By: William Holmes
Radio City Music Hall’s legendary acoustics were on full display the minute you walked into the hall and your eyes were immediately drawn to the unusual sight of a boxing ring on the center of a stage.
This is only the second time that boxing was on display at Radio City Music Hall, but considering the fact that the main event featured a top five pound for pound boxer and a two time Olympic Gold Medalist, the venue was more than appropriate.
Jr. Lightweight sensation Felix Verdejo (L) knocks out Steve Gutierrez(R) in the 1st round.Saturday, April 13 at the historic Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The first bout of the night started on time and was between Diamond Baier (2-4-1) Erick DeLeon (2-0) in the lightweight division. DeLeon is a southpaw from Detroit and Baier is also a southpaw from Arizona. Baier caught DeLeon by surprise with a jab to the body early on in the first round that sent DeLeon stumbling backwards. He quickly recovered however and scored a knockdown with a vicious right hook, but for some reason the referee ruled it a slip. DeLeon remained relentless for the remainder of the bout and continued to tee off on the Baier with hard combinations. Baier, to his credit, never went down but it was a clear victory for DeLeon as he won with scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 40-34.
Daniel Sostre (11-8-1) and Mikael Zewski (18-0) fought next in the welterweight division. Zewski is a young Canadian prospect and he showed his potential tonight. The first round started off slow with Zewski mainly dictating where Sostre went with his jab. He came out like a ball of fire in the second round and knocked him down with a straight right hand behind a jab. Sostre was able to get back to his feet but Zewski blitzed his opponent and unleashed a flurry of combinations that sent Sostre to the mat again. This time he did not beat the count. Zewski won by KO at 0:49 of the second round.
The next bout of the night was between Tyler Canning (1-1) and Dario Soccia (2-0) in the junior middleweight division. Soccia had a few vocal fans in attendance, but this bout was slow and uneventful until the final round. Soccia finally started to land some crisp right hands that snapped the head of his opponent backwards and bloodied his nose in the last round, but he was largely inactive against the wild swinging Canning in the first three rounds. The judges gave Canning the split decision victory with scores of 39-37 Canning, 39-37 Soccia, and 39-37 for Canning.
Joseph Dos Los Santos (13-11-3) and “Jersey Boy” Glen Tapia (17-0) met next in the junior middleweight division. Tapia is a young prospect that has yet to be seriously tested and he was in the ring with an opponent that he should have blown out of the ring in the early rounds but failed to do so.
Tapia was never in trouble and he clearly coasted throughout the bout. He seemed content on landing an occasional jab and straight right hand and he never really pushed the action. Dos Los Santos did not land anything of note. Tapia did have a very strong sixth round when he landed several hard uppercuts to the chin of Dos Los Santos. The judges scored it 80-72 on all three scorecards.
Jesse Hart (6-0) and Marlon Farr (2-2) fought next in the super middleweight division. Farr started off defensive and for good reason, Jess Hart has incredible power. Hart hurt Farr near the end of the second round with a stiff straight right hand that forced Farr to hold onto the ropes to stay on his feet. Hart came out strong in the third round and connected with a two punch combination that sent Farr to the canvas hard. Farr was able to beat the count, but was immediately knocked out by Hart with four punch combination that sent Farr’s motionless body crashing through the bottom rope. Hart wins by impressive KO at 1:33 of the third round.
Steve Gutierrez (4-3-1) and Felix Verdejo (4-0) met next in the super featherweight division. Verdejo was a 2012 Olympian for Puerto Rico and is considered by many to be one of the best prospects to come out of Puerto Rico in a long time. He certainly showed he’s capable of carrying Puerto Rico’s proud boxing tradition tonight. He mixed up his combinations to the body and head of Gutierrez well and knocked him down in the first round with a hard left hand to the chin. Gutierrez was somehow able to get back to his feet but a right uppercut, left hook, straight right hand combination knocked Gutierrez down again and the referee waived off the fight. The stoppage came at 1:51 of round one.
Rex Stanley (11-4-0-1) and Sean Monaghan (17-0) fought next in the light heavyweight division. Monaghan walked out to bag pipe music to represent his Irish heritage and he had a large vocal contingent in Radio City Music Hall. Stanley looked to be in less than impressive shape and it also looked like he had no business being inside the ring with Monaghan. Monaghan landed a brutal right hand near the corner that sent Stanley down. He slowly rose to his feet and the referee wisely waived off the fight. Monaghan remains undefeated with a TKO victory at 1:51 of round one.
The final bout on the undercard was a swing bout between Gadiel Andaluz (4-4-1) and Toka Kahn Clary (4-0-0-1) in the Super Featherweight division. Clary kept up with the incredible pace of the last three fighters and made this a quick fight. He’s a lightning quick southpaw and knocked Andaluz down three times in the first round with a straight left hand. When Andaluz fell to his face again for the third time the referee stopped the fight at 1:32.