By Tyson Bruce
Chicago, Illinois- Mike Tyson again put on his promoters cap, as his company Iron Mike Promotions put on a spirited boxing card televised by ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. The main event saw veteran fringe contender Roberto Garcia (not to be confused with popular trainer) win a rousing split decision against Norberto Gonzales.
It was a classic crossroads bout with Gonzales trying to build momentum for some kind of a title shot and Garcia was attempting to fight his way back into contention after a series of long layoffs.
Gonzales got off to a fast start, using his foot movement and faster hands to sweep the first two rounds. Garcia was obviously the physically stronger of the two, but lost the rounds primarily because of inactivity.
Garcia managed to find his range in the third round as he bullied Gonzales to the ropes, landing numerous body shots, as well as winging left and right hooks to the head. From this point forward it became a dramatic styles clash, as Gonzales was often the busier fighter but Garcia landed the harder and more meaningful shots.
Garcia, who took the fight on just two weeks notice, showed impressive physical strength, if less than impressive speed. In the eighth round after landing a howitzer of a land hand from a southpaw stance, Garcia was deducted a point for using his shoulder–a tactic Teddy Atlas termed the “bump and run”.
Despite the point deduction Garcia continued to fight well as he out landed Gonzales 64-38 in the final two rounds. The tenth round was the best of the fight, as the two men slugged with abandon and Garcia, at times, looked on the verge of a stoppage.
The final scores were 95-94 Gonzalez, 96-93, 95-94 Garcia. Boxing Insider agreed with the 96-93 score in Garcia’s favor. With the win Garcia improved (34-3,1, 22 KOs), while Gonzales slipped to (20-3, 13 KOs).
In the co-main event the Polish fighter Kamil “Szurek” Laszczyk (16-0, 7 KOs) scored a comfortable eight round unanimous decision over former bantamweight world title challenger Daniel Diaz (20-6-1, 15 KOs). Laszczyk scored a flash knockdown at the end of the first round when he countered a lazy Diaz jab with an overhand right. Laszczyk won the majority of the rounds by being the slightly busier and quicker fighter. Scores were 79-72, 79-71, 78-73.
The first bout of the evening saw the unbeaten Ericson Lublin improve his record to 3-0-0-(3), forcing journeyman Roberto Acevedo (13-13-3) to quit after just one round of action. Acevedo dubiously claimed a hand injury. Lublin, a star amateur, was considered to be one of the gold medal favorites for America in the Rio Olympics in 2016, but after change in the amateur rules he opted to turn professional at just 18 years of age.