There were nine scheduled fights at the Armory on Labor Day eve. Minneapolis’ own De Shawn Owens’ eight-round super lightweight bout was the last on the card that night, at least an hour after the two scheduled main fights took place on national television.
Whether through stubbornness or persistence, this reporter sat through all nine fights hoping to speak to the local fighter afterwards, win or lose.
Owens knocked out Michael Ogundo in the fourth round, his 12th KO in front of me, a few spectators, and the television crew packing up their equipment around ringside, improving him to 13-2.
“I wasn’t expecting to be the last [on the card],” he said afterwards.
The 30-year-old turned professional after over 120 amateur fights, winning 10 state and regional titles. At 5’-10” and with a 73.5-inch reach, Owens looks to fight for a title one day. He believes the win over Ogundo (16-13), will get him a step closer.
“Initially I wanted to do more rounds,” he told me. “I haven’t been to the 7th, 8th round in a while.”
It looked like it might be either a long fight or short one as Ogundo went after Owens early with rabbit punches. But the Kenyan native made a mistake—he cut Owens’ eye in the second round with one of his elbows.
“I got mad, and I never get mad,” explained the eventual winner. “He kept elbowing, constantly elbowing. He [also] hit me in the back of the head extremely hard. I was blurred the rest of the fight.”
This pushed Owens even harder to go after Ogundo in the fourth and deciding round. He caught his opponent with a right uppercut to his body that stunned him, sending him to the ropes. There Owens finished him off with a left hook to Ogundo’s rib cage, flooring him to the canvas. The referee waved Ogundo out when he wasn’t able to get up before the count of 10.
“It was a nice body shot,” said the victorious Owens. “Those body shots were breaking him down.”
Owens’ trainer Adonis Frazier told us that Ogundo had nothing to lose. “A journeyman sometimes is more dangerous for a prospect [like Owens],” he said. Ogundo’s record can’t be overlooked or underestimated, added Frazier. “This kid’s got experience.”
Ogundo indeed was a challenge, admitted Owens, who trains at the Circle of Discipline gym in South Minneapolis. “He was exactly how I expected—very sturdy, very strong. He was a lot quicker than I thought.”
It was only Owens’ second fight this year after scoring a TKO win June 27, also at the Armory. We watched him fight that night as well.
“There’s always work to be done,” said Owens.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.