By Boxing Bob Newman at ringside
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
Click the photo to go to the next photo
Another enthusiastic crowd at the UVI Sports & Fitness Center in St. Thomas, USVI enjoyed a hot night of both amateur and professional boxing during Boxing In Paradise III. The show was promoted as usual by 340 Promotions in association with Warriors Boxing. Headlining the show was returning unbeaten WBA #9 super lightweight contender Victor Cayo of the Domincan Republic, who was victorious when he split open the lower lip of Mexico’s Arturo Morua in the opening minute. It goes without saying the majority of the attendees interest laid in the progress of hometown boys John and Julius Jackson, the progeny of local legend and two-division champ Julian “The Hawk” Jackson. Both were winners.
Opening the show was Julius “The Fighting Chef” Jackson against Atlanta’s debuting Jamal Williams in a scheduled four rounder at Super Middle. Williams came out aggressively trying to muscle Jackson across he ring. Things were fairly even20until a right cross from Jackson stiffened Williams in his tracks. Several more rights put Williams into his own corner where a final left put Williams down and through the ropes semi-conscious. Referee Ramon Solis wisely waved off the action at 1:36 of the opening stanza. Julius scored his second straight knockout to move to 3-0, while Williams starts out at 0-1.
Jackson cousin Samuel Rogers stepped into the ring against Atlanta’s Mark “The Sandman” Saunders in the second bout of the evening, at Jr. Middle. In the opening round it looked as if Rogers might garner his first stoppage win when he hurt Saunders with a right, but couldn’t put the finishing touches on his good fortune. Saunders hung tough for the remainder of the bout, forcing Rogers to go the distance for the third time in as many bouts. Rogers moves to 3-0 while Saunders slips to 3-2-1, 2 KOs.
Bout number three proved to be sensational as far as all out action and drama goes. JV “The Fighting Doctor” Tuazon, a native of Manila, Philippines, now living in New Jersey, went in against Puerto Rican New Yorker Eduardo Melendez in a four rounder at Bantamweight. The short and stocky Tuazon stalked the lanky Melendez, who in turn jabbed and moved, occasionally looking have Tuazon walk into a counter, which he did often eno ugh. The tide turned in the third when a Tuazon barrage forced Melendez to a knee. It all looked over as Tuazon followed up on his advantage, driving Melendez to another corner with punch after punch. Suddenly, either from an unseen counter punch or sheer exhaustion, Tuazon backed off. Melendez came to life, and stunned Tuazon. The crowd went wild at the sudden turn of events. Before anything else dramatic could happen, the bell saved both fighters. Early in the fourth and final round, a big right hand sent Tuazon to the seat of his trunks! Again, the crowd was on their feet. Melendez couldn’t put his foe away though, as Tuazon rallied to stay on his feet. Scoring was as follows: Jose Torres- 37-37, Frank Jackson and Roberto Pena had it at 38-37, for the winner on a majority decision, Melendez. Melendez enters the winners column for the first time at 1-4, while Tuazon slides to 1-4-2, 1 KO. Luckily Tuazon has his PhD in Physical Therapy to fall back on, though he is a crowd pleasing brawler.
Jackson son #2 John entered the ring looking for his third straight KO win against Aquadilla, Puerto Rico’s Idelfonso Soto in a Jr. Middle match scheduled for four. Jackson wasted no time in throwing his right to the body which scored him his last KO win in March. This time it would take a round longer as Soto made it through the first. Shortly into the second, the patented righ t just below Soto’s ribs produced the first knockdown. Soto tried to get on his bicycle, to no avail. A right uppercut which Soto ducked right into, produced the second and final knockdown. Referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. decided that though Soto beat the count, he was in no condition to continue, and waved matters off at 1:29 of the round. John moves to 3-0, 3 KOs. Soto is either 0-2, or 0-2-1, depending on who you believe. Either way, he’s winless so far.
The Domincan fans on St. Thomas were ready for their home island hero, Victor Cayo to thrill them again, as he did last January with an exciting win over Noe Bolanos. He wasn’t about to disappoint against another Mexican, this time it would be Guadalajara, Jalisco’s Arturo Morua, veteran of more than twice as many fights as Cayo, and twice challenger for a world title, (L12 to Ricardo Torres for the WBO and TKOby9 to Junior Witter for the WBC laurels). So it looked to be another interesting mesh of styles with Cayo’s flashy, hands down at his side speedy approach, versus Morua’s rugged, no nonsense, straight forward Mexican attack. With each looking to ply their tactics, about 40 seconds into the fight, a Cayo uppercut landed, seemingly harmless enough, to Morua’s chin. Moments later, a few drops, then a river of blood began to leak from somewhere around Morua’s mouth. Referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. called time and ushered Morua to Cayo’s corner and called Dr. Gilbert Comissiong Jr. to examine the source of the blood flow. Suddenly it was evident- a horrendous gash below Morua’s bottom lip had opened, the result of his lower teeth coming right through it after eating, (no pun intended) Cayos uppercut. Referee Ramirez was stunned that Dr. Comissiong, a surgeon at R.L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas, was prepared to give Morua a chance, if the cut didn’t bleed too much more. After holding more pressure with some gauze and giving it a second look, Dr. Comissiong decided to advise Ramirez to halt the bout. The time was 0:58 of the opening stanza. Incredibly, Morua didn’t even seem to be affected from the punch, the grotesque cut or the pain it must’ve generated. After barley breaking a sweat, Cayo launched into a traditional Domincan dance to his favorite music, and to the delight of his partisan fans. His record goes to a sterling 17-0, 15 KOs, and the tough luck Morua falls to 25-13, 14 KOs. The WBA #9 Cayo’s WBA FedeCaribe title was not on the line as neither fighter made the 140 lb. Limit.
The evening opened with another edition of Project 2012, a series of amateur bouts aimed at preparing young fighters from the USVI to bring home the first gold to the US commonwealth of islands. St. Thomas fighters met up against Puerto Rico on this night and fared quite well, winning four of the seven sanctioned matches, and one fema le USVI fighter having an exhibition against a male opponent!
Representatives from nearby St. Croix’s Divi Carina Bay Casino were on hand tonight to witness the show and discuss with 340 Promotions’ Sampson Lewkowicz and Lesley Comissiong the possibility of hosting the July 25th show. More talks will be held Sunday morning over breakfast.
Island legend Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, along with several members of the USVI boxing commission presented a plaque to the Caribbean boxing legend Emile “Topsy” White, honoring his long and meritorious service to the sport throughout the area over his 78 years of life.