By Kurt Wolfheimer
Saturday night at the Sovereign Center in Reading PA, Travis “GW Hope” Kauffman (20-1, 16 KOs) showed that he is once again back as a one of up and coming prospects in the heavyweight division by easily stopping hard punching veteran, Chris “Special K” Koval (24-7, 18 KOs) of Youngstown Ohio in the second round of their scheduled ten round main event, capturing the WBF Intercontinental heavyweight title. The exciting nine bout Pro-Am card promoted by Kings Promotions also featured two other professional bouts. In the four round co-feature of the evening, lightweight Van Oscar Penovaroff moved to (5-0-1, 4 KOs) with a devastating third round knockout of Travis “The Animal” Thompson (3-7-1, 2 KOs).
The 24-year-old Travis Kauffman, who had suffered his first defeat at the hands of Tony Grano, looked to change some things in his career in order to help him get back into contender status. “In The Grano bout, I had him ready to quit, but he hit me low and spit his mouthpiece out to survive,” said Kauffman. “The low blow made me angry and I lost my cool. I went after him and dropped my guard while swinging away and got caught. That will not happen again and I came tonight to prove a point,” and prove a point he did against the hard hitting Koval.
Travis, in just the second fight of his comeback, chose a dangerous opponent in Chris Koval who had eighteen knockouts in his twenty-four victories. Koval, who usually takes fights on short notice, had plenty of time to prepare for this bout, having signed for the bout several weeks in advance. He looked primed and ready with a solid game plan as he tried to slow Kauffman down with jabs and a couple of rights up top in the opening round.
The man nicknamed “GW Hope” had several weapons in his arsenal and used his hand speed early which Chris “Special K” Koval just had no answer for. Then, he went downstairs with heavy body shots to the soft undercarriage of Koval. “I heard him grunt with my first big body shot and I knew I was hurting him,” said Kauffman. The body shots appeared to slow Koval and then Travis made a key move by switching to the southpaw stance. “I felt he wasn’t prepared for me to switch and I hurt him a soon as I did,” said Kauffman. A four punch combination in the closing moments sent Koval wobbling to the ropes. Kauffman came in looking for the kill, but did not lose his composure as he placed his shots well. Koval still was dangerous and tried to unload two big right uppercuts on the inside, but Travis caught them on the gloves. Just as the bell sounded a big two punch combination by Kauffman hurt Koval again and he appeared to be stepping in pot holes as he walked his corner.
Koval was able to recover in the corner, but Kauffman would not let him off the hook, as he confidently banged away from the southpaw stance. A double right hook sent Koval to the canvas as Kauffman’s home crowd jumped to their feet. Koval rose from the canvas and tried to feet back, but just seconds later, a four punch combination returned him to the mat for the second time. Koval looked like he had rolled on his ankle as he fell to the canvas and winced as he rose again. Travis calmly walked in behind a tight one two and the uncorked a right hand which spun Chris Koval’s head around. Referee Gary Rosato had seen enough and stepped in and called a halt to the bout at the 1:19 mark of the second round.
Kauffman discussed his new found confidence afterward. “I have been working with a new strength and conditioning coach Dane Miller and I can really feel the difference. He has me pushing around a two hundred pound sled which made moving Koval around the ring easier. Koval was heavier, but the sled was much tougher to move then him.
The win should put the young Reading Pennsylvania native back into the mix of contenders waiting to take that next big step up to the elite level of the heavyweight division.
“We are working on a possible ESPN fight and a deal with Empire Promotions,” said his father and trainer Marshall Kauffman afterward.
Penovaroff crushes Thompson!
Reading junior welterweight prospect Van Oscar Penovaroff (5-0-1, 4 KOs) bounced back from his first draw of his career, with a devastating third round knockout of Travis “The Animal” Thompson (3-7-1, 2 KOs) in their schedule four round co-feature of the evening.
It was a give and take fight early portion of the opening round as Travis Thompson tried to work his way inside with small combinations, but Penovaroff was quick with his counters, which slowed the arm punching Thompson’s advances. As the round progressed Van Oscar Penovaroff seemed to gain confidence and sat down on his counters. He finished the round with a powerful four punch combination which stunned Thompson.
The reach of the Penovaroff continued to stymie the advances of Thompson throughout round two. Late in the round, Van unloaded two lead lefts, followed with and over hand right which rocked Thompson who retreated to the ropes. Van unloaded one more big right hands on the retreating Thompson as the bell sounded to end the round. He corner worked feverishly to get Thompson back to his senses.
Thompson was a warrior though and came back out for round three, pressing forward, but he squared up too much and that would be his big downfall. Van Oscar Penovaroff was in control and put him off balance with only one foot on the ground from a right hand. Before he could put his other foot down, two blistering left hooks put him flat on his back for the knockout. After a minute on his back, Travis looked wobbly as the picked him up and placed him on a stool, but he recovered quickly and was able to walk out of the ring on his own power.
“I worked real hard training for this fight,” said Van Oscar Penovaroff. My trainers said I didn’t work as hard for my last fight (a draw against Francisco Palacios on December 4th 2009) and it showed in the ring tonight.
“I saw he was shorter than me and I knew I could catch him with counters coming in,” said Van. “I caught him in the second round and he was hurt. Between rounds, my corner said this is the last round and if I don’t get him out of there that I wouldn’t be fighting next week so I said Oh man I have to get him out of there and that’s what I did.”
Miranda wins split decision!
This fight between two debuting heavyweights had all the looking’s of a mismatch. Hassan Lee out of Philadelphia seemed physically more muscular, taller and appeared to have a huge reach advantage. His opponent Allentown PA’s William Miranda looked to be short and stocky with more of a power lifter’s build not a boxer. Looks can be deceiving though and this fight was a prime example.
Lee tried to impose his will in the opening round with jabs and hooks on the outside hoping to keep the shorter Miranda on the outside. The stocky Miranda had other intentions and walked right through the jabs and began to work the body on the inside whenever he caught the retreating Lee against the ropes.
The heavier handed Miranda found his range in rounds two and three as he caught Lee stepping straight back with big left hook hands on the chin. Lee’s right eye sported a nice mouse from the hooks. Hassan was tough though and tried valiantly to fight while on the retreat and tied up when on the inside but Miranda was relentless with his attack and continued to dig away unmercifully. Lee tried to go on the bicycle in round three, but a short right knocked out his mouthpiece. Miranda did not give him room and immediately blasted away with a couple of hard right hands up top, forcing a clinch and a timeout to put Lee’s mouthpiece back in. After the break, Lee landed his best right of the fight but Miranda just smiled and continued to track him down. The heavier handed Miranda pushed Lee right back to the ropes where he planted heavy shots which Hassan had no answer for. The crowd roared in approval as Miranda seemed to hurt Lee with four thudding hooks to the ribs as the round came to a close.
Miranda went for broke early in the fourth and final round with several big left hooks. Lee fought him off with a big left of his own. Miranda was not really bothered and showed it as he constantly squared up and slugged away. Lee still kept him honest until the final bell sounded with left jabs and rights while on the retreat, but for every Lee shot there were two in return from Miranda.
The fight went to the scorecards. Surprisingly, one judge scored it 39-37 for Miranda, but was overruled as the other two officials had it 39-37 in favor of William Miranda, giving him the split decision victory.