BYB 17 took place Saturday night in Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA.
It may have been the promotion’s best card yet, with plenty of action and knockouts.
Local hero Josh Oxendine’s title bid fell short, with controversial point deductions leaving him the loser by controversial decision.
Bout 1: Matt Almy def. Kendall Ward-Unanimous Decision
In the opening bout, Matt Almy outboxed Kendall Ward to earn a unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 49-46 for the winner.
Almy scored well with his left jab and right uppercut. Ward was cut, and had swelling under both eyes.
Almy was able to move away from and slip Ward’s punches. Ward seemed to have his best round in the fifth, landing some good right uppercuts on the inside.
Almy made his BYB debut. Ward is 0-2 in BYB competition.
“My hands are hurting right now. It’s a real sport,” Almy told ring announcer Big Mo after the match.
“I want to be a good father first. This might be it for me. I love my daughter,” an emotional Almy said when asked if he wanted to fight bare knuckle again.
Bout 2: Zion Tomlinson Sr. def. Mattia Fonda-KO Round 2
Tomlinson (3-3 bare knuckle, 1-0 BYB) punished the smaller Fonda, knocking him down 3 times before the fight was stopped.
Fonda gave up 6 inches in height and 9 inches in reach to Tomlinson.
Tomlinson hurt and knocked Fonda down late in round one. In round two, he dropped Fonda again with a right uppercut after catching Fonda coming forward.
Fighting from the southpaw stance, Tomlinson cracked Fonda with a left for the bout’s third knockdown. Veteran referee Bill Clancy immediately halted the cruiserweight bout.
“When I touch you, they can’t run nowhere in the Trigon,” Tomlinson said, referring to BYB’s patented triangle-shaped ring.
Bout 3: Harold McQueen def. Pablo Caballero-KO Round 2
In an upset, newcomer McQueen (1-0) handed Argentina’s Caballero (3-1) his first BYB defeat.
McQueen comes from an amateur boxing background. He lived up to his name, showing quick hands from the opening bell.
Caballero knocked him down late in round one with a right hand at close range. McQueen beat the count, only to stop and drop the Argentine with a beautiful right uppercut in the following round.
Caballero had been trying to get inside when he walked into the uppercut.
Bout 4: Maurice Morris def. Harrison Aiken-TKO Round 1
Morris defeated Aiken in the first round of a cruiserweight slugfest.
Both men were looking for the home run punch. Morris dropped Aiken with a right.
Aiken beat the count but was in no shape to continue. Morris was making his debut while Aiken is now 1-1 in BYB (1-2 overall in bare knuckle).
Bout 5: Kylle McMillan def. Tyler Sigmon-Unanimous Decision
McMillan (1-0) defeated Sigmon (1-1) in a close and entertaining welterweight bout. Official scores of 48-47 (twice) and 49-46.
Sigmon had the edge early. The debuting McMillan got busier as the fight went on, and he staggered Sigmon with a right hand in the fourth round.
Bout 6: Rashad Coulter def. Jordan Mitchell-TKO Round 1
Former title challenger Mitchell (2-2) started quickly. Coulter blocked a lot of the punches and grabbed an underhook.
Coulter took over, hurting and dropping Mitchell twice. He continued his attack, with the ref stopping the fight after Mitchell turned his back.
After the match, the unbeaten Coulter (2-0, 2 KOs) called for a title shot against reigning BYB heavyweight champion DJ Linderman.
Bout 7: Ryan Jett def. Trevor Ollison-KO Round 1
Jett (2-1, 1 No Contest) stopped Ollison (2-1) in a super middleweight match up. Ollison turned his head after getting hit with a left uppercut to the body on the inside.
Jett connected with a right uppercut, landing a follow up as Ollison fell to the canvas.
Ollison couldn’t beat the count, and the ref waved off the fight.
“I want that belt. I want the smoke,” Jett said after the fight.
Jett’s only loss is to BYB interim champ Sam Liera. He’s unbeaten in his last 3 fights since the Liera loss in March 2022.
Bout 8: Jozette Cotton def. Jamie Driver-Unanimous Decision (Cotton Retains BYB and Police Gazette Women’s Super Welterweight Titles)
In the first of two title fights, Cotton (3-0) was too quick and powerful for Driver (2-1).
Cotton ducked and slipped and connected with a right that dropped Driver in an early exchange. Later in round one, a right hand over the top dropped Driver again.
Cotton knocked Driver down twice again in round two, and with a body shot in round 3.
Driver showed her heart by always trying but couldn’t deal with Cotton’s quickness and style. The champ retained her belt by scores of 70-58 (twice) and 69-59.
Bout 9: Mark Irwin def. Joshua Oxendine-Majority Decision (Irwin Wins BYB Lightweight Title)
Mark Irwin (3-0, 2-0 BYB) became the first-ever BYB Lightweight Champion, winning a controversial five-round majority decision against popular local Oxendine (2-1, 1 No Contest).
The taller Oxendine managed distance well, moving away as Irwin tried to close distance. Oxendine scored the bout’s only knockdown in round two.
As the bout wore on, Irwin landed some solid body shots. Oxendine managed distance well but his punch output was quite low-he received warnings from the referee for not engaging (It was later learned 2 points were taken from Oxendine by the ref).
Irwin hurt Oxendine with a body shot in round four, and landed the best punch in round 5-a solid right hand. Oxendine continued to move, looking at the time clock as he battled both Irwin and exhaustion.
The judges favoured Irwin’s aggression, giving him the win by scores of 47-45 (twice) and 46-46.
The referee’s point deductions cost Oxendine the title, or at the very least a draw.
Irwin praised Oxendine after the bout.
“I thought I was gonna go out there and steamroll this guy. I underestimated him,” said Irwin.
“Josh is a world-class fighter and he earned my respect tonight,” he said.
“That was fight of the night. That was fight of the year.”
Irwin said he wants to fight for the Police Gazette belt next. He also mentioned he may return to gloved boxing, where he’s 2-0 as a pro.
An upset Oxendine described the judges’ decision as “bull crap”.
“Listen, I broke my hand in the third when I dropped him and he was dazed,” said Oxendine.
“He didn’t beat me. I don’t care what nobody says. He touched my body.”
“You can’t take two points from me because I can’t throw my right hand. Next time, Mark won’t last a minute in.”
Two point deductions for non-engagement seemed a bit unfair to Oxendine. Hopefully, a rematch can be made in the near future.