By Marc Livitz: The two final spots in the Boxcino Middleweight final were filled Friday night by Willie Monroe, Jr. and Brandon Adams as the tournament semifinals were showcased (courtesy of ESPN’s "Friday Night Fights") at the The Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, New York. The two victors will face off on May 23 for the Boxcino crown at the same location.
Monroe, Jr. used the ring in the opening round and tried to keep his Ukrainian foe on the move. The man from upstate New York utilized superb footwork and remained out of reach of the knockout-minded Kopylenko. Willie, of course is the son of one of only three (or two according to many) fighters to have topped the all time great Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He caught Vitaliy a few times as the second round began with some shots of the "stick and move" variety. He was jabbing away and then getting out of the way, which was a strategy that visibly confused his opponent.
Willie’s high levels of output continued in the third. A snapping left hand caught Kopylenko square on the face. Round four wasn’t too different. Monroe, Jr. kept up with his jab and used great anticipation to keep the bout a shutout in his favor with half the fight to his credit. Vitaliy looked to grind the action down in the fifth. He snuck a right hand in, but it had no effect. He was beginning to reach out with his jab and he highlighted the period with a left uppercut which sent the mouthpiece flying from his Rochester antagonist.
Round six saw no capitalization from Vitaliy Kopylenko. He tried to apply the pressure but Willie Monroe, Jr. was ready and kept punching away. He continued the trend into the seventh and appeared to just need to remain vertical in order to get through the eighth and final round, which would punch his ticket to the tournament final. He looked to secure his position as a finalist in round eight. "El Mongoose" Monroe boxed the same way he had in the opening twenty one minutes of fighting. He fought a beautiful fight tonight. However, the ultimate decision was up to the judges as the final bell sounded. The three judges turned in the following scores: 78-74 and 79-73 (x2).
The victory granted Willie Monroe, Jr. a place in the Boxcino Middleweight Final on May 23 and took his record to (17-1, 6 KO’s), while Vitaliy Kopylenko tasted defeat for the first time and now holds a record of (23-1, 13 KO’s).Semifinal Report #2
"Adams Tops Gatica with SD Win"
Brandon "The Cannon" Adams was the first to advance to the Boxcino middleweight final as he outboxed and outfoxed Raymond Gatcia en route to an eighth round split decision victory.
Southpaw Gatica began the contest with a shot to Adams’ face when his Los Angeles opponent attempted to do the customary touch of gloves. Each man utilized their softest of jabs in the opening three minutes and stayed within their own respective limits of control. The second began in the same tactical fashion. Action picked up about halfway into the period when Brandon caught Ray with an overhand right. He remained the more aggressive of the two and his activity level may have given him the round. A mini war ensued just moments into the third. Gatica forced Adams into a corner and the leather flew for just a few seconds. Brandon tagged his Austin, Texas foe with a few solid shots throughout the round.
In round four, Adams was able to get Gatica to back off by way of a few concise shots to the side of his head. A right hook got Ray’s attention with twenty seconds to go. Gatica tried to turn the tables in the fifth but Adams seemed to have an answer each time and the southern California fighter was beginning to effectively time his opponent’s shots. He’d connect with lefts when Ray would momentarily drop his jabbing hand. Gatica had a moment in the beginning of the sixth when a few shots of his own forced Adams to the ropes. Ray’s jabs weren’t controlling the distance at all and this allowed Brandon to consistently counter with the more meaningful punches.
Brandon Adams found his jab in the seventh to great effect. He looked to be in the driver’s seat as the bout went to round eight. Ray Gatica would need a knockout at this point to get a ticket to the tournament championship. Brandon, of course knew this and refused to neither drop his guard nor dance to a win. A solid left hook to the head drew a few shouts from the Verona crowd. Adams was the more active and effective contestant in the first semifinal matchup and two of the three ringside judges agreed with the following scores: 78-74 (Adams), 77-75 (Gatica) and 78-74 for Adams.
Brandon Adams’ win took his unbeaten record to (13-0, 9 KO’s), while the loss for Ray Gatica left him with a ledger of (14-2, 9 KO’s).
Nate Heaven KO1 Donovan Dennis - Heavyweights
Simeon Hardy TKO1 Rahman Mustafa Yusubov - Light Middleweight
Cecil McCalla UD6 Antonio Chavez Fernandez - Light Middleweight
Marcus Hall UD4 Raphael Luna - Light Middleweight
April 18, 2014