By Bob Caico at ringside
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
The Boxcino 2014 middleweight semifinals were held at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino on ESPN2’s presentation of Friday Night Fights. The middleweight winners were Brandon Adams and Willie Monroe Jr., who earned eight round decisions and will now now face off in the finals along with the last two lightweight Boxcino contenders on Friday, May 23, also at The Turning Stone in Verona, NY.
In the first semifinal contest Brandon “Cannon” Adams of San Diego, CA defeated Raymond Gatica of Austin, TX by split decision. At times both boxers landed their lead strong hands making for an exciting bout to witness. Adams scored more with his lead right than Gatica did with his lead left and that was the difference in the fight. Gatica suffered a cut over his left eye from Adams right hands, proof that he was landing the harder punches. Judges Don Trella and Don Ackerman scored it 78-74 for Adams while judge Wynn Kintz had it 77-75 for Gatica. Adams improves to 14-0, 9 KOs and moves on to the finals while Gatica slides to 14-3, 9 KOs.
In another lefty versus righty matchup, Willie Monroe, Jr. of nearby Rochester, NY boxed his way to a unanimous eight-round decision over previously unbeaten Vitalii Kopylenko of Kiev, Ukraine. From the outset Monroe was content to circle his opponent and throw his quick jab. Occasionally Monroe landed a combination before Kopylenko could return fire. The chess match continued that way in each round with Monroe fainting and jabbing and Kopylenko jabbing at air trying to get close enough to land his right hand. The only effective punch landed by the Ukraine was a left hook in the fifth round that knocked the mouthpiece from Monroe’s mouth. Judges Feldman and Ackerman scored it 79-73 while Judge McKaie scored it 78-74 for El Mongoose. Monroe moves on to the finals with a 17-1, 6 KOs record while Kopylenko takes his first loss and drops to 23-1, 13 KOs.
Opening the ESPN2 telecast was a battle of big boys as 6’6 Nate Heaven of Ocala, FL took on 6’4 Donovan Dennis from Davenport, IA. The heavyweights also had knockout power and one punch could end the fight. That one punch, a counter straight right hand from Heaven landed flush on Donovan’s jaw and down he went. Dennis was barely able to get up as referee Dick Pakozdi counted to nine but he smartly waived it off as the bell sounded to end the first round. Heavan had a feeling the fight would end quickly, “Being a southpaw I knew he would fall into my right hand. I waited for him to try to counter my left and I threw it. He wasn’t has fast as he used to be so I knew I would catch him.” Heaven’s record now stands at 9-0 with 7 KOs while Dennis suffers his first defeat to drop to 9-1, 8 KOs.
Jr. middleweight Cecil McCalla of Randallstown, MD remained unbeaten as he scored a six-round unanimous decision over Antonio Chavez Fernandes of Brockton, MA. The first four rounds went the same way, as both boxers were cautious with not much action or zip behind their punches. McCalla began to put some power behind his jabs and right hands in the fifth and took control of the bout stinging Fernandes on numerous occasions. At the end of six rounds the judges John McKaie, Eric Marlinski and Glenn Feldman each scored it a shutout for McCalla with identical 60-54 scores. McCalla raises his record to 18-0 while Fernandes drops to 4-17-2.
Simeon “Candyman” Hardy of Brooklyn made short work of Rahman Yusubov of Dallas, TX. Halfway through the first round Hardy landed a counter right hand that dropped Yusubov to a seated position. Taking his time the undefeated jr. middleweight (12-0, 10 KOs) then landed a triple left hook followed by a right to the top of the head of Yusubov (9-15) that felled him for a second time. Hardy went for the kill and landed a left hook that planted Yusubov flat on his back for the last time at 2:36 in the scheduled six-rounder.
Marcus Hall of Rochester, NY had a relatively easy time defeating Rafael Luna from Albany, NY. Hall’s quickness and skill lead him to sweep the first three rounds, scoring with his right jab and straight lefts. Hall got a little careless at times and caught some shots in the last round but not enough has he swept the judges scorecards 40-36. Marcus improves to 7-6 while Luna leaves the arena 3-8-3.