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15 NOVEMBER 2018


McGuinness captures NABA title

Logan McGuiness  raises arms aloft
Logan McGuiness raises arms aloft

Hometown hero Logan Cotton McGuinness knocked out former world title challenger Benoit Gaudet in the 11th round last Saturday night in the main event on a provincial rivalry card, pitting Ontario and Quebec fighters against each other in a statement showdown, to capture the vacant North American Boxing Association (“NABA”) super featherweight title at The Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

McGuinness (16-0-1, 7 KOs), presently rated No. 10 by the World Boxing Association (“WBA”) in the lightweight division, relinquished his NABA lightweight crown to fight Gaudet for the lower weight belt.

“This was the biggest fight of my career,” McGuinness said. “He had nearly 200 amateur fights and fought in the Olympics, so he had an experience advantage over me as a professional and amateur. Right from the get-go, I pressured him, cut off the ring, and broke him down. The last three rounds he felt my power, even my jab.I hit him with a good jab and the ropes held him up. He isn’t known as a puncher and I walked through his punches.”

McGuinness, captain of Team Ontario, was the aggressor from the opening bell, forcing the pace against counter-punching Gaudet (24-3, 10 KOs).An accidental head butt in the second round opened a deep cut over McGuinness’ left eye. Logan cut Gaudet over his left eye in the sixth round. In the 11th round, McGuinness’ pressure paid off in dramatic fashion when the Irish-Canadian fighter unloaded a powerful right-left combination that dropped Gaudet, who reached his feet but was unable to continue as the referee halted the match.

“I like fighting as a super featherweight,” Logan added. “I had no trouble making weight and felt stronger.I weighed in at 128, two pounds under.I’m not sure what’s next but I’m ready for anything my promoter, manager and trainer agree to.”

The co-feature turned out to be a war, as predicted, between unbeaten Columbian welterweight Samuel Vargas (8-0-1, 2 KOs) and outspoken Ahmad Cheikho (6-4-2, 5 KOs), who were representing, respectively, Toronto/Ontario and Montreal/Quebec.

In a toe-to-toe, old-fashioned brawl, Vargas and Cheikho went at it from the start. A well placed shot to the liver by Vargas dropped Cheikho in the first round, but Ahmad caught Vargas in the second round, knocking him to the mat face first for the first time in his career. A bloodied Vargas survived the round and a little later, momentum shifted to his favor.In the fourth, Vargas pinned Cheikho on the ropes, blasting away with left hooks to the body, and Ahmad hit the deck once again. Vargas’ all-out assault continued in the fifth round, in which Cheikho was knocked down during the final seconds. He managed to beat the count but failed to answer the bell for the sixth.

“The card as a whole was one of the most exciting I’ve been involved with in a long time,” commented International Boxing Hall of Fame nominee Al Bernstein, who called the action live from ringside. “The main event and co-main event were outstanding. The Sam Vargas-Ahmad Cheikho match is a fight of the year candidate. It was a total slugfest and Vargas came back from the brink of disaster to win. Speaking of coming back...Logan McGuinness was being out-boxed by Benoit Gaudet, but he came back to stop Gaudet in the 11th when he needed a KO to win the match. McGuinness won his first big fight at super featherweight and probably found his best weight class."

In the other Ontario-Quebec rivalry bout, Natasha “The Nightmare” Spence (3-0-1, 2 KOs) made it a clean sweep for Ontario as she won a four round decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) versus Lucia Larcinese, of Montreal..

Hennessy Sports’ newly signed fighter, Buffalo light heavyweight prospect Lionell “Lonnie B” Thompson (10-0, 6 KOs), kept his perfect record intact via a six-round shutout, taking a decision from former world title challenger and former Sudan Olympian, Abdullah Ramadan (15-11, 9 KOs).

Also on the undercard, Jeremy Abbott (3-2, 2 KOs) destroyed Harrison McBain (3-4-1) in one round, heavyweight Dillon Carman (2-0, 1 KO) needed only 39 seconds to stop Gord “The Gravedigger” Franjic, and light middleweight Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook (3-0, 1 KO) won a four-round unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) over Darren Fletcher.

Photo credit: Blair Diamon Photography

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