By Chris Cook at ringside
Undefeated Filipino lightweight sensation Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (18-0-1, 8 KOs) won by TKO when Oscar “El Estudiante” Meza (19-4, 17 KOs) didn’t come out for round five on Friday night at the A La Carte Pavillion in Tampa Florida. Meza took a knee in round four after a body shot. Good performance for Gesta, who claimed the vacant WBO Americas lightweight belt.
Earlier, middleweight Noe Gonzalez (24-1, 16 KOs) won via KO over Jorge Munoz (22-5, 11 KOs) in the sixth. Gonzalez landed much crisper while Munoz faded much after a good first round.
Heavyweight Lenroy Thomas (16-1, 8 KOs) won a six round unnaimous decision over Joseph Rabotte (8-13-1, 3 KOs). Thomas’ power was the deciding factor in the bout. The fight turned ugly with low blows and illegal shots in the middle rounds. Scores were 60-53, 60-53, 59-54.
Joseph Elegele (8-0-0, 6 KOs) looked very sharp in his match against Bahamian Hensley Strachan (5-8-1, 1 KO) winning via TKO in the sixth six round. Elegele utilized his reach advantage in keeping Strachan at bay, and fired off a solid jab to score early points. Elegele landed a crushing straight which knocked Strachan back into the corner hard. Solid 1-2 combinations told the story of the second, keeping Strachan on the move unable to find an answer to Elegele. A solid straight in the final five seconds of the round sent Strachan on his rear. A straight in the third staggered Stachan again, as he continued to just weather the punishment. The sheer power of Elegele impressed, consistently knocking Strachan back into the ropes. The valiant Strachan kept up, even encouraging Elegele to continue the onslaught. The fourth further emphasized Elegele’s skills, as his crisp 1-2s and intelligence kept him in complete control of the bout. Stachan tried to mount an offensive set, catching Elegele in the corner, however, Elegele blocked almost all of the punches, not allowing Strachan to inflict any damage. Fittingly finishing off the fifth, Elegele landed a devastating straight which sent Strachan across the ring, only to be saved by the ropes. As the sixth began, Elegele continued his impressive combinations, forcing referee Max Parker Jr. to call a halt to the bout at 0:31. Elegele seems destined for much bigger things, being able to dominant thoroughly, maintain his poise, and win via TKO by sticking to his game plan and not attacking wildly.
“Silky” Wilkey Campfort (3-1-0, 3 KOs) bested Darrell Jones (2-5-0, 1 KO) in a four round bout. Overcoming the speed and fur shorts of Jones, “Silky” Wilkey maintained control of the bout throughout, landing the more solid punches. The southpaw Jones kept himself in the bout with his fast hands, but was not able to withstand the power of Campfort. Campfort caught Jones in his corner with a pair of head shots dropping him to a knee. Jones was unable regain his feet and the referee called off the bout at the 1:23 mark of the third giving Campfort the victory by TKO.
In a battle of the big men, Lamar Davis (4-3-0, 1 KO) and Kelsey Arnold (3-4-2, 1 KO) both began the fight trading sloppy shots at each other. Arnold successfully landed a combination against the ropes. The second was filled with sloppy, uneventful trading, until after the bell rang and Arnold visibly seemed in pain, bending over grimacing prior to moving to his corner. Arnold nearly took a dangerous spill on to a judge as Davis held Arnold against and almost over the ropes. Arnold took a short breather after the incident, but was able to continue. The incident must of woke Arnold up a bit, as he ran after Davis landing wild overhand rights and lefts. A heated altercation ensued after the bell, with both fighters continuing to throw punches and exchanging words. Arnold held on for much of the fourth, throwing a punch then grabbing for Davis, Davis landed cleaner more consistently. Davis landed a low blow in the fourth, and Arnold immediately went for his corner to find a chair. Davis appeared to lose all will to continue, but then came out from the corner throwing wildly lefts and rights to the head of Davis. In one of the most unique if not strange bouts, judges scored the bout in favor of Kelsey Arnold via majority decision (Hellstern and O’Connor 39-37, Balas 40-36 for Davis).
Starting off the night Jorge Munoz (22-5-0, 15 KOs) squared off against Noe Gonzalez (24-1-0, 16 KOs) in a ten round contest. Munoz started the fight off strong, applying pressure to the taller Gonzalez throughout the first, highlighted with a tight right uppercut which knocked Gonzalez‘s head back. Out of nowhere, Gonzalez decided to make it a fight in the final 15 seconds of the first, landing several hard combinations to the head of Munoz. Gonzalez continued effectively punching Munoz in the head in the second, utilizing the overhand right on numerous occasions opening a slight cut over Munoz‘s right eye. Pace slowed considerably in the third, Munoz kept to arm punches, while Gonzalez was able to pick his crisper combinations. Munoz complained vocally to the referee in the round about punches he felt were behind the head.
Munoz caught Gonzalez backpedaling with a lunging left hook to cause some damage. Referee Frank Santore Jr. did warn Gonzalez in the early part of the round about illegal punches to the back of the head, validating Munoz‘s earlier complaint. Munoz’s output increased in the round, overcoming the less active, but more accurate Gonzalez. The fifth saw Munoz’s punching power diminish as Gonzalez continued to land solid headshots. Sensing a weakness, Gonzalez continued to pummel the head of Munoz red. Both fighters appeared winded, taking in deep breaths. Gonzalez mustered the strength to land a five punch combination that set up the body shot knockout in front of Munoz’s corner. Official time at stoppage was at 2:02 of the sixth.
Local favorite Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry (27-6-2, 15 KOs) was scheduled to fight on the card, however, his opponent Ira Terry (24-3-0, 14 KOs) withdrew at the last moment and a suitable opponent was not able to be found in such short time. Former champions Winky Wright, Jeff Lacy, Tyrone Booze, and David Santos were in attendance for the fight card. The exciting night of boxing was promoted by Tuto Zabala and All Star Boxing, along with Aaron Jacobs and Fight Night Productions and TKO Boxing Productions.