CHESTER - It took a few more rounds, but the result was the same.
After winning his first two professional bouts via first round knockout, Joey Holt had to wait until the fourth round to secure his third victory on Saturday at Mountaineer Racetrack Casino and Resort.
Holt, a 2004 East Liverpool graduate, moved to 3-0 as a pro with a fourth round stoppage of Austin Marcum in the opener of a fight card promoted by Roy Jones Jr. in association with TNT Promotions.
Joey Holt lands a left on Austin Marcum Saturday at Mountaineer Racetrack Casino and Resort. (Photo courtesy of 12roundsorless.com)
Despite being the opening act of the night, Holt entered the ring for the junior middleweight (154 pounds) fight to a nearly full house at The Harv.
Early on, Holt was frustrated by the unusual style of Marcum whose record fell to 4-3 with 2 KOs after winning his last two bouts. Marcum, who hails from Charleston, W.Va., used an unconventional approach which took time for Holt to figure out.
"By about the third round, I settled down," Holt said. "I was looking for the big shot and winding up on my punches. I wasn't putting them together.
NOTES: Holt wanted to thank his trainer and all the staff at World Class Boxing Gym as well as Team Impact and Power Fitness for their help in preparing him for the fight. In the main event, Spadafora won the NABF super lightweight (140) title with a unanimous decision win over Rob Frankel (32-13, 6 KOs). "The Pittsburgh Kid" improved to 48-0-1 with 19 KOs. It was the third fight in the comeback of the 37-year-old boxer. Other winners on the night included Travis Clark (Morristown), Billy Hutchinson (Pittsburgh), Wilkins Santiago (Lorain) and Ed Lattimore (Pittsburgh). Along with Jones Jr., several other notable sports figures were in attendance including New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory, New England Patriots defensive end Brandon Deaderick, former middleweight champion from Youngstown Kelly Pavlik, as well as boxers Brian Minto, Morgan Fitch and Monty Meza-Clay.
"He had an awkward style and didn't do things like a normal boxer. It took me off my game plan a little, but I adapted."
Holt caught Marcum with a hard straight right in the final seconds of the first round, but didn't have enough time to capitalize on the opportunity.
In the second round, Marcum was able to land more punches than Holt, but none of the shots had much power.
"I got hit more than I had in my whole career in boxing and (mixed martial arts)," Holt said. "It made me bite down, but it was a good experience and I needed that.
"The objective is to hit and not get hit, but he never hit me with a clean shot."
Marcum switched from an orthodox to a southpaw stance midway through the third round as Holt began to cut off the ring and apply more pressure.
Heading into the fourth and final round, Holt said he didn't want to leave the decision in the judges hands.
"I thought I was winning the fight, but I didn't have complete confidence," he said. "You never know. I wanted to finish it before the bell sounded."
Holt did just that as he cornered Marcum landing a powerful combination that forced his opponent to touch his glove to the canvas. After the referee administered a standing eight count, Holt made sure he finished the job. He once again trapped Marcum in the corner and landed several unanswered blows before the referee stepped in and called a halt to the action.
"When he turned southpaw, I hit him with a right hook and saw he was dazed," Holt said. "I wanted to get him out of there. It sure helped hearing the East Liverpool crowd cheering me on."
Holt is now 6-0 as a professional with three wins each in boxing and MMA. While he still maintains a goal of becoming a champion in both arenas, Holt said he will keep his focus on the sweet science for now.
"I want to stay busy," he said. "I couldn't have asked for a better test. This guy came to fight, not just cash a paycheck."
Holt is currently being trained by Tom Yankello at his World Class Boxing Gym in Ambridge, Pa.
"I'm just going to go with the flow," he said. "Whoever they throw at me. I'm still young in the boxing game and I've got a lot to learn. I'll be back in the gym next week and be ready to go."