By Christopher P. Cook at ringside
Photo by Christopher P. Cook
Tampa played host to a night of competitive boxing, headlined with undefeated bantamweight Ray Ximenez winning the NBA Junior Intercontinental title at the Westshore DoubleTree Hotel. Promoted by Alessi Promotions & Management, the crowd attending witnessed a night of close fights and a few fireworks. Ximenez, who fought at the same location just a month ago, met a prepared and determined opponent in Jose “Chilli” Rivera. Also on the card, jr middleweight “Silky” Wilky Campfort won a unanimous decision victory, and local fighters Clarence Booth and Amos Cowart excited the crowd with knockouts.
Ray Ximenez (8-0-0, 3 KOs), 118 lbs, opened the main event utilizing his quick hands, targeting the body of “Chilli” Rivera (3-6-2, 0 KOs), 116.4 lbs. Ximenez speed and output doubled that of “Chilli” in the second. Not willing to let the fight get away from him, Rivera fought determined in the third, trying to get inside on Ximenez and hurt the undefeated boxer. A solid right hand startled “Chilli” in the opening of the fourth round, but Ximenez was unable to capitalize. The ring generalship of Ximenez took hold in the middle rounds, as Rivera continued to come forward and attack, finding it difficult to land a clean blow. The competitive match came to a close in exciting fashion, as both traded wildly trying to secure a victory. In the end all three judges scored on the contest 78-74 in favor of Ximenez, earning him the NBA Junior Intercontinental bantamweight belt.
In the co-main event, Fort Lauderdale’s “Silky” Wilky Campfort (11-1-0, 5 KOs), 157 lbs, squared off against Djolevi Ballogou (8-4-0, 6 KOs), 154.8 lbs, of Togo. After a feeling out round, Ballogou came out in the second throwing freely, attacking the body of “Silky.” “Silky” found home with a pair of straight rights on Ballogou during the round and closed it out strong, working the sides of Ballogou. A hard right hand from the Togolese caught Campfort in the fourth, hurting him. Campfort spent the fifth countering Ballogou well, landing a sharp short left followed by a damaging right hand. The Fort Lauderdale native won easily on the cards, with the judges scoring the competitive contest 58-56 and 59-55 twice, all for “Silky” Wilky Campfort.
Opening the night, Celina Salazar (4-0-2, 1 KO), 122.2 lbs, wasted no time dispatching debuting and unprepared Desire Agosto, 124.6 lbs. Salazar’s ring experience proved to be all she needed, as Agosto froze after being cornered by Salazar. The referee took mercy on Agosto after a dozen shots landed on the frozen Agosto. Time of stoppage was 48 seconds of the first.
Local favorite “Magic” Marcus Willis (12-2-2, 3 KOs), 156.8 lbs, bounced back from his knockout loss three months ago, winning a competitive but clear decision over Ashantie Hendrickson (5-11-1, 3 KOs), 154.2 lbs. Willis’ activity and accuracy scored him points with the judges, and ultimately the decision. Willis found a home for his punches, tagging Hendrickson easily as he moved forward. Judges scored the bout 78-74, 79-73, and 80-72 all for Willis.
Hard hitting Amos Cowart (5-0-0, 4 KOs), 136.4 lbs, made short work of Richard Pitt (4-10-0, 1 KO), 133.2 lbs. In the opening stanza, Cowart landed a hard right just before the end of the first that startled Pitt. Pitt came out throwing in the second, landing several combos on Cowart. A solid straight to the face of Amos lit his fire and Pitt soon met a hard left hand to the top of his head, dropping him. Pitt was able to rise before the count of ten, only to be battered with shots as he found himself caught in the corner. The referee jumped in to stop the bout at the 2:28 of the second, saving Pitt for further punishment.
St Petersburg’s Clarence Booth (4-1-0, 3 KOs), 144.2 lbs, needed only 1:12 to stop Devarise Crayton (7-14-2, 3 KOs), 146 lbs. Crayton ended his own night early as he backed himself into the ropes after a break. Booth saw this and pounced, unloading a flurry of shots on Crayton. Crayton’s corner stopped the fight as they witnessed their boxer not throwing any shots back. Time of stoppage was 1:12 of the first.
Super middleweight Marquis Davis (6-0-2, 4 KOs), 161.2 lbs, kept his undefeated record in tact, winning easily over the unorthodox Joseph Benjamin (3-21-2, 3 KOs), 164 lbs. Benjamin kept on the move the entire fight, bouncing around the ring, seemingly more focused on avoiding Davis’ punches than trying to win the contest. Davis maintained his poise and was able to pick off Benjamin as he moved back and forth. All three judges scored the bout for Davis, with the scores of 39-37 and 40-36 twice.
Jairo Martinez (3-0-1, 0 KOs), 141.4 lbs, and Tommy Bryan (2-7-3, 0 KOs), 144 lbs, battled to a split draw in a four round contest. While neither boxer did enough to win over all the judges, Bryan’s activity and desire to win outshinned his opponent. Judges scored the bout 40-36 for Bryan, 39-37 for Martinez, and 38-38 a draw.
Alessi Promotions next fight card will be held on Friday, August 3rd at the Westshore DoubleTree Hotel in Tampa. For tickets to the event and more information, please visit www.AlessiPromotions.com.