By Rick Scharmberg and Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Photos: Ray Bailey
Wilson stops Mussachio in 12
Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson (11-5-1, 5 KOs) successfully defended his USBA cruiserweight title for the first time with a come-from-behind final round KO over an inspired Chuck “The Professor” Mussachio (17-2-2, 5 KOs) last night at Bally’s in Atlantic City, NJ. Mussachio, who moved up from light heavyweight for this title shot, out-boxed the champion over the first nine rounds, before Wilson poured it on in rounds ten and eleven and finished Mussachio with an overhand right 54 seconds into the final round. Wilson was behind on two cards at the time of the stoppage. In the co-feature, highly-touted Ronald Cruz (15-0, 12 KOs) used a crippling body attack to wear down and stop Anges Adjaho (25-7, 14 KOs) at 2:54 of the fifth round in a scheduled eight round welterweight bout. Peltz Boxing Promotions presented the seven bout card.
Garrett Wilson was the puncher in this classic boxer versus puncher match, and Chuck Mussachio, considerably taller than Wilson – and lighter – was the boxer. In an attempt to force Mussachio to come to him, Wilson opened the bout by boxing and circling the ring. The strategy seemed to work, as Mussachio went after Wilson, who landed two hard rights to the body to give him an edge in the round.
Mussachio had fire in his eyes as he established his jab and started throwing his right hand behind it in the second round. Mussachio took the round, and the next two, but Wilson landed his big left hook to the head, and continued to hammer Chuck’s body in each round. Mussachio was beating Wilson to the punch with a sharp jab, and used his legs to keep Wilson turning.
Mussachio said he trained nearly three months for this bout, and his conditioning was evident by the way he took Garrett’s bombs. Wilson came back in a big way in round five, working hard rights to the body and left hooks to the head of Mussachio. He landed a monster left-right-left-right combination to the head midway through the round, but Mussachio took the shots well.
Round six was a big one for Mussachio. After absorbing three consecutive left hooks in the opening minute, Mussachio put on a counter-punching clinic. He would slip Wilson’s shots and make him pay immediately with right hands. Mussachio also landed a nice four-punch combination near the end of the round.
Wilson opened round seven with a double left hook – overhand right combination, and Mussachio continued to chip away with quick one-twos. Mussachio appeared to take the round after landing two left hooks and several lead rights to close out the round.
Mussachio came out strong in round eight, landing a big left-right combination early, followed by jabs and right hands, as Wilson slowed down a bit. Mussachio landed a solid right hand near the end of the round, but Garrett answered with a hard left hook- right hand- left hook combination.
Mussachio also won the ninth round by using his counter right effectively, but Wilson pulled another weapon from his arsenal, the overhand right. He landed two of them during the round, but Mussachio stole the round with a nice counter right in the final seconds.
Wilson, who has a bodybuilder’s physique, but fights like a Sherman tank, got his second wind in the tenth round, and he never looked back. Wilson took it to Mussachio, applying heavy pressure and shaking him with two hard double left hook combinations. Still, the round was close, but you could feel the tide turning.
Wilson opened the eleventh round with a hard right – left to the body, followed by a big double left hook to the head. Mussachio was still landing his shots, but they lacked the authority they had earlier in the fight. Wilson landed a big left hook in the final minute, and landed it several more times until the bell. Mussachio landed a nice left uppercut – right hand combination, but Wilson was on a mission and was unfazed.
Aware that he was behind on the scorecards, Wilson continued to press forward in round twelve. He landed two left hooks to open the round, and then three left jabs. Wilson then landed an overhand right that hurt Mussachio, and then landed another one that sent him down hard on his back. Game until the end, Mussachio tried to pull himself up, but could not beat referee Earl Brown’s count.
Immediately after the bout, Wilson told the crowd, “I want to thank everybody for coming out. Chucky, I take nothing away from that guy. He won almost every single round and I knew had to win by knockout.”
Mussachio, in spite of the loss, saw his stock rise with his performance. “Garrett fought his butt of and won it fair and square,” he said.
It was an excellent fight with great two-way action between two of the nicest guys in the sport.
- Rick Scharmberg
Cruz overwhelms Adjaho
Ronald Cruz remained unbeaten with an impressive stoppage of Anges “Baby Face” Adjaho in the eight round welterweight co-main event.
Cruz went right to work on Adjaho’s body from the opening bell. Two rights and a left jab found their mark downstairs followed by a left hook to the head and four more solid rights to the body of Adjaho.
Round two started the same way, with Cruz going hard to the body with both hands. Adjaho showed a hard jab, but was telegraphing his other punches. Cruz began moving his hands and throwing in combination. He landed a right to the body, followed by a left-right-left combination to the head. After Adjaho landed a double left hook, Cruz returned with a three punch combination, and ended the round with three successive left-right-left salvos.
Cruz turned southpaw about a minute into the third round, and had immediate success. The primary weapon was the right hook to the body of Adjaho. The switch seemed to puzzle Adjaho, who saw his punch output drop considerably.
Adjaho had his best round of the fight in the fourth. Cruz continued to pound his body, and landed at three-punch combination at the end of the round, but Adjaho did some nice combination punching early on, and landed two hard lefts to the body of Cruz in the final minute to make it close.
Cruz jabbed to Adjaho’s body almost exclusively to start the fifth round, setting him up for an overhand right that send Adjaho down for a short count. Adjaho protested to referee Earl Morton for some reason, but was sent down again from a left hook seconds later. Cruz then battered Adjaho around the ring. When Adjaho failed to return fire, referee Morton stopped the bout.
Adjaho mildly protested the stoppage, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Perez squeaks by Guzman in less than popular decision
It looked to be a night for hometown favorite and Atlantic City welterweight DeCarlo Perez to rebound from his first loss of his career after a draw and five victories, but scrappy, tough as nails veteran Manuel “The Wolf” Guzman had other plans in mind in their hotly contested four round contest.
Right from the opening bell, Manuel Guzman of Lancaster, PA looked confident as he stepped in and out of the pocket with short shots. DeCarlo Perez slowly and carefully found his way into a rhythm late in the opening stanza, working from mid-range. Guzman would not take a step backward and he just smiled before pinning the hometown favorite to the ropes where unleashed a couple of heavy hooks.
Round two was a back and forth affair which was almost too close to call, but Guzman appeared to wrest control in the third, landing a left uppercut as Perez stepped back while punching on the retreat. Guzman stepped up inside to work with his hooks, but Perez wanted to regain control and unleashed an upper cut on the inside. Unfortunately for Perez, the uppercut would not reach its mark. Instead it accidentally landed south of the border. Referee Randy Neumann immediately took a point for punching below the belt, much to the dismay of Perez and the fans. After the break, Perez went back to the jab, but Guzman was immediately on top of him, looking to step up the heat. Perez tired and this time a lighter low blow looked more intentional. Neumann only warned him this time. The low blow angered the Lancaster native who smiled and went on the back attack. Perez remained calm and his good defense was able to fend off most of the heavier swings from Guzman. And he shoe shined in the closing moments.
Perez regained control in the fourth round with several piston-like four punch combinations.
The fifth was more of the same, as Perez fought well on the outside, frustrating Guzman, but he still would not back down and both traded away with vicious shots in the final ten seconds of the round.
The heavy handed Guzman wouldn’t go away and fought back hard in the sixth and final round. Perez was forced to exchange and did well. In the closing seconds both fighters blasted away much to the delight of the crowd.
When the dust settled and the scores were read, it was DeCarlo Perez who caught the surprising decision by scores of 58-55 x 2 and 57-56 respectively.
King slips by DeJesus
A pair of hard luck junior welterweights looked to continue to right their careers in the second bout of the evening as Dontre King faced off against Julio DeJesus. The thirty year old King of Cambridge, Maryland entered the ring with a less than spectacular record of 5-9-2, 2KOs, but had won three in a row and four of his last five. Julio DeJesus was a more seasoned veteran at thirty six years of age and entered with a more respectable record of 5-2-1, 3KOs but had only tasted victory in one of his last three contests.
DeJesus gave up two inches in height and a couple in reach, but found his way on the inside in the early going with hooks that tagged the ribs, just under the elbows of King. The rugged DeJesus had one small problem, he kept his left low which allowed King to return fire with several big counters, and one stunned him as he was forced to step backward. King saw his opportunity and followed up with a heavy four punch combination, but the bell sounded before any further damage could be done.
DeJesus regained his composure in the corner and ratcheted up his attack early in the second round, as he pressed forward with a few good hooks, but King finished the round well uncorking several sharp rights to make the round close.
It was more of the same in the third as Franklinville, New Jersey native tried to force the action, while King tried to fend him off. In mid-round DeJesus connected with his best shot of the night, stunning King with a big right hand. Now it was DeJesus who went on the attack and tried to land the finishing shot, but King avoided most of his flurries and recovered well.
The fourth and final round was chess match as each fighter played to his strength. King kept him out on his jab, but DeJesus would land the occasional heavy right to make the round too hard to call.
The fight looked like it would end in a draw, but when the scores were tallied, it was Dontre King who would have his hands raised, as all three judges saw it 39-37 in favor of the Cambridge, Maryland native. Dontre King’s stock is slowly rising, winning his fourth win in a row. Will he escape the journeymen status? It is too soon to tell, but he is on the right track.
- Kurt Wolfheimer
Jennings destroys Franklin
Bryant “Bye-Bye” Jennings (11-0, 5 KOs) made quick work of overmatched Kevin Franklin (3-4, 1 KO), topping him at 1:51 of the opening round of a scheduled six round heavyweight bout.
A big left-right combination from Jennings sent Franklin down before he could land a meaningful punch. Jennings then trapped Franklin on the ropes and unloaded bomb after bomb on his defenseless target. When referee Randy Neumann failed to step in and stop it, Franklin’s corner threw in the towel to save their beaten fighter.
Nelson beats Beaton
In the opening bout, Naim Nelson (3-0) took a unanimous decision over Deroy Beaton (1-3) in a four round junior welterweight bout.
After a slow opening round, things heated up in round two. Beaton went to Nelson’s body with his left, and Nelson responded with an overhand right. Nelson forced Beaton to hold with another big right, but Beaton responded with a nifty four-punch combination. Beaton was cut near his right eye at some point during the round.
Round three was very close, but Nelson turned it on in the fourth round. He found openings for double right hands, and landed them freely throughout the round. Nelson worked in some nice body shots for good measure.
All three judges saw Nelson winning by identical 39-37 scores.
Aikens outworks Kirby
In the four round walkout bout of the evening, undefeated Atlantic City super middleweight prospect Antowyan Aikens raised his record to 3-0, 1 KO with a workmanlike unanimous decision victory over game journeyman Charles “The Human Torch” Kirby (1-5) of Philadelphia, PA.
It wasn’t pretty throughout as the fight had several clinches and the exchanges weren’t always clean, but Aikens appeared to be the sharper fighter throughout.
Kirby should be applauded for his efforts though as he pressed through some good exchanges in the final three rounds, even landing some of his own, but he just didn’t have enough power to win the close rounds.
All three Judges saw the bout 40-46 in favor of Antowyan Aikens who moves to 3-0, 1 KO.