By Kurt Wolfheimer
Photos: Ray Bailey
Wednesday night The Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, New Jersey, Michael Torres (14-2, 7 KOs) captured the vacant New Jersey state junior welterweight title with a convincing eight round unanimous decision victory over Mark Alexander (10-6, 1KO) . The undercard featured several exciting fights put together by matchmaker Renee “The Boxing Diva” Aiken. In the co-feature of the evening, undefeated lightweight Wanzell Ellison (4-0-1, 3 KOs) and dangerous veteran Carlos Vinan (10-9-5, 2 KOs) fought to an entertaining tactical draw. In a special four round attraction, popular junior middleweight Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (5-0, 3 KOs) captured the vacant BAM youth junior middleweight title by unanimous decision over Josh Williams (3-3, 3 KOs).
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The entertaining eight bout card was promoted by Vincent Ponte’s Gulf Steam Boxing. Coming off of two consecutive losses, it was critical for Jersey City, New Jersey’s Michael Torres to return to the winning side of the ledger if he was to be taken seriously again as a possible contender in the junior welterweight division. His opponent on the evening was London England’s own Mark Alexander and the vacant New Jersey state title was on the line to add even more pressure on the combatants.
After a feeling out round, each fighter began to show their boundaries. Torres was going to box on the outside, while on the bicycle. Mark Anderson seemed to be the puncher as he pressed straight forward throughout. Alexander won the second with a few good right hands behind some nice inside work.
Torres began to set down on his combinations in the third while slipping in and out of trouble. Anderson seemed befuddled with the movement and constant jabs. The precision boxing of the Vineland native easily won the fourth as England’s Anderson slowed his punch output.
Anderson was blasted in his corner by his camp. All in the arena could hear “Don’t waste your and our time. You need to let your hands go and battle it out with this guy.” The talk seemed to work as Alexander came out of his corner in the fifth, like a cornered tiger, attack with heavy combinations. Torres showed his experience as he covered and moved, while jabbing to slow the attack. Torres went back on the bicycle circling the ring with piston like jabs and two punch combinations. Rounds six and seven were more of the same as Michael Torres mixed in various sing uppercuts and hooks with his jabs and combinations. The eighth and final round was a classic case of the Matador and the bull, with the Anderson vainly trying to catch Torres who would lead him in and the snap and few volleys and move out of danger, knowing he was clearly ahead on the scorecards Torres stayed in his safe zone right until the final bell.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Michael Torres by scores of 79-73 x 2, and 78-74 respectively.
A Jubilant New Jersey state junior welterweight champion Michael Torres spoke on the fight and his future afterward. “My game plan was to box him, use my jab and work him from the outside and as you could see it worked, ” said Torres. “I know I took a couple if losses, but in those, I beat myself. Now I have a great team and promoter behind me and I felt I won the bout the minute he signed the contract,” continued Torres.
“I plan on fighting October 8th in Washington DC, from there we are going after ESPN and then an HBO fight. I want Maidana, Devon Alexander or Bradley. I was on the shelf for a little bit, but I am back and it is my time. I go to church and none of this would have happened without God.”
Ellison and Vinan battle to a draw
The six round lightweight co-feature of the evening pitted the classic battle of the young undefeated upstart against the more experienced ring veteran as Wanzell Ellison (4-0, 3 KOs) faced Carlos Vinan (10-9-4, 2 KOs). The heavy handed twenty two year old Ellison, who had three knockouts in his four victories tried to take control right from the opening bell with solid combinations and movement. The more experienced 31 year old Vinan tried to get the fight on the inside and worked well. Ellison tried to land some big shots but most missed their mark.
In the 2nd both fighters began to trade. Surprisingly, Vinan appeared to be the better fighter during the exchanges and pressed forward with five and six punch combos.
The fight turned in the third as Ellison found his mark with his left hands which caught Vinan as he lunged in to work on the inside. Ellison began to get cocky with slapping shots as the experienced Vinan continued to press forward.
Ellison’s well time counters seemed to keep Vinan off balance and his punches lost their steam during his lunges. The fight came down to the final round and Ellison seemed to squeak it out with the cleaner shots, while retreating around the ring.
After several moments the scores were read. One judge saw it 58-56 for Carlos Vinan. The second saw it equally the other way, 58- 56 for Vinan. The third and final judge called had it even at 57-57 resulting in the draw. Though this writer had Ellison winning by a point, a draw seemed equitable. Could a rematch be in order?
LaManna wins war with Williams
Hometown hero, Tommy “Cornflake” Lamanna (5-0, 3 KOs) captured the BAM youth junior middleweight title with a hard fought four round unanimous decision victory over Sheridan Arkansas’ Josh Williams (3-3, 3 KOs) Williams came out with bad intentions, but LaManna seemed more in control, snapping long combinations from the outside. Josh Williams seemed ready to make it a war as he bounced hooks of the body of the local favorite as the opening round came to the end.
LaManna stepped up the pace in the second and third with a series of various combinations. Williams tried to stay under the combinations, by leaning forward which left him open for the uppercut. The lanky LaManna did throw a couple of uppercuts, but Velez blocked most.
In the third LaManna began to head hunt and did well but Williams wouldn’t quit. The fight got a little chippy, as the round progressed. Williams landed to blows south of the border but it did little to deter Lamanna.
Behind on the cards going into the fourth and final round, Josh Williams went for broke as he set down on his combo’s and swung away with wild abandon. The hometown hero more the held his own. Williams gas tank looked to be on “Empty” but the stamina of LaManna was never questioned as he banged it out until the final bell.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Tommy LaManna by scores of 40-36 and 39-37 x 2 for the unanimous decision victory.
O’Brien overwhelms Velez
Popular East Hanover, New Jersey welterweight, Vinnie “The Lion” O’Brien rebounded from the first loss of his professional career, with a convincing four round unanimous decision victory over debut Vineland, New Jersey’s Carlos Velez. O’Brien rocked Velez in the first and sent him to the canvas with a tripled right hand combo. Velez rose to his feet and took three more big shots before being saved by the bell. Velez was game and fought back, but it was clear from that point on that O’Brien was in charge using popping combinations and left jabs which Velez had no answer for. Velez gamely traded away but Obrien’s combinations were sharper and carried the rounds. All three judges saw the fight easily in favor of Vinnie O’Brien by scores of 40-35 x 2 and 39-36 respectively.
Dawejko wins battle of unbeatens
A highly anticipated four round heavyweight bout featuring a pair of undefeated bangers seemed to be the talk amongst the boxing’s insiders as to who would remain perfect. Carteret New Jersey’s John Lennox, who entered the ring at 6-0 3 KOs, was known for putting on several exciting fights with his all offense first style in his early portion of his career which generated huge fan interest. It would be the biggest victory of his professional career if he could defeat Philly’s Joey “Polish Thunder” Dawejko. Dewajko, a former national amateur champion also entered ring undefeated at 4-0, 1KO and had his plans of coming back to Philly with the biggest victory of his professional career added to his resume.
Lennox had a several inch height advantage and tried to press the attack at the opening bell. Dawejko clearly showed that he had the quicker hands, using short crisp punches that had Lennox on the defensive. As each minute past, Dawejko become more confident, slipping in and out of punching range with heavy hooks, which could be heard throughout the arena. Lennox tried to change the tide wild combinations, but the heavy handed Philadelphian’s defense was at its’ best and he easily avoided most return shots. By the middle of the second round, Dawejko was attacking with supreme confidence. He forced Lennox to the ropes and rocked him left hook, behind a right hand. Lennox wobbled backward and covered on the ropes. Dawejko shoved another huge three punch combination as Lennox looked to be in bad shape. Referee Lindsey Page immediately jumped in and waived it off at the two minute mark of the second round, saving him from further damage, Lennox and his camp complained the stoppage was unjust, but according to this writer, Page made the proper call.
The win ups Joey Dawejko to a sparkling 5-0, 2 KOs while Lennox falls for the first time to a very respectable 6-1, 3 KOs.
Beale outworks Asongwed
Hometown heavyweight Tyabb Beale (5-3, 1KO), impressed the local brethren with a dominant four unanimous decision victory over journeyman Taffo Asongwed (2-9-7). Beale controlled the bout throughout using his height and reach advantage to keep Asongwed from mounting a serious attack. In the third Beale rocked Asongwed with an overhand left. Asongwed who had never been stopped in any of his bouts, immediately showed why as he clinched and threw a couple of heavy wild swings make Beale go back to boxing on the outside. Beale opened the fourth and final round, with piston like jabs and straight lefts to put Asongwed on the defensive. Beale did his best to land the big blow, but Asongwed showed his experience in preventing any more telling shots from landing. All three judges saw the bout easily in favor of Tyabb Beale by scores of 40-36 x 2 and 39-37 respectively.
Thompson outlasts Snow
Super middleweight John Thompson (2-0) remained undefeated with hard fought four round unanimous decision over Lee Snow (0-2). It looked like a knockout was in order as both fighters came out swinging with bad intentions. Thompson eventually settled down with effective shots and movement to capture the opening round.
Snow came out of the corner looking to change the tide in round two, but Thompson was the more skilled fight and picked his spots with jabs and right uppercuts. Snow reach and superior hand speed proved to be the difference throughout the third and fourth rounds as Snow fought valiantly but couldn’t counter with enough fire power to turn the tide, sending the bout to the scorecards. All three judges saw the bout in favor of John Thompson by scores of 40-36 and 39-37 x 2.
Newell Slips by Bolden
In the opening bout of the evening, Bethlehem PA heavyweight Eric Newel squeezed out a workmanlike four round split decision victory over New York New Yours Jon Bolden by scores 40-36, 40-36 and 37-39. Newel jumps to 2-1, 1KO while Bolden slides to 2-2, 2 KOs)