By Brady Crytzer at ringside
Photos: Gary Sarti
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In the main event of Friday night’s ProAm card in Butler, PA, WBA#10 ranked heavyweight Brian “The Beast” Minto (33-2, 21 KOs) was awarded a unanimous decision over Matt “The Gator” Greer (12-5, 11 KOs) after eight of the most bloody and brutal rounds in recent heavyweight memory. The judges’ scorecards all read the same, 80-72, in favor of Minto, and by the end both fighters were drenched in blood, mostly from the nose and mouth of Greer.
Respect is hard to come by when you’re fighting Brian Minto in Butler, PA. For most of Minto’s opponents, a walk to the locker room is usually accompanied jeers and an army of security personnel.
Matt “The Gator” Greer left to the applause and adoration of the whole of Brian Minto’s hometown crowd.
The men exchanged patient jabs to begin round one. Greer, who enjoyed a three inch height advantage, rocked the head of Minto back with timed right hands. Though the blows landed cleanly, Minto continued to press forward with hard body punches and short hooks to the head.
Tommy Yankello, the chief engineer of Minto’s training camps, instructed his fighter to “stay small” throughout the round. The 213 pound heavyweight was happy to oblige.
Greer attempted to time his jab in the second but was quickly smothered when he began to find success. Minto bloodied the nose of his opponent and ripped fast right hooks to the ribs of Greer. As “The Beast” was bullying his man in the corner, the determined Greer halted Minto’s advance with a short left uppercut. Greer ended the round with a smile on his face.
Round three began with a furious pace as Greer rocked Minto with a long range left uppercut. Sensing the WBA #10 ranked Minto was hurt, Greer slammed a right cross to the top of his opponent’s head. Minto quickly resumed his body attack and, due to the close quarters combat, both men became covered with stains of each others blood.
The once yellow trunks of Minto were smattered with blood and the tape that secured the gloves of both fighters was now a familiar shade of crimson.
Action slowed in round four and Minto began to work from the outside. Time and again, Minto slammed overhand rights into the face of Greer. On his way back to his corner, Greer left a trail of blood and sweat.
Though both fighters were tired, Greer appeared to be running dangerously low on gas.
If there ever was a three minute period capable of justly summarizing the brutal pugilistic slugfest, round five was it.
Minto pressured Greer with a steady, droning attack of body punches and uppercuts and Greer returned fire in explosive and unexpected outbursts. As the ten second clapper sounded, Greer sunk to the canvas after being hit with a blow that was ruled low by referee Ernie Sherif.
Greer rose to his feet and took sanctuary on his corner’s lonely stool.
With both warriors sufficiently exhausted, Minto controlled a very slow round six by landing the more effective punches and maintaining an active pace. Greer, who was now running on fumes, threw less than twenty punches and landed less than five.
Round seven saw the action begin to pick up again as Greer unloaded a left right combination at Minto. Minto continued his tenacious attack however and controlled the round.
Greer earned his paycheck in the eighth and final round by slamming a right cross into the skull of Minto that sent blood and sweat flying, literally, into the third row of the Butler Days Inn Ballroom.
Beaten, bloodied and exhausted the men seemed to have made a silent agreement to grapple as the last ten seconds crawled off of the clock.
Both men waved to the crowd with ear to ear smiles on their faces.
“I can’t believe he went the distance,” Minto said. “He was a strong puncher but, wow, he can take a beating. Any other referee but Ernie (Sherif) would have stopped that.”
Zulas Smashes Riegle, Wins Professional Debut
In the evening’s heavyweight co-feature, Golden Gloves standout Paul “Zeus” Zulas stopped Justin Riegle in a brutal exhibition of punching power after landing a devastating right uppercut just :35 seconds into round two.
In his professional debut the former three time Golden Gloves champion Zulas enjoyed a significant size advantage as he outweighed Riegle by nearly thirty pounds.
Zulas quickly bull-rushed his opponent and began ripping thunderous right hands to the body. Riegle, who was taking a large amount of punishment, found success by throwing straight right hands which landed on the chin of his hard charging opponent. His momentum was squashed in barbaric fashion however when a crushing right uppercut compliments of “Zeus” sent Riegle sailing to the mat.
The still dazed Riegle rose to his feet at the bell and staggered back to his corner.
When the fighters met again in the center of the ring Zulas jumped on his still wounded opponent immediately. The 6’4, 230 pound heavyweight tossed his overmatched opponent into the corner and crushed Riegle with a single right uppercut.
The fighter appeared to be unconscious before he hit floor and his mouthpiece bounced symbolically out of the ring.
The fight was waved off immediately, giving Paul “Zeus” Zulas his first professional win just :35 seconds into round two. Justin Riegle falls to 2-1.
Niggemyer KO’s Suska in Debut
In the first professional fight of the night, Middleweight Russ Niggemyer defeated Sam Suska after a devastating second round TKO at 1:21.
Suska rushed his opponent immediately and pressed Niggemyer into the corner. The men exchanged heavy blows until referee Ernie Sherif paused the action to replace the mouthpiece of Niggemyer.
After action resumed, the chest-to-chest contest continued. Suska blasted his opponent with a thunderous overhand right to restart the action, but the mouth guard of Niggemyer hit the canvas yet again. Sherif, visibly frustrated, penalized the fighter one point.
Round two saw Niggemyer drifting backwards into the corner to work with hard inside punches. After scoring with a hard right hand to the chin, Niggemyer chased the staggering Suska and dropped him flat on his face with a hard cross.
Though he beat the count, Suska was still shaken and reengaged his opponent only to be crumpled with a devastating right hand. Referee Ernie Sherif made it to the count of five before he waved off the contest at1:21.
With this win Russ Niggemyer is victorious in his professional debut, while Sam Suska falls to 0-1.