Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
The speed of Denis Douglin (14-1-0, 8ko) was favoured over the aggressive fighting style of erstwhile undefeated Steve Martinez (11-1-0, 9ko) in a battle of two East Coast prospects. Douglin prevailed by way of tight, split decision in cool conditions at Mallory Square, Key West in Florida on Friday, January 6 on the season opener of Friday Night Fights on ESPN.
Official verdict: 77-75, 77-75, 75-77 split decision to Douglin.
With Momma’s Boy written on the seat of his red trunks with white trim, Douglin – a speedy boxer of diminutive height – is unique in the fact that, unlike other fistic families it is not his father who helps train him, but his mother, Saphya, herself an amateur boxer.
A promising product of the New Jersey scene, Douglin suffered a setback last year when Doel Carrasquillo stopped him in three rounds. It was his only loss to date and, in the scenic outdoor grounds of the Mallory Square in Key West, Florida, had a chance to show that the Carrasquillo defeat was a one off as he opened ESPN’s popular Friday Night Fights franchise along with undefeated prizefighter Steven Martinez, a knockout artist who has never boxed longer than six rounds.
In the first couple rounds the action was fast and instigated by both men. Douglin looked to get off on his measuring jab, a tool he used to subtly aggravate the same spot on Martinez’s brow while simultaneously wanting to load up on power punches should the opportunity present itself.
Douglin kept his mitts high and this provided a natural cushion for the hooking shots that Martinez attempted to land. When Martinez closed the gap and initiated inside combat, Douglin – twice – turned his man and stepped back.
Operating behind his southpaw measuring stick, Douglin’s follow up punch – the left cross – returned good success in both the third and fourth rounds. Indeed, it was the portside posturing that Martinez had difficulties negating. In an effort to establish some authority on the fight, Martinez began throwing more and more punches but, as a result, his chin was getting clipped repeatedly and he became an easier target.
In the sixth, Douglin’s turning tactic was again used, but, this time, in order to prevent a pummeling while in the blue corner as he punched and turned his way out of danger. Like he had done in the round prior, Martinez’s punch-happy tactic saw him take the ten score as he far out-landed the less active Douglin.
The Momma’s Boy began the final round with a three-punch head-bound combination and was the one pressing the action as Martinez – rarely for him – took retreating steps. Hearing the banging sounds that signified ten seconds left on the ring clock further inspired Douglin to finish the fight in the ascendancy as he upped the tempo, rallied and bagged the final round and, what could have ultimately been, the contest as Douglin received a close, split decision nod.
Douglin, who progressed to 14-1-0, 8ko with victory, said post-fight: “Steven is a hell of a fighter and the fight was definitely closer than I thought it would be but we went hard and got it.”