Toka Kahn Clary Picks Up Easy Win; Napoleon-Espinoza Retains Title
By: Robert Aaron Contreras
The main event well underway, the bell clanged to end the ninth round and that soft lull hung above the ring—that fleeting moment when both fighters simultaneously stop, their oscillating arms suddenly at a standstill. Toka Khan Clary turned away from his opponent and toward his daughter in the crowd. He blew her a kiss. This night was theirs.
With the the esteemed Freddie Roach in his corner, Clary (27-2, 18 KO) was too sharp and too fast for his opponent Irvin Gonzalez (12-1. 9 KO), winning across the board by scores of 99-91, 99-91, and 98-92. After the fight, Roach chimed in with his summary of the fight.
“He was in and out,” Roach said. “A couple rounds he took off and let the guy steal a couple. But he fought a great fight. Speed is a great asset.”
The win earned Clary the NABA super featherweight title, just a makeshift regional strap but at least made his presence felt in the 130-pound class, leaving the featherweight ranks behind for good.
“I want to thank God and my family. I want to thank Freddie and the whole Wild Card team,” Clary said after the fight. “Gonzalez is tough. I’m happy I got the win… I sill got a six pack, I’m staying here—126 be killing me.”
Clary’s gameplan was clear. He secured the center of the ring, getting off punches before Gonzalez knew what hit him. Gonzalez was too limited to keep up with Clary’s fencing work, consistently pawing out a southpaw jab before spearing a left cross down the middle.
With the approach, Clary built up an early lead and carried it across the finish line. Gonzalez had infrequent opportunities to bang up close. But after some brief exchanges in the middle part of the fight, Clary became more patient in the latter half and by this point had Gonzalez’s timing down. When the Massachusetts resident plowed forward, Clary changed levels and tossed an overhand left across his man’s chin.
The rest of the way, Clary’s pressure had Gonzalez on the ropes: sticking out a right hand and following it up sweeping right and left hooks. Sometime in the tenth round, the ref had to separate the choppy smothering going on but there was no doubt who the fight belonged to.
Clary has now won back-to-back fights—both under Lou DiBella’s promotional banner—including eight of his last nine since a shocking KO defeat in 2016 to Pinoy sparkplug Jhon Gemino. He has been dealt just one more loss since then, a points defeat last year to Kid Galahad in what was a title eliminator.
Still only 27, his trek to a world title at 130 pounds is now underway.
Alicia Napolean-Espinoza def. Schemelle Baldwin by fourth-round TKO
Alivia Napoleon-Espinoza (12-1, 7 KO) is still the WBA champion after defending her title over Schemelle Baldwin (3-1-1, 2 KO), routing the challenger in four rounds.
The super middleweight champion since a decision victory over Hannah Rankin, “The Empress” Espinoza extended her winning streak to five straight and showed off her punching power in the process.
To Baldwin’s credit, with just four fights under her belt, she immediately took the center of the ring in the opening frame. She looked slick, sitting behind her shoulder ala Floyd Mayweather, but Espinoza’s stickler of a jab closed distance and rattling left hooks easily gave the defending champion the round.
Espinoza took control early in the second round, opening with a long body jab. She hooked off her jab well, stepping to her left almost simultaneously to avoid return fire. It would become clear that attrition is her game, boxing wonderfully to start before eventually forcing her opponent to succumb to her imposing physicality.
As such, Espinoza’ really poured in on in the third and fourth rounds. At 1:30 of the fateful fourth round, punches clinked off Baldwin who could not muster up any offense of her own and referee Al LoBianco waves things off, stepping between the lioness and her prey.
Napolean-Espinoza continues to be a real attraction in the Tri-State area, competing between Queens, Brooklyn, New York, and now Connecticut.
Another Connecticut favorite in Helen Joseph, by way of Nigeria, also triumphed over her competition. Joseph (17-3-2, 10 KO) pitched a shutout over six rounds, winning 60-53 three times over, defeating a young Hungarian by the name of Martina Horgasz (5-4, 4 KO). She is now unbeaten in her last six bouts.
Broadway Boxing To Air Live On UFC Fight Pass
By: Sean Crose
The subscription service known as UFC Fight Pass has officially made a deal with DiBella Entertainment, and, in particular, that entities’ Broadway Boxing program. “On Wednesday, April 10, at 8:00 ET / 5:00 PM PT,” a press release reads, “UFC FIGHT PASS will exclusively live stream the Broadway Boxing event from Times Square’s Sony Hall in New York City. Ukrainian welterweight contender Ivan “The Volk” Golub (15-1, 12 KOs) will headline the event defending his WBC USNBC title in a scheduled 10-round bout.”
Veteran fight promoter, and DiBella Entertainment head, Lou DiBella, made it clear that he was quite happy with the partnership with UFC Fight Pass. “DiBella Entertainment is thrilled that this Broadway Boxing will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass, the premier streaming service for MMA and combat sports,” he said. “UFC Fight Pass’ commitment to offer first class boxing to its subscribers is great news for fight fans. We believe that this is the beginning of an exciting and creative collaboration.”
DiBella also had good things to say about Broadway Boxing’s maiden voyage on the streaming service. “April 10th’s card at Sony Hall is representative of what has made Broadway Boxing the longest running and most highly regarded grassroots boxing series in America,” he said. “”It features top welterweight contender Ivan Golub, who should be undefeated, as he continues to fight his way toward a world title, dynamic world champion Alicia ‘The Empress’ Napoleon, in a nontitle fight, and the ‘Big Uzbek’, Bakhodir Jalolov, who we believe is the scariest young heavyweight in the world and a future world champion. Former amateur stars Hurshidbek ‘Hershey’ Normatov, Joe Williams, Brian Ceballo and Khalid Twaiti round out the card in competitive bouts.”
Golub, who fights out of Brooklyn, has scored two huge knock wins on Showtime’s esteemed Shobox program. He also won the WBC’s United States’ Welterweight Title by besting Lanardo Tyner by unanimous decision last August. He’ll be defending that title against the 11-4-1 Californian, Manuel Alejandro “El Chino” Reyes. Reyes had won eight straight before dropping a unanimous decision to Mykal Fox in an attempt to win the vacant United Boxing Federation All America Welterweight Title last November.
For fifteen years, Broadway Boxing has been one of the longest airing staples of the fight game, focused on introducing up and coming fighters to the New York scene beyond. UFC Fight Pass has been streaming fights for the Ultimate Fighting Championship since 2013, airing content from the world of MMA as well as other combat sports.
LesPierre Wins Exciting Broadway Boxing Battle Against Murphy
Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing series returned to Times’ Square Tuesday evening, as Noel Murphy battled battled Mikkel LesPierre in a battle of welterweight undefeateds. Earlier on in the card, Mykquan Williams, 9-0, faced off against Preston Wilson, 4-2-1, in a six round welterweight affair. There wasn’t much to tell as far as the fight went. Williams came out fast and furious and took his man out in the first. It was an impressive showing for the Connecticut native.
Next up was a heavyweight showdown between Kennan Hickman, 6-2-1, and Oleksandr Teslenko 11-0. Teslenko dominated the first of a scheduled eight rounds by employing his height and jab in classic European fashion (the heavyweight is originally from the Ukraine). A thunderous right early in the second sent Hickman to the mat. Hickman got up, but Teslenko immediately went to work on his body. Hickman turned his back on the action and the referee stopped the bout.
Jude Franklin, 6-0, and Floriano Pagliara, 16-7-2, were up next in a scheduled six round junior lightweight battle. Franklin was aggressive from the start, dropping his man within the first minute of the opening round. Pagliara survived the round, but Franklin was in complete control. Pagliara fought bravely in the second, but he was down and out by around the midpoint of the round.
It was time for the main event. Noel Murphy, 11-0, stepped into the ring to face fellow undefeated welterweight Mikkel LesPierre, 18-0-1, in a scheduled ten round throwdown. The first round between the two southpaws saw Murphy employing a successful body attack. LesPierre upped the attack in the second, though Murphy may have edged it with sharper punching.
LesPierre looked much crisper in the third and, with a crisp jab, solid footwork and body shorts of his own, appeared to edge the round. The fourth round could be seen as the beginning of the battle proper, as it was a close, exciting chapter of the bout. The fifth was close, though not as fast paced as the previous round. The lack of consistency from each man highlighted the fact that this was a battle of prospects rather than hardened vets.
Things remained exciting in the sixth, though LesPierre’s sharp punching may have given him the edge. It was a very difficult fight to judge. The seventh kept up the trend of close rounds, with LesPierre seeming to be the dominant fighter, only for Murphy to come on strong by round’s end. The eighth saw Murphy being more active while the ninth pitted Murphy’s aggression against LesPierre’s sharp, but perhaps infrequent, punches.
A headbutt stopped the action in the tenth, as LesPierre stepped across the ring in pain after the referee temporarily halted the bout. The fight resumed and ended with both men slugging. It was a quality fight for both prospects, showcasing both the strengths and weaknesses of each man. Each fighter showed potential, but Murphy needs to stop using his head as a weapon and LesPierre needs to be more active while in the ring.
LesPierre walked away with a UD win.
Murphy-LesPierre Ready To Highlight Broadway Boxing Card
By: Sean Crose
Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing series will be returning to BB King’s Blues Club & Grill in Manhattan this coming Wednesday night. Noel Murphy, from Woodlawn, New York – by way of Cork, Ireland, will be facing Mikkel Lespierre, from Brooklyn – by way of Trinidad, for the USNBC welterweight championship in the ten round main event. Murphy, who is said to be confused with Canelo Alvarez due to his red hair, has a record of 12-0, while Lespierre has an 18-0-1 record of his own. Although neither man possesses stunning knockout power (Murphy has stopped just two of his opponents, while Lespierre has only stopped eight of his), each one has been proactively furthering his respective career.
In 2017, for instance, Lespierre battled three times, his most recent fight having gone down in December. Murphy, on the other hand, fought a throwback-style five times last year, his most recent bout having been last October. Promoter Lou DiBella, of DiBella Entertainment points out that both boxers have energetic fan bases, which should make for a good environment come fight night in Times Square. “Our main event,” he says, “is a terrific crosstown battle between two undefeated welterweights, Noel Muphy and Mikkel LesPierre, both of whom will have very loud and passionate fan bases on hand.”
“I’m delighted for this opportunity to headline a show at BB King Blues Club @ Grill in Times Square, New York,” Murphy says. “Mikkel LesPierre is a difficult opponent, but these are the types of fights I want.” Needless to say, LesPierre himself eager to get it on Wednesday evening.
“I have been overlooked my whole career,” he says. “However, I did it my way. It’s chess, not checkers and I’m here to stay.”
Undefeated super featherweight Jon Fernandez will also be on the card. The 14-0 Spaniard has stopped all but two of his opponents within the distance and will face the 28-8-3 Fatio Fassinou of Maryland, by way of Benin, in a ten rounder.
In other action, super featherweight Jude Franklin will put his 6-0 record on the line when the Brooklynite battles the 16-7-2 Italian slugger Floriano Pagliaria in a six round affair. Heavyweight Oleksandr Teslenko, 11-0 will also look to impress when the Canadian (by way of the Ukraine) KO artist tries to stop his tenth opponent within the distance. Teslenko will be facing the 6-2-1 Keenan Hickman of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in an eight round throwdown.
“We’re very excited,” says DiBella, “to return to our Manhattan home at BB King Blues Club & Grill for another action-packed card
Broadway Boxing Returns Thursday in NYC
By: Eric Lunger
For boxing fans in the NY metro area, it’s time for “Season’s Beatings” as DiBella entertainment brings Broadway Boxing back to the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill this Thursday night. The seven-bout card features three matchups of undefeated prospects, as well as the return of former lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin.
The feature bout of the evening will match Brooklyn’s own Wesley Ferrer (12-0, 7 KOs) against Will Madera (11-0, 5 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight clash. Ferrer, 25, has knocked out his last two opponents, but he is a poised and disciplined fighter with a precise, technical offense. Thursday will be his second time at the eight-round distance, so expect a contained but offensive-minded performance from the Brooklyn native.
For Madera, 26, Thursday night marks his second appearance at eight rounds as well. Having fought frequently in Canada, the Albany native is making his first appearance in New York City. Fighting out of the orthodox stance, Madera likes to come forward behind a hammer left jab. While defensively sound, Madera is a heavy puncher with a wicked overhand right. With Ferrer more of a pure boxer, and Madera a boxer-puncher, this shapes up as a competitive and intriguing bout.
In the co-feature, two undefeated junior middleweight prospects clash in a six-round affair. Brooklyn-based Hurshidbek Normatov (4-0, 2 KOs) will face off against Nicklaus Flaz (5-0, 4 KOs) of Puerto Rico. Normatov, originally from Uzbekistan, is coming off a brutal first-round knockout of Bruce Lutchmedial at Foxwoods Casino in October. Flaz’s last outing was on the same Foxwood card, as he defeated Elie Augustama by unanimous decision.
Rounding out the evening of undefeated prospects is a six-rounder between Larry Fryers (5-0, 2 KOs), a Bronx resident by way of Ireland, and Charles Natal (9-0-2, 3 KOs) of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, at the 147-pound limit. Making his fifth appearance of 2017, Fryers has been active and successful, looking to put an exclamation mark on what has been a break-out year for the 27-year-old professional. Natal currently fights out of Cleveland, Ohio, and brings a five-bout victory streak to his New York City debut.
As a special attraction, Dejan Zlaticanin (22-1, 15 KOs) of Montenegro will look to bounce back from his recent defeat at the hands of Mikey Garcia in January. His opponent will be Colombian veteran Heivinson Herrera (22-13-1, 6 KOs). Rounding out the card, undefeated heavyweight George Arias (9-0, 5 KOs) of the Bronx, New York, will take on Juan Goode (8-7, 6 KOs) in a six-rounder, and fan-favorite Alicia “The Empress” Napoleon (8-1, 5 KOs) will face Sydney Leblanc (4-5-1, 0 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight clash.
Tickets for the BROADWAY BOXING event are available for purchase by calling the DiBella Entertainment office at (212) 947-2577. All bouts will be available for viewing by visiting the DiBella Entertainment Facebook page, and the entire event will be available in the United Kingdom on BoxNation TV. The doors open at 6:30 pm and the first bout is scheduled for 7:00 pm.