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Ringside Report: Undercard at Schuetzen Park!

Ringside Report: Undercard at Schuetzen Park!

North Bergen, NJ (July 28, 2013)
Written by: Matthew Baker-Boxing Pulse

In an age when all those weight divisions in all those alphabet organizations have resulted in literally dozens of world title belts (not the exclusive club that it used to be!), there is great value in little, local boxing cards that feature young, up and coming fighters, who are not yet star contenders but may soon become so. Thank Heaven for such promoters as KEA Boxing, who have done a truly terrific job in promoting, not just great events, but great fighters with great futures.

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The official t-shirts at KEA Boxing events read “Featuring the Next Generation of Champions”. And their website states that their mission is “To provide new and old fans alike the opportunity to see World Class Boxers, Rising Prospects, and the Local Favorites, up close in a safe environment, without the inconvenience of those long drives, and at fair prices that give fans the most value for their money.” A noble mission indeed and, on Saturday, July 27, at Schuetzen Park in North Bergen, New Jersey, they fulfilled it in spades.

The opening bout was a middleweight match between Anthony Jones of Newark and Adrien Armstrong of Springfield, Missouri. While Armstrong threw excellent, strong, fast combinations, Jones was in far greater control of the ring. These contrasting skills almost rendered Round 1 a draw, but Jones’ mastery of ring strategy gave him the edge. In Round 2, Jones threw a thunderous right hook that staggered the young man from Missouri.

Smelling blood in the water, the New Jerseyan came in for the kill and didn’t let up, pinning Armstrong into the corner and keeping him there with an unmitigated barrage of unanswered punches. A second right hook put Armstrong on his knee and he listened to the count of eight. After coming up, he tried hard to get back in the game but was down again less than a minute later. The astute referee, Ricardo Vera, stopped the fight at 1:23 of Round 2 and awarded Jones the victory, raising him to 4-0-1 while Armstrong dropped to 3-3-1.

In the following bout, a scheduled four rounds of light welterweights, Dion Richardson of Atlantic City made even shorter work of Dwayne Holman of Montclair, each man fighting in his professional debut. Though Holman offered furiously quick combinations and held up his own side of the exchange of blows, he was utterly unprepared for the power punch Richardson possessed. Richardson knocked Holman over until his hands touched the floor (though he never left his feet) and continued to go at him.

This was ruled a knockdown and Referee Samuel Viruet deducted a point for hitting the man while down. It was of no consequence, however, as Richardson continued to power punch Holman and knock him down again and again almost every time the young man came at him. After knocking him down four times within Round 1, Viruet (whose track record is not good when it comes to noticing that a fighter has taken punishment for way too long) stopped the fight at 2:15 on the three knockdown rule.

In the scheduled 4-round cruiserweight battle that followed, Eric George of Niagara Falls was surely ready to win after coming off two disastrous losses in Long Island City and one in Verona. His opponent, undefeated after two fights, was Tryell Wright of Jersey City. For the first time since his debut, George came out like a shot, aggressive, in control, ready to fight, ready to win.

He was like an utterly different fighter from his other fights, landing multitudes of body shots and thoroughly controlling the ring. Wright answered very few of the blows he received in the first round. Perhaps his rather phallic-looking ponytail was holding him back? Only toward the end of the round did he discover his powerful left hook, and he delivered it with admirable effect.

George provided a similar assault in Round 2, busier and more aggressive, seemingly smarter than Wright and smarter than he himself had been in his earlier fights, growing and learning from each experience. But Wright was beginning to come into his own, throwing powerful body shots and exchanging blow for blow with George, whose defense was nowhere near as good as his jabs and uppercuts. In Round 3, Wright had taken the upper hand, proving more selective and far more effective in the blows he landed. With an incredible series of unavenged uppercuts, Wright wore George down until he was absolutely out on his feet. Referee Vera wisely called a halt to the action at 2:00 of the third round.

The 6-round middleweight bout that followed was the best match of the night. There was action, suspense, reversals, and surprises throughout this crackling, white-knuckle nail-biter of a bout. Justin Johnson of Pittsburgh came to the ring as a serious underdog against the highly favored Anthony Gangemi of Mine Hill, New Jersey. The first bout of the night to go the distance began calmly enough with the two fighters pawing at one another, feeling each other out when, suddenly, Johnson threw a shocking and massive right and knocked Gangemi down with one punch in Round 1. Gangemi beat the count and finished strong.

In Round 2, both men spent time on the ropes and each controlled the action at different moments. By the midpoint, it was clear that Gangemi was no pushover and he held the upper hand through the latter half of the round. With more than four rounds to make up for his early embarrassment, it was clear he might well recover from that early 10-8 score. But could he recover from two of them? Early in Round 3, a swift cross from Johnson put Gangemi on the canvas again. Ready to reel in his fish, Johnson chased Gangemi into the corner, hoping to put him away. But Gangemi escaped the assault and turned his assailant around, keeping him on the ropes under a slew of vengeful combinations.

By Round 4, it was clear that, any time he could stay on his feet, the young man from Mine Hill could call the shots in this ring. With better aggression and far better accuracy, Gangemi could keep his foe from Pittsburgh in serious trouble. Round 5 drove this point home as Johnson began to slow down, visibly tired. But Gangemi was not immune to fatigue, himself, as he began to miss more and more punches. But Round 6 saw Gangemi’s third rendezvous with the canvas as Johnson knocked him down yet again. Though he avenged himself admirably with massive combinations and a good glean uppercut to the chin, Gangemi had the fight lost. The unanimous decision came in favor of Johnson, bringing him to 6-4-4, while the tough and tenacious Gangemi fell to 4-1-0. Once each fighter has five or ten more bouts behind him, it would be great to see these two face off again.

The co-main events wound up with strange fates. Undefeated welterweight, Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez found himself without an opponent and had his fight cancelled. Heavyweight, Patrick Farrell had an even more frustrating night. For coverage of that story, click here. The bout that served admirably as a main event was a stellar 10-round contest between Nydia Feliciano and Crystal Hoy for the vacant IWBF Bantamweight Championship of the World. For coverage of that fight, click here.

Thank you and congratulations to KEA Boxing for a fabulous evening of close, competitive, unpredictable fights with bright young talent that will be well worth following as these fighters’ careers progress.

We’ll see you next time at the fights.

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