Gonzalez Triumphs in Aftermath of the Storm
By: Ron Scarfone
A&T Events and Promotions in conjunction with Mundo Boxing presented an event titled “Miami Boxing Storm” on August 6 at the Miami Airport Convention Center in Miami, Florida. In addition to the boxing storm, there was a storm in the sky with thunder, lightning, and rain. There was so much rain that some of the streets were flooded and looked like rivers. There were many people who arrived late to the event. Boxing events usually start late in South Florida, but not this event. After 45 minutes, 3 four-round bouts had already been completed. The main event featured light heavyweight Yuniesky “The Monster” Gonzalez who is originally from Cuba and now lives in Miami. Gonzalez was previously undefeated at 16-0 and a rising star when he faced former WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal in a ten-round bout. Despite pummeling Pascal throughout the fight, Gonzalez lost by unanimous decision due to three identically biased judges’ scores of 96-94. After that heartbreaking loss, Gonzalez faced legitimate contender Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy in another ten-round bout. The fight was close and arguably could have been scored as a draw, but only one of the three judges felt that way. This judge scored it 95-95, but the other two judges who were both in favor of Shabranskyy scored it 98-92 and 97-93. As a result, Gonzalez lost by majority decision. Orlando Cuellar was the trainer of Gonzalez. Cuellar is best known for being the trainer of former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson when he was at an elite level. Nevertheless, Gonzalez’s handlers felt a change needed to be made and decided to hire Pedro Diaz to be Gonzalez’s new trainer.
In order to get back into world title contention, Gonzalez needed to win again. The panacea proved to be Jackson “Demolidor” Junior of Brazil. Junior was previously undefeated at 15-0 and had won the Brazilian light heavyweight title and the WBO Latino light heavyweight title. However, he is no longer unbeaten as he has lost six of his last twelve fights prior to this fight against Gonzalez. Junior tried to regain the WBO Latino light heavyweight title, but lost by TKO. He had a couple more title shots for minor belts, but lost both by knockout. Junior’s nickname is in Portuguese and means “Daredevil.” As his nickname suggests, Junior is courageous. Gonzalez was definitely a step up in competition for Junior. Their fight was in the cruiserweight division because they were about three pounds above the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds. Gonzalez looked bigger and stronger than Junior and Gonzalez’s punching power was apparent in the first round. Gonzalez knocked down Junior three times and the fight was stopped by referee Frank Santore because the three knockdown rule was in effect. The time of stoppage was 2:35 of the first round. Gonzalez improves his record to 17-2, 13 KOs. Junior’s record is now 21-7, 19 KOs. Gonzalez said that he wants to fight again on HBO which is the television network that broadcasted his two losses against Pascal and Shabranskyy.
The best fight of the event was between Courtney Jackson of Miami, FL and Ramesis Gil of the Dominican Republic. Jackson weighed about a pound under the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds whereas Gil weighed 140.8 pounds. Jackson was the hometown favorite from Miami and had never lost in his pro career. Although Jackson was undefeated, the vast majority of his previous opponents had losing records. Gil had a losing record himself, but he has mostly fought opponents with winning or undefeated records. Gil did not always lose to those boxers and was able to beat a few of them which included two wins over two previously undefeated boxers. In this fight against Jackson, Gil was landing punches often in the first half of the six-round bout and Gil seemed to have the advantage. In the fourth round, Gil knocked Jackson down with a punch to the head. Jackson survived the round and came back in round five with a left hook to the head that staggered Gil, but Gil remained standing. There were furious exchanges in the sixth and final round. The three judges each identically scored the fight 57-56, 57-56, and 57-56. There was a consensus among the judges, but journalists and fans in attendance may have had a difference of opinion as to who they believe deserved to win. Gil was hurt in the fifth round, but he did knock down Jackson in the fourth round and did well in most of the rounds. Jackson was fortunate to get the win here and remains undefeated at 12-0, 6 KOs. Gil’s record falls to 10-16-5, 7 KOs.
Tyrone “King of the Ring” Spong of Miami, Florida is a former kickboxing champion whose goal is to have similar success in the boxing ring. Spong is a heavyweight with punching power reminiscent of Mike Tyson in his prime. In his previous four fights, Spong won by knockout or technical knockout. His devastating power was in full effect for his fifth fight which was against Tracey Johnson of Boston, Massachusetts. In the second round, Spong hurt Johnson with a smashing punch to the head which sent Johnson reeling. Spong pursued him and unleashed more punches. Johnson was eventually just trying to protect himself and not attacking, so referee Frank Santore stopped the fight. Spong won by TKO in the second round and improves his record to 5-0, 5 KOs. Johnson’s record is now 4-3-4, 0 KO.
The co-main event was a short skirmish that lasted for about one minute between legitimate super middleweight contender Roamer Alexis Angulo of Colombia and Zoltan Papp of Hungary. Papp has a winning record, but lost whenever he stepped up in competition. Not surprisingly, Papp got smeared by Angulo. In the first round, Angulo knocked out Papp in a corner of the ring. Papp slumped down while sitting on the canvas. Angulo won by KO and remains unbeaten at 19-0, 16 KOs whereas Papp falls to 11-3-1, 7 KOs.
Two junior middleweights from Miami, Florida boxed for four rounds. John David Martinez made his professional debut against Jon Clifford Gray. Martinez had the height advantage over Gray and that probably made the difference in this even matchup. Two judges each scored it 39-37 in favor of Martinez while the third judge scored it 40-37 in favor of Gray. Therefore, Martinez won by split decision. Martinez won his debut and is now 1-0, 0 KO whereas Gray falls to 1-3, 0 KO.
Leider Pena of Miami, Florida won his pro debut as a super middleweight and defeated Ryan Soft of Minnesota. Soft was a soft opponent for Pena. Soft took a beating and was bleeding on his face which could have been from his nose, mouth, or both. Pena landed several punches as Soft fought valiantly, but referee Sam Burgos stopped the fight at 2:21 of the second round to save Soft from further punishment. Pena won by TKO and is 1-0, 1 KO after winning his debut and Soft is 3-6-1, 1 KO.
Antonio “Bang” Williams of Fort Lauderdale, FL is also undefeated at 4-0, 3 KOs after winning by unanimous decision against Brian Santos of Puerto Rico in a four-round bout which was in the super featherweight division. The three judges all scored the fight 40-36 in favor of Williams. Santos’ record is now 0-2-1, 0 KO.
Lightweight Ivan Jimenez of Ecuador is still undefeated at 5-0-1, 3 KOs after winning by unanimous decision in a four-round bout. Jimenez’s opponent was Ryan Picou of Las Vegas, Nevada. Picou’s record is now 2-11-1, 0 KO.
Junior middleweight Henrique Oliveira of Brazil stays unbeaten at 3-0, 2 KOs after defeating Miguel Queliz of the Dominican Republic by unanimous decision. Queliz’s record is now 6-2-1, 3 KOs.