Shamrock FC: 274 - Preview
Fresh off this weekend's return to Lumiere Casino, Shamrock FC is already planning its return and fans won't have to wait long as August 13th brings back its Xtreme Fight Night.
In the main event, undefeated professional boxer, Raymond Handson, will take on Marlon Smith. Handson has become one of the marquee names for Shamrock's stable of boxers, improving to 2-0 in May with an impressive performance against Joel Blair. Handson used his considerable reach advantage to keep Blair at bay while he worked the body, eventually knocking him through the ropes on his way to a unanimous decision victory.
Handson fights out of the Sweat Gym in Clayton, and under the guidance of long time local trainer Doveed Linder who has been training fighters, on and off since 2003.
"I knew Raymond when he was 15, and I took him to a tournament," Linder said. "I spent three weeks with him we have been friendly over the years. In 2014 when he was ready to rededicate himself, he contacted me and we've been together ever since."
It was in 2014 after many years away from the sport that Handson decided to take another run at boxing.
"His talent has always been clear, it had always shown through but the dedication wasn't there," Linder said. "He was turning 25 and he realized he needed to do something now or it would pass him by. Boxing had always been there, and he wanted to make something of his life so he figured, boxing was the one thing is his life he had real talent."
Growing up, a tall kid with plenty of natural gifts, boxing came easy, it was life outside the ring weren't that was the problem,
"He's always been the kid with lots of talent who has been in and out of the gym." Linder said. "Growing in up in the neighborhood he was in in the South-side of St Louis it wasn't easy. He had been shot twice, a stray bullet every time. He didn't grow up in a structured environment with a father who made demands on him. "
Success came quickly, but as the accolades started to pile up, his time spent training started to dwindle.
"He was a younger guy that had never realized his potential in the amateurs." Linder said. "In the local life he was the hot shot kid who was winning a lot but he was getting older he was spending less and less time in the gym. The fights he won was he won because of natural talent. If you really want to excel you need more than just natural talent, you need discipline he didn't have that as a kid."
When LInder took on training of Handson, they rebuilt him from the ground up.
"When we got to the gym we went over the basics all over again," Linder said. "We started learning the ABC's. He did four amateur fights with me and the plan had always been to not prolong his amateur career. We wanted him to get in the ring and feel the action and turn pro because he was 25, the amateurs are a young kids game. We did the fights and it was time to make the step."
Now 27, and coming off his second professional fight against Joel Blair, Handson has already passed his fir real test.
"He was a very difficult opponent," Linder said. "When you're training for a conventional boxer and you get someone like Joel Blair, that's not something you can train for. He comes from a MMA background and he's so unconventional and his personality was unconventional as well. One thing he did was to try and get in Raymond's head and to taunt him. Raymond did what he had to do, he won all four rounds, and and at one point he knocked him out of the ring. You can't ask for more in a situation like that."
Smith was last seen 14 months ago in a draw with Hahn MMA's TJ Casey at the Lumiere and is the most experienced fighter Handson has faced.
"I know of Marlon and I've seen his fights and i know his record and his history." Linder said. "He comes from a more conventional boxing background walk although he's kind of wild and undisciplined with his attack. He hasn't had a great career but he's tough. Anyone who has 7 professional fights is tough, he has to be taken seriously. "
The next step for Handson is on August 13th, with a chance to improve to 3-0
"We're very early in his career and it hasn't been easy," Linder said. "Some of the toughest lessons happen in the gym, for only two pro fights, he's put in a lot of work."
Super heavyweight Charles Rodgers, out of Modern Combat Systems, will take on 6-foot-5 Jordan Maxey out of Decatur, IL. Maxey is a four-time Golden Glove winner and has spent his downtime training young fighters. Rodgers is big, strong, and can take a punch and should be a great opponent for the big Maxey, who walks around at about 330.
Exciting and enigmatic, Joel Blair will return to face Troy White. Blair is about as tough as they come and is a skilled striker with absolutely no quit. Blair pushed seasoned boxer Raymond Handson to a decision despite a short notice fight. Given a full camp, Blair should be hard to handle for White, who has won 5 in a row despite starting off 0-2-1. White has been on the shelf since 2012 and will want to shake off the rust quickly against Blair.
After arguably the biggest win of his career at Bellator 157, Matt Murphy will put on the boxing gloves to face Ron Carter. Murphy, fighting out of the Academy of Courage, has managed to stay busy taking short notice fights and has had over 10 professional fights in boxing and MMA in the past year. He's competed all over the Midwest for promotions like XFO out of Chicago, nationally touring RFA, locally known Rumble Time, and most recently Bellator at the Scottrade Center.
Rounding out the main card will be Juzzton Hill vs Terrence Akins.
On the all/kickboxing undercard, keep out for Gaston Marrabotto and Adian Ortiz. That should make for an exciting back and forth. Local striking standout Jake Duff will face Nikk Willyard, who better not take Duff lightly.
Fight card, MMA bouts to be added soon (Card subject to change):
Raymond Handson vs Marlon Smith
Jordan Maxey vs Charles Rodgers
Troy White vs Joel Blair
Ron Carter vs Matt Murphy
Juzzton Hill vs Terrence Akins
Gaston Marrabotto vs Adian Ortiz
Tyler Roussin vs Oscar Ahuatzi
Jack Reiff vs Tim Shockley
Max Choriev vs Mark Kirkland
Jacob Cruzen vs Eric Schmidt
Jake Duff vs Nikk Willyard
Brandon Beatty vs (TBD)
Lizzie Seggelke vs Adrian Brusca
Shamrock FC: 274
Saturday, August 13th
Lumiere Place Casino, St. Louis, MO
Casa Loma Ballroom, St. Louis, MO
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Ameristar Casino, Kansas City, MO
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River City Casino, St. Louis, MO