Godfrey Impressive In Victory over Nwodo!!
Is “Too Smooth” in Line for Title Shot?
By: Scott Ploof and
Billy “Loops” Luppert at ringside
Photography by Emily Harney
There was a huge message delivered to the cruiserweight division on Friday night from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut to a national television audience on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.
It was delivered loud and clear by world rated contender WBC #5 Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey (17-1, 10 KOs) as it only took him ten minutes and fifty-seven seconds to record his tenth professional knockout and retain his NABF title in the form of a devastating fourth round stoppage at 1:57 over WBA #12 and WBC #14 ranked challenger Emmanuel Nwodo (22-5, 18 KOs) fighting out of Baltimore, MD by way of Nigeria.
The message: that Matt Godfrey is a dangerous contender and champions should beware because it will be only a matter of time before he will get an opportunity to fight for a world title in the near future.
Now the only question that remains is who will be next to step up to the plate and attempt to derail the plans of this young 27 year old fighter from Providence, RI.
The “Title Wave” fight card which featured two title bouts was promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports.
Coming off of the first loss of his professional career, a twelve round unanimous decision to Rudolf Kraj (14-0, 8 KOs) back in March in a WBC title eliminator bout, Godfrey looked sharp and relaxed as he entered the ring for the first time in six months to take on a tough and very durable opponent in former USBA title holder, Nwodo.
Nwodo was coming off of a strong performance in his last outing which was a second round stoppage of veteran Ezra Sellers (29-8, 26 KOs) back in January. This was only his second fight since losing his USBA belt to Darnell Wilson (23-7-3, 20 KOs) just over one year ago.
Nwodo came out and started firing punches slowly at Godfrey in the opening stanza as both appeared to be cautious not to give away too much within the first thirty seconds. He attempted to use his strength to take Godfrey off his guard as he pulled him down to the canvas midway through the round as Godfrey wanted to fight in close. Godfrey was able to land some hooks to the body of his opponent but at the end of the round a big right hook from Nwodo connected to earn him a nod on the judges’ scorecard.
The challenger continued firing the straight right hand connecting to the face of Godfrey again from the onset with some accuracy. “Too Smooth” was able to get his guard up as he adjusted his style as he would watch the head movement of Nwodo. Once Nwodo would move his head before firing a punch, it was Godfrey who immediately recognized this and was able to land his punches first based on this.
“I started slow, which I shouldn’t have because I was telling myself that I did not want to start out slow but it was a good thing that I did because I didn’t make too many mistakes. Once I got warmed up even under the pressure I knew that I would be alright even after the layoff, “said Godfrey afterwards.
Godfrey began the third round by landing a good right hook to the head of Nwodo that had his opponent backing up and frustrated. This fired up Nwodo as he began throwing wild punches at Godfrey, although none of which connected. “Too Smooth” then connected with a jab and his opponent countered with a right to the body. At the end of the round it appeared that both fighters landed punches on the other as Nwodo landed a short left while at the same time his opponent countered with his left Godfrey was off-balance and his right glove touched the canvas. Referee Danny Schiavone administered the standing eight count, which Godfrey was able to easily meet as he appeared to only slip as the round came to an end.
Godfrey said to the media afterwards, “I wasn’t hurt from the knockdown in the third. We were exchanging right hands and my glove was just left out there. We traded punches and he was more hurt than I was but I was the one that happened to lose my balance. Unfortunately for me my glove touched the canvas and I got the knockdown scored against me but it just goes to show you that I have the heart of a champion being able to come up off of the floor to win by a knockout the very next round, just a typical New England fighter.”
He continued on by saying, “When we started the third round, I knew it was when my conditioning would kick in. Right from the start I kept pressuring him and pressuring him. Even though I got hit with a few good shots, I knew he would start to slow down and that I would get him.”
In round four Godfrey came out and instantly hurt Nwodo with two big right hooks. Nwodo missed a counter and Godfrey landed a hard jab that seemingly broke the nose of his opponent. Godfrey continued to fire away with big hooks to the body and head of Nwodo. Nwodo grabbed onto the top rope in an attempt to keep his footing which should have been a knockdown, however the referee let the action continue.
Finally another two big right hooks and referee Danny Schiavone stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:57 as a frustrated Nwodo, who was not fighting back at the time, complained that the stoppage was premature. Even with blood streaming from his broken nose, a dejected Nwodo could not believe that the fight had been stopped.
“After I hurt him, I looked up at the clock and saw that there was a minute and thirty seconds left in the round and knew that I had him,” said Godfrey.
On his performance tonight, the NABF title holder told the media, “Everybody isn’t sharp for the first three rounds but it is after the fourth and fifth round where you can really see what of a fighter that person really is and I showed you what kind of fighter I am tonight. Coming up off from the canvas after the third round and being under pressure and then to come out in the fourth round and knock the other guy out who has all of the knockouts. “
Godfrey was then asked by the media about when he turned the fight around and adjusted his style, he replied by saying, “I noticed about halfway through the third round when I would put pressure on him, I was able to close the gap because he is a lot taller than me. When he kept me on the outside it made things a little difficult. In some ways in the third when I put pressure on him I closed that gap and slowed him down. “
“In the fourth round I came out and put on that pressure in close and closed that gap and I got to him. I think I broke his nose in the fourth round with a stiff jab alone. Early on he kept using his distance against me and the only thing that I could do to keep him away from me was to use a really hard stiff jab. Once I started putting the pressure on and landing with the jab is when I busted his nose up. Once I broke it open, every jab I connected with continued to make it worse, “said Godfrey.
On his future Godfrey stated, “I will fight anybody. Whatever fight is going to propel me to a title shot in the WBC, WBA, or IBF or to a higher rating, I will take it. Hopefully with the victory that I had tonight, not only winning but winning with an impressive knockout even being down in the scorecards. I hope I can get a really big fight in the near future. I will leave it up to my manager Bret Hallenbeck and my promoter Jimmy Burchfield and CES.” It is rumored that as of right now a possible bout in the fall is in the works for Godfrey but no opponent was named as of this time. -- Scott Ploof
Remillard Stops Gonzalez
Featherweight prospect Matt
Remillard, of nearby Manchester, CT, kept his undefeated record intact Friday night with an impressive fourth round TKO over Adauto Gonzalez.
Remillard (15-0, 8 KOs), fighting for the fourth time this year, after missing nearly 18 months due to a couple of wrist surgeries, dropped Gonzalez twice in the fourth round. Both knockdowns were from shots to the body, with the second one ending the fight as referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. waived it off at 1:13 of the round.
Both fighters were willing to stand and trade with one another, although it was the speed of Remillard that allowed him to get away with the better of the exchanges. Gonzalez (10-6, 3 KOs) did have his moments though as he landed his right hand flush on Remillard's face on more than one occasion. Remillard was able to shake off the shots and control the tempo of the fight by utilizing his speed and defense against the relentless Mexican.
In round four, with good back and forth action between the two fighters, Remillard was able to break down Gonzalez, and dig a left hand into his ribs sending his opponent down to a knee. Gonzalez was able to beat the count, but as soon as he got back up, Remillard jumped all over him landing a huge left hand upstairs to set up another left to the body that put Gonzalez down for good.
“I had fought twice before on ESPN and they weren’t my best performances. I prepared for this to be my best fight and it was. I’m glad I got him out of there.” Remillard said afterwards. -- Billy “Loops” Luppert
Estrada Decisions Jenkins!
2004 Olympian Jason “Big Six” Estrada continued his rise in the heavyweight division by scoring a workman-like eight round unanimous decision over Domonic Jenkins. All three judges scored the bout 79-73. Estrada had viewed this fight as a potential "trap" fight because while Jenkins resume on paper did not seem overly impressive, he had been in there with some of America's top young heavyweights. Estrada vowed to train for this fight as if it were a title fight, promising not to overlook Jenkins for a potential showdown down the road with any big name heavyweight that would be willing to give him a shot.
Both fighters started off slowly, often firing only one punch at a time while trying to get a feel for one another. It was Estrada that opened up first after he began to utilize his 27 lb. weight advantage over his opponent.
Estrada began banging away at Jenkins body which kept Jenkins on the defense for the most part. With the accumulating body shots, Estrada was able to open up and fire some three and four punch combinations upstairs on Jenkins, with many of those landing flush. Jenkins displayed a solid chin and took the punches in stride. He was even able to land a few left hands of his own.
After the fight, Estrada said he hurt his right hand in the second round, “as long as it isn't my left, I can still fight. I hurt him with a couple body shots, but couldn't throw the right hand when I wanted to. Despite not stopping him, I got the W. I kept trying to get him out of there. I'd hit him with three shots off fast, but the third was a right and I didn't have any power. I landed a lot of clean shots. Other than my hand, I feel good, and I got a good W."
With the win, Estrada of Providence, RI improves to (14-1, 3 KOs), while Jenkins of Dallas, TX, drops to (13-9-1, 6 KOs). – Billy “Loops” Luppert
Macy Downs Hawk!
Super middleweight Brian Macy fighting out of nearby Ledyard, CT improved his unbeaten record to (5-0, 2 KOs) with a first round stoppage over Shawn Hawk (4-3, 2 KOs).
It didn't take long for Macy to end Hawk's night as he drilled him with a left hand to the body that dropped Hawk for not only a ten count, but for several minutes afterward as Hawk rolled around in agony.
Eventually after a few tense moments, Hawk was able to walk out of the ring on his own power. Time of the stoppage was 1:49. – Billy “Loops” Luppert
Kozlin Decisions Washington!
Not many fighters can say that their professional debut was televised live on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, but in his first professional bout West Warwick, RI native Keith Kozlin (1-0) made the most of his opportunity by pounding out a hard fought four round unanimous decision over Borngard Washington (0-4). Scores of the bout were 40-36 twice and 39-37 on the third card as Kozlin consistently beat the larger Washington to the punch throughout.
Kozlin was not only faster to the punch but was also more agile as he was able to move around the ring and land more frequently than Washington. Although Washington was able to make a fight out of it by landing some hard counters, Kozlin controlled the tempo.
By round four it was apparent that Washington was out of gas as Kozlin continued to keep him on the defensive as he landed several flurries. Washington was able to stay on his feet albeit on wobbly legs as the bell sounded to end the fight. -- Scott Ploof
Irizarry Decisions Reis!
Female welterweight Addy Irizarry (6-2, 2 KOs) scored quite possibly the biggest victory of her career as she defeated former WBC middleweight title holder Yvonne Reis (7-12-1) by four round unanimous decision. Scores of the bout were 40-36 twice and 39-37.
Reis landed punches from the outside early with her reach advantage but it was the pressure of Irizarry that negated this problem as the two often battled in close quarters. Reis often continued to keep backing away from her opponent as Irizarry was successful landing to the body and then coming upstairs with uppercuts on the taller Reis.
By the end of the four – two minute round battle it was apparent that Irizarry had no problem in landing against the veteran Reis. Reis could not figure out a way to stop Irizarry as it eventually cost her on the judges’ scorecards. -- Scott Ploof
Leadbeater Decisions Dulin!
In the opening bout of the evening, female featherweight Christina Leadbeater (2-1) out of Philadelphia, PA won a narrow four round split decision over Connecticut native Karen Dulin (0-2). Scores were 39-37 twice for Leadbeater while the third judge saw the bout 39-38 for Dulin. -- Billy “Loops” Luppert