By Derek Gionta: "The Pittsburgh Kid" Paul Spadafora, 48-0-1 (19), continued his world title quest on Saturday night by defeating Denver’s "Red Hot" Robert Frankel, 32-13-1 (6), by a ten round unanimous decision at Chester, West Virginia’s Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort. With the win, Spadafora picked up the NABF junior welterweight title.
Spadafora, 37, now making his third appearance under the promotional banner of Roy Jones Jr. and TNT Sports Promotions, is coming off a hard fought victory over Solomon Egberime in December.
Frankel, who claims to have called Spadafora out in the past, was motivated to spoil the Pittsburgh native’s comeback hopes.
In the opening round, Frankel pressured Spadafora looking to land his lead right hand to the crafty southpaw’s face. He found some success doing that in what was a quiet round. Spadafora landed a straight left to Frankel’s body, his best connect of the round.
The second round started in similar fashion, as the charging Denver pugilist was caught with a check right hook from Spadafora followed up with a more consistent jab that wasn’t there in the opening round. Spadafora picked up the pace and landed a nice right hook to finish the round.
Frankel found no reason to change his game plan by this point as the continued pressure and work rate picked up in the third stanza, capitalized with a lead right hand that found the target often enough to most likely steal the round. Spadafora’s work rate did not outweigh the clean punching of Frankel.
Spadafora had an excellent fourth round, his best of the fight to this point. The combination of slick defense and a busier offensive attack foreshadowed what the large crowd in attendance would witness should the fight go the distance.
By the fifth, Spadafora eluded most of Frankel’s punches and caught a majority on the arms and gloves. His right hook was the money punch in this round. A cut surfaced over the left eye of Frankel as the two returned to their corner.
Spadafora continued to out box Frankel, whose heart nearly measured Spadafora’s skill set in the sixth. The larger the cut on Frankel’s face, the harder he worked. However, it only got worse for Frankel as another cut under the right eye was exposed and blood began dripping from his mouth as the former IBF lightweight champ ripped combinations to the head and body.
Spadafora was the obvious victor, winning the fight hands down.
Scores were 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91 for the new NABF champ. Secondsout scored the fight 98-92.
Some members from the Spadafora camp felt he won nine or ten rounds, which could have been argued.
The Pittsburgh kid is trained by Tommy Yankello, who had three other fighters victorious on the undercard. Now ranked #14 in the WBC, 9th in the WBA, 8th in the IBF, and 10th in the WBO, Spadafora looks to probably fight one more time before making the jump to a top-tier opponent and possibly a major title fight.
"I’ll leave it up to my promoter’s Roy Jones Jr. and Troy Ridgley," said Spadafora when asked by ring announcer Joe Antonacci on whom the Pittsburgh Kid would like to fight next.
"We thought he looked awesome," stated promoter Troy Ridgley. "We feel he can beat anyone in the world at 140 and we would even challenge at 147. It’s been a pleasure for us to watch him grow as a fighter but most importantly as a man and a father. That’s the most important part of what he’s accomplishing."
"I’m gonna be in the gym and stay right," said Spadafora.
Spadafora presented the NABF belt to his friend Buzz Garnic, who had him stay at his training camp in Coal Center, PA leading up to the fight for multiple weeks.
In the co-feature bout of the night heavyweight Ed Latimore, 2-0 (2), of Pittsburgh, scored a second round TKO over Winchester, Virginia’s Donnie "Pit Bull" Crawford, 1-6-1 (1), in a one-sided fight. Latimore pressured Crawford in the opening round before scoring a knockdown in the second and a follow-up flurry resulting in another knockdown, prompting a stoppage by the 1:22 mark of the round as Crawford’s corner waved the towel. The fight was slated for four rounds.
Lorain, Ohio’s Wilkins "The Hispanic Hurricane" Santiago, 8-0 (1), won a six round unanimous decision over Indianapolis’ Mustafah Johnson, 9-17-1 (2), in a junior middleweight contest. Santiago out boxed and out maneuvered Johnson over the first five rounds with combination punching from his orthodox and southpaw stance. Johnson fought hard and did his best to land some telling blows. He finished hard in the sixth and most likely won the round as the judges had it 59-55, 59-56, and 60-54.
Pittsburgh junior welterweight Billy "Hutch" Hutchinson, 6-1-2 (4), put in a career-best performance over Akron’s Damon "The Teflon Don" Antoine, 11-46-2 (5), winning by a fourth round TKO. Hutchinson pressured Antoine in the opening round as the sixty fight veteran circled in both directions throwing mainly jabs and right hands. The same continued up through the next two rounds. Hutchinson landed a low blow in the third, leaving Antoine with a few seconds to recover. By the fourth Hutchinson wore down and floored Antoine with a right hand. Antoine rose to his feet, with blood dripping from his nose and mouth, before eventually landing in the ropes compliments of Hutchinson’s right uppercut. The stoppage came at the 1:32 mark.
The second fight of the night was one to forget as Travis "The Terror" Clark, 3-0 (2), of Morristown, Ohio stopped Martez Williamson, 1-2, of Canton, Ohio in the first round. Clark scored a knockdown early in the round before Williamson dropped to the canvas shortly after. Williamson felt he was ambushed and claimed to have hurt his shoulder as he walked back to his corner while Clark was still looking to break a sweat. The referee stoppage saved the booing crowd from further punishment.
In the opening fight of the night, junior middleweight Joey "Hitman" Holt, 3-0 (3), scored a fourth round TKO over Austin Marcum, 4-3 (2), of West Virginia. Holt won the first three rounds landing the heavier punches while Marcum may have won a few more fans showing the chin to endure those punches. By the fourth, the East Liverpool, Ohio native gave Marcum a standing-8 count, while landing a left hook shortly after to finally end the fight inside the distance at the 2:04 mark of the round.
Notables in attendance were former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and former cruiserweight title challenger Brian Minto, among many other local fighters.
The six-bout card, promoted by Roy Jones Jr. and TNT Sports Promotions (Tammy and Troy Ridgley) was televised on Gofightlive.tv and sponsored by Consol Energy, Boilermakers 154, VMG Sports Representation, and Clique Vodka.
April 6, 2013