J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: After acquiring a brand new pair of pants and gamely fighting off illness, intrepid promoter Andre Kut (KEA Boxing) got back into action by returning to the site of his seminal ventures, Birchwood Manor in Whippany, NJ. Unfortunately, the comfy circa 700-seat ballroom was less than half filled for matchmaker Diana Rodriguez’ card. The opening four went the distance and the rest of the show ended in TKOs, an oddity in the quad-state area (NY-NJ-PA-MD) where commissions assure competition. Nonetheless, the explosive endings entertained fans while precluding the sadly inevitable bad decisions. And everyone benefits from Andre’s comeback.
The same can be said for main eventer Alex Perez, 151, Newark, 18-1 (10), coming back after a punishing win over Kenny Abril a little more than a year ago. Perez faced Jeremiah Wiggins, 152, Newport News, 10-3-1 (5), also returning, after a year and a half, in a scheduled eight. They took a round to get the feel back, and then fireworks! Though he boxed smartly, Wiggins couldn’t deal with the rangy southpaw’s long reach. Caught on the ropes in an exchange, Jeremiah got caught by a right hook coming from left field and crashed to the canvas. Wiggins tried to box clear but Alex was on him and forced a fiery exchange culminating with a short left that dropped Jeremiah again. The round ended shortly after but the contest didn’t go far into the third. A booming Perez combo was partially blocked, but referee Randy Neumann evidently decided not to prolong the inevitable and stopped it abruptly at 1:02. Wiggins protested bitterly.
Heavyweight sensation managed by the iconic Don Elbaum, Juiseppe Cusumano, 230, Richmond, 7-1 (5), impressed, bombing out game Excell Holmes, 245, Buffalo, 2-4-1 (1), in the second of a scheduled four. Heavyweights often engage in maulers, but not these two. Holmes started by picking his shots and got an early lead. But when Cusumano moved in and bombed the body, he had Excell sucking wind before end round one. In the second, Cusumano upped the ante on the fading Holmes and a double right sent him into a spectacular slo-mo collapse to the canvas. Excell would not give up, though, and took a ferocious battering until his legs were going north-south while his body went east-west and ref Neumann had to stop it, at 2:41.
Bobby Gunn Jr., 139, Hackensack, 3-0 (3), son of the "Bareknuckle Champion", managed to look good despite a relatively light challenge from debuting Chris Strootman, 139, Wilmington, in a scheduled four. The compact Strootman bicycled in wide circles but didn’t have a clue against the tall Gunn’s poise, range, and sharp punching. With dad Bobby Sr. in his corner, Gunn landed a wide, swiping right that spun Strootman to the floor. Then Gunn brought up a crushing left hook that deposited the underdog again, with ref David Fields not bothering to count, for a TKO at 2:09.
In a women’s scheduled four (two minutes), much bigger Connie Viruet, 151, Hoboken, won her debut by overwhelming and stopping game Angel Ford, 150, Little Rock, 0-4, at 0:58 of round three. Ford couldn’t hold her off with the jab as the bulky Viruet walked her down with overhand rights. Round two saw Angel take a ferocious battering as the popular Viruet rocked her with right after right while fans went wild. When a brief rally by the underdog to open the third failed to stem the tide, Ford cowered away after being tagged by a solid right and Neumann took it as a sign of surrender, stopping it at 0:58.
In a match of debutees, Alexander "Popeye" Serna, 146, Bogota via Queens, brought out a lot of fans against Steve Singleton, 141, Newark, DE, in a scheduled four. The contest was brisk while it lasted, but while Serna looked sharp, Singleton couldn’t fight a lick. Popeye could score at will and was showing his wares when a short, straight right to the kisser sent Singleton reeling. Referee Fields decided, as Popeye would say, "enough is too much", and called a TKO at 1:26.
The only distance bout was the opening four between Dwayne Holman, 135, Livingston, NJ, 1-1, and Richard Bonds, 134, Newburgh, NY, 0-2. It proved a bit undisciplined, but a good contest. In the second, the spindly Bonds was trying to escape the ropes when his legs gave out and Dwayne took the opportunity to land not one but two blatant cheap shots with Richard on his knees. Fields took Holman to a neutral corner to warn him, with Bonds right behind the ref as if looking for a chance for payback! Action settled and Holman outboxed him. Then in round three, Bonds was again trying to escape the strands when he stumbled into a left hook and went to all fours, this time a knockdown. In the final round, Bonds lost his mouthpiece and deliberately took a knee as if in amateurs, pointing to the object. Fields gave him a count, over vigorous protest. This was followed by a real knockdown during a wild, flailing exchange, with Dwayne putting across a clean right. With three knockdowns of varying quality against Bonds, the judges missed their lone opportunity to blow the call. Holman won by unanimous scores of 39-34 from Kason Cheeks, 40-33 from Eugene Grant and Emil Conforti.
May 31, 2014