In front of a lively crowd on Thursday night, DiBella Entertainment (DBE) debuted its Broadway Boxing series at Melrose Ballroom, in Astoria, Queens, NY.
In the main event, Brooklyn’s Mikkel Lespierre, 144.2, expertly picked apart and gradually broke down Gustavo Vittori, 146.6, of Concordia, Argentina. Though Vittori came out aggressively to start the bout, LesPierre kept him at a distance looking to create openings for his straight left. Soon he was landing that punch along with combinations and countering well. A left uppercut to the body dropped Vittori in round two. The Argentinean stayed in front of LesPierre all night, but did not show any head movement, leading to a session of target practice for the local southpaw. LesPierre’s body shots continued to hurt Vittori and he began to wear down. A right uppercut stunned Vittori in the fourth. LesPierre scored a second knockdown in round six with two rights to the body followed by a left hook upstairs. Early in the seventh, another barrage of shots brought Vittori to his knees and the referee immediately waved off the contest at the 0:38 mark. Vittori will return home with a 20-4-1 (11 KOs) record. In his best performance as a pro, LesPierre, now 20-0-1 (9 KOs), demonstrated that he is ready to take on world class opposition. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, LesPierre moved to the US at age six and was raised in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. He is trained by Don Saxby out of Gleason’s Gym.
Brooklyn’s Jude "King Zar" Franklin, 127, also a Gleason’s Gym fighter, trained by Elmo Serrano, got off to a quick start, decking Mexico City’s Enrique Aguilar, 130, in the opening round with a straight right upstairs. Throughout the contest, much of Franklin’s offense was focused on the body. Aguilar tried to retaliate with his own attack to the midsection, though Franklin deftly blocked those shots with his elbows and forearms. In round four, Franklin unleashed a torrent of blistering shots downstairs, which resulted in Aguilar unable to come out of his corner for the fifth stanza. The popular Brooklynite upped his record to 8-0 (7 KOs) with the TKO stoppage. Despite his lopsided record, Aguilar, now 8-15 (1 KO), had never before been stopped.
In a wild and bloody brawl that lasted just five-and-a-half minutes, former WBC world lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin, 135.4, of Podgorica, Montenegro, was shockingly upset by Tijuana, Mexico’s Robert Ramirez, 135.8. Zlaticanin applied pressure in round one but was tagged by uppercuts on his way inside. Montenegro’s first boxing world champion retaliated, creating exciting exchanges. A left uppercut-right hand combination from his much taller foe felled Zlaticanin early in the second. With Ramirez intent on doing damage and throwing a combination, Zlaticanin landed two left hooks that badly staggered and nearly dropped the Mexican. Moments later, a series of overhand rights and right uppercuts put Zlaticanin on the deck once more and the referee halted the contest at the 2:32 mark. Losing for the second time, Zlaticanin, 23-2 (16 KOs), suffered a broken jaw and broken nose. Ramirez, now 18-2-1 (13 KOs), earned his fifth straight victory following a TKO loss to Abel Ramos in 2015. His only other defeat came to former world title challenger Carlos Ocampo via split decision in 2013.
Highly touted female prospect Raquel Miller, 159.8, of San Francisco, CA, impressed in her DBE and New York debut, unloading her arsenal on the very gutsy Hungarian Szilvia Szabados, 154.8, of Miskolc, for six one-sided rounds. Though she was hurt and wobbled on occasion, Szabados, a former world title challenger, showed tremendous heart and never hit the canvas. Miller, clearly the physically stronger boxer, continued to batter her outgunned foe with stiff jabs, right uppercuts, combinations to the body and counterpunches en route to a shutout win on three tallies of 60-54. Szabados, who has shared the ring with Claressa Shields, Alicia Napoleon, Layla McCarter, and Nikki Adler, saw her ledger drop to 17-12 (8 KOs). Managed by David McWater’s Split-T Management, Miller turned pro in May 2016 and is now 6-0 (3 KOs). As an amateur, Miller was a 2012 National champion, a silver medalist at the 2012 Women’s World Championships, and a 2012 Olympic Team Alternate. She also won the Colorado Springs Golden Gloves tournament in 2013 and won gold at the National Police Athletic League tournament in 2014.
In his New York debut, three-time Puerto Rican National Boxing team member Jose Roman, 149.6, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, kept the pressure on southpaw Marcus Beckford, 151.4, of Patchogue, NY, for six frames, landing stiff jabs and attacking the body whenever he had his foe trapped against the ropes. As the rounds wore on, Roman began to find a home for his overhand right, using that weapon with increasing regularity. Though he was getting outworked, the game Beckford fought back well in the final three minutes. Three identical scorecards of 59-55 awarded the unanimous decision victory to Roman, now 6-0 (3 KOs), while Beckford’s record dipped to 5-9-3 (1 KO).