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Manfredo Keeps Comeback Streak Alive

By Stephen Tobey at ringside

LINCOLN, R.I. – Eight rounds is a long time to fight with one eye. Despite having an eye that started closing in the second round of a scheduled 10-round fight, super middleweight Walter Wright of Seattle finished on his feet. His opponent, Peter Manfredo Jr., however, captured the unanimous decision in the battle of “The Contender” alumni on Friday at the Twin River Events Center.

Clark Sammartino scored the fight 98-93; Robin Taylor scored it 100-90 and Ed Scunzio scored it 97-93.
Manfredo, a two-time world title challenger and former International Boxing Organization champion from Providence, R.I., was a finalist on the first season of “The Contender.” He’s now 39-7 (20). Wright, a participant on the second season of the show, dropped to 14-4 (7).
During the second round, some swelling appeared under Wright’s right eye. In the third, Wright started bleeding from the nose and Manfredo was cut along the left eye. Both fighters’ corners kept those injuries under control through the middle rounds, though Manfredo did a better job exploiting Wright’s swelling. In the sixth, the local landed some hard right hands that drove Wright back. Wright responded with some quick combinations to the body.
Wright landed more often in the eighth round, connecting consistently with the uppercut. However, Manfredo still had the best punch of the round, an overhand right that drove Wright back on his heels.
By the ninth, Wright’s eye was completely closed. He still remained aggressive and landed a solid one-two with Manfredo on the ropes in the final minute of the round.
The ringside physician examined Wright’s eye and let him come out for the 10th. Wright kept out of harm’s way for most of the round, only engaging in the final minute.
In a battle for the unofficial super middleweight title of Woonsocket, R.I., Joe Gardner won a six-round unanimous decision over Reynaldo Rodriguez. Robert Paolino, Ed Scunzio and Clark Sammartino all scored the fight 58-56. Gardner, 11-5-1 (1), rallied in the final three rounds, landing crisp uppercuts on Rodriguez, who was more active in the first three rounds and controlled the early rounds with his jab. Rodriguez dropped to 6-6-1 (3).
Middleweight Thomas Falowo of Pawtucket, R.I. picked up a TKO victory when Julio Garcia of Boston did not answer the bell for the sixth and final round. Garcia, 6-4 (3), took a pretty good shot and landed some solid punches of his own, including a flurry of body shots in the fifth, but Falowo, 9-1 (7), landed more often and caused swelling around Garcia’s eyes. Former WBA heavyweight titleholder John Ruiz worked Garcia’s corner.
Emmanuel Medina of Quincy, Mass. stopped Benny Costantino of Warwick, R.I. in the second round of a scheduled four-round super middleweight contest. Costantino fell to the canvas twice in the second round. The first time, referee Eddie Claudio ruled it a knockdown though it happened several seconds after Medina landed a punch. Claudio stopped the fight at 2:47. After the fight, ringside physicians examined Costantino’s left knee, which he injured at some point during the second round. Medina improved to 3-3-1 (3); Costantino dropped to 7-3 (4).
Kevin Cobbs of Burlington, Vt. won a four-round split decision against Paul Gonsalves of Harwich, Mass. at light heavyweight. The scores were 39-36 (twice) for Cobbs and 38-37 for Gonsalves. Cobbs, 7-1 (2), knocked down Gonsalves, 4-3 (3), in the second round.
Patryk Szymanski of North Bergen, N.J. won a six-round unanimous decision against Antonio Chaves Fernandes of Brockton, Mass. at welterweight. The scores were 58-56, 59-57 and 60-54. Szymanski, a 19-year-old native of Poland, improved to 6-0 (2). Fernandes dropped to 2-9-1.
Female bantamweights Vanessa Greco of Queens, N.Y. and Noemi Bosques of St. Petersburg, Fla. fought to a four-round majority draw. The scores were 38-38 (twice) and 39-37 for Greco, 1-2-2. Bosques is now 1-0-1.
Stephen Tobey can be reached at

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