I posted the video for Omar Sheika for the latest “Nightly Knockouts” post on the Ring Gang Radio Instagram. A video showing a young Omar Sheika destroying a journeyman in only 30 seconds. In In the process of finding this video on Youtube had me stumble upon a bunch of Omar Sheika’s fights. ESPN Friday Night Fights was one of my favorite boxing series to watch. At times it was the only thing worth watching on TV Fridays. Many future stars made their debuts on it and had several unheralded fights that never got the recognition it deserved. Omar Sheika had a certain couple of fights there that meet that criteria. The couple of fights I’m referring to are his 2 barnburners with Scott Pemberton.
First Fight – 7/25/2003
This at the time was seen as a must win for both men. For Omar Sheika, he was riding a 2 fight losing streak coming up short in an IBF title eliminator fight against Thomas Tate after dropping him twice. He had also had unsuccessful title challenges against then WBC Super Middleweight Champion Eric Lucas and then WBO Super Middleweight Champion Joe Calzaghe. For Scott Pemberton, he was starting to get up there in age as well having personal issues outside of the ring. Both fighters being notable punchers, no one thought this fight would go the distance. It certainly didn’t appear that way when in the second round, Pemberton got dropped by Sheika with a right hook counter. Sheika for most of the early rounds was the aggressor scoring with hard combos. Pemberton weathered the storm and starting putting in effective body work in the middle rounds. By 9th round you could see the pace of the fight start to wear on Sheika as his output slowed. Pemberton also started to clinch more than usual. He looked like he was going to fight to a clear decision when Omar came alive in the 11th round and nearly came close to putting him away late with a loud thudding left hook. Pemberton, as he had been doing all night, weathered the storm and gave it as good as he got in the final round. Scott Pemberton would win a split decision by 2 scores of 114-113; Sheika given the nod on the final card 116-111. I personally do not agree with that score as it was too wide for my liking but it was still an outstanding fight
Second Fight – 1/23/2004
The first fight was wildly considered to be a top FOTY candidate for 2003. In fact ESPN had actually named that fight as its fight of the year. So you already know they were going to do it again. The second fight pretty much picked up where it left off. Round 1 or Round 13 depending on how you looked at it. It almost mirrored the first fight where Sheika controlled the earlier rounds and again drops Pemberton in round 2. Pemberton weathers the storm again by clinching repeatedly in order to get his bearings back. The middle rounds were mostly Sheika being the aggressor and in the 6th round forced a standing 8 knockdown after catching Pemberton on the ropes with a barrage. After that round, Sheika’s activity began to drop as Pemberton willed himself back in the fight. By the 9th round Pemberton was landed almost at will on a defenseless Sheika. The 10th round, Sheika completely exhausted would get knocked down by a 3 punch combination. The ref would have done well to stop the fight by then as Sheika labored to his feet. Pemberton followed up with a big right hand that had Sheika in all types of trouble. One more combination from Pemberton would send Sheika falling off balance into the corner forcing the ref to stop the fight.
Aftermath: Both fights were brutal affairs that put more than enough of mileage on both fighters. Pemberton, the victor of both fights, would only fight on 4 more times. He would eventually receive his one and only title shot against then IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jeff Lacy. Lacy wound run right through him in only 2 rounds. Omar Sheika would fight on another 8 years. He also received a title shot against Jeff Lacy and in his career best performance gave him all that he could handle. Sheika would lose a disputed UD with the scores being close on 2 cards. He would receive one more title shot against then WBC Super Middleweight champion Markus Beyer who handled him with ease on his way to a wide decision. Sheika would never regain any form and the fights added up. His last fight of note was getting ko’ed in 5 rounds by an aging Roy Jones Jr. Neither of them ever made it to the top level of the sport but those 2 fights were nothing but pure class. Do yourself a favor and catch those fights. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Written by PatScorpio for