05/01/2013 - 22.47.49


Rances Barthelemy wins hard-fought match over Arash Usmanee at Magic City Casino

Special to The Miami Herald

Miami resident Rances Barthelemy moved closer to a world title fight but at a very physical toll.

Barthelemy won a hard-fought unanimous decision against Canada’s Arash Usmanee in the main event of Friday night’s show at Magic City Casino.

With the fight’s outcome possibly in the balance, Usmanee attacked Barthelemy at a furious pace in an entertaining 12th round. Usmanee scored repeatedly with rights to the head. A tired and bruised Barthelemy survived Usmanee’s late flurry.

Usmanee’s final round assault was not enough to convince judges Ric Bays, Rich Green and Valerie Dorsett. Bays scored the fight for Barthelemy, 115-113, while Green and Dorsett both had Barthelemy winning, 116-112.

The victory earned Barthelemy the No. 2 junior-lightweight ranking by the International Boxing Federation.

“I had never fought past eight rounds so this was an experience for me,” Barthelemy said. “Thankfully, I have overcome a difficult test.”

The taller Barthelemy (18-0) utilized a lead left jab that frustrated Usmanee from the opening round. As he walked down Usmanee (20-1) with the jab in the first two rounds, Barthelemy also scored with left hooks to the head and combinations to the body when shortening punching range.

Usmanee stepped up his attack and Barthelemy stopped throwing jabs in the third round. Usmanee was effective with combinations to the body and rights to the head.

Barthelemy and Usmanee clashed heads in the fourth round, opening a cut on the bridge of Usmanee’s nose.

Barthelemy established distance in the fifth round and again scored with the left jab to the head. Midway through the round, Barthelemy landed a solid left-right combination to Usmanee’s head. Usmanee fought back later in the round, scoring with combinations to the body.

Usmanee had a busier seventh round, landing right to the head. Barthelemy opted to fight at a closer range and Usmanee also scored with combinations to the body.

Strengthened by a successful sixth round, Usmanee increased his punch output in the seventh. Usmanee pressured a seemingly tiring Barthelemy and remained busy with rights to the head and combinations to the body.

Both fighters had a busy eighth round as Usmanee continued to chase Barthelemy, who also was willing to trade at short range.

Barthelemy and Usmanee accidentally clashed heads in the 10th, opening a cut near Usmanee’s right eye. The cut momentarily slowed Usmanee as Barthelemy re-established his left jab and also scored with left hooks to the head.

Soccarras wins

Hairon Socarras took advantage of his debut appearance on ESPN2.

Fighting in the opening bout of the network’s first telecast of the year, Socarras proved he maintains a lethal punch despite a relatively inactive 2012. Socarras scored a one-punch, third-round knockout over Josh Bowles Friday night at the Magic City Casino.

Socarras’ fight-winning shot earns fighters additional TV dates. Carefully measuring his opponent but landing the telling blows through the first two-and-a-half rounds, Socarras found his opening and Bowles never recovered.

Midway through the third round, Socarras (6-0-1, 5 KOs) scored with a left to the head but followed with a potent right to the head that dropped Bowles (6-1) hard to the canvas. Bowles, of Harrisburg, Pa., failed to beat referee Max Parker’s 10-count, ending the junior-featherweight bout at 2:11 of the round.

 “We knew he was a difficult opponent, unbeaten like me,” Socarras said on his way to the dressing room. “We just went out and did our job in the third round.”

Socarras, who turns 20 on Jan. 29, burst onto the local fight scene with quick knockout wins in his first four career fights two years ago. But a promotional conflict limited Socarras to an abbreviated fight schedule last year.

“I need more fights, fighting more frequently is only going to help my development and work we need to do in the ring,” Socarras said. “Hopefully, we’re going to have that opportunity this year.”

Socarras built an early lead while connecting rights to the head. Bowles clinched repeatedly as he tried to cut down Socarras’ follow-up shots. But Bowles could not avoid the punch that ended his night and unblemished record.

“There was some anxiety in the first round because he was an awkward fighter,” Socarras said. “But after the first, I calmed down and took my time.”

The Socarras-Bowles was part of a seven-bout show that was headlined by a late Friday junior-lightweight bout between Miami resident Rances Barthelemy and Canada’s Arash Usmanee.

Another bout late Friday featured Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez and Philadelphia Derek Ennis.

In other bouts: super-middleweight Roberto Acevedo scored a TKO over Francisco Rios at 1:02 of the first round; light-heavyweight Radivoje Kalajdzic won by unanimous decision over Grover Young; junior-welterweight Jeremy Bryan won a majority decision over Yuri Ramanau; heavyweight Keith Tapia knocked out Rafael Valenzuela at 2:29 of the first round.




Barthelemy beats Usmanee with hometown decision

by Mike Coppinger

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights kicked off its 15th season with a compelling main event (and a hometown decision) as Rances Barthelemy defeated Asam Usmanee via highly-controversial 12-round unanimous decision at the Magic City Casino in Miami in an IBF 130-pound eliminator.

Scores were 116-112, 115-113 and 116-112 for Barthelemy.

Barthelemy, who is from Miami, started off strong, winning rounds with his superior boxing ability and educated jab but Usmanee’s pressure took its toll over the middle rounds, as he walked in and landed power shots as the Cuban abandoned his jab. Usmanee took many of the late rounds, making the bout close on the cards, but he didn’t earn the nod officially.

Usmanee (20-2, 10 knockouts) absorbed left hand leads and rights as he walked in, but he began to establish his presence. The fighters seemed to sense how close the fight was and turned it on down the stretch, as they furiously traded to end the ninth and carried their vigor into the championship rounds. In the 10th, a clash of heads opened a gash on the bridge of Usmanee’s nose, which seemed to bother him for the remainder.

It was the first time either fighter had been past 10 rounds and Barthelemy (18-0, 11 KOs) seemed exhausted over the last few rounds while Usmanee had gas. The 12th and final round was one of the best for the Afghan, who unloaded on his weakened foe.

Both fighters had great output, but Usmanee broke the 1000 punch barrier, throwing 1088 but landing just 282 of them (26 percent), while Barthelemy landed 238 of 824 shots (29 percent).


In the co-feature, Puerto Rican junior middleweight Jonathan Gonzalez outpointed Derek “Pooh” Ennis by majority decision.

One judge scored it 95-95 even, overruled by tallies of 98-92 and 97-93 for Gonzalez.

The win followed Gonzalez’s HBO debut in September, when he fought to a draw with Sergiy Dzinziruk. For that fight, Gonzalez missed the junior middleweight limit by nine pounds, coming in at 163. Ironically, it was Ennis Ennis (23-4-1, 13 KOs) who missed weight for this one, weighing in at 161 while Gonzalez was at 152 ¾.

The fight was a boring affair, with many rounds tough to score, but Gonzalez’s greater activity and success down the stretch took the fight.

According to CompuBox, Gonzalez (16-0-1, 13 KOs) threw far more jabs, landing 19 of 37, while Ennis landed 18 of 96. Gonzalez also produced double the output in total punches, connecting on 174 of 690 to Ennis’ 123 of 327.