Jamal “Shango” James won his third consecutive fight at a packed Armory in Downtown Minneapolis Feb. 23. James won the bout after landing a body shot that broke down Colombia’s Janer Gonzalez at the end of the sixth round of the co-main event of the night.
James started the fight strong with a balanced attack, but Gonzalez tried to counter with punches of his own. However, James displayed dominance throughout the bout as the crowd went ablaze with every body shot that he delivered.
Halfway through round six, James landed a powerful body shot that sent Gonzalez to the floor, and what seemed like the end of it was declared a slippage by referee Gary Miezwa.
Moments later, Gonzalez suffered another powerful knockdown as the round ended. That was all it took for Shango to win in his hometown as Gonzalez’s corner decided not to continue the fight. Inching closer to a potential title fight, he only had one question: “Where is my belt?”
The opening match on FS1 was between a familiar name in Jeison Rosario, and his opponent Marcos Hernandez. Rosario fought Jamontay Clark at the Armory in August 2018 and won via unanimous decision.
Rosario showed superior experience as he unleashed a volley of punches during the ninth round, and Hernandez just could not do anything about it. Rosario won by technical knockout as referee Celestino Ruiz stepped in and stopped the fight.
The main event of the night featured the first world title fight at the Armory in more than 45 years. Michigan’s Anthony Dirrell was crowned the new WBC Super Middleweight Champion after securing the victory over Avni Yildirim of Turkey by a technical split decision. The two championship prospects battled in what seemed like an eternity, both showing moments of excellence.
But perhaps one of the most significant moments of the fight occurred during the seventh round. After Dirrell connected on left-right combo, the boxers collided heads as Yildirim leaned after throwing a right hook. This would later lead to a stoppage in 10th round due to Dirrell having a cut over his left eye. Dirrell eventually won the match as two of the three judges scored the fight in his favor.
Boxing will return to the Armory on April 13, as Osseo-native Caleb Truax takes on Peter Quillin in a clash of former world champions in Downtown Minneapolis.
Header photo: Jamal James (white) lands a right jab on Janer Gonzalez (red) during the sixth round of the co-main event of the night Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Armory in Downtown Minneapolis, Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter)