Friday, September 22, 2023  |


Jared Anderson goes the distance for the first time, outpoints Charles Martin in homecoming fight

Jared Anderson and Charles Martin exchange punches during their heavyweight fight at a packed Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

TOLEDO, Ohio – There’s something special about the hometown fight. The energy is dialed up, the fervor enhanced, and sometimes the fights in the ring match the expectations of an especially interested and excited crowd. While it is not uncommon for arenas in Las Vegas and other key boxing markets to appear and sound cavernous well into the card, hometown cards like the one Saturday night at the Huntington Center in Toledo fill up quickly. Every race and every social class in Toledo turned out to the Jared Anderson Show and they arrived early. The business community packed the Huntington Center’s luxury boxes while the masses, some of whom seemed dressed for a ballroom gala, packed the 8,000 seats across the arena to see the 23-year-old Anderson do his thing.

“Big Baby” has star power, at least in his hometown. This much is evident. In fact, it became clear well before the undefeated heavyweight walked out to the ring to take on former world beltholder Charles Martin (29-4-1, 26 KOs). By the time I walked out to the blue corner to perform my duties as chief second for Colombia’s Deivi Julio (26-14, 16 KOs) in the second preliminary bout, the Huntington Center was already half-full of cheering fans who passionately backed Toledo’s Tyler McCreary (18-2, 8 KOs), Julio’s local opponent. The crowd erupted whenever Julio, 42, and McCreary, 30, traded blows in heated exchanges. McCreary won the fight by unanimous decision (59-54, 57-56, 57-56) at least in part aided by a 1-point deduction for holding that cost Julio a majority draw. It was a contest that, in many ways, foreshadowed the night. Toledo’s fans were treated to exciting fights and two winning performances by their beloved hometown fighters.

Tyler McCreary (L) and Deivi Julio (R) fought early on the Anderson-Martin card but still had a good crowd watching them. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Saturday was always intended to be a festive occasion. The replacement of undefeated Khazak, Zhan Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs), with the former IBF heavyweight titleholder did not seem to affect ticket sales or interest. It is hard to imagine that the crowd could get any louder than it did when Anderson walked out to the ring to a raucous ovation wearing a dog mask and accompanied by a marching band. The noise of the crowd essentially drowned out the ring announcer Mark Shunock.

To start the fight, Martin, a southpaw, started by circling left and right with his back to the ropes as Anderson pawed with the jab while pressing forward. Anderson’s attack for much of the fight centered on a sustained body attack, and by the end of the first round, the pawing jab was converted to a stiff one, as Anderson feinted and shot left and right hands to Martin’s body. Fans started chants of “Let’s Go Jared!”

Round 2 saw Martin and Anderson both fainting, each trying to find the target with straight backhand punches, with Anderson throwing one-twos, and Martin occasionally launching looping left hands. This would be the way much of the fight would flow. Anderson fighting and pressing forward, and Martin attempting to fire left countershots. Anderson clipped Martin with a right-hand counter at the end of the third and nearly dropped him. Martin, seemingly wanting to take a stand in the fifth round, hit Anderson cleanly multiple times and appeared to have him visibly hurt.

Martin had his moments during the fight, stunning Anderson in Round 5 and at the end of Round 10. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Toledo did not get the knockout. The fight went the full 10 rounds, but that did not seem to bother the Toledo fans who were chanting “Jared, Jared” throughout the 10th and final round and loudly cheered the result: 98-91, 99-90, 99-90 scores for Anderson.

“It felt great,” Anderson said of his homecoming experience. “I had my team with me. I got my family with me. I got Toledo with me. They showed up and they’re in the building. They were with me the entire 10 rounds. I heard them all the way through.”

Following the fight, both fighters were respectful of one another. When speaking about Martin, Anderson noted:

“I’m grateful for my opponent. He took the fight on short notice. He came and performed really good. I think we put on a hell of a show for Toledo. I wanted to go the distance. It was my first time. I just wanted to make sure that I could go the distance and especially be able to withstand power the whole 10 rounds. He had power until the last round, and I was happy to get the rounds in.

“He’s a crafty boxer. Usually when I catch someone and hurt them, I can follow up and finish. If they fall, usually I can do damage and put them away. He’s like a little middleweight. The dude is as crafty as a motherf***er.”  

Martin mentioned the conditions under which he took the fight, while praising Anderson’s talent, stating:

“I took the fight on 11 days’ notice. I did the best I could. He’s a real champion. He’ll be making his way to the top soon. I’m proud of him.

“He’s going to be a champion.”


On the undercard, in the co-feature, Abdullah Mason (9-0, 8 KOs) remained undefeated by knocking out Alex de Oliveira (20-5, 14 KOs) in two one-sided rounds.

In a matchup of unbeaten heavyweights, Arslanbek Makhmudov (17-0, 16 KOs) dropped Raphael Akpejiori (15-1, 14 KOs) multiple times en route to a second-round knockout.

Junior lightweight prospect Tiger Johnson (9-0, 5 KOs) defeated Jonathan Montrel (15-2, 10 KOs) over eight rounds. Scores were 80-72, 80-72, and 80-72. 

Light heavyweight prospect Dante Benjamin Jr. (7-0, 5 KOs) knocked out Mirady Zola (4-3, 1 KOs) at 1:56 of the first round. 

Dante Benjamin Jr celebrates after defeating Mirady Zola, (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Super middleweight Toledo native DeAndre Ware (16-4-2, 9 KOs) gave his hometown fans a win by defeating Decarlo Perez (19-9-1, 6 KOs) over six rounds. The scores were 58-56, 59-55, and 59-55.

Junior middleweight Rance Ward (8-5-1, 2 KOs) beat previously-undefeated Husam Al Mashadi (6-1, 5 KOs) over six highly competitive rounds. The scorecards read 58-57, 59-55, and 57-57.

As previously mentioned, Toledo’s junior lightweight Tyler McCreary (18-2-1, 8 KOs) defeated Colombia’s Deivi Julio (26-14, 16 KOs) by scores of 59-54 and 57-56 (twice).

In the opening contest of the night, junior middleweight Nicklaus Flaz (11-2, 7 KOs) upset Jahi Tucker (10-1, 5 KOs), winning an eight-round majority decision. The scores were 76-76, 78-74, and 77-75.