It would be a fair assessment to say that Mikey Garcia Promotions’ July 13th event delivered. From the opening bout to the main event, the card delivered the style of hard-hitting action that fight fans enjoy; In fact, three of the eight bouts resulted in knockouts within the first three rounds. Many prospects displayed potential in their young careers, while others had the privilege of making their professional debuts with multiple time world champion Mikey Garcia (39-1 30KO) ringside. The atmosphere was wonderful for the well-worked event, and the fighters were as impressive as the promoters.
The event began with a heavyweight bout that set the tone for the night as 26-year-old Michael Matulis and 29-year-old Dwight Gipson collided. Early on, the two fighters were not shy. Gipson pressed the pace while Matulis circled to keep the shorter Gipson at least at arm’s reach. When the heavyweights were in each other’s range however, the fighters launched power shots at each other that seemingly shook the entire venue. Gipson appeared to possess more devastating power, but Matulis continued to use good footwork and as the fight progressed, threw less risky shots, while depending on his long jab. Gipson made several solid connections throughout the fight but by the 4th and final round, his gas tank appeared to abandon him. The two fighters continued to throw power punches, providing fireworks for the arena, but the fatigue of Gipson left him exposed during these exchanges. Matulis’ controlled the fight with his jab and attempted to earn a late knockout in the final round. Gipson displayed heart, weathering the onslaught and even answered with some shots of his own. The final bell rang, and the judges declared the fight a unanimous decision for Michael Matulis (5-0 4KO) over Dwight Gipson (3-6 2KO).
The remainder of the card maintained the level of excitement established by the two heavyweights that opened the card. Each bout had fans across the venue on their feet, filled with genuine satisfaction. In the co-main event, veteran Karen Dulin battled with prospect Shurretta Metcalf. I spoke with Metcalf at the weigh-ins and asked her how she planned to approach this bout against a fighter with so much more experience. She responded, “I can’t take her for granted because she has a lot more fights and experience than I do and that can be a plus for her.” She then added, “I have to keep my hands up and use my reach.” The game plan that she and her coaches put together worked very well as she did just that. Early in the fight, she established her jab and continually punished Dulin for nearly every attempt to get the fight within close range. She also displayed excellent defensive skills to nullify most of Dulin’s offensive attack. Dulin showed good footwork and persistence, however, she spent the better part of the 6 rounds absorbing accurate strikes at the hands of Metcalf. Towards the middle rounds, Metcalf combined the surgical jab she had imposed on Dulin early, with a straight right hand, allowing her to begin running away with the fight. The two fighters fought to a decision, and despite Dulin’s toughness, the judges unanimously scored the fight for Shurretta Metcalf (7-3 2KO) over Karen Dulin (3-19 1KO).
Following the co-main event, the crowd erupted, expressing their restlessness to enjoy the main event between 20-year-old Rafael “Listo” Gaitan and 40-year-old Robert Hill. I spoke with hometown favorite Rafael Gaitan just hours before the fight and asked him his thoughts on the fight. He expressed, “We want to execute some of the things we tried out in camp, in the ring.” Then he added, “In my previous 4 fights I didn’t get to showcase any footwork. That’s something that I really want to showcase tonight.” Although it appeared that he accomplished executing what they practiced, he didn’t get much of a chance to display the leaps he may have made regarding footwork. From the opening bell, “Listo” put immediate pressure on Hill. He opened with a few jabs followed by some threating hooks upstairs that caught the attention of Hill. Hill seemed content standing right in front of Gaitan, depending on his high guard for protection. After feeling nothing coming back from his opposition, “Listo” began ripping combinations that alternated between the head and body, battering a defensive Hill. “Listo” looked exceptional, not giving Hill a second to mount any sort of offense. As the shots to the exposed body of Hill continued to land, he visibly couldn’t take anymore, collapsing in the first round. The referee then stopped the fight, officially declaring Rafael “Listo” Gaitan (5-0 3KO) the victor by knockout over Robert Hill (2-5).
After an impressive performance, “Listo” will look forward to his next opportunity to show his class and grow as a fighter. Following the bout, a representative from Mikey Garcia promotions took the ring. He commended the fighters that participated, thanked the crowd for such a good turnout, and promised a return to Dallas, TX in the near future. GFT is certainly looking forward to watching.
By: Savage Maddox