Schenectady, NY decided to climb back into the ropes after suffering his only loss nearly a year-and-a-half ago, this time at Jr. Welterweight, taking on Chris Finley of Detroit. BAD DECISION! Miller has always been known as a tough guy, perhaps his day job as a corrections officer ha something to do with that. Nothing however could save him from the human wrecking machine that was Finley. Miller’s head resembled a human piñata, Finley’s punches missing nary a time. More than once it looked as if either Miller would go down, or referee Ken Ezzo would step in to save Miller from a frightful beating. Perhaps he should have, as the fight came to a sickening conclusion at 1:24 of the opening session, with Miller crashing face first, dazed and confused. Miller should stay retired, finishing at 8-2-4, 3KOs, while Finley evens up at 4-4, 4 KOs. It is amazing to think of Finley having lost four fights after witnessing his display of speed and power. All of Finley’s losses have been to undefeated fighters via four-round decisions. His pro debut was a loss to current prospect Mike Dallas Jr.

Troy, New York’s Shawn Miller, the younger half of the fighting Miller brothers (older brother is recently come-backing heavyweight Shannon), took out James Denson with a single over hand at 2:58 of the third. It was fairly even up to that point but the concussive nature of the knockdown, and Denson’s lack of response during referee Joe Cusano’s count forced Cusano to call matters off. Miller rises to 7-1-1, 4KOs, while Denson sinks to 4-7, 2KOs.

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