Looking for his second consecutive win after capturing the North American Boxing Association (NABA) featherweight title two months ago, Hartford’s Mike Oliver fought to an entertaining draw against Brooklyn challenger Cornelius Lock on Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
The eight-round bout between Lock and Oliver was the main event of Jimmy Burchfield’s “Connecticut Classic” pro-am card, featuring six amateur and six professional bouts. Following his disqualification win over Eric Hunter in September, Oliver (26-5-1) came out aggressive against the stronger Lock, but was at his best when weaving in and out of trouble while Lock was the better fighter toe-to-toe.
The two staged a tremendous finish over the final four rounds, exchanging blows along the ropes and in the center of the ring. Lock (21-6-2) earned a 78-74 decision on one card while the other two judges each scored the bout 76-76, resulting in a majority draw.
Fighting for the first time since capturing the Women’s International Boxing Association bantamweight title in May, New London’s Shelito Vincent (10-0, 1 KO) showed no signs of rust whatsoever in the six-round co-feature, coming out firing against the undersized Alisah McPhee (2-1) of British Columbia, Canada, who moved up in weight from 118 pounds to put her unbeaten record on the line against Vincent.
McPhee fought hard, but didn’t have the strength or speed to match Vincent, who looked just as sharp Saturday as she did in her previous win against Angel Gladney in May. Vincent caught McPhee early and often and eventually caught her in a flurry in the neutral corner late in the fourth round, forcing referee Shada Murdaugh to stop the bout with 2:08 remaining.
Worcester, Mass., heavyweight Donnie Palmer (3-0-1, 3 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact, stopping New Haven’s Solomon Maye (1-1) with 36 seconds remaining in the fourth and final round. Palmer agreed to fight Maye early Friday morning, 24 hours before the event, after Maye’s original opponent, Zeferino Albino, was forced to withdraw Thursday due to personal reasons.
The 6-foot-10 Palmer had the distinct height advantage over the shorter, 6-2 Maye, but Maye looked sharp early, working the body aggressively while Palmer backpedaled looking to avoid sustaining any damage. As the fight wore on, Palmer ultimately wore down Maye, using his 267-frame to keep Maye against the ropes while landing clean blows to the head. Murdaugh deducted a point from Maye in the fourth for spitting his mouthpiece out a third time and eventually stopped the bout moments later when Maye could no longer defend himself.
In one of the most entertaining fights of the night, female bantamweights Marcia Agripino (1-0-1) of Groton, Conn., and newcomer Michelle Cook (0-0-1) of upstate New York battled to a majority draw following four action-packed rounds. Cook, a highly-regarded amateur from the Adirondacks, dominated the early rounds with sharp, effective counterpunching against the aggressive Agripino, but Agripino fought back in the latter half of the fight and began landing cleanly while avoiding Cook’s counterpunches. One judge scored the bout in favor of Cook, 39-37, while the remaining judges each scored it 38-38, resulting in a majority draw.
Super welterweight Christian Lao of New Haven (5-2-1) won for the first time in more than a year, outworking Hartford’s Joe Wilson Jr. (1-1) to earn a 39-37, 40-36, 38-38 majority decision. Lao’s speed and footwork were too much for Wilson, as he ducked in and out trouble and landed cleanly without taking much punishment. Following a year-and-a-half layoff, Lao returned to the ring Oct. 5, fighting to a draw, before beating Wilson on Saturday night.
New Haven welterweight Jimmy Williams (5-0-1) bounced back from a draw in early October with a unanimous decision win over the slick, elusive Evincii Dixon (2-3-1) of Lancaster, Pa., 39-37 on all three scorecards. The two spent most of the opening round posturing while trying to find an opening. Dixon seemed intent on counterpunching while Williams was the aggressor looking to press the action. The pace picked up in the third round as Williams opened with his most effective flurry of the night, forcing Dixon to exchange. Williams continued to press in the fourth round while Dixon landed several effective counterpunches, but not enough to sway the judges, resulting in his second loss in his last three fights dating back to September.