Posts Tagged ‘Fight of the Year’

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report and Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Thirty-seconds earlier, a confident Richard LeRoy awaited the opening bell in the biggest fight of his young career. During the introductions, LeRoy stared across the cage at his opponent before briefly acknowledging his fans. The moment for LeRoy had been a long time coming, and he seemed like he was ready for the challenge.

The thirty-seconds that immediately followed don’t exist for Leroy, because he has no memory of them. “Do you remember what happened?” LeRoy joked. His opponent that night Jalin Turner punched the time clock right on the pause button when he cracked LeRoy so hard and so often, the entire first 3 minutes turned into a blur. As LeRoy covered up on the ground, the thunderous shots echoed. He knew the referee was getting close to stopping the fight, and admittedly that was all he knew. Richard LeRoy still doesn’t remember what happened, but he sensed he was very close to losing everything he had worked so hard to regain. As all these thoughts ran through his head, and the referee approached all he could think was, “Im not fucking going out like this.”

Two years earlier, after a dramatic come from behind knockout win over Brandon Hastings, LeRoy began feeling discomfort in his right shoulder. Hastily he was initially diagnosed with an AC separation. Initially the arm was immobilized and a rehabilitation program would follow to facilitate the healing. Throughout his time off LeRoy kept training the best he could, using only his left arm. After the rehabilitation program was completed, the pain persisted. Following the advice of a friend with connections in the medical field, LeRoy was able to get an MRI which revealed a torn Labrum, an injury that would require immediate surgery and yet another extensive rehabilitation. While on the shelf, LeRoy watched as the promotion he called home crowned their first ever CXF lightweight champion. ” It is just a matter of time.” LeRoy thought to himself.

In a haze and in a heap, LeRoy somehow coherently realized he was about to lose everything he fought so hard to get back. It was that thought alone that inspired him to survive. A momentary reprieve in the assault by Turner would only make the next barrage seem that much more cruel. As again Turner sent LeRoy in search of level footing. Trying to find his equilibrium, LeRoy was rewarded with a nasty knee that again dropped him to the canvas.  Wobbling and in retreat for most of the round, LeRoy cleared the cobwebs and like a cornered dog he began snapping back. “Late in the round at one point, somehow I ended up in mount, and  that is when I really started to get my head clear.” LeRoy said. Finishing the round in top position, LeRoy appeared to have weathered the storm, but that was only the first round and the hell that greeted him 5 minutes earlier was again waiting for another encounter.

As the second round began, again Turner found success with his range, as he began to pepper LeRoy from angles the shorter fighter could only imagine. However this time LeRoy didn’t seem as effected as much as was in the previous round. Relentlessly he pressed forward and soon he began to break-down the range of Turner.  Finding some success on the inside, LeRoy began chopping down his longer opponent, but Turner obliged and kept the violent merry-go-round going. As the moments ticked by, the pendulum of momentum started to swing in LeRoy’s direction. “I remember dropping him with an inside leg kick, and I popped right into mount. I could see he was starting to get tired.” LeRoy said. Continuing his attack until the bell, a confident LeRoy went back to his corner thinking he had won the second. “I though for sure I won the round,” LeRoy said.

Drenched with sweat, referee Mike Beltran was long past exhausted and his normal jovial expression had hit the road sometime in the first round, in its place a stone like expression I’m glad to say I don’t know. The air was thick in the Burbank Marriott ballroom as the third round opened. Again the aggressor, LeRoy kept his foot on the gas. The more he pressed, the more his opponent began to slow. Late in the third round with Turner starting to fade, Leroy found himself in the top position. Sensing the end LeRoy looked to inspire the finish with some nasty ground and pound, punctuated effectively with elbows in between. The referee again came close, and after a few warnings from urging Turner to defend went unanswered the assault was stopped at 4:18 in the final round. Capping one of the best comebacks ever in the CXF cage.

The win earned LeRoy a spot in the semi final round for the CXF promotions ‘Cali Kings’ tournament. Putting him just one fight away from the title. However the epic war with Turner came at a cost, and due to injuries suffered in the fight LeRoy withdrew from the tournament. “I really wanted that title. When I was injured and I first saw the CXF belt I sort of already considered it mine,” LeRoy said with confidence.

After a three-month layoff that included a trip to Europe, LeRoy is back in the hunt for the CXF title. Standing across the cage this time in a lightweight title-eliminator will be the well-travelled and equally explosive Christian “The Beast” Aguilera. A well-rounded fighter  like LeRoy, Aguilera is an equal opportunity ass kicker. He can knock you into next week with one shot, or he can choke you to sleep. His dangerous skill set and hybrid pedigree is something LeRoy is well aware of; “Christian’s a tough dude, and he looked great in his last fight.” LeRoy said. “He is very good on his feet; a good striker, and he has great jiujitsu as well. The fight is going be a challenge for sure, but I will be ready.”

With the winner of the bout earning an immediate title shot at the conclusion of the ‘Cali Kings’ tournament, LeRoy once again finds himself just a few steps away from the title he coveted for so long.

CXF 10:Fall Brawl will take place November 4th, in Studio City, CA at the world-famous Sportsmen’s Lodge. For tickets go to: www.mmatixx.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

That epic

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CXF Gold Rush Ware gooch-14

 

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Hype can be a fickle word in the fight business. Often it ends up being hyperbole, rarely delivering on a quarter of the expectation. Going into last nights event California Xtreme Fighting’s ‘Gold Rush’ event the hype behind the Terrion Ware vs Rob Gooch fight had built for so long, it was literally overflowing. Rarely do these bouts every live up to expectations. In this case, the fight exceeded the lofty expectations and ended up being one of the most entertaining bouts of the year.

To understand the genesis of this fight, you have to cast back to almost a year ago. Under another promotion this fight was booked as a main event. All of the media jumped on the bandwagon of a fight that could produce a future UFC star. However a staph infection hospitalized Gooch leaving the fight in limbo. Months went by Gooch healed; Ware kept training and again the fight was booked. Cursed, once again the fight ended up on the scrap heap. The promotion was forced to cancel the event due to injuries, and again both fighters were left all dressed up with no place to go. However this time the cancellation coincided with the ‘Gold Rush’ event, and after reaching an agreement the bout was again signed. The featured scrap would also produce the number one contender for the CXF Bantamweight Title.

So finally after a year of waiting, both fighters were healthy on weight, and the bout was set. Once the cage door closed the the excuses and the hype quickly faded. The anticipation became a violent reality that lived up to the billing. For three rounds Rob Gooch and Terrion Ware danced. For 15 minutes they engaged in a bloody tango that had the crowd on their feet the entire time.

The back and forth first round was closely contested, with Ware scoring more effectively in the stand up department, however a takedown from Gooch was able to give him dominate position for a good chunk of time. Once back up, Ware began landing with counter right hands, that inspired a mouse under the eye of his surging opponent.

In the second round, Ware continued to loosen up with his hands catching Gooch several times that buckled his knees. However Gooch refused to break, instead he coiled like a rattlesnake before springing back to life with punches that testified to his resolve. The first of these surges, rocked Ware with an uppercut. However the offensive production just wasn’t on a par for Gooch. As the fight progressed, Ware continued to pile up points, landing two or three times at a time with combinations that were answered back with singular shots. Towards the middle of the final round, Gooch’s eye began to swell shut as Ware tactfully pieced him apart with counter right hands. Ware hit him with everything but the kitchen sink, yet Gooch remained standing.

Ware cruised to a one sided decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) however the score does not exact the contest any justice. The fight itself was one of the most entertaining bouts of the year. In victory the Terrion Ware remains on the cusp of the big show. He continues to evolve as a fighter and this win certainly puts him on a short list of UFC hopefuls in the 135 lbs division. Rob Gooch ends up with a loss on the score sheets, but his stock continues to rise. The heart, fire and desire this guy displayed is certain to carry him past the loss. Simply put people with that kind of fortitude never stay down long.

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