By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Junior lightweight prospect Jason Sosa (12-1-3, 8 KOs) made a big statement to the lightweight contenders in scoring a devastating ninth round knockout of Michael Brooks (10-2-1, 2 KOs) on Saturday night at the famed Bally’s Events Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In the co-feature of the seven bout card promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions, popular middleweight sensation Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna upped his record to 14-0, 7Ko’s with a solid eight round unanimous over Ahsandi “Mr. Brixx” Gibbs (10-4, 4 KOs).
It was a big night to make a statement for Jason Sosa, as he stepped into the ring in the main event to go toe to toe with slick southpaw “Michael “Lefty” Brooks. Sosa entered the contest on a seven fight win streak and looked confident and strong. In his last bout, The Camden native scored a fourth round knockout of fifteen fight veteran Bryne Green in his last bout in November, and new that it was a major step up as he faced The Long Island, New York native. Michael Brook’s only loss came at the hands of Karl “Dynamite” Dargan and had beaten some of the rising prospects in the region, including Joseph “Chip” Perez and Bryan Acaba.
In the opening round, each fighter took turns trying to control the ring with sharp shots. Brooks was the busier fighter, while Sosa was the heavier puncher. Sosa forced the wily southpaw to clinch from s solid one two up top, late in the first round.
The fight continued to be close throughout the second round, but Sosa seemed to be finding his rhythm late, even though Brooks was slowing him a bit with good counters. Jason Sosa went to the body late to squeeze out the round.
Both fighters chose to trade in the middle of round three and Sosa was in his element. A short right hand on the button sent Brooks crumbling to the canvas. Brooks beat the count and moved and clinched until he regained his senses. Brooks landed a strong four punch combination in the closing moments to slow the Sosa freight train.
In the fourth stanza, Michael Brooks rushed out of the corner, looking to turn the tide, but eventually went back to countering again as Sosa pushed forward and dug the body on the inside. Brooks landed a big right up top but Sosa continued to dig to the body.
Both fighters had their moments in the fifth. Brooks found his mark with three strong left hand counters, while Sosa continued to mix in hooks much to the delight of his vocal fans, Sosa found his mark with a four punch combination late.
Sosa began to take over in the sixth, as he used a solid four punch flurry to back Brooks up to ropes. He also added the upper cut to his repertoire and snapped up Brook’s head whenever on the inside. Brooks banged a hard counter right, but Sosa walked right through it and connected with another hard right in return. Sosa seemed to get mad late after getting caught with a counter, Sosa also unloaded six unanswered shots as the round came to a close.
Brooks clinched in the seventh as Sosa pressed the attack. Just when it looked like Sosa was in control, Brooks forced him backward with a solid combination. Sosa would not be denied and walked through a big right and then stepped back and taunted him to come in while backing to a corner.
Brook’s fans urged him to come on as the eighth round opened, but Sosa was in control as he calmly banged the harder combinations. You could see Brooks exhausted from the powerful combinations.
Sosa’s combinations had done their damage and Brooks was clinching and boxing well on the move. The heavy handed Sosa forced Brooks into a corner. Brooks tried to trade but Sosa found his opening and uncorked a hellacious right hand in the button. It couldn’t have landed any better as Brooks fell backwards, landing on the bottom rope in devastating fashion. Referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. immediately waived the bout off as they rushed the medics in. Brooks was able to walk out of the ring moments later, but they placed him on a gurney and he was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons.
The official time of the knockout was 2:27 of the ninth round.
Sosa spoke on the fight and the devastating knockout afterwards. “I was trying to set him up early. I was having a bit of trouble with my footwork. We had been working on it in camp with Tevin Farmer. In the ninth round a found my footwork and that is what allowed me to land the right hand that finished him.”
His trainer Ramon Rivas commented on the improvement of Sosa: “He hadn’t fought in five months or gone past six rounds and you can see the strength he carried throughout the fight and into the ninth round. From the first round until the end, you could see no difference in his strength.”
Look for Sosa to be a name heard on the national scene in the near future.
LaManna outworks Gibbs
In the co-feature of the evening, popular middleweight Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (14-0, 7 KOs) captured a workmanlike eight round unanimous decision victory over Ahsandi Gibbs (10-4, 4 KOs). LaManna used his superior reach and movement in the early going to outbox the shorter Gibbs. The popular almost ended the fight in the second round as he rocked Gibbs with a right and followed it up with a series of unanswered shots, which forced a clinch. Gibbs seemed to be getting his legs back, but a hard straight left forced him to wobble backwards. Not wanting to punch himself out, Cornflake went back to the jabs and few good shots behind them. Gibbs finally got back inside where he safely dug a few hooks underneath.
LaManna found his mark with uppercuts late and the second and continued right into the third round. Gibbs was able slide to his left to get inside; where he buried his head on LaManna’s chest to dug tight hooks. The taller “Cornflake gave up his reach in the middle rounds abandoning his jab which was more accommodating to Ahsandi’s inside fighting style. Though LaManna was winning the rounds with his harder combinations, he was allowing Gibbs to stay in there where he could work underneath.
Tommy LaManna finally went back to his boxing, while moving in the fifth round. Gibbs had his best round of the fight in the sixth as he banged away on the inside. The heavier handed LaManna was stronger down the stretch, but he could not land the telling blow that would send Gibbs home early, and the bout went to the scorecards. All three judges saw the bout in favor of Tommy “Cornflake” LaManna by scores of 77-75 x 2 and 78-74 respectively. Fightnews had it 78-74 also.
Burgin edges Trader
In a six round special attraction, undefeated junior lightweight Anthony “Bad Boy” Burgin (6-0, 1 KO) had to get off the canvas to win the biggest fight of his career, scoring a solid unanimous decision victory over the more experienced Frank “Nitty” Trader (10-2-1, 2 KOs).
Burgin easily captured the opening two rounds as he snapped short combinations on the defensive minded Trader. Late in the second round, Nitty finally calmed down and put some power behind his shots. Burgin’s punchers still were more effective.
Burgin got a little careless in the third as his hands were down while banging away strong. Frank Trader saw an opening and uncorked a straight left-right combination down the middle, which put Burgin on the seat of his pants. Burgin looked at his corner and said he was okay as he rose to his feet. Trader’s confidence grew as he pushed the attack right up until the bell sounded to end the round.
The “Bad boy was angered from his mistake in the previous round and he attacked Trader in the fourth with a series of hard hooks underneath early. Burgin was the aggressor as the round progressed, but Trader’s movement and counters made the round close. A left from Burgin had opened up a cut on the left eyebrow of Trader.
Burgin mixed up his attack in the fifth and reopened a cut over the left eye and it was clearly bothering Trader, but he fought on. The heavier handed Burgin looked like he may have evened up the knockdowns in the sixth, dropping Trader with a body shot, but referee Earl Brown ruled it a slip and allowed him time to get up and gather his wits, before wiping off his gloves. Trader fought back as both traded, even landing a hard right. Burgin would not let in and traded away until the final bell sounded to end the fight.
All three judges scored the fight in favor of Anthony Burgin, by scores of 58-55 x 2 and 57-56 respectively, giving him the well-deserved six round unanimous decision victory.
Aikens outduels Artis
Undefeated super middleweight Antowyan Aikens (9-0, 1 KO), used his superior hand speed to outbox and outslug the formerly undefeated Sherman Artis (2-1, 0 KOs) in the walkout bout of the evening. Artis had to shake off over three years of ring rust and looked a bit timid in the early going. Aikens was careful though and attacked only in well planned lunges, while Artis spent much of his time smiling and denying he was hurt. Aikens continued to find his mark with hard rights as the rounds progressed, but Artis countered well enough to keep him honest. Aikens almost ended it in the sixth and final with a straight shot on the button. Sherman Artis flailed backward across the ring and, falling onto the ropes from the shot. The ropes saved him from going down and he was stepping in potholes as he received the eight count. He was allowed to continued and survived until the final bell sounded. All three judges saw the bout highly in favor of Aikens by scores of 59-54 x 2, and 60-53 respectively for the unanimous decision victory
Davis shuts down Machado
Kyrone “Shut it Down” Davis (2-0, 2 KOs) banged out a solid four round TKO of debuting Rafael Machado. Davis continually found his mark with quick combinations. Machado could not match the hand speed and went to the canvas late in the third from a right on the temple. Machado would rise to his feet, but continued to take constant leather from Davis. A Davis lead right hand as both fighter began to swing away, caught Machado flush. The rugged Machado landed on his back from the force of the blow, but was able to beat the count. Davis would not let him off the hook and he found his mark with five unanswered punches before referee Benjy Esteves waived the fight off and “shut it down” at 1:16 of the fourth and final round.
Gonzales guns down Goode
Undefeated junior welterweight David “Two Gunz” Gonzales (4-0, 1 KO) dropped Dominic Goode (0-3) twice on his way to an impressive second round stoppage. Gonzales looked at home throughout the bout, landing huge overhand counters. He sent an off balance Goode to the canvas with a left in the first. Goode tried to fight back in the second round, but Gonzales returned him to the canvas with an axe handle right hand in the corner. His corner men had seen enough and the fight was waved the fight off at 2:16 of the second round.
Pasciolla slips by Williams
In a four round heavyweight scrap, Dominic Pasciolla (3-1, 0 KOs) squeezed out a four round majority decision victory over David Williams (7-8-2, 2 KOs). Pasciolla appeared to control the opening two rounds with stiff jabs and hard combinations. Williams got his attention late in the second with a few good right hands. Pasciolla’s punches got wider, leaving openings for Williams, who peppered him throughout the final two rounds with hard combinations. Pasciolla made the rounds close though when he fired hard shots whenever on the inside. One judge saw the bout 38-38, but was overruled by the other two officials, who saw it 39-37 in favor of Dan Pasciolla, giving him the four round majority decision victory,
The matchmaker for the exciting seven bout card was none other than BAM Boxing’s Brittany Rogers.