By J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Actually, the press was provided with rather objectionable seating, but it was a good show as usual at Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena on 11/16/18. Shobox was in to telecast the main bouts, promoted by Manny Rivera & Will Ruiz (Hard Hitting Prom’ns) with some help from Chris Middendorf (Victory Boxing). Despite a wintry night, the show drew the usual full house of about 1300. “Discombobulating” Jones and Mark Fratto shared the ring announcing, Alice Grady kept time, and Marc Abrams was publicist.
A good match on paper proved a bit tame but was nonetheless sufficiently competitive between prospect Branden Pizarro, 137 ½, Phila., 13-1 (6), and well-schooled Jerome Rodriguez, 140, Allentown/ Trenton, 7-11-3 (2), six. Most of the rounds were the same, the southpaw Rodriguez edging carefully forward and working the right hook while Pizarro ducked and bobbed and answered back with a workshop of popping straight punches. The slapping rights had Pizarro’s left eye puffy by the fifth and Rodriguez tried to pull it out by opening up in the sixth, the best action round of the contest. But too late. Dewey L aRosa scored 60-54, John Poturaj and Dave Braswell 59-55, all for Pizarro.
In an extremely dull six, Gadwin Rosa, 129 ¾, Ocala, FL, 9-0 (7), won in a waltz over grizzled veteran German Meraz, 128 ½, Agua Prieta, Sonora, MX, 61-51-2 (38). How does a guy with over a hundred fights lose to a prelim fighter with less than ten? Well, by not fighting, for one. Meraz threw smokescreen punches, backed off, ducked and grabbed, tried a behind-the-back punch in the fourth, and did a lot of empty grandstanding in the final round. But he was hard to hit solidly. Meraz didn’t even come to center ring for the decision, unanimous for Rosa. Steve Weisfeld and LaRosa scored 59-55 while Braswell wasn’t impressed with Meraz’ last-round antics, 60-54.
Managed by “The Bionic Bull”, Brian Cohen, Gledwin Ortiz, 149 ½, Bronx, 6-2 (4), highlighted the first genuinely competitive match on the card with an absolutely spectacular KO of no easy opponent in Kieran Hooks, 149 ¼, Phila., 3-2-1 (1), in a scheduled four. Showing good poise, Gledwin stalked the tall and lanky opponent, positioning himself perfectly inside Kieran’s reach to drive him back off balance. Catching Hooks momentarily not knowing which way to move, Ortiz stepped in and fired a perfect straight right that collapsed Kieran to the canvas like a puppet with the strings cut. Referee Benjy Esteves called a KO without a count, at 2:27, round one.
Christian Tapia, 134 ½, Coamo, PR, 7-0 (6), won a good fight when Darnell Pettis, 133 ½, Cleveland, 3-13, was not allowed out for the fourth and final round. The fleet and mobile underdog put up a good scrap but was repeatedly nailed by long, battering ram jabs that momentarily froze him and were followed by jarring combos. Pettis was beaten to the punch by a jarring right in the third, buckling his knees, took increased punishment, lost his mouthpiece and bled from the mouth. But he was still in the fight until the doctor stopped it between rounds.
Benjamin Sinakin, 171 ¾, Phila., 2-0 (1), was too strong and vigorous for Darren Gibbs, 172 ½, Ferndale, MI, 1-6, in a scheduled four. The southpaw underdog was overwhelmed, kept turning away as a means of defense, and spun himself through the ropes where referee Esteves had to call time and get the action restarted inside the ring. Gibbs was dropped by a thudding right, then nailed and rocked along the ropes by another right when Esteves stopped it, over a mock protest, at 2:23 of the first of four.
Debuting David Stevens, 191 ¼, Reading, conked out willing but no match Judd Brown, 188 ¾, Kingsport, TN, 0-1-1, in 2:56 of the first of four. Brown tried to stand his ground but was dropped by a left hook and overhand right, then went to a knee and quit when Stevens stepped in with a right uppercut. Ref, Gary Rosato.