By Marc Livitz at ringside in Austin, TX: Reshard “Too Quick” Hicks remained disciplined and focused for everything Jairo Castaneda threw at him on Saturday night at the Austin Sports Center. An entertaining bout which began much up for grabs slowly turned into well fought display by Hicks for the World Combat Federation International Welterweight title.
From the opening bell and at least through the first few minutes, Killeen, Texas resident and southpaw Hicks (11-0-1, 5 KO’s) was easily the one pushing the action. Jairo had his moments as well, as his jab sprang to life in the closing seconds. San Antonio native Castaneda (10-2, 3 KO’s) did his best to get Reshard to move into close quarters one round later, yet Hicks waited patiently on the outside and pawed with his right jab. He capitalized just before the bell with a right hook. Jairo landed his best shot thus far in the contest inside of the third with a left hook of his own. Each fighter used the ring well, from the center to the corners as the almost exclusively “head shots” only bout continued.
“El Incredible” Castaneda began the fourth with quick jabs to the face of the champion. Hicks replied with lateral movement and his surefire right hand. The middle rounds were much a cat and mouse game. Jairo chased, while Reshard countered at times. A slip by Castaneda in the sixth was as close to a knockdown as the fight had been up to that point. By way of the eye test, Hicks appeared to amassing a nice lead, yet Castaneda used much of the eighth to go face first at his opponent from Killeen. Firm and intent, he pushed Hicks to his limits by way of hard shots to the head and fine footwork. In the ninth, Hicks was able to get closer and connect with his follow-up left.
They embraced for the last round, the tenth. Pleasantries were quickly abandoned for the most exciting round of the contest. Each man connected with hard shots, yet as the previous rounds had shown, the battle for Texas on Saturday night in Austin belonged to Reshard “Too Quick” Hicks, as identical scores of 97-93 were turned in alongside a third at 96-94 to reward him with the World Combat Federation International Welterweight crown by way of a unanimous decision triumph.
Co-Main Report - Kharsan Gets Decision Over Ramos
In the evening’s co-main event, Iskander Kharsan of Kazakhstan earned a hard fought, entertaining unanimous decision victory over Jorge Ramos for the vacant WBC Youth Intercontinental Super Bantamweight as well as World Combat Federation World Youth titles.
The two fighters exchanged jabs throughout a tense opening round, yet as time passed, Kharsan (5-0, 4 KO’s) was able to find his way around Ramos’s guard with his left hook. Jorge (6-1-1, 2 KO’s) looked to change tactics in the second by closing the distance and looking to counter his Kazakh opponent’s inward movement. Each fighter opened up in the closing seconds, much to the delight of the tightly packed-in crowd.
Ramos turned into the aggressor in the third, as he used his left jab to great affect, that is until he’d take a moment to admire this work. By that time, Iskander would tag him with well placed 1-2 head shots and his jab was keener at finding the target one round later. The fifth began in a state of war, as Ramos remained on the front foot, yet Kharsan found success due to his Laredo, Texas opponent’s tendencies to keep his head in one place.
A hard overhand right thrown by Iskander Kharsan midway through the sixth bucked Jorge’s knees and almost sent him down, but he quickly recovered. Punches landed and were scored by each man in the seventh, most of which connected while the other was in retreat from a quick charge inward. The eighth and final round began with high levels of anticipation from each corner. Ramos showed a bit more will, as the South Texas fighter beckoned his Eastern European adversary to get off of his bicycle, as Kharsan used the ring to its entirety, almost to the last bell.
Scores of 79-74, 79-73 and 80-72 were turned in to award the unanimous decision victory to Iskander Kharsan. The gracious victor used a few words of English in his post fight interview. “Thank You, Austin. I love you!,” he said.
Additional Results from Austin
Corey Barlow UD 6 Rayford Johnson - Heavyweight
Askat Zhantursynov KO 3 Michael Coronado - Heavyweight
Jesse Gonzalez UD 4 Corey Gulley - Light Welterweight
Eric McGowan (pro debut) KO 1 Daniel Sanchez – Lightweight