By Gary “Digital” Williams at ringside
File Saturday’s Keystone Boxing card under the adage “never judge a boxing card by the number of bouts on the card.” Because of some unfortunate circumstances in the weeks leading up to the card, the fans at Du Burns Arena in Baltimore, MD only got to see four bouts. However, those bouts turned out to be the most competitive bouts on one card in recent memory.
In the main event, undefeated Suitland, MD cruiserweight Venroy “Hard Work” July received the toughest test of his young pro career but managed to win an eight-round unanimous decision over a very game Justin “The Lumberjack” Howes of Buckhannon, WVA.
The first two rounds saw July being totally dominant. The native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, who is also a corporate lawyer, used solid hand speed and great combinations to the head and body. By the third round, Howes had a bloody nose.
However, Howes came back in the third and fourth round, throwing combinations of his own and looking more like his nickname as he threw chopping shots at July’s face with his right hand. The rest of the contest became a war of attrition as both men reached the eighth round for the first time in their pro careers. Both men were fatigued but managed to complete the contest.
July won by scores of 78-74 (twice) and 77-75. July is now 11-0-2, four KO’s while Howes falls to 13-3, 11 KO’s.
In the co-feature, 18-year-old Glen Burnie, MD bantamweight Brady “The Magician” Sensibaugh made his pro debut a successful one by winning a four-round majority decision over the equally-debuting Giovanni “The Thumb of God” Vasquez of Columbia, SC.
Sensibaugh, who fought 100 amateur bouts, used that experience to his advantage as he fought with a solid left jab and used strong footwork to win the contest. Vasquez showed a solid chin and challenged Sensibaugh throughout the bout, but could not land the harder blows.
Sensibaugh is the fourth boxer from the Beltway region (DC, MD and Virginia) to turn pro at 18 or younger in the last 18 months. DC welterweight Dusty Harrison turned pro at 17 in 2011 and is now 6-0, three KO’s. DC featherweight Shadeed Floyd and Frederick, MD welterweight Dillon Heyman made their pro debuts on the same card in May of this year and scored first-round knockouts at 18 years old.
Vasquez’s nickname – as unique as it is – has an interesting story. Vasquez says he is too humble to be the “Hand of God” because he would just obliterate everyone in the ring. So that is why he is just the “Thumb of God.”
Also on the card, Baltimore middleweight Lee Snow evened his record to 2-2 and scored the first knockout of his pro career with a fourth-round crunching of the debuting Issa Cuoibaly of DC. This bout was very even through three rounds with both boxers giving, taking and missing punches. Throughout the bout, however, Snow was looking for one big punch.
That big punch finally came midway through the fourth round when Snow dropped a right hand and Cuoibaly crumpled to the canvas. Cuoibaly beat referee John Gradowski’s count but was deemed unfit to continue. The bout was stopped at 1:59 of the fourth.
The curtain-raising contest saw undefeated Baltimore welterweight Kevin “The Scarecrow” Womack stop Nalo Leal of Airway Heights, WA at the end of the third round. The taller, Mark Breland-lookalike Womack pummeled the game Leal for three solid rounds before the corner stopped the bout and would not let Leal come out for the fourth round.
Womack is now 4-0-1, two KO’s while Leal is now 4-16-1.
Keystone Boxing, headed by Gene Molovinsky and Raymond Jackson, promoted the contest. The matchmaker was Brian Dillon.