It's tuxedo season in Washington D.C. and there is no shortage of philanthropic events to give, feel good and have a good time. But, there is one annual event in the city that stands alone for the uniqueness of it's activities and the guests it attracts. The Fight Night charity event held annually at the Washington Hilton raises money to benefit Fight for Children, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of early childhood education in Washington D.C. This year's edition was held on Thursday, November 10th and was once again a sold out affair.
Fight Night is one of the premier fundraising events in the city attracting a cross section of business and political leaders who get to rub shoulders with former and current elite athletes. Under Armour presents this black-tie affair and it's conducted over a fine dinner, wine and if you have the penchant, a nice cigar.
This year marked the 26th year of the event and as is customary, there was a backdrop of pro boxing entertainment along with musical guest, Foreigner and Sheila E.. The boxing program showcased a middleweight bout between Antoine Douglas of Burke, VA vs. Ernesto Berrospe of Mexico and a main event battle of the undefeated for the USBA Featherweight Championship with Daniel Franco of Riverside, CA who entered with a 14-0-3 record against Derrick Murray out of St. Louis, MO who sported a 13-0-1 record. But this year a special feature was added, a muay thai match featuring Jovan Davis of Arlington, VA against Terrell Hobbs of Richmond, VA.
The muay thai match was a nice change of pace and suggested some folks on the planning staff have been paying attention to the rising interests of fans in combat sports.
The only disappointing aspect of this fight was that it was too short. I'm not sure the crowd fully appreciated what they were watching before the fight was stopped with Davis overwhelming Hobbs with straight line combinations and knees in the first round, finally forcing him into the ropes and flooring him with an inside right elbow. Jovan Davis fights out of Pentagon MMA.
In the main event, Daniel "Twitch" Franco and Derrick Murray would be meeting to fight for the U.S. Boxing Association featherweight title in a scheduled 10-round bout.
When two undefeated fighters come together, it always makes for an interesting contest. They both look to impose their will upon the other and it's almost assured that someone will experience a level of adversity that they haven't encountered.
Murray had a lot of movement in the early rounds with slips, and side to side footwork. He landed some clean hooks to the head of Franco from time to time but without much power coming from either hand. Franco played both the aggressor and the counter puncher in the fight. Early on he was looking for head shots of his own but recognizing the elusiveness of Murray he changed tactics in the 3rd round focusing on body punches and countering the lazy jabs of Murray. Speed was the difference in this fight. Franco was already answering many of Murray's punches before he had a chance to reestablish his guard. In the 4th round as the body work by Franco began to take it's toll, Murray's feet began to slow and his hands dropped slightly, creating openings for Franco's hooks. A right hand by Franco finally found it's home as Murray slumped to the ropes. Before referee, Kenny Chevalier could step in, another left hook by Franco finished the job and laid Murray flat in a spectacular finish at 2:51 in the 4th round. Daniel Franco was crowned the IBF USBA Featherweight champion.
Fight Night supports Fight For Children, an organization founded more than 25 years ago that continues to work to improve the quality of education for children of low-income families within the District. For further information, please visit www.fightforchildren. org.
About the Author:
Darryl Keeton is an avid striking, grappling and wrestling fan living in Upper Marlboro, MD. He holds a black belt in Taekwondo and is also a practitioner of Combat Jujutsu, Boxing and Muay Thai.