By Frank Coleman
Photos: Fielding Cathright
In front of a near capacity crowd of 6,626 at the Reno Events Center on Saturday night, longtime Northern Nevada rivals Jesse Brinkley and Joey Gilbert finally settled their score in the ring. Presented by Reno’s “Let’s Get It On” Promotions in association with Las Vegas based TKO Boxing Promotions. the appropriately named “CIVIL WAR” lived up to its billing.
Defending his WBC USNBC super middleweight title, Brinkley won a 12 round unanimous decision in a blood filled bout that could best be described as a “highly competitive, one sided fight”. Scores filed by Bert Clemons and Herm Santos were 120-107 while Dave Moretti carried a 119-108 card.
Early on Gilbert displayed a previously unseen tactic as he looked to giving Brinkley a thorough amount of movement, only stopping to occasionally engage the prowling Yerington native. Through four rounds, it appeared Gilbert’s strategy of tiring out Brinkley proved wrong, as he consistently lost the short battles to the heavy handed champion.
In round five, with both combatants throwing power shots, Brinkley drilled Gilbert with an overhand right, crushing Gilbert on the nose and sending him hard to the canvas. Although up by the count of eight, Gilbert was clearly hurt and said later, “It was like an egg smashed on my face.”
With his nose bleeding profusely, Gilbert chose to slow down the movement and engage Brinkley, a tactic which met with moderate success during the middle rounds. Although the rounds were close, it appeared that Brinkley’s harder shots and continued prowling was wearing out Gilbert who although he fought valiantly through the blood pouring from his broken nose, was unable to mount a consistent counter attack to his foe’s heavy hands.
With his only hope in the championship rounds to stand and trade with Brinkley, Gilbert attacked to the body and head hoping for the proverbial “ten run” home run much to the delight of the crowd who stood and roared throughout the final two rounds.
After a four year period of animosity out of the ring and 12 rounds of epic bravery inside, the two warriors respectfully acknowledged each other after the fight, with Gilbert assisting referee Vic Drakulich in raising Brinkley’s hand as the scores were read leading to the loudest roars of the night from the slightly partisan Brinkley crowd.
With the win Brinkley, now on a seven bout winning streak, improved to 33-5-0 (22KO’s), while Gilbert moved to 17-2-0 (13KO’s)
In the co-main event, 23 year old Phoenix featherweight prospect Rafael Valenzuela improved to 12-1-0 (6KO’s) with a hard fought eight round majority decision (79-73, 77-75, 76-76) over Columbia’s Yogli Herrera. With Herrera displaying a free swinging style early on, the more skilled Valenzuela showed patience through the early part of the fight as he plotted his strategy.
Finding his mark consistently with crunching head shots and pin point accuracy to the body, Valenzuela seemingly controlled the action over the last six rounds, wearing out the tiring Colombian. With the loss, Herrera fell to 21-7-1 (15KO’s).
In a scheduled six round special attraction bout, Reno middleweight Derek Hinkey thrilled the fans with a crushing first round knockout of Brooklyn’s Ariel Espinal. Dropping him with an overhand right early in the round, Hinkey backed a badly hurt Espinal into a corner where the fight was stopped as Espinal appeared defenseless. Official time was 2:10 of the first.
With the win, Hinkey improves to 7-1-0 (7KO’s) while Espinal moved to 6-7-2 (2KO’s).
Sacramento based undefeated rising prospect Stan Martyniouk earned a four round unanimous decision (40-36 X 3) over game but outgunned Scott Furney of Waterford, Michigan in their junior lightweight bout. Displaying terrific body work, Martyniouk hurt Furney early and often but Furney, showing tremendous heart,kept fighting back until the final bell. Martyniouk improves to 5-0-0 (1KO) while Furney fell to 3-8-1 (1KO).
Earlier in the evening, newcomer Gabriel Del Real of Fairfield, California improved to 3-0-0 (2KO’s) with a third round stoppage of Las Vegas native Joel Gonzalez. Controlling the fight from the outset with his crowd pleasing, brawling style, welterweight Del Real wore down Gonzalez with his frantic pace. Early in the third stanza, Del Real dropped the succumbing Gonzalez who failed to beat the ten count. Time was 0:25 of the third. Gonzalez’s record fell to 2-3-0 (1KO).
Opening the night’s proceedings, Yerington’s Andrew Rempp and pro debuting Johnny Mancilla of Susanville, CA, entertained the early arrivals with a very spirited four rounder which resulted in a majority draw (39-37 Mancilla, 38-38 twice.) Remp’s record moved to 0-1-1 with Mancilla starting his pro career a 0-0-1.