Gilbert dropped Soto with a right hand to the chin early in the second round. Later in the stanza, after Gilbert landed a left hook, Soto tackled Gilbert. At the end of the round, Gilbert grazed Soto with a right hand on the chin.
“He was open and throwing wide punches,” said Gilbert, who is now 11-0 with nine knockouts. “I tried to come down the middle. He can hit like a mule with those wide punches. I had to keep my composure and stay calm.”
The 37-year-old Soto dropped to 9-2-2 (4).
This was the second pro-am show in as many years in Vermont. Last year, Gilbert headlined a show in Windsor that drew an estimated 675 fans, who saw him stop Luis Viramontes in one round. This year’s show drew a comparable crowd.
Prior to last year’s show, there was not a professional fight in Vermont since 2002. This was Gilbert’s first fight since September, when he defeated Anthony Chase in Manchester, N.H., stopping him in three rounds.
“[Soto] came to fight,” said Gilbert’s manager, Ed Farris, who also manages World Boxing Organization junior middleweight titleholder Demetrius Andrade. “He was a good opponent and he took the fight at the last minute.”
Open amateur bouts
In an action-packed women’s 106-pound bout, Jen Amato of Keene, N.H. outpointed Sarah Dawson of Houston, Texas over four two-minute rounds.
Amato, 24, won the New England Golden Gloves in 2013 and has won the last two regional Police Athletic League titles. Dawson is ranked sixth in the U.S. and first in Texas.
“I just wanted to keep coming at her,” said Amato, who is studying for a doctorate in psychology at Antioch College in Keene, N.H. “I knew she was ranked sixth in the country and it felt good to win against a ranked boxer. I still have a few things to clean up.”
Last month, Amato defeated a former two-time Junior Olympic National champion in New York. She will compete at the National Golden Gloves in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in July.
Dawson received a standing eight-count in the second round. Amato continued her attack in the third, coming forward and applying more pressure. Dawson received another standing-eight in the fourth. Dawson landed some solid uppercuts at various times in the fight, doing her best work early in the third and fourth rounds, bloodying Amato’s nose.
“She can take a punch,” said the 19-year-old Dawson. “She kept coming forward and putting on pressure. I think the altitude got to me. Usually my cardio is much better. I always deliver a good fight, win or lose. I’d love to fight her again. It was a really good fight.”
Amato earned the evening’s “Amateur Fighter of the Night” award.
At 165 pounds, Ricky Ford of Keene, N.H. outpointed Ryan Clark of Manchester, N.H.
At 152 pounds, Colten Berkheimer of Manchester, Vt. won a decision against Nick Majeski of Windsor. Also at 152, Papasito Ortiz of Lawrence, Mass. won a decision against Tucker Leary of Windsor.
At 178, Henry Rodriguez of Windsor stopped Nicholas Nawrocki of Winooski, Vt. 14 seconds into the second round of a scheduled three.
At 123, Luis Mateo of Houston, Texas won a split decision over David Escobar of Providence, R.I.
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