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Survivor a Sellout in Detroit!

Andre Courtemanche

With so many Detroit boxers from past and present in one room, it was a great time for a game of Six Degrees of Baby Jones.

Promoter Gerald Evans and his 1World Productions returned tonight to treat a sellout crowd of approximately 1500 people to an exciting and well-organized evening of professional boxing. If Bill Kozerski shows are a night of the big-time and an Andrea Darnell show is for the upscale casino crowd, a Gerald Evans show brings out the beating heart of Detroit boxing. The diverse group that make up the Motown fight community showed up in force to cheer their own and they didn't leave disappointed. Detroit is literally bursting at the seams with excellent fighters, as every other table sported at least one or two exciting prospects.

In the main supporting bout to Syd Vanderpool's impressive ring return, Detroit Lightweight Damian Fuller created some fireworks of his own by lighting up Chris Regular of Mississippi in the very first round. After his stunning defeat to unheralded Juan Valenzuela last month on ESPN2, Fuller showed he was eager to return to his formerly winning ways by tearing into Regular with sinister fury. Back were the legs and power of Fuller, both of which were mysteriously absent in his upset defeat. A single, perfectly placed right hook sent the game Regular to the mat in a heap. Although he managed to rise before the ten count, referee Ron Cunningham wisely halted the action and saved the staggering fighter.

"That's the punch I'll be looking to hit (ESPN2 conqueror Juan) Valenzuela with a lot…A LOT," said a still charged up Fuller. "My promoter Bill Kozerski is working on a rematch with him in the fall," he said. "I fought the wrong fight the first time, but I've been working with a strength and conditioning coach (Chad Wigle) and doing anything else it takes to make myself a better fighter."

With the win, Fuller's record is now 14-2 (7KO).

Watching Boyd Gardener Jr., return to the ring after a 9-year layoff, it was hard to believe he had lost four fights, let alone been off for nearly a decade. In the most competitive fight of the night, Gardener 9-4 (4KO) looked superb in handling a surprisingly game Robert Hayes of St. Louis.

Behind an educated and lightning-fast jab, Gardener stung Hayes with flurry after flurry of razor sharp punches. Hayes, however, didn't fight like he was there for a paycheck only. Fearless aggression and the occasional success he had in landing his heavy-handed bombs made for a very entertaining, if mostly one-sided, fight. In the end, Gardener served notice that he is back and better than ever, while Hayes (now 3-2) was cheered loudly for the bravery he displayed in defeat.

True to the word of captain Leo Nolan, the collective known as "Team Cannon" were seated as a group at ringside. Having promised each other to remain united throughout their careers, the team (Nolan, Rydell Booker, Rubin Williams and Tommy Robinson) sat at a table together, sporting "Team Cannon Big Guns" T-shirts, along with manager John Carlisle and trainer Anthony Nolan. The equally charismatic teammates entertained the crowd with impromptu dance numbers and endless handshakes for the fans that constantly streamed up to their table. Last week the team headlined a sold out Andrea Darnell show at Cobo in downtown Detroit.

The Jason Mrozek managed trio of Lightweight Don Talley, Light Heavyweight Pharaoh Turner and Super Middleweight Tony Rodriguez made quick work of their opponents. Each scored impressive one-round knockouts over Clark Gilbert, Quinton Harris and Dino Newville successively. Particularly auspicious was Turner, whose power elicited audible grunts from the overmatched Harris.

In the opening fight of the night, Desi Williams of Detroit, MI moved his record to 4-1 with a unanimous (40-36 X3) decision over Flint, MI's Charles Hinkle (1-1). Williams appeared to be in a higher league than his novice opponent.

Fightnews sends it sincerest wishes for a happy retirement to Michigan Commission timekeeper Ondrayah Garza who worked her final show this evening. Garza is the wife of Tyson vs. Golota referee Frank, who served as ring announcer tonight.