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27 APRIL 2018

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Perez Wins Shootout In N. Bergen

J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Intrepid promoter Andre Kut (KEA Boxing) got a new pair of pants and courageously ran a card just across the river from NYC on the night of the prime-time Radio City show promoted by Top Rank, 4/13/13. Shades of the “old days”, when there would be more than one show to choose from. Doesn’t happen much anymore. And although Andre claimed he didn’t sell out, a spirited crowd appeared to pack Schuetzen Park, an atmospheric little venue where many promoters have shed their water wings. Diana Rodriguez was matchmaker. The show was book-ended by a good opener and a fine main event, with poor contests between. It didn’t matter! The crowd was solidly behind their favorites and had the place going crazy bell to bell, irrespective of aesthetic quality. Commission timekeeper Fred Blumstein remarked later that this was the kind of crowd involvement normally limited to MMA shows.


The main eight was about as good as fans could ask on the club level. Rebounding local favorite Alex Perez, 151, Newark, 17-1 (9), met dangerous sleeper Kenny Abril, 151, Rochester, 14-6-1 (7), in a bitter and non-stop struggle where Alex delighted his fans with a commanding performance yet Kenny at one point had him out on his feet while providing almost more opposition than was wanted. In a contest of dual southpaws, the rangy Perez started strong, using his height, reach and long jab to dominate an eye-catching first. Strangely, in round two, they moved to the inside and mixed at close quarters for the remainder of a battle that never ebbed. Alex was still able to outfight his foe with snappy combinations, but was jarred by a right uppercut late. Perez immediately came back and took over the action to the bell, and then followed with a dominant third.


Alex was doing even better in trench warfare in round four, and looked to be mounting a romp. Then out of nowhere, a good fight became a memorable one. Trading doggedly at close range, Kenny scored a combination to the body and brought up a left hook to the chin that had Alex on rubber legs. Kenny jumped on him and went all out, but Perez escaped. Perhaps a shade over-anxious, Abril bailed out, tagged his foe again and again, but Alex would not go down, while Kenny was using up precious reserves. The action was tame only by comparison in round five. Still a hard-fought battle, but moving to slightly longer range without so much chest-to-chest banging. Perez regained control, flashed his combos, while Abril could only try unsuccessfully to regain the magic of round four. Kenny was still dangerous, but the bout went to a unanimous decision for Perez. Pierre Benoist had the best card, 79-73; John McKaie had 78-74 and Hilton Whitaker 77-74. Ricky Vera refereed.


Perez explained that he fought toe-to-toe because he wanted to impress the fans. “I wanted to show everybody that December 29th, 2012, I was ill…that was a fight I never should have took, I should have pulled out, but I want to show the world that I never left, I’m here.” Abril concurred that he’d over-extended himself during the rally. “The power went away. My trainer said, don’t shoot punches just to throw; make sure they count.”


The card opened with an all-action women’s four (two minutes)in which Nydia Feliciano, 125, NYC, 6-4-3, impressed, beating the tar out of game Liz Sherman, 127, Raritan, NJ, 4-3 (2), by unanimous shutout. After being roundly outboxed in the first, Sherman did the right thing tactically and tried to make a street fight. But Feliciano stood her up with booming right uppercuts on the inside and followed with jolting shots as she was forced back, in a punishing contest.


The worst bout from a boxing standpoint was a six between Patryk Szymanski, 150, Konin, Poland, 7-0 (2), and David Roman Curiel, 149, Paterson, 3-1-1 (1). A promising battle of unbeatens on paper, it just turned out to be a mish-mosh of styles. And the fans loved it! The decidedly smaller Curiel just didn’t know what to do with the lanky Szymanski. He tried coming in low, but became entangled in more headlocks than seen in the average wrestling match. The struggles to get free resulted in several body slams to the canvas. With no punching room, the rabbit punch became the order of the day. In the third, the sloppy affair reached its nadir. Vera took a point from Szymanski for his impersonation of Hulk Hogan. Next, Patryk was counted for a knockdown when Curiel tried to pull back from a clinch, dragged Szymanski with him, and Patryk lurched forward, stumbled, and went to all fours. Finally, in the last few rounds, the baffled Curiel walked into some clean shots and lost the fight. The place was going crazy as the verdict was announced, all 57-55 for Szymanski, and a scuffle erupted between corner men. Everybody but the purists loved it!


And while on decisions, why can’t there be a show without a bad one? These judges don’t know what they’re watching, look at body language and can’t tell a punch from a push. A positively horrible decision was rendered in a six between Michal Chudecki, 135, Szamocin, Poland, 5-0-1 (3), and Christian Steele, 137, Phila., 3-5-1 (1). A mad scramble that produced a lot of smoke and mirrors but few clean blows didn’t stop the Polish fans from going bonkers. Undisciplined, frenetic footwork plus Chudecki’s southpaw style led to a lot of motion, wrestling, and shoving, not to mention fan excitement. But most of the punching was scored by the lefty Chudecki when he would push off and follow with a straight left, or pop Steele when he tried to move in. Christian didn’t do enough to earn a single round, so it was only marginally acceptable when Henry Hascup announced that Whitaker scored it 58-56 for Chudecki. Then came a jaw-dropping 57-57 from Benoist and McKaie, resulting in a majority draw. Help!



Immensely popular Juan Rodriguez Jr., 154, Hoboken, 11-0 (5), met Emmanuel Medina, commission weight announced as 159, Guadalajara via Quincy, MA, 3-4-1 (3), in a scheduled six that fans loved despite its one-sidedness. The stocky opponent spent three rounds posing while constantly shifting between southpaw and orthodox and not doing anything with the stance changes. The southpaw favorite took a couple rounds to sort this out, then made a good decision and ripped the body through the third. Medina was unable to answer the bell for round four, resulting in a TKO and a huge celebration by Juan’s fans.


Anthony Gangemi, 148, Denville, NJ, 3-0 (3), made short work of gangly southpaw Edson Jose Soto, 151, Jersey City, 1-1 (1), in a punishing scheduled four. A body shot forced a flash knockdown when the loose-limbed Soto touched the canvas in the first and referee David Franciosi rightly gave a count. Gangemi removed all doubt, however, when he rocked Soto with snappy combos before the round was out. In round two, a savage left hook under the ribs folded Edson to all fours and Franciosi made it a TKO at 0:47.


The hard-luck promoter has run at venues all over the Middle Atlantic and into the South, never putting on a bad show, but many times not supported by commensurate response from the public. Local fans can hope this is the start of the overdue upward trend.


April 14,2013

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