By Brady Crytzer at ringside
Photos: Gary Sarti
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Along the shores of the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, PA, over 2,500 fans gathered at the Amphitheater at Station Square to witness the return of former IBF world lightweight champion Paul Spadafora (42-0-1) as he defeated the durable Argentinean Ivan Bustos (27-13-3) via TKO in the sixth round of a scheduled eight round jr. welterweight attraction.
Though Spadafora has been away from championship form for over six years, the 33 year former titlist commanded the center of the ring and pumped a fresh jab into the face of his opponent. Bustos, who moved gingerly despite his soft build, ran into several southpaw lefts as he rushed forward carelessly.
Aided in his corner by boxing great Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, Spadafora listened attentively between rounds. Round two saw “The Pittsburgh Kid” fight with a renewed aggressiveness highlighted by an attention to precise and technical boxing. Bustos circled his opponent in the second but found little sanctuary as he was hit with several three punch combinations.
Bustos became more active in the third period with hard jabs and straight rights. Undeterred, Spadafora ripped hard combinations to the head and body. After landing a left-right combination, Spadafora blasted a picture perfect southpaw right hook into the face of Bustos which bloodied his nose.
At the request of his corner the former world champion unloaded several digging left hands to the soft midsection of Bustos in round four. Following a hard overhand right that momentarily paused the hometown hero, Spadafora recovered and snapped back the head of the Argentinean with a sizzling left cross to the chin.
Despite absorbing several blows Bustos remained anxious to trade punches in the fifth. With his hands held high Bustos was slammed to the body repeatedly by “The Pittsburgh Kid.” With just ten seconds remaining in the round, Spadafora sent his opponent sailing into the ropes with a left cross to the forehead.
Round six revealed the first glimpse of doubt in the face of Bustos as he was swarmed with lightening fast counter punches by the re-energized Spadafora. After doubling over the Argentinean with a right hook to the ribs, Spadafora unloaded on Bustos with a wicked combination of hooks and uppercuts.
Having seen enough, the corner of Bustos mercifully waved the towel to referee Ernie Sherif giving “The Pittsburgh Kid” Paul Spadafora the TKO victory at 2:26 of the sixth round.
Undercard Results: Salka, Archer Victorious
In a jr. welterweight contest, “Lightening” Rod Salka (8-0) defeated James Ventry (7-9) via unanimous decision. Scores read 60-54. 60-54, and 59-55. Though Ventry was game for the entirety of the bout, Salka controlled his overmatched opponent with hard combinations to the head and body.
Welterweight Sam Gibson (2-3-1) patiently battled through a grueling wrestling match with Jose Caraballo (5-4) to score a devastating second round KO at 2:02. After being thrown to the mat by his opponent on several occasions, Gibson crumpled Caraballo to the canvas with a single right hook to the temple.
In a scheduled four round light heavyweight contest, Chris “On Target” Archer (11-7) scored two knockdowns en route to stopping Jason Carter (2-5) via TKO 1:51 of the third round.
Heavyweight Tommy Poe made his professional debut a successful one by scoring a four round unanimous decision over Ryan St. Germaine. Poe had St. Germaine hurt on several occasions with haymaker right uppercuts. Official scores read 40-36 twice and 39-37.