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Roiman Villa Storms Back in the Final Frame to Upset Rashidi Ellis on Showtime

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  • Roiman Villa Storms Back in the Final Frame to Upset Rashidi Ellis on Showtime

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    By Arne K. Lang

    The first big boxing card of 2023 was a Showtime promotion from the Capitol One Arena in Washington, DC. The first fight on the pay-per-view portion of the card was a one-sided affair. Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade had too much class for Demond Nicholson. The next fight, Rashidi Ellis vs. Roiman Villa, was following the same script, but Ellis forgot to shut the barn door and Villa came on like gangbusters in the final stanza to pull the fight out of the fire.


    It was the first pro loss for Ellis (24-1, 15 KOs). The 29-year-old welterweight from Lynn, MA, from a prominent New England boxing family -- brother Ronald is a world class super middleweight and his sister Rashida represented the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics – seemingly had the fight in the bag heading into the final round of this 12-round IBF welterweight eliminator. He had repeatedly beat Villa to the punch and looked to be a level above his relatively obscure opponent who had fought only once previously on U.S. soil.

    But Villa, born in Venezuela and raised in Colombia, stubbornly pressed the action and it paid dividends when Ellis faded in the late rounds. In Round 12, Villa knocked Ellis down hard with a big left hook and had Ellis holding on for dear life as the final seconds ticked off. For good measure, Villa (26-1, 24 KOs) put Ellis on the canvas again just before the bell.

    Many thought that Villa’s last-ditch effort wasn’t quite enough to overcome Ellis’s big early lead, but two of the judges gave the decision to him by 114-112 scores and the other had it a draw (113-113).


    In the pay-per-view opener, Providence, RI southpaw Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade pitched a 10-round shutout over Demond Nicholson, winning every round on all three cards to improve his ledger to 32-0 (19). Andrade knocked Nicholson to the canvas with combinations in round two and again in round 10. Although Nicholson wasn’t badly hurt on either occasion, that translated into three identical 100-88 scores.

    Andrade, a former Beijing Olympian and a former world title-holder at 154 and 160 pounds, was making his first start at 168 and his first fight under the PBC umbrella. Although he showed once again that he is a smooth operator, he merely reinforced his image as a boring fighter. His three-year reign as a world middleweight title-holder was uninspired. Nicholson, a stablemate of Tank Davis at Calvin Ford’s Baltimore gym, declined to 26-5-1.


    Vito Mielnicki Jr, a 20-year-old super welterweight from Roseland, NJ, turned in what was arguably his best performance while improving to 14-1 (9) with a fourth-round stoppage of Omar Rosales (9-2-1). It was the fifth straight win for Mielnicki who put Rosales on the canvas in the waning seconds of the third stanza and again early in the fourth. Rosales, who had his first pro fight in 2020 at age 30, was on his feet when the bout was stopped at the 0.26 mark.

    In an 8-round welterweight match, Brandun Lee, from the California desert community of La Quinta, advanced to 27-0 (23 KOs) with a fourth-round stoppage of 33-year-old Argentine fodder Diego Gonzalo Luque. Lee was stepping down in class after going the 10-round distance in his last two fights. Luque, who was 0-6-1 in his previous seven, was never knocked down but was badly overmatched. The time was 2:55 of round four.

    In the first of three prelims that aired free on Showtime’s youtube channel, Travon Marshall improved to 7-0 (6 KOs) with a 48-second demolition of Iowa’s Shawn West (7-3-1). A super welterweight from the DC area, the 22-year-old Marshall, nicknamed “The Sniper,” is a good-looking prospect. West, who has an MMA and bare-knuckle background, was in over his head.


    In an off-TV fight of note, 40-year-old Massachusetts journeyman Michael Ogando, a native of Kenya, likely brought down the curtain on the career of local fan favorite Lamont Peterson, stopping the former 140- and 147-pound world title-holder in the fourth frame of a bout slated for six.

    Ogando, who improved to 17-16 (15 KOs) wobbled Peterson in the waning seconds of the third round and finished the job in the next frame, knocking Peterson flat on his back with a right hand, after which Peterson’s corner threw in the towel. Peterson, who turns 39 later this month, was making his first start in 32 months. He entered the match with a record of 35-5-1. The official time was 2:05 of round four.