Pride and Glory, Gwinett Arena, Atlanta GA
September 18, 2005
The Gwinett arena with a crowd of 4,500 strong was the place to be Friday September 17th as Pro Boxing, Muay Thai, and Mixed Martial Arts came together seamlessly in one great night of fight action. Titles were awarded and championship hopes lost for a few as the action was fast paced. Guilty Boxing in association with the WKA USA and Battleline Productions pulled off what other promotions have simply failed to do so far by merging the top Combat Sports together on one card.
Atlanta’s own Ebo Elders fought a tough 11 rounds before being floored for the fourth and final time in the 12th round by his opponent. Both fighters traded some heavy shots throughout but it was Lavtka Sim getting the KO in the last round to obtain the #1 ranked contender spot to fight Juan Diaz for the WBA title. WBO Asia-Pacific heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov defeated Friday Ahunanya after an early stoppage due to an accidental head butt.
The MMA bouts started off with a title match for American Top Team’s Din Thomas and Team Prodigy’s Dwayne “Diesel” Shelton. This was a match up of young up and comer versus the proven veteran. Diesel came out firing with hands and even threw a right head kick to Thomas. Thomas then got Diesel in the corner and slammed him hard to the mat. Diesel muscled his way to his knees and put Thomas in a crucifix and landed a really hard shot to his face with a right knee. Thomas pulled guard after escaping and swept Diesel into an armbar where the match ended. Props to both fighters.
The next match was a Muay Thai Intercontinental Championship with Holland’s Chris Ngimbi versus Atlanta’s own Khunpon. The first round had both fighters landing some good leg kicks. The second had a huge head kick by Ngimbi that rocked Khunpon and bloodied his nose but the Veteran Thai came back with a tremendous flying knee and control of the clinch. The start of the third round Khunpon caught a kick and came down wrong on his right knee. He was unable to get up and had to accept the TKO. Ngimbi by TKO in the 3rd. Ngimbi looked great and we found out later he has only been training for 3 years! Look for great things to come from this one.
The second MMA match had one of the sports finest in Sean Sherk going up against Joel Blanton in a highly anticipated return to the ring by Sherk. Sherk came out and threw 2 really hard right low kicks that stopped Blanton in his tracks. The fighters tied up and in a blink of the eye, Sherk dropped elevation and pulled off the nasty double leg that he is known for. Sherk passed guard to side mount and in a scramble Joel gave him his back and had to tap out to the rear naked choke shortly after. Major congrats to Blanton for having the guts to step up and fight a guy that will make is UFC re-emergence shortly when he takes on George St Pierre in November.
The final fight of the night had Atlanta’s own Steve Headen of Velocity Gym fighting David Kaplin of Team Lloyd Irvin. Both fighters traded shots back and forth in the first round with Headen trying for the take down and Kaplin defending. The second round Kaplin took control and threw some heavy hands that really had Headen feeling wobbly. Kaplin finally got the mount and rained down half a dozen unanswered hammer fists that forced referee Rick McCoy to call a halt to the bout for the Winner Kaplin by ground and pound.
This event is hopefully the first in a series of MMA and Boxing shown put on by the combinations of Guilty Boxing, WKA USA, and Battleline Productions. Look for more big name stars and terrific up and comers in the months to come!