“No Joke” gets KO victory in pro debut

Submitted Photo Seville Hasan (left, red trunks) throws a jab against Dunkirk native Tommy Roque (black trunks) in Roque’s professional boxing debut at Ready2Rumble Sept. 29, in Westminster, Colorado.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — “No Joke” Tommy Roque had his hands full going against Seville Hasan at Ready2Rumble.

After a pretty even first round, and then later being knocked down by Hasan in the second, Roque stood toe-to-toe with Has in an intense third round.

The two went back and forth and after being pushed against the ropes and taking multiple shots from Hasan, Roque caught his second wind and started to come back. Gaining momentum, “No Joke” started to take control of the ring, connecting on some hard punches. Roque then caught Hasan with a solid left hook to the body that had him circling away to the corner. Roque kept pressing with his jab, and Hasan threw a short punch to get some distance — but Roque blasted him with a right-handed bomb, landing on the left temple.

Hasan went limp, fell back against the ropes and “No Joke” went in for the kill with a barrage of punches — and at that point, Hasan had enough. It was a knockout victory.

Before the third-round stunner — which can still be seen on the Tommy “No Joke” Roque Facebook page — Roque entered the ring with about as much nerves as anyone would have before their first professional fight.

“It was a pretty small venue. It was very very loud in there, it was something I haven’t really experienced before,” he recalled. “I wasn’t so much nervous, but really just not knowing what to expect (going into the match). … I was just more nervous with how the punches were going to feel with the 8-ounce gloves compared to the (amateur) 10-ounce glove.”

It was apparent that by the end of this fight, Roque knew full-well how that 2-ounce difference would feel against Hasan.

The first round was more of a feeler, but shots were being traded on both sides. Roque circled his opponent while Hasan attempted to hold the middle of the ring and stand his ground. Roque used his jab to get inside and attack the body. He also threw in some combinations, coming out strong and energized at the beginning of the round. Hasan was doing a good job of landing the jab as well as a few other effective punches. Overall the two came out pretty even in Round 1.

Round 2, the fight started to heat up.

Roque came out as the aggressor, but Hasan kept to the middle of the ring and took advantage. Still early in the round, Roque threw out a jab to the body that was countered by a stellar combination from Hasan. From there, Hasan would press. After working Roque with the jab, Hasan stood his ground and when Roque came in throwing the left hook, Hasan quickly capitalized with a quick one-two to the head dropping Roque to the canvas with the right cross.

“It happened in the second round towards the middle,” Roque recalled. “He hit me with a right on top of my head or closer to the temple area. I wasn’t hurt by it, but the shot was powerful enough to send me to the canvas. I thought I recovered well. I knew where I was, I knew what I wanted to do. I gathered myself fairly quickly after the knock down. I was kind of surprised he didn’t press more after he knocked me down. He just kinda coasted for the rest of the round, and that gave me the time to recover fully. I was ready to go, and come out the next round.”

Then came Round 3, and to it simply, this round was “No Joke.”

Roque started off the way he ended Round 2, by throwing the majority of power punches on a seemingly tentative Hasan.

The two traded shots throughout.

Roque landed some power punches and Hasan would return the favor with a few effective combinations of his own. The turning point came midway, where Roque seemed to gain the edge. However, Hasan held his ground and stood toe-to-toe with Roque and gained his momentum back. This is where he really started to press upon Roque. Hasan pushed Roque to the far corner landing a big right cross to the cheek followed with combo to put “No Joke” on the ropes. Roque responded by striking back. With heavy pressure on Hasan, Roque began circling the ring and fighting back with impressive power, chipping away at the body wearing down his opponent. Roque directed Hasan to a corner using his jab, and when Hasan tried throwing a short jab, Roque ducked him and launched an over hand right, and it was lights out for Hasan. “No Joke” Roque’s professional debut was in the books — a third-round knockout.

“I was very excited, just because it was a very close fight,” Roque recalled Thursday afternoon. “I got knocked down in the second round. I wasn’t sure what to expect how the judges scored, but once someone gets knocked down in a professional fight, that’s an automatic 10-8 round. I lost that round, so I knew (going into the third) I had to come back strong, come back hard.

“Through three rounds I felt him getting more fatigued,” Roque continued. “Going into the third, I felt pretty good even though I got knocked down the round before. Normally, a knock down like that would take a little more out of you, but I was in really good shape. … I wanted to press him more in the third because he seemed a little more tired. I kept throwing my jab to the body like the first round. I just came up top over with my right hand and landed clean — knocked him out. … I was ecstatic.”

Following the victory, Roque plans on fighting again soon. As of this moment, there is no date set for anything. But in the meantime, Roque is thankful for all the support coming his way especially that of the city of Dunkirk.

“Making my pro debut here was different. … I didn’t know a lot of people out here, but (the people here) showed tremendous support making my debut and the way I finished was definitely a crowd pleaser.” he said. ” … Ever since I was little, I’ve had tremendous support (in Dunkirk), but it means even more to me now that I’m grown and I’m a man. I can look at it at a different view now. … Now I know where I’m going. I 100 percent appreciate the support I get from back home. … Maybe one day I’ll be able to give back and come home for a mega fight. … Thank you from the bottom of my heart to people of Dunkirk for all the support.”

What may be even bigger than the actual knockout itself is the legacy that’s starting to be built in Dunkirk. Including Roque’s professional debut, that now makes three professional boxers to fight out of Dunkirk at this time along with Wilfredo Vega Flores and Ivan Hernandez, not to mention New York State Golden Gloves Champion Elon DeJesus laying in the wake aspiring to become a pro himself. This manifestation is incredibly unique for Dunkirk at this time; Roque understands that and wants to be part of an example for the kids back home who want to strive and be great someday.

“It means a lot,” Roque said. “… It gives the younger generation hope on their dreams and what they want to accomplish. … It’s just a great example to set for the younger generation to see. Just for them to see that anything is possible if you want to work hard and stay dedicated.”

For now, the record is 1-0 and the name remains the same — Tommy Roque is “No Joke.”