Former IBO World welterweight champion Chris “The Heat” Van Heerden put himself back into title contention position, winning a 10-round majority decision over Steve “The Dragon” Claggett in this evening’s main event, under the neon lights at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) outdoor venue.
The “Knockout Night at the D” series, which airs live on CBS Sports Network, is presented by the D Las Vegas and DLVEC), promoted by Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions and returns Saturday evening, May 21.
Van Heerden (23-1-1, 12 KOs), fighting out of Santa Monica, California by way of South Africa, used his 3-inch height advantage against Claggett (23-3-1, 16 KOs), the Canadian champion from Calgary, Alberta.
Neither fighter was hurt during the fight, in which there were continual back-and-forth exchanges of stinging combinations. Claggett battled to apply pressure in order to fight on the inside, while Van Heerden fought effectively from the outside.
The two evenly-matched welterweights patiently waited for the official announcement: 95-95 and 97-93 twice for Van Heerden.
“I knew I won this fight, 120-percent, but I knew it was close,” Van Heerden commented. “We’re both winners tonight because of it was so close and we entertained the crowd. Me and Claggett entertained the crowd…..we delivered. I’ve been through so much and the lord helped me get this win. I look forward to a rematch, but I want to move forward.”
Undefeated California junior middleweight Neeco “The Rooster” Macias (12-0, 6 KOs) had a lot to crow about in the 8-round co-feature against Limberth “El Gallito” Ponce, Jr. (10-3, 8 KOs). Macias thoroughly dominated the action, firing non-stop shots from every conceivable angle. His unrelenting pressure enabled Macias, whose come-forward approach made him an instant fan favorite, to control the fight from start to finish for a unanimous decision.
“I knew he was going to be the toughest fighter I’ve fought,” Macias said. “I give Ponce much respect. We wanted to give fans a good show.”
Baltimore welterweight Malik “Iceman” Hawkins (7-0, 6 KOs) gave Errol “Spyda” Sidney (6-2-2, 2 KOs) a beating, fully displaying his arsenal of punches, hurting his gutsy opponent on several occasions. Hawkins’ aggressive style early in the fight broke-down Sidney, who was nearly finished at the end of the fourth and fifth rounds. Hawkins trapped Sidney a neutral corner at the start of the sixth round and a powerful uppercut sent Sidney down to a knee. Sidney beat referee Jay Nady’s count but the veteran official had seen enough and he halted the bout 1:02 into the sixth.
“We’re back,” Hawkins proclaimed after the bout. I’d give myself an 8 ½ this fight.”
Las Vegas’ promising prospect Randy Moreno (2-0, 1 KO) outclassed Oregon junior lightweight Derek Barthemay (0-3) from the opening bell for a 4-round unanimous decision.
Flashy Las Vegas welterweight prospect Jeremy “J-Flash” Nichols (3-0, 2 KOs) constantly pounded the body of his tough Mexican opponent, Jason “Gibbor” Gavino (3-2, 2 KOs), for a 4-round shutout victory,
Las Vegas’ Sal Lopez (2-0) dropped a game Matt “The KO Kid” Murphy (0-2), a junior lightweight from St. Louis, in the opening round on his way to an impressive one-sided win by way of a unanimous 4-round decision.
Complete results and more pictures of main event below:
Neeco Macias (12-0, 4 KOs), Palm Desert, California.
WDEC8 (79-73, 79-73, 79-73)
Limberth Ponce, Jr. (10-3, 8 KOs), Rock Island, Illinois
Chris Van Heerden (24-2-1, 12 KOs), Santa Monica, California
WDEC10 (97-93, 97-93, 95-95)
Steve Claggett (23-4, 16 KOs), Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Malik Hawkins (7-0, 6 KOs), Baltimore, Maryland
Errol Sidney, Jr. (6-2-2, 2 KOs), New Orleans, Louisiana
Jeremy Nichols (3-0, 2 KOs), Las Vegas, Nevada
WDEC4 (40-36, 40-36, 39-35)
Jason Gavino (3-2, 2 KOs), Tijuana, Mexico
Randy Moreno (2-0, 1 KO), Las Vegas, Nevada
WDEC4 (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)
Derek Bartlemay (0-3), Salem, Oregon
Sal Lopez (3-0, 0 KOs), Las Vegas, Nevada
WDEC (40-35, 40-35, 40-35)
Derick Bartlemay (0-3), Salem, Oreon