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|The penultimate fight on the card put hard-hitting cruiserweights Joseph Awinongya and Chris Riley face-to-face for the first time. Riley, of Chicago, was only 1-0 coming into the fight, but did have 100 victories as an amateur to his credit. He is also a two-time former Chicago Golden Gloves Super Heavyweight Champ. Awinongya carried a record of 11-7-4 with three KOs into the ring. Amongst his most recent fights was a gutty performance against Ezra Sellers (27-5, 24 KOs), currently theWBOs #6 contender to cruiserweight title holder Johnny Nelson(43-12-2, 28 KOs) of Sheffield, England. Although he would lose the fight by unanimous decision, Awinongya, who is from Ghana but makes Bolingbrook, IL, his home, did go the distance with Sellers; a rare feat considering Sellers has knocked out 24 of his 32 opponents.
His professional history aside, Awinongya --known as the African Assassinfaced a determined Riley who had the full support of the crowd on hand. Riley stepped into the ring with half the crowd giving him a standing ovation and he was more than happy to incite his fans by stomping his feet on the canvas during the opening introductions. Weighing in at 196 pounds and measuring 63, Awinongya wouldnt be easily intimidated. Riley came in tipping the scales at 198 _ pounds.
In the opening round, Riley was able to jump on his opponent early landing a big uppercut and a left hook shortly after. The two boxers traded a couple of blows before the bell sounded, but neither fighter seemed to be any worse for wear. The following two rounds were much of the same. Neither fighter seemed to take command of the fight. Mid-way through the second round Awinongya did get into a little trouble up against the ropes and stumbled as he eluded his opponent. Riley was able to put together a short flurry of body blows and even took a couple of nice right crosses from Awinongya without so much as a scratch. The big, African smartly picked his spots to challenge the hard-hitting Riley in the third. The strategy to keep his opponent at bay would prove to be a good move as Riley was starting to connect inside before Awinongya used his long reach to keep Riley at a comfortable distance in the fourth. The round was marked by some wild action as both boxers failed to make contact on several wide swinging punches.
The fifth round brought about a noticeably slower pace which brought the crowd cheering for more action as chants of Riley! Riley! soon followed. The fighters made up for the lull in the sixth and final round as the boxers felt a sense of urgency to either knock the other guy out or make a good showing for the judges at the end. Awinongya landed a big right hand to the face of Riley and the action culminated with Awinongya throwing and landing a slew of punches in the center of the ring. For all the work he put into it, Awinongya hardly seemed to even knock Riley off balance. Riley was content to dodge as many of the punches thrown at him as he could and did in fact get in a few shots to the head and body of Awinongya. Awinongya seemed slightly out of breath when the round finally came to an end.
The Awinongya-Riley matchup drew the loudest cheers of the night and both men drew big smiles afterward as they awaited the judges decision. Awinongya was even confident enough of his effort to dance in the ring as the judges tallied their scores. In the end, all the slugging negated each other as one judge ruled in favor of Awinongya 58-56 and the other two judged it 57-57, thus making the bouts outcome a majority draw. Riley seemed content to keep his undefeated record intact.