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Williams Struggles in Win; Giuriceo Stays Unbeaten

Friday night under the stars in a parking lot outside the Covelli Center in Youngstown, Ohio, Kelly Pavlik and Jack Loew held Ghost Promotions’ inaugural event in front over 1,500 fans as lightweight Dannie Williams scored a unanimous- if not convincing- win over Oscar Cuero, while local favorite Jake Giuriceo improved to 12-0-1, with a six-round unanimous nod over Winston Mathis.

Youngstown again proved its worth as a solid boxing city with this seven-round card that included professional debuts, an upset, knockouts and fireworks throughout the evening. The fights were very well matched by Loew’s son, John, and featured at least one local fighter in every bout.

Dannie Williams UD10 Oscar Cuero

Despite scoring a clear win against the Colombian Cuero, Williams, now trained by Loew and living in Youngstown, hardly turned in a performance that would suggest he is ready to turn the corner and challenge the top lightweights in the world. Williams early and often abandoned the game plan of boxing, moving and using his jab, and looked instead to land the big shot to hurt Cuero, which is no easy task.
Williams started the fight in control, moving around the ring, using his jab and sizing up Cuero. Williams didn’t look just for the big punch but seemed to be finding his range. This continued into the second round as Williams was picking his spots before landing a hard straight right midway through the round. Both fighters’ feet tangled and Williams went down in what was properly ruled a slip, as blood became visible from above Cuero’s right eye.
Williams began to land more power punches in the third, finding his mark with a nice right uppercut early in the round, also touching Cuero with a left hook. However, the exchanges were happening at closer range, a style more favorable to Cuero. Late in the round, a cut over Williams’ left eye was noticeable. The fourth stanza again saw Williams use his movement to keep Cuero on the ropes but soon, Williams found the roles reversed and felt the ropes on his back. After turning Cuero against the ropes and digging to his body, Williams used the second half of the round to encourage a slugfest, with Cuero getting busier and landing enough to win his first round.
Williams returned to the movement that enabled him to win the early rounds but was getting touched up far more than expected by Cuero, who now had blood coming from his left ear. As the fight was tightening up, Williams found himself battling another foe in addition to Cuero, his own hair. Williams’ short dreadlocks were becoming an issue as they fell into his eyes, causing him to attempt to move them aside with his glove. The combination of the hair and Williams’ willingness to stand and exchange with Cuero likely cost him the sixth round.
Unable to land big punches, Williams was visibly frustrated as rounds seven and eight progressed, now trying harder to land a big shot and not putting combinations together. Between rounds, Southside Gym mate Darnell Boone taped up Williams’ his hair with athletic tape.
Williams was again finding his back to the ropes in the ninth as the stubborn Cuero was able to land some good combinations, not hurting Williams, but keeping it a far closer fight than Team Williams wanted. Williams did fight hard in the tenth, backing up Cuero and putting the final stanza in his column, insuring the victory. The two scores of 97-93 were fair, given that Williams took more early rounds, but Judge Jamie Garayua’s card of 99-91 was a complete misrepresentation of the fight.
Following the win, Team Williams was pleased to have escaped with the victory but also expressed its disappointment in the performance. Williams himself said in the locker room immediately following the bout, “I feel like it was terrible; I’m glad I snuck out with the win. I fought my heart out and fought to the end but it was disappointing. I could’ve fought way better than this.” Jack Loew added, “Dannie was looking for the home run ball a little too much; he got into a slugging match when he didn’t have to.” Loew also pointed out that Cuero is a very tough fighter and very difficult to look good against. This fight could be a great learning experience for the 18-1 (14) fighter and help him better prepare mentally as he steps up in competition.
It looks like Williams won’t have to wait long to apply the lessons learned, as Loew hopes to have him on the televised portion of the Pavlik- Darryl Cunningham “ShoBox” telecast August 6th, this time inside the Covelli Center.

Jake Giuriceo UD 6 Winston Mathis

Local fan-favorite lightweight Jake Giuriceo improved to 12-0-1 (3) with a near shutout six-round victory over Georgia’s Winston Mathis. Mathis seemed to have the formula to compete with Giuriceo early as he moved around the ring, throwing punches against the pressuring Giuriceo. However, as the first stanza came to a close, Giuriceo was starting find his range.
Round two saw Giuriceo take charge of the fight as he outworked Mathis and backed him up, neutralizing his movement. Mathis had his best moment near the end of the round, digging a right to Giuriceo’s midsection that did damage but was unable to mount any sustained attack. The fight soon tilted totally in Giuriceo’s favor.
Through constant pressure and a high volume of punches Giuriceo pounded out the lopsided win and remains a solid draw in the Youngstown area. However, if he is to move past the status of regional fighter, Giuriceo will have to develop more power since not even fighter at this level are respecting his power.

Billy Lyell UD6 Michael Walker

Fans remember middleweight Billy Lyell as the guy who gave John Duddy his first loss in April 2009 and who, in January 2010, fought Sebastian Sylvester for the IBF title. It’s fair to say that the scrappy Lyell went about as far as he possibly could in the sport. And while it is not realistic to expect him to make another heroic run like he did two years ago, he can still provide an entertaining outing and show flashes of the gritty underdog that nearly brought home a world title.
Lyell, 24-9 (5), outworked, outpunched and outhustled shopworn Michael Walker, 19-9-2 (12), en route to a unanimous, shutout victory (60-54 on all three cards). Walker dropped his eighth straight contest and stands at 1-9 since February of 2008.

Anthony Pietrantonio TKO4 Randy Campbell

Local cards often provide an opportunity for hometown guys who spend much of their careers traveling to other fighters’ hometowns to serve as opponents, to have a fight where they are not the decided underdogs. Thus was the case with light heavyweight Anthony Pietrantonio, 7-7 (6), of local Sharon, PA, facing Randy Campbell, 3-6 (2). The fight was well-matched as Campbell started strong, hurting Pietrantonio early with a stiff combination and was clearly winning the opening stanza until Pietrantonio landed a left hook, sending Campbell to the mat.
Campbell was undeterred by the late knockdown and was the busier fighter throughout the second round. Although not demonstrating much power, Campbell did land more than enough blows to win round two. Both guys came out swinging in round three and it was becoming a very entertaining bout as Pietrantonio bested Campbell, adding to his lead.
Pietrantonio’s consistent attack took its toll in round four as he landed a right during a close exchange, buckling Campbell’s knees enough to where his glove touched the canvas for the second knockdown of the fight. Pietrantonio stepped up his attack, forcing Campbell to the ropes and landed punches at will until the bout was halted at 2:15 of the fourth.

Marco Hall TKO2 Emil Brooks

Showing the patience and maturity of a seasoned pro, Youngstown lightweight Marco Hall made a successful professional debut, stopping Buffalo’s Emil Brooks 39 seconds into the second round of their scheduled four-round bout. Brooks, 0-4, came out strong, throwing punches to both the head and body of Hall. Hall remained focused and did not allow himself to get drawn into a brawl, settling into the fight and staying with his game plan. His patience paid off fast as he landed an overhand right midway through the round, dropping Brooks and taking control of the fight. Brooks remained somewhat aggressive but to no avail as Hall sat down on his left hook as Brooks was coming forward, sending him to the canvas again. With seconds left in the round, Brooks was hurt once again and Hall wasted no time in the second round using a right uppercut followed by a straight right that forced referee Ernie Sharif to step in and halt the contest.

Adam Dearing TKO2 Juan Salinas

After a ten-year, 65-fight amateur career, Youngstown’s Juan Salinas was ready to start earning some money in the squared circle and what better way to start than against a guy whose only previous experience was in Toughman contests. The plan started well enough as West Virginia’s Adam Dearing was game but tired badly midway through the first round and by the bell ending the round, he was being completely outclassed by the younger Salinas.
But things can change quickly in the ring and they did. Early in the second, Dearing landed a right, sending Salinas tumbling to the canvas. Then backing Salinas to the ropes, a hook sent the young Salinas down for a second time as a stunned-to-silence crowd looked on. A straight right sent Salinas to the mat again and Loew had seen enough as he stepped to the ring apron causing a halt to the bout. If there’s one truism in boxing, it’s that you can’t teach good whiskers and Juan Salinas unfortunately doesn’t have the chin to compete as a professional boxer.

Vincent O’Neil KO1 Kenneth Addison

Lightweight Vincent O’Neil, 2-1-1 (2), returned to Youngstown to restart his boxing career after a stint in Las Vegas and it’s fair to say the nearby Girard, OH native could not have fared better in his first bout back home. In the first bout of the evening, O’Neil used an overhand right just past the one-minute mark of round one to straighten the legs of the debuting Addison and put him out on his feet with no chance of continuing.
The debut promoters were pleased with evening and rightfully so as the show went off without a hitch. The fights were entertaining and the crowd plentiful and well-behaved. Pavlik told Maxboxing after the show he hopes to hold a second event soon and will begin branching out beyond Youngstown very soon. If they can replicate their success elsewhere, Ghost Promotions will be a welcome addition to today’s boxing scene.
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