Long regains USBF belt in unanimous decision

Published 9:34 am Monday, December 5, 2022

STAR CORRESPONDENT
A 10-bout card featuring five exhibition matches and five professional fights on Saturday at Happy Valley High School in Strikefest 11 saw former Warrior Dustin Long regain his US Boxing Federation and Tennessee state cruiserweight title with an eight-round unanimous decision over Donelei Benedetto. He also added the WBF North American title with the win.
It was a rematch of a bout in which Benedetto earned a hard-fought decision, but Long was able to turn the tables with an exceptional left jab that had Benedetto looking for an answer.
“I had a hard time figuring him out at first,” Long explained. “Since the two fights were made by decision, I feel like I have to give him another shot. We will figure out the when and where at a later time. He is a tough competitor and I look forward to our rematch.”
In other professional bouts, Johnson City native and Science Hill graduate Isaiah Elrod won a unanimous decision over veteran Javier Frazier in his pro debut. Elrod was by far the aggressor throwing a flurry of punches, while the savvy Frazier looked for a knockout opportunity that never showed itself.
“He is a tough guy,” Elrod said. “My hooks and uppercuts were effective and I don’t know anyone else that would fight in that situation against a veteran like him. I think my height advantage worked in my favor. I threw so many punches that I am arm weary and my hands hurt right now. Guy has a hard head.”
Elrod – normally a middleweight – had to put weight on to make the bout, but the 22-year-old Golden Glover said, “I have been fighting since I was 19 and I have fought against some of the top fighters in Golden Gloves. It really helped me develop my style.”
A kickboxing match ended early when Elijah Gilbertson defeated Lexington, Kentucky, native Michael Taylor by technical knockout. Gilbertson delivered a right foot shot to Taylor’s midsection in round one causing a standing eight count. Taylor was able to continue to the second round but Gilbertson once again pinned Taylor in a corner and delivered a left foot to the solar plexus and Taylor could not continue.
In an exhibition match, Greenville SC fighter Vaughn Williams (10-1) earned a four-round decision against Knoxville’s Kenneth Council (11-7). Williams was cut above his left eye by a head butt, but it didn’t deter his effort as he staggered Council in the second round with a right hook.
Bantamweight Campbell County fighter Hayden Smith was impressive in a 36-second knockout of Detroit’s Austin Lajiness. Smith – nicknamed “Baby Face Assassin”- lived up to that moniker as he demolished the more veteran Lajiness. Smith was making his professional debut and he lit into the veteran from the start unleashing a barrage of punches that pushed Lajiness into a corner from where Smith delivered a right uppercut that knocked Lajiness unconscious. Lajiness lay on the squared circle mat for more than five minutes before coming to.
“My eyes were on the prize,” Smith said. “I have a very aggressive style that takes most people by surprise. I don’t look like much, but I have a lot of fight in me. I saw that he dropped his left hand a little and that let me get the cross in and I got him good.”
In an exhibition match, Johnson City’s Kemper Johnson earned a Technical knockout win over Morristown’s Nick Baker. Johnson landed a left hook in the third round that staggered Baker and after a count of eight, the referee decided it was over.
Another Johnson City fighter – Garrett Johnson – was victorious over Darrell Brown in a three-round exhibition. In the first round, it looked as if Brown had scored a knockdown as Johnson went down in a corner, but Johnson said in the aftermath, “ He tried to unleash a Superman punch on me, but he missed. The reason I fell is that he stepped on my foot, so it was a slip, not a knockdown.”

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