By: William Holmes
If you’re a die hard fan of boxing every now and then you’ll go to a local club show to experience boxing at its rawest. Last night in a hangar at New Jersey Motorsports that was eerily similar to a venue in the popular video game Fight Night, Park Gulfstream Boxing Promotions presented “The Homecoming”, which marked Thomas LaManna’s return to his hometown of Millville, NJ.
It was a small venue, and it was cold inside of the ring. A large portion of the crowd kept their jackets on to remain warm, and a lot of fans were disappointed to hear of the last minute cancellation of several of the prospects on the card, including Derrick Webster, Isaiah Seldon, and Anthony “Juice” Young.
Despite the last minute changes, Gulf Stream Promotions was able to avoid a cancellation of the show and delivered an action packed show for the fans in attendance.
The opening bout of the night was between Josh Nieves (0-2) and Moses Molina (1-1) in the super featherweight division. Nieves came out ultra aggressive and pounded the guard of Molina from corner to corner. It was clear that he was intent on getting his first professional victory, and he scored the TKO at 2:36 of the first round after Molina was no longer defending himself from a barrage of punches by the corner of the ring.
The next bout of the night was between the shredded Amir Shabaz (1-0) and Abdellah Smith (1-3) in the light heavyweight division. Shabaz clearly won all four rounds and started off strongly, but Smith showed he that could take a pinch and begged Shabaz to bring the action at several points in the fight. Shabaz appeared to tire by the later rounds and it was disappointing that he did not get the finish, but he was the superior boxer and won with scores of 40-36 on all three scorecards.
The next bout of the night was also the most exciting, and middleweight Antoine Douglas (1-0) took on the debuting Carlos Lopez. Both fighters looked extremely confident as they stpped in the ring, and they often engaged in fierce exchanges but Douglas was the quicker and stronger fighter. A right uppercut left hook combination from Douglas hurt Lopez badly in the second round, and another left hook rocked Lopez in the third round. Lopez lost a point in rounds three and four for holding, and a left hook by Douglas finally caused the referee to stop it at 1:34 of round number four.
Antoine Douglas was by far the most impressive prospect on the undercard, and he has the potential to turn some heads in the future.
Gilbert Sanchez (1-1) and Nasser Abdel Malik (1-0) competed in the junior middleweight division. A clear straight right hand knocked Malik down in the first round, and a right hook in the second round knocked Malik down again. Sanchez stalked Malik as he went hard for the stoppage and he was successful in getting it, as Malik did not answer the bell for the third round.
The least exciting bout of the night was in the heavyweight division between Jon Bolden (5-5) and Dennis Benson (1-4). Boldon won the decision victory with scores of 59-56, 58-55, and 58-55, but there was not much action of note as both fighters clinched and held throughout the fight.
The main event was between Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (9-0) and Eric Hernandez Perez (2-2-1) in the junior middleweight division. A large portion of the crowd in attendance was there to see LaManna and he was greeted with a rousing ovation on his way into the ring.
LaManna does not have the physical appearance of a menacing boxer, but I have seen him fight several times and he appears to be improving every time he steps into the ring. His technique is nearly flawless and he shows an impressive ability to mix up his offensive attacks from all angles.
He is clearly an intelligent and confident boxer. It’s a stretch to say he’ll be a future world champion, but he is surely on his way to becoming a possible top contender.
LaManna towered over the smaller Perez in the ring and scored a knockdown on Perez in the second round. He busted the nose of Perez in the fourth round and was imposing his will on the overmatched Perez with brutal combination. The referee finally halted the carnage at 2:04 of the fourth round.