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Ringside Report: Feliciano vs. Hoy

Ringside Report: Feliciano vs. Hoy

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

The energy at Schuetzen Park Banquet Hall in North Bergen, New Jersey, was sizzling on the night of July 27, 2013. Every fight on the undercard, except for one, had ended in a TKO (for coverage of those fights, click here). The main event was a 10-round struggle for the vacant International Women’s Boxing Federation Bantamweight Championship of the World. Nydia Feliciano from the Bronx would face off Crystal Hoy from the fighting city of Las Vegas and may the best woman win.

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Hoy, with her large, muscular, almost manly arms and short hair, was all business ready to win. Feliciano, who bore the Puerto Rican flag on her boots, made a grand and ceremonial prayer, lifting her glove heavenward in a search for inspiration before battle. Referee Sparkle Lee, who had last been seen astutely rescuing Cassie Trost from the pummeling punishment of Heather Hardy (for coverage of that event, click here), was the third woman in the ring.

Round 1 saw very little of the customary pawing and feeling each other out that most fighters subject the fans to at the beginning of a fight. These women were there for a rumpus and that is what they gave. Feliciano proved the far better ring general, pinning Hoy onto the ropes with ease. But Hoy’s inner trapped tiger came out and she fought from the ropes fiercely and effectively. Round 2 saw more aggression from Hoy and began to set the pattern for the evening. By Round 3, it was clear that Hoy was the hungrier of the two, with a raging fire in the belly. But passion without technique doesn’t win fights. Feliciano was calmer and more controlled, a master strategist who kept Hoy for a good half minute, helpless in the corner as she taught her a boxing lesson or two.

Round 4 saw both fighters landing hard, solid shots to the face, each one (especially Feliciano) reddening and swelling as the round progressed. But Round 5 showed amazing tenacity from Hoy who, once again, fought so admirably from the ropes, landing so many unanswered punches, you’d think it was she who had cornered Feliciano, and not the other way around. The fight evened out in Round 6 as both women exchanged punches in even numbers in a sudden, swift barrage of blows.

With both women having earned high accolades by Round 7, the tired slowdown one would normally expect was nowhere to be seen. As faces got redder, energy did not flag on either side. Indeed, if anything, Feliciano became more aggressive than before and took the lead in Round 8 for steady attack.

In an almost complete role reversal from the earlier rounds, Hoy kept Feliciano in serious trouble on the ropes through much of Round 9. Feliciano finally turned her around before the closing bell but, in Round 10, each woman took turns having the upper hand. Both finished strong in a brutal exchange of hooks and uppercuts and, when the final bell rang, the suspense was thicker than the sweat. This had appeared to be a very close fight.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the judges all scored the fight identically at an egregiously wide 99-91 in favor of Feliciano. While few would argue with her victory, many recognized that the fight had been much closer than the 8-point margin reflected. But the belt and the glory were well earned by the lady from the Bronx.

Many thanks and congratulations to KEA Boxing for such a competitive fight between two highly skilled and talented boxers. We’ll see you next time at the fights.

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