Who was the light heavyweight? Great night of fights at Hinckley Grand Casino

First off, I want to give credit where credit is due. MSC, RDS company, and Hinckley Grand Casino held what has to be one of the years best cards. I want to specifically congratulate Cory Rapacz on the best matched card of the year in my opinion, there was only one fight where the judges were not needed. All but two fights were close in my mind.

Photos by SnapLocally.com


Vanda landing on Williams, courtesy SnapLocally.com

Vanda landing on Williams, courtesy SnapLocally.com


This night belonged to Matt Vanda, he is a Minnesota boxing superstar. There is just something about Skeletor/The Predator that feels almost bigger than the fights. His walk to the ring with loud heavy music blaring is really something to be seen in person. Once that first bell rang, this fight pretty much belonged to the teacher. Vanda stalked, landed, joked, taunted, and defended with the aggression and control of guy who knew he was just too much for the less experienced foe.


Vanda took my keys to the fight and threw them out the window. Guess there is a reason he has a MUCH greater boxing mind in his corner, Ron Lyke. Vanda acted and looked to be the stronger man. He landed the much more meaningful punches and was pressing and pushing Williams around the ring with what looked to me to be EASE. This fight was pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought it would be. During the 8th round Vandas corner was yelling “He can’t hurt you”. Phil Williams just looked like he never got started. The Drill maybe let two or three of his bombs fly in this fight, and against a guy with as much experience and understanding of the ring as Matt Vanda, that’s just never going to work for somebody who’s game depends on power. As a guy who sat ringside for Williams fight against Echols, I was baffalled and frustrated at the way The Drill approached this one. Matt Vanda deserves credit for how he outclassed Williams from start to finish. In what to me was a big surprise, the judges scored this a split decision, thankfully the right guy won. (SD, 97,93/ 96,95/ 97,94/ Matt Vanda winner) After the fight I started to ask Phil Williams why he never let his hands go? Before I got the words out of my mouth, Williams said “I know I should have let my hands go”.


Wilton Hilario (left), Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Wilton Hilario (left), Courtesy SnapLocally.com


The co main event was Wilton Hilario vs Leon Bobo and this one had no chance of being pretty. Hilario came to fight, but you need two to tango. Bobo was fast and allusive, but that is pretty much it. I give credit to Hilario for doing all he could to make it a fight and watchable for the fans. (UD, 78,74/ 78,74/ 79,73/ Wilton Hilario winner)


Cerresso Fort (right), Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Cerresso Fort (right), Courtesy SnapLocally.com


Lamar Harris vs Cerresso Fort was the fight of the night. Well, the fight of the night if you love toe to toe slug fests, and I do. You could see the bad blood Jesse Kelley of MinnesotaBoxing.com had reported yesterday. These guys were throwing home run swings from the start. Both Harris and Fort had the other hurt at several points.  After this fight there should be no question about the chins of either of these guys. Handling the shots of Harris should leave no question that Fort is strongly in the mix a middle. (UD, 59,56/ 58,54/ 59,55/ Cerresso Fort winner)

The take down, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

The take down, Courtesy SnapLocally.com


Cory Rapacz (right) with Javontae Starks, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Cory Rapacz (right) with Javontae Starks, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Javontae Starks vs Dan Copp was pretty much what all expected it to be, a great debut for Starks. The first round was mostly just testing out the waters. Round two was ended by the vicious body blows Starks was known for as an amateur. (TKO 1:29 of the second, Javontae Starks winner)


Sam Morales (left), Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Sam Morales (left), Courtesy SnapLocally.com


The night started with a with a pretty exciting fight. Tim Taggart vs Sam Morales was a slug fest, not much in the way of defense. (MD, 38,38/ 38,38/ 39,37/ last judge scoring for Taggart)


Also on the card was Zach Schumach vs Don Tierney (MD, 38,38/ 39,38/ 39,37/ Zach Schumach winner)


Stay tuned for Laura Zink’s fight report and comments from Vanda and Williams.


Fort landing big, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Fort landing big, Courtesy SnapLocally.com

Weights and some quotes from tonight’s weigh-ins at Hinckley Grand Casino

Jim Erickson

Jim Erickson


The conference room where the weigh-ins were held was standing room only. Trainers, fighters, and spectators were all eager to get this exciting show rolling. Fox Sports North was on hand to cover the beginning of what will culminate tomorrow night at 7:30PM, with FSN coverage beginning at 8:45PM. Jim Erickson went over the rules and some questions were asked about details of what would be acceptable for rapping hands. Matt Vanda looked to be in good spirits as did most of the fighters. Below are some short quotes and weights from tonight’s event.



Phil “The Drill” Williams – “It is going to be a great show. I told you this would be my year, 2010 will be too.”


Phil Williams

Phil Williams

Wilton Hilario – “I am ready to fight”


Javontae Starks – “Excited, I am ready. I want to get this first one over with.”


Tim Taggart – “I’m excited to be back home to fight.”




Phil Williams 164.5

Matt Vanda 164


Leon Bobo 131 – one pound over, he had two hours to get down to 130 fight weight

Wilton Hilario 130


Cerresso Fort 161.5

Lamar Harris 160


Sam Morales 163.5

Tim Taggart 163


Zach Schumach 150

Don Tierney 149.5


Dan Copp 154

Javontae Starks 153.5

Top to bottom, Friday the 13th is stacked with good times.

This event could be called, night of tests. Almost all of the bouts on this card feature huge tests for some of Minnesota’s best boxing prospects. I love it!


vandawilliamsnov13This card is going to be fun. Generally you don’t hear a lot of chatter about more than maybe one or two fights on any given card. But MSC’s show this Friday night has been talked about from first fight to last. Honestly, I have not heard more conversation about an opening bout than Tim Taggard vs Sam Morales. Then there are the four TV fights that have everyone excited for Minnesota boxing.


Matt Vanda (41,9) vs Phil Williams (11,1) – This fight caused so much excitement the show sold out two weeks before its date. We already have written  quite a bit about this one, and will have Keys to victory for Phil Williams tomorrow. – Remember this fight starts at 8:45 PM, right after the Wild game. It will be the third fight of the night for those in attendance.


Wilton Hilario (11,0,1) vs Leon Bobo (18,3,1) – This is a Main Event on most evenings. Hilario did not get his wish to fight Minnesota’s pound for pound best, Jason Litzau, but does get a safer test with a step up fighter. I am really looking forward to this one. While Bobo doesn’t seem to have much pop, only 3 KO’s, he has been in there with the highest of competition and if Hilario can take him down it will be a big boost for his career.


Cerresso Fort (7,0) vs Lamar Harris (6,3,2) – This fight is considered by many to be Fort’s biggest to date. For one, he’s on TV, for another, Lamar Harris may have 3 losses and 2 draws but the guy only seems to fight undefeated prospects. While I think Fort will take care of this one handily it will still be a nice step up the ladder.


Javontae Starks (debut) vs Dan Copp (1,1) – People can not wait to see what Javontae Starks can do as a pro. He was one of the nations best as an amateur and will now see how that translates into the pro game. From the video I have watched of him, he looks like he is built to be a professional. I have been ringside for both of Dan Copps fights. His first was against Jon Schmidt and he was soundly out boxed and TKO ed in the 3rd. Copp got his win against a fellow MMA guy when the two of them met in a boxing match. Starks should be able to use his boxing skills to make easy work of this fight, but Copp will bring it. He has a motor that keeps on running. Should be a fun one.


Tonight is weigh ins for the fight  and The League plans to be there. I will try and put up some photos, weights, and hopefully a few quotes tonight.


 7-01-09 Phil Williams part 1

>7-30-09 Phil Williams Part II

7-31-09 Phil Williams Part III

10-26-09 Vanda vs Williams first glance

10-29-09 Whats wrong with wanting to fight the best?

11-09-09 Matt Vanda, keys to victory

Make sure to get to the fights on time November 13 in Hinckley.

With the fights being broadcast on FSN, the main event featuring Matt Vanda vs Phil Williams will be broadcast first after the Wild game. It is listed as 8:45PM. So unlike on most cards it will not be the last fight of the night. If you wait to enter you may miss the headliners. The non TV fights start at 7:30 PM and the card goes as follows.


1.Tim  Taggart vs. Sam Morales


2. Don Tierney vs. Zach Schumach


Fox Sports North Broadcast


3. Matt Vanda vs. Phil Williams


4. Wilton Hilario vs. Leon Bobo


5. Cerresso Fort vs. Lamar Harris


6. Javontae Starks vs. Dan Copp