Richard “Frog” Holmes took a step closer to realising a lifelong dream of winning the Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum Contender Series when he scored a unanimous decision win against Frank Cotroni to reach the semi-final in the Junior Middleweight contest at the Chinese Benevolent auditorium on Wednesday night.
Holmes, the Team Jamaica number two seed, who moved up to the weight class for this “Best of the Best” Series, though not at his fluent best, was more industrious than the Canadian number four seed and that worked in his favour.
Enough that all judges scored the bout in his favour as Ransford Burton scored it 48-47 and Canadian judge Jeremy Haynes and Guyanese judge Eian Jardine both scored it 49-46. Holmes weighed in at 154lb, while Cotroni weighed in at 153 ½lb.
Holmes ring record now stands at 14 wins from 21 fights with seven knockouts against six losses.
The announcement by Ring Announcer Oliver Hardie was met with thunderous applause from the large crowd in attendance.
It was the fourth-consecutive year that Holmes has reached the semi-final round of the Wray & Nephew Contender Series and the Bruising Gym standout has his eyes set on becoming the next Contender winner.
Holmes’ rich history in the Contender Series began as a welterweight when, in his first year, he reached the quarter-finals where he lost to Donovan “Police” Campbell. Then, in 2014, he reached his first semi-final and lost to Sakima Mullings, who went of to become Contender Champion.
Holmes then went on to reach the finals in 2015 and 2016 where he also lost to Kemahl Russell and DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, respectively.
In his post-fight interview, Holmes said this could be his watershed year. Out of every disappointment comes hope and a chance for a fulfilled ambition. “I can do much better than you saw. I shall just write tonight’s showing down to having a night off.”
“Despite this, I thought I did just enough to win the fight and this is what is important. An ugly win is always much better than a beautiful loss, Holmes added.
Holmes, following his attempt to probably knock out Cotroni, showed definite signs of wilting in the fifth and final round.
It was a showing that went against the grain of expectation of coach Carl Grant.
“We are preparing for a longer fight, so the plan was to use this opportunity to move, move and more moving rather than fighting. I had expected to see more boxing than fighting. I thought the boxer got carried away by the egging on of the crowd and lost the game plan,” Grant said.
Cotroni said: “It was a good fight. I was not too disappointed with the result per se. But I thought that I won the first, third and fifth rounds.”
Team Canada number three seed John Ryan Wagner will clash with Team Jamaica number three seed Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis next Wednesday for the fourth and final semi-final spot in the Jamaica vs Canada “Best of the Best” Wray & Nephew White Overproof Contender Series.
Action during Wray & Nephew Contender: Richard ‘Frog’ Holmes (left) and Frank Cotroni in action during the quarterfinal fight in the Wray & Nephew Contender which was held at the Chinese Benevolent Association in St. Andrew on Wednesday, June 14. Holmes emerged the winner.