By Boxing Bob Newman
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
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Another packed house filled the UVI Fitness Center in beautiful St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to witness Boxing In Paradise II, the second promotion by 340 Promotions, headed up by Lesley Comissiong and boxing impresario Sampson Lewkowicz, in asociation with Warriors Boxing and Arano Box of Argentina. In the main event for the WBA Fedelatin welterweight title, scheduled for eleven rounds, Argentine Hector Saldivia (28-1, 2 KOs) and Indonesian Daudy Bahari.(38-2, 14 KOs) looked on paper to be an evenly matched bout. With a combined 66 wins against 3 losses and 36 knockouts between them, who would have forecast a blowout? Not this writer. With the recent success of Indonesian fighters on U.S. Shores, it seemed Bahari would show his wares as did his countrymen Chris John and Daud Yordan. But it was not to be. Saldivia stalked while Bahari was on his bicycle, jabbing and moving. All looked good until BOOM! Bahari took a right high on the forehead, his legs crumbling underneath him. He beat the count, but might have thought better of it. Two more flurries and two more knockdowns, all in the same fashion- as if he was shot. The time was 57 seconds of the first round via three knockdown rule. Referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. waved off the slaughter, Saldivia retaining his belt.
The undercard featured local standouts Julius and John Jackson, sons of legendary former champ, Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, making their second starts, along with the boys’ cousin Samuel Rogers, Aruban cruiserweight Evan Nedd also making their return on the isle. Rounding out the card was undefeated Fernando Quintero of Oxnard, CA.
Opening the professional segment of the show, Julius Jackson took on William Ganes. It wasn’t much of a test as Jackson showed new found power with a vicious left hook20to the body, dropping and stopping Ganes at 34 seconds of the opening stanza. Jackson moves to 2-0, 1 KO. Ganes drops to a woeful 3-10, 3 KOs.
Jackson cousin Samuel Rogers was in tough against Emmanuel Augustus clone Mike Thomas. Thomas herked and jerked, changing stances, feinting, flurrying and frustrating Rogers at times. Rogers kept stalking, pressuring and firing away. Still the judges saw it Rogers’ way: Ismael Falu had it 39-37, Jose Torres scored it 39-37 and Roberto Ramirez Sr. scored it 40-36. Rogers is now 2-0 and Thomas starts off at 0-1.
Fellow undefeateds Evan Nedd and Reggie Peña wowed the crowed with fire power and skilled boxing. Nedd raced across the ring to start off, firing bombs, but Peña weathered the storm, countering with some effectiveness. Each man rocked the other, but neither hit the canvas. Judge Frank Jackson had it 38-38. Ismael Falu scored it 40-36 and Jose Torres had it 39-37, a majority decision for Evan Nedd, now 3-0 1 KO. Peña slips to 2-1, 1 KO.
Oxnard California’s Fernando Quintero and Puerto Rico’s Alberto Amaro staged a classic Mexican – Puerto Rican war to delight the f ans. “Fast Ferny” got a rude awakening in the first few seconds of the bout by getting dropped with a vicious low blow. After recovering, Quintero was in for a tough one as Amaro brought it on. Quintero used his speed to counter and flail away, catching the in-rushing Amaro often. It was give and take for six rounds, but Quintero had more, winning by scores of 58-56 (Torres), 59-56 (Jackson) and 60-54 (Falu). Quintero remains undefeated at 7-0-1, while Amaro slides to 4-3, 1 KO.
John Jackson kept the Jackson brothers streak alive with a crushing right to the body of Steve Grove, stopping him at 1:28 as referee Roberto Ramirez decided Grove beat the count but was in no shape to continue. John Jackson is now 2-0, 2 KOs, Grove loses his pro debut.
As a special attraction, 340 promotions presented their Project 2012, an amateur exhibition of 9 bouts between neighboring Puerto Rico and the USVI. The project i s designed to bolster the strength of the USVI’s amateur squad for the next Olympic games in London, 2012.