James Neff returns from two-year hiatus with TKO win at Caged Thunder 14

Photo from James Neff's Facebook page

James Neff returns from two-year hiatus with TKO win at Caged Thunder 14

Never judge a book by its cover. James Neff may stand just 5’6″ and fight at heavyweight, but he is one of the more electrifying fighters on the amateur scene in Ohio.

“Slim Savage” returned on Saturday night after a two-year hiatus, finishing Joe Wheeler via TKO in the second round of the main event at Caged Thunder 14 in Akron, Ohio.

Neff began his career as a super heavyweight weighing over 300 pounds, but he eventually made it all the way down to light heavyweight prior to the pandemic. He won four straight bouts via stoppage before a knockout loss against Jayden Taulker at Caged Thunder 11 in March 2020.

With the win, Neff moves into the No. 2 amateur heavyweight ranking in Ohio. He’s also the No. 1 ranked light heavyweight.

The co-main event ended with an unfortunate injury, as Norm Carreiro had his finger dislocated after blocking a punch from Kyle Crum. The bout was originally declared a no contest but was later ruled a TKO victory for Crum due to the injury. Crum is now 3-0 with all three wins in the first round.

Some of the state’s most exciting amateur prospects picked up wins on the card, including 20-year-old Victory MMA product Nick Nash, who moved to 2-0 with a submission victory over Tarin Rauch. Former Cleveland State wrestler and Strong Style Fight Team product Chase Archangelo moved to 2-0 as well, as he stopped Justin Myers via strikes in the first round. Victory MMA product Joe Wickline made a vicious entry into the MMA scene after a lengthy wrestling career, earning a knockout victory with a slam halfway through the first round.

Another fighter who returned from a lengthy hiatus on the card was Ty Mees, who earned an arm bar submission over the previously unbeaten Dillon Busch in his first fight since 2019. Mees is now the No. 2 ranked amateur featherweight in Ohio.

Check out the full results below, courtesy of ring announcer Jake Digman.

Caged Thunder 14 results

James Neff def. Joe Wheeler via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:40

Kyle Crum def. Norm Carreiro via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 0:56

Nick Nash def. Tarin Rauch via Submission (guillotine) – Round 2, 2:16

Nick Walls def. Sam Kern via Submission (anaconda choke) – Round 1, 1:13

Chase Archangelo def. Justin Myers via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:01

Ty Mees def. Dillon Busch via Submssion (arm bar) – Round 1, 1:25

Branson Price def. Malcolm Jackson-Pope via Unanimous Decision

Cody Anthony def. John Howard via Unanimous Decision

Joe Terry def. Wyat Ellinger via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:58

Nikko Jackson vs. Garrett Hershberger – No Contest due to Illegal Head Kick from Hershberger

Akil Brazier def. Michael Ashlin via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:07

Devon Watkins def. Chaise Boehmer via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:24

Trent Peters def. Octavian Cohen via Technical Submission (bulldog choke) – Round 3, 2:18

Gavin Scheid def. Michael Lyons via Submission (guillotine) – Round 3, 0:58

Luke McMurtry def. Andrew Mahle via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:48

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