By Charlie Weedon / Extreme Sports South LLC
On Friday and Saturday night, two consecutive evenings of live boxing was held at Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, MS. On both nights, premier New Orleans Boxing Promoter Les Bonano of Leslie Bonano, Inc. d/b/a BRAWLIN’ IN N’AWLINS entertained a standing room only crowd of boxing fans.
Friday, July 24:
In the Main Event “Smokin” Jay Krupp (13 – 2), a New Orleans native currently residing in the Catskills and being trained by former Mike Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney, threw a resounding right which KO’d veteran Anthony Bowman at 2:57 of the 2nd round. Bowman, a veteran of 45 fights, bobbed, weaved and stayed away from the stalking Krupp in the 1st round. Round 2 Jr. Middleweight action heated up with Krupp dropping Bowman for an 8-count prior to his smashing right near the end of the round.
The Female Welterweight match-up between Kimberly Connor (4 – 1) from Little Rock, AR, and crowd favorite Dora Baptiste (1 – 2) of Gulfport, MS ended at 1:37 of round 3 when the referee stopped the fight after Baptiste was knocked down by the clearly more talented Connor.
Clearly the most action-packed battle royal of the evening took place between Heavyweights Bobby O’Bannon (6 – 2, 6 KO’s) of Mobile, AL, and Francisco Moncivais (1- 1), a former 2-time National Jr. Olympic Heavyweight Champion from Laurel, MS. These two behemoths battled like Middleweights until 1:39 of round four when an exhausted O’Bannon (254-pounds) scored a KO over the 288-pound Moncivais. With the crowd on its feet and cheering throughout, the action started with Moncivais decking O’Bannon with a left in round-1 and continued with both combatants alternately on the canvas during the first 3-rounds. Moncivais had to be transported to the hospital for emergency medical care.
In other bouts: Jarrard “The Lethal Weapon” LeBlanc of Breaux Bridge, LA, improved his Jr. Middleweight record to 9 – 0, 6 KO’s by winning an Unanimous (60 – 52) Decision over outclassed veteran Moises Martinez from Rome, GA; and seasoned veteran Bobby Aucion of Scott, LA easily defeated Miguel Alfaro from Laurel, MS. in their 4-round Welterweight bout.
Saturday, July 25:
The Cruiserweight Special Event had the SRO crowd screaming and on its feet as 45-year old Tommy Harper of Destrehan, LA, (15 – 2) returned to the ring after a decade long retirement to totally dominate the 4-rounds of action against James Johnson (26 – 33, 18 KO’s) from Dallas, TX. Johnson, a former NABO Light-Heavyweight Champion, and 15- year younger pugilist, was stalked, battered at will and tormented by an aggressive Harper from the opening bell until the closing moment. The Unanimous Decision by all three officials was 40 – 36. Harper immediately went back into retirement after stating that, “This last fight was dedicated to his children, who never had the opportunity to see him fight in the past”.
The Main Event of the evening was the slugfest between Jr. Welterweights Gary (The Southern Pride) Bergeron (10 – 4 -, 6 KO’s) from Chalmette, LA, and Henry (Ambush) Mitchell (11 – 8, 1 KO) of Ft. Walton, FL. Both fighters battled toe-to-toe for their entire 6-round battle royal, the officials awarded a Unanimous Decision to Mitchell by scores of 59 –54, 58 – 56, and 58 – 55.
Mighty Mason Menard from Rayne, LA improved his record to 5-wins against 1-loss in a rugged match-up with Bobby Hill (1 – 3) of Gulfport, MS in their 6-round Jr. Lightweight bout. At times Menard scored with some serious lefts, but Hill gave him a tough time in every round.
The wild swinging, hard hitting Light Heavyweight first bout between two fighters looking for their 1st victory ended at 2:25 of the 2nd round when James Jenkins of Atlanta, GA was awarded a TKO over James Jones from Nashville, TN.
Welterweight Brad Soloman (7 – 0) from Atlanta, GA, was originally schedule to battle Mikel Williams in the Main event; however, Williams did not show up for the fight. Hasin Louis of Greenville, MS. agreed to take Williams place. Soloman won by KO at 36-seconds of the 1st round.