For years the cries of many have echoed that the sport of boxing is dying but in rust belt cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the sport is beginning to thrive again which was evident by the packed crowd at Pittsburgh's Grand Hall on Saturday night.
Those who filled the historical building which has stood since 1888 were treated to an entertaining night of boxing highlighted by Ukrainian born Oleg Dovhun winning his first professional belt, the ABF USA super bantamweight championship in the evening's main event.
Dovhun, 23, who now calls Pittsburgh home since moving to the United States to train with Mike McSorley, rode the momentum of an early second-round knockdown in the scheduled eight round fight between two undefeated fighters.
Over the course of the fight, the hard-hitting Dovhun dictated the pace and stayed on the attack while keeping the 22-year-old Daron Williams (7-1) of Washington D.C. on his back foot ready to defend after absorbing the hard short left that sent him to the canvas.
Williams showed grit and toughness and had his moments in the fight which was evident by the bruising and cuts on the face of Dovhun following the fight but in the end, the Ukrainian improved his record to 8-0 and took home the belt by scoring a unanimous decision by scores of 78-73, 78-73, and 79-72.
In the evenings co-feature, Lyobomy Pinchuk who came to the United States from Ukraine alongside Dovhun to train with McSorley wasted little time disposing of his opponent and retaining his ABF USA cruiserweight belt.
Pinchuk, 22, scored an early first-round knockdown on St. Johns, MI native Thad Berkhousen (5-6-2) and put an end to the fight in the second round when he forced the referee to put a halt to the fight following a knockdown against the ropes.
While the duo from Ukraine put on a solid show, the evening got started and ended with a bang as well.
In the first fight of the evening as Cleveland native Lattiss Norman wasted no time jumping all over Pittsburgh's Jarrell Brackett (1-3) in a backyard style brawl between two rival cities in the light heavyweight division.
Norman (2-3), who jumped up two weight classes for this fight stunned Brackett in the fight's opening moments and took advantage by scoring a knockdown, the first of three knockdowns scored for Norman before the referee put an end to the punishment.
In the evening's final fight, Davmond Carter of Jamestown, NY outclassed Michael Manna of Pittsburgh in scoring a third-round knockout which was met with some controversy.
Cater dropped Manna early in the heavyweight contest with an overhand right in the first round and finished him off in the third when he caught Manna (3-1) with a strong right stunning him and jumped all over him with a flurry that sent Manna to his knee forcing the referee in charge to end the fight when he rose to his feet still wobbled.
Many in attendance felt Carter should have been disqualified for landing two punches to the head of Manna while Manna was on his knee, but Carter was awarded the knockout victory and improved his record to 1-1.
Full Results from The Grand Hall At The Prior
Lattiss Norman (Cleveland) KO1 over Jarrell Brackett (Pittsburgh)
Lucas Adams (Pittsburgh) UD over Brock Willis (WV)
Lyubomyr Pinchuk KO2 over Thad Berkhousen (St. Johns, MI)
Llewelyn McClamy (Pittsburgh) KO4 over Stephen Daily, JR (Parkersburg, WV)
Richie Cantolina (Pittsburgh) DEC over Erik Plumeri (Lockport, NY)
Oleg Dovhun (Pittsburgh) UD over Daron Williams (Washington D.C.)
Davond Carter (Jamestown, NY) KO3 over Michael Manna (Pittsburgh)