South Carolina boxers shine at Jamil Shrine Temple


COLUMBIA -- South Carolina boxers claimed victory on Saturday at "Put Up or Shut Up," an evening of professional boxing at Jamil Shrine Temple.

In the main event, undefeated welterweight prospect Jaylon "The Horseman" Pridgeon improved to 7-0 with a knockout victory over Damion Gaskin, a former United States Marine fighting out of Reevesville.

Pridgeon, a crowd favorite from Columbia, dropped Gaskin twice in the second round with vicious body shots before ending the fight in Round 3 with a right hand to the point of the chin.

"The body (punches) breaks them down, and the head gets them out of there," Pridgeon said. "There's always room for improvement, but that was pretty good."

Several South Carolina fighters made their professional debuts on Saturday, including 6-time South Carolina Golden Gloves champion Vaughn "Snap Back" Williams. Williams, a light heavyweight from Greenville, gained a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Alex Bonds of Tallahassee, Florida.

For Williams, fighting for the first time as a professional was a challenge.

"The way you are in the ring, pacing yourself, it's different," he said. "I had to get the ring rust off."

In the future, the Greenville southpaw plans to fight more frequently and build his professional resume.

"Keep fighting once a month," he said. "Stay in the ring and stay active. That's it."

Two South Carolina super middleweights also scored their first professional victories on the card.

Gaffney's Carly "Scarface" Holman notched a first-round knockout win over Jessica Roberson, and Walterboro's Fredrick Yates, Jr. defeated Mark Anderson by unanimous decision.

Yates, a 12-year U.S. Army veteran who served three combat tours, was glad to have made his professional debut but critical of his performance.

"I felt like I could have done a lot better, but I was so nervous," he said. "I couldn't even feel my legs going out."

Yates said that his military experience helped to prepare him for boxing.

"Without serving in the military, I don't think I could have done it tonight," he said. "There's nothing like getting in that ring."

Yates shared a training camp with Pridgeon, the main attraction of Saturday's fight card. The experience was "painful," said Yates, laughing. "He pushed me."

For Pridgeon, the 8-week training camp was a new experience.

"We got up every morning and ran at Fort Jackson with the soldiers," he said. "We hired a nutritionist. I feel good."

Next on the agenda for Pridgeon is a title fight scheduled for Dec. 14.

"I don't even want to take any time off," said Pridgeon. "I just want to get straight back to work."