By Mariano A. Agmi at ringside
DiBella Entertainment returned to the historic BB King Blues Club & Grill in Manhattan on Thursday, featuring eight up-and-coming prospects in separate bouts as part of its popular Broadway Boxing series. In the main event, Ecuador’s Erick Bone (14-1, 8 KOs) made his US debut a successful one, battering former contender Francisco “Gato” Figueroa (20-7-1, 13 KOs) over 5 rounds in a welterweight contest.
Figueroa landed a few good counter right hooks early on, but the 25-year-old Bone was able to settle down later, breaking Figueroa down to the body and then landing a series of head shots that caused Gato’s corner to throw in the towel in a merciful stoppage at 2:40 of round 5. A once promising prospect, Figueroa has now lost 5 of his last 6 contests. The Bronx native has shared the ring with big punchers Randall Bailey, Breidis Prescott and Thomas Dulorme, but he has lately been relegated to being an opponent for up and coming prospects.
Popular junior lightweight prospect Bryant “PeeWee” Cruz (10-0, 6 KOs), of Port Chester, NY, battered Minnesota native Willshaun Boxley (6-11-1, 4 KOs) around the ring, causing Boxley’s corner to ask for referee Benji Esteves to halt the contest at 0:34 of round 3.
Undefeated Bronx native Louis Cruz (7-0, 4 KO’s) defeated the tough and well schooled Tony Walker (5-5-1, 3 KO’s) of Cincinnati, OH by six round unanimous decision in a junior welterweight bout. The 23-year-old former NY Golden Gloves champion countered Walker effectively in a tactical bout that was more competitive than the three 60-54 scores indicated.
Nine-time national amateur champion Junior “Sugar Boy” Younan (4-0, 4 KOs) annihilated Dustin Parrish (1-3, 1 KO) in round 1 of a scheduled 4 round super middleweight bout. Parrish rushed Younan from the opening bell, but the 18-year-old Brooklyn native calmly countered with a big right hand that dropped Parrish for an 8 count. Parrish resumed his attack as soon as he got up, but “Sugar Boy” dropped him again with a counter left hook that caused referee Harvey Dock to stop the fight at 28 seconds of the opening stanza. It was the fourth consecutive first round knockout for Younan, who was hailed as a “boxing prodigy” by the New York Times when he was just 10 years old.
5-time New York Golden Gloves champion Shemuel “The Chosen One” Pagan (5-0, 2 KOs), of Brooklyn, NY, wasted little time against James Gooding (1-6, 1 KO), dropping the Florida native with a big left hook in round two and following up with a barrage that caused referee Benji Esteves to stop the fight at 1:50 of round 2.
28-year-old Ryan Gamache (2-1, 1 KO), nephew of former two-division champion turned trainer Joey Gamache, came up short in his first fight in 10 years, losing a competitive four round unanimous decision against Ryan Picou (1-2) of Los Angeles, CA. Picou rocked Gamache in round 3 with a right hook, and the Maine native was deducted a point in round 3 for continuously spitting out his mouthpiece. Scores were 39-36, 38-36, 38-37.
2012 Olympian Ievgen “The Ukrainian Lion” Khytrov (4-0, 4 KOs) made short work of Texan Jas Phipps (4-3, 1 KO) in a super middleweight bout scheduled for six rounds. Khytrov, a standout amateur of 500 bouts, knocked Phipps down with a left hook in round one and proceeded to pummel the Texan in round two with left hooks and right hands until referee Harvey Dock called a halt to the contest at 2:07 of round 2.
In the opening bout of the evening, Arkansas native Kiun Evans (7-0-1, 5 KOs) and Las Vegan Pedro Toledo (2-1-2) battled to a majority draw in an evenly matched six-round featherweight contest. Evans stalked Toledo throughout the bout, countering effectively and landing the harder shots, while Toledo held his own with a high work rate. Scores were 57-57 (2x) and 58-56.