Every new fighter needs a place to cut their teeth. That is exactly what the Hamburg Field House played host to for four new members of Team TSMMA Saturday Night. Hamburg fight night has hosted hundreds of TSMMA fighters over the last decade, but rarely was the card so stacked with newcomers.
Five Tiger Schulmann’s fighters made the trip to the old railroad town, and between them they sported one total fight. Granted Terron Cunningham made that a memorable one back in April with a TKO victory. It is a long history of successful fighters entering the USKA ring that gave confidence to Saturday night’s newcomers.
First up for team TSMMA would be a 15 year old Allentown student. Baltazar Belman has been training under Shihan James Simpson for three years. On Saturday night he would use that experience in facing fellow newcomer camden Conaboy of Hanover Academy of MMA. Belman came out like a hurricane pushing Conaboy against the ropes with a frantic pace.
The two young fighters put on a show for six minutes, trading hard punches and engaging constantly. Belman showed a warrior’s heart, never once backing down from a game Conaboy. He would respond well to corner instructions from Simpson who continually urged him to use his straight left hand. When Belman connected it staggered Conaboy, but the Hanover Academy of MMA student was up for the challenge as well.
After three hard fought rounds Conaboy came away with a close decision. Belman may have lost on the score cares, but based on the rousing applause of the hundreds of TSMMA fans, he won in the hearts of the crowd!
The aforementioned Cunningham was up next for team TSMMA. He would fight another 1-0 competitor in WAT Gym’s Brian Cubero. The Muay Thai fight would be held at 155 pounds.
This was a tale of two game plans. Cunningham is a slick southpaw who uses his length to creat enormous power. Cubero was looking to use his clinch to control things from the inside.
When Cunningham was able to stay at distance he land a series of right hooks and straight left hands that stunned Cubero. Cunningham was also successful with a strong left leg kick that landed to the body of Cubero with frequency.
Cubero was willing to eat a punch or two to get in range though. When he could get there he tied up Cunningham in a strong clinch and landed knees successfully.
Cunningham showed the same controlled aggression as in his debut. This time it was not quite enough to overcome his opponent who escaped with a narrow split decision.
Making the trip up the Northeast Extension from TSMMA Feasterville was Bob Smith. Smith earned his Black Belt in April after 8 years of training. Now he was looking to test those skills outside of Tiger Schulmann’s. Smith gave up the experience edge to Andy Tong. The Kings Thai Boxing representative recently won his amateur debut.
Unfortunately when Smith showed up at weigh ins his cornerman found out Tong was 30 years old. The 14 year age difference was an unfair advantage and Shihan Simpson wisely changed the fight to an exhibition.
All credit to Andy Tong who did a masterful job of making the young Smith work for his first trip into the ring. The two had some spirited exchanges in the three round fight with Tong using a succession of low kicks and Smith establishing straight techniques with jabs and front kicks.
With no need to declare a victor it was obvious both fighters benefited from the title.
Tack on 21 years and 50 pounds to the 16 year old smith and you get 37 year old Alex “Big Al” Border making his Kickboxing debut. Another student of Shihan Simpson, Border began training in 2013. He took to Kickboxing instantly and got the chance to step in against Super T Karate’s Cory Welch.
Welch and Border put on a show for the crowd. Early on in the fight it was Border showing crisp boxing skills. He was rocking Welch with simple 1, 2 combinations. The jab and cross were working and eventually set up some nice hooks as well.
Credit to Welch who showed an amazing chin as well as incredible power. Welch was loading up on right low kicks and crosses. He took the less is more approach by trying to knock out Border with every single shot.
Border followed Shihan Simpson’s instructions to the T though, sliding to the right continuously and for the most part avoiding Welch’s shots. The first fight of the night with 200+ pounders the two fought more like flyweights, slinging punches at each other all the way to the final bell.
Ultimately Border did more than enough to secure the victory. It was an impressive debut for the 37 year old TSMMA Allentown student.
Finishing up the night was Gerry DeJesus. The TSMMA Bethlehem student sought to even the teams record for the night. He would take on Jon Wonder of Nak Muay Gym and the two did not let down the crowd who stuck around until the very end.
DeJesus came out with a clear plan to keep his distance and land powerful punching combinations. At first Wonder tried to close the distance and work the clinch game. Unfortunately his plan backfired.
As the three round fight progressed DeJesus began to control every distance in the fight. He landed powerful body kicks from the right leg at long range, stinging cross hook combos from middle distance and even controlled the clinch with brutal knees from in close.
All together it was successful night for Team TSMMA. A rare 2-2 record for the team, but even in defeat Cunningham and Belman showed their potential while Border and DeJesus secured victory with impressive debuts.
Look for Bob Smith to get a more evenly matched opponent soon to make his competitive debut!