By Phil Doherty at ringside
Photos: Angel Rodriguez-Valdes
Undefeated Cuban light heavyweight Yunieski Gonzalez (11-0, 7 KOs) closed the show in spectacular fashion during his scheduled ten-round main event against Rowland Bryant (16-3, 11 KOs) at The Seminole Hard Rock Live. Gonzalez landed a picture-perfect chopping right hand to separate Bryant from his senses in what had been a thrilling back-and-forth display of power punching between both men. Gonzalez drew first blood in the second round with a thudding left hook to open a cut over Bryant’s right eye. Bryant returned the favor in the third with a straight right that left Gonzalez bleeding profusely from his left eye.
Round seven proved to be the round of the night with furious left hooks scoring from Bryant, one of which reverberated throughout the arena. Gonzalez weathered the shots well and mounted a concerted counterattack to close out the round.
No one expected what happened next.
Gonzalez came out early in the eighth with repeated left hooks and right hands, backing Brant to the ropes just long enough for him to tee up the hand grenade in his right hand. The shot exploded on the button, dropping Bryant in his tracks, awkwardly splayed out with his legs under him. Referee Sam Burgos immediately called for medical attention to attend to the unconcious fighter, who was revived after some nervous moments in the corner.
Time of the stoppage (a strong contender for knockout of the year so far) was 1:19 of the eight round.
Panther Promotions’ avowed effort to put on no-frills, competitive fights for fight fans seems to be a winner.
In a somewhat disputed decision, bantamweight Jessy Cruz (9-5-1, 3 KOs) of Miami did just enough in judges’ eyes to earn a majority decision victory over Ricardo Hernandez (5-1, 1 KO) during their six-round bout. Despite excessive clinching and holding throughout the fight, Hernandez was able to land some crisp shots early against the southpaw Cruz. The later rounds saw Cruz mount a counteroffensive, but action slowed due to the clinching. Cruz finished strongly, stunning Hernandez in a last-round barrage that left him wearily walking to the corner at the final bell. Judges scored the fight 57-57 and 59-55 (twice).
Heavyweight John Wesley Nofire (11-0, 8 KOs)of Oklahoma defeated a pugnacious Robert Dunton (9-5-1, 6KOs) by unanimous decision in their six-round battle. Nofire, a proud white member of the Cherokee Nation, stunned the smaller Dunton early with solid right hand leads. However, the awkward-punching Dunton got inside in the later rounds to land roundhouse hooks and keep things interesting. However it was a case of too “little” too late as judges awarded scores of 59-55 and 58-56 (twice) in Nofire’s favor.
Welterweight Miguel Cruz (2-0, 2KOs) rained on the debut parade of his opponent James Jackson (0-1) in their originally-scheduled four-round bout tonight from The Seminole Hard Rock Live. Cruz scored with long, lanky shots that found effective purchase against the tentative Jackson, finally landing a big right hand to force referee James Warring to jump in at 1:12 of the second round.
Middleweight Alphonso Black (6-0-1, 3 KOs)of Saint Petersburg FL earned a unanimous decision victory against Donald Clark (2-5-1, 1 KOs) of Pensacola in their 4-round bout. Black utilizied compact punches and deft head movement to get inside against the taller Cark. Black stunned his man numerous times and could have finished him with just a bit more aggression but judges agreed on his effort with scores of 40-36 on their cards.
A wolf devoured a tiger for Panther Promotions’ second fight of the night in Hollywood FL. Welterweight Levan “The Wolf” Ghvamichava (9-0, 7 KOs) punished an overweight and overmatched Puerto Rican Angel “The White Tiger” (9-17, 6 KOs) of The Bronx across three rounds. Ghamichava scored early and easily from the orthodox and southpaw stances with sharp combinations that left Rio’s face as red as his Everlast gloves by the end of the second round. The third round became a beatdown as former boxer-turned referee James Warring let a defenseless Rios absorb hellacious abuse for the final thirty seconds of the stanza. Fortunately, Rios’ corner stepped in to do what the referee would not and called off the assault prior to the start of the fourth.
Boston heavyweight Nate James (8-2, 4 KOs) leveraged his forty pound weight advantage over opponent Tobias Rice( 4-7, 2 KOs) of Macon Georgia in a highly entertaining first bout of Panther Promotion’s 7-fight card from The Seminole Hard Rock Live tonight. The scheduled 6-round fight made it to just 1:27 of the fifth when the southpaw James plastered Rice with a wallop of a straight left. The very game Rice seemed to be taking out a mortgage on queer street the prior two rounds before James evicted him with his superior power shots.