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18 NOVEMBER 2018

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Kut Makes Sensational Comeback in Whippany!

J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: It’s been three and a half years since Andre Kut (KEA Boxing) promoted a show. The last time he did, the show was so exciting that a full scale riot erupted, bringing out the police, and closing N. Bergen’s great little venue Schuetzen Park to boxing forever. But the indomitable promoter returned to his earliest venue, Birchwood Manor in Whippany, NJ, on 5/4/18, with an action-packed fine card that climaxed in a crescendo top bout.


Chris Middendorf was matchmaker, Ray Ryan timekeeper, Danny Serratelli and Kurt Wolfheimer publicists, and Henry Hascup ring announcer. DJEQ & DJEpit of Triple Q Entertainment in Wayne, NJ, did an uncommonly noteworthy job on the public address, sparing the fans of the usual horrible numbing racket that destroys the ambience at most fight shows and makes conversation a chore.


Unfortunately, only about 300 fans made up the small crowd, but they were well rewarded for their diligence and good judgment.


In the top bout, Darren Goodall, 174, New Milford, NJ, 5-0-1 (4), sold most of the tickets to face difficult spoiler Tahlik Taylor, 169, Freeport, LI, 3-10-1 (1), in a six. And what a six! This was no “sweet science” but a pitched battle of life-&-death desperation on nearly every punch! The underdog exploded out at the opening bell and hammered with flailing punches on the surprised favorite. Action then settled into a pattern, if that’s what it could rightly be called. The spindly Taylor threw roundhouse punches with both hands that made up in vigor what they lacked in execution. When hit, he lurched sideways, gloves often nearly touching the canvas, which exaggerated the effect of the blow. The stocky, muscular Goodall forced the contest and controlled the pace, but coming in straight ahead, was repeatedly bushwhacked and rocked just when gaining momentum. With no boxing for points, it became a game of chicken until a long right sent the favorite to the canvas.


Goodall got out of the dramatic first round with nose bleeding.

The second was a war! Goodall attempted to make up for the unexpected start by driving Taylor to the ropes and unloading. But Tahlik lashed back with sweeping punches that drove Darren back and took over the round. The third was an all-out slugfest. Goodall’s strength seemed to be taking over when he battered Tahlik on the ropes. A left spun Taylor halfway around and nearly sent him to the floor, but he stood back up only to get battered in a corner until he crumbled to all fours. Instead of a knockdown, referee Ricky Vera had spotted a borderline blow in the prolonged bombardment, giving Taylor a rest that may have saved him. In the fourth, Tahlik looked to have shot his bolt and yielded dominance to the physically stronger crowd favorite. But late in the round, Tahlik sent a message when he again exploded from a battering on the ropes with a roundhouse left that drove Darren back once more.


The fifth was a whole new fight! Back in the contest, Taylor started by rocking Goodall with a whiplash left. Goodall bored in and punished him in a brutal war of attrition, but every time it looked as though Darren had control, the spirited underdog would erupt with lash-back life-saving blows. The crowd was going crazy, but there was an ominous urgency in Goodall’s fans, who realized he’d not been able to take command.


The final round was a desperation struggle with the fight on the line. Darren did all he could to nail it down by trapping Tahlik in a corner and working him over. But the indomitable underdog again fought back with desperation, escaped and turned the tables with flailing punches to the final bell. The air was thick with expectation waiting for the decision. Goodall had kept the steadier pace but repeatedly had leads wiped out by Tahlik’s eruptions. Jackie Atkins scored 58-55 for Goodall; Al Bennett had 57-56 Taylor; and Jimmy Kinney came in with 56-56, making it a split draw. There were so many angles to this fight that none of those scores could be roundly condemned. Nobody was happy. But everyone got their money’s worth. The signature card ended on a scary tone, however, as both fighters were terribly spent and Goodall reportedly requiring medical attention.


As did the promoter, Ardrick Butler was also returning, after being incapacitated for nearly seven years. Butler, 145, Phila., 7-5 (3), came back against erratic Marcus Beckford, 151, Lafayette, LA, 5-8-3 (1), in a four. This was also a good fight to a close decision, but unlike the main event, determined by boxing and tactics rather than desperate brawling. The southpaw Beckford scored with lead lefts to the body in the first and sneak counters behind elusive movement to lead the frustrated and following favorite going into the third. Then Ardrick suddenly turned the tables, striking with a lead right that spilled Marcus onto the canvas. Beckford wasn’t hurt but it was a clean knockdown and he ran out the round. Butler seemed poised to win going into the final session, but it was all Beckford. Marcus was still cautious, but more bold than formerly, at times backing Ardrick up. Nonetheless, the decision was debatable, as not a lot of scoring had been done in the first two. Fortunately, the judges did a good job, all scoring 38-37. Atkins had it for Butler, but Bennett and Kinney rightly awarded the split verdict to Beckford.


Popular and exciting John Bauza, 139, N. Bergen, 10-0 (5), faced tricky Hugo Padilla, 137, Aguascalientes, MX, 5-14 (2), over a one-sided six that nevertheless held the fans. Padilla started at southpaw against the lefty favorite, but quickly saw that was getting him nowhere and switched to orthodox. Padilla’s early tactic was to move and dodge, which left him with little opportunity to punch and conceded the action to the purposeful Bauza. But all the spinning and ducking created an illusion of action that kept Bauza’s fans entertained. In the second, Hugo tried to fight his way off the ropes and got jolted by a right hook. In the third, a long left sent the Mexican’s mouthpiece flying. By the fourth, the underdog was losing steam from all the movement and changed tactics, falling inside and wrestling. Referee Ronald Ali Bashir cautioned him for rabbit punching. The favorite adapted well to the visitor’s change in tactics, however, and punished him with body shots in the fifth. This wasn’t really a good fight, but it had a lot of movement and nobody noticed, as the popular favorite won a unanimous shutout.


Also returning on this card of comebacks, after a year, was Emmanuel Folly, 121, Phila., 11-0 (9), against game Pablo Cupul, 125, Merida, Yucatán, 9-24 (5), in four. A prospect, Folly showed good defense in slipping punches when against the ropes and let both hands go without reservation. Folly took command in a strong first, but when the Mexican continued to battle back, began to back off some in round two. In the third, however, Emmanuel left no doubt who was in control, working Cupul along the ropes where body shots had Pablo walking away dramatically clutching his cojones for effect. In the final round, it was already won, but Emmanuel must have sensed something when Pablo fell back to the ropes. Folly vigorously sprung forward and crumbled Pablo with a slick double left hook. The stricken underdog did get up, but referee David Franciosi didn’t like the looks of him and stopped it, at 1:53, over a mild protest from the fighter.

As to difficult spoilers, Robert Terry, 159, Jersey City, 2-0, was given a tough assignment against James Robinson, 156, York, PA, 5-10-4 (1), four. But the storied amateur favorite rose to the challenge, with a good, action fight being all Robert. The muscular, stocky Terry stalked resolutely against the rangy visitor, who has a difficult fall away and strike back style. Robinson landed a big right in this manner in the first, but was paid back as Terry bore in and flurried. Fighting out of a nearly squared stance with both hands pumping, Terry swarmed round two as Robinson tried to time him for a finishing counter. In the third it became a chess match as both tried to draw the other into a commitment. Robinson circled but when Robert closed in, James tied him up. Referee Bashir penalized Robinson for holding. This pattern continued through the fourth and final, with the hapless visitor again penalized for holding. Atkins scored 39-35, and the others 40-34.


Sporadic Andrew Bentley, 128, JC, whose 4-3 (1) record has been spread over many years, faced Aurel Love, 126, Cleveland, 1-1 (1), in a scheduled four. The southpaw Bentley took immediate command with long punches against his shorter opponent. In the second, Bentley went flat footed, fighting out of a deep stance, edged closer and began digging in as the hapless foe couldn’t find an answer. With Aurel trapped in the opposing corner, Bentley brought up a booming right from the floor to drop him. Love tried to hang in gamely, but was covering on the ropes, not getting blistered with solid punches but not answering back, when Vera stopped it, at 2:42.


Two underdogs who’ve provided good duty against ticket sellers were given a fair chance against each other as Steve Moore, 145, Orange, 1-3 (1), met Laquan Lewis, 145, Wyandanch, LI, 2-10 (2), in a scheduled four. As expected, they provided a good action contest, with Moore establishing the jab in the first while the gritty Lewis countered with left hooks but lacked the power to turn the flow. In round two, Steve settled down to harder punching and began relentlessly wearing his man down. Laquan twice lost his mouthpiece. In the fateful third, Moore began belaboring Lewis to the body along the ropes. Finally, with Laquan leaning back and protecting his body, Moore crossed a booming right to the head. Lewis crumbled and referee Bashir stopped it without a count, a KO at 2:41.


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