Saturday, May 4, 2019

Judgement Day in Bethlehem

By Chris Mealey

Describing the atmosphere and overall vibe within The Sands Casino boxing event would be similar to the weather surrounding the venue that night. A consistent display of thunder and lightning. The Weigh-In, along with the numerous fans in attendance were thrilled from start to finish. This is a recap of "Judgement Day" and each fight will be given a brief summary, starting from the first bout 

[Fight 1] Radzhab Butaev vs Silverio Ortiz 

This 6-round contest between welterweights started off with outside fighting, as Butaev established his jab early. Possibly the most fouls/warnings called of the night, followed by one rabbit punch that costed Butaev one point on the cards. Despite the deduction and some successful right hands by Ortiz, Butaev continued to win rounds through back peddling and fighting off the back foot, earning a unanimous decision (judges scored 59-54 and 58-55 on two cards).

[Fight 2] Khainell Wheeler vs George Sheppard 

"Thunder and Lightning" was the vibe and that electrifying energy was brought on early through Wheeler's pro debut. From controlling the ring with great generalship and  huge body shots that forced Sheppard into putting the ear muffs on. The fight ended up getting stopped early at 2:47 into the first round and with that a big debut for Wheeler.

[Fight 3]  Janelson Bocachica  vs Garbor Gorbics 

Boacachica engaged by keeping Gorbics on the ropes, landing combinations. A comfortable first round would set the tempo for even more dominance by Boacachica, landing at will round after round, though Gorbics showed much heart and took every punch well. The punishment by the end of round three would be too much for Gorbics' cornermen, as they would stop the contest before opening the next round.

[Fight 4] Yeuri Andujar  vs. Edgar Cortes

There's always at least one fight that is difficult to score due to close rounds by two aggressive boxers. The fight between Adujar and Cortes would be the first bout of the night to fit that category.  Round number 1 bounced between outside boxing and then with combination punching by both men, suddenly Andujar went down from a a mix of bad footing and a punch landing, hence a legit knockdown getting scored. Yeuri charged in round 2, scored a big right to put Cortes down, making up for the last round. Cortes looked for the lefts and was smothered at times, then Cortes found the left to get a knockdown of his own. This was arguably fight of the night and from round 3 onward, there was success in both boxers that led to a majority decision. One judge scored it a draw at  56-56 and  two had scored 57-56 declaring Yeuri Andujar the winner.

[Fight 5] Ricky Nuno vs. Rasheed Johnson 

Tactical first round and start to this fight. Both boxers felt the jab out and then changed tempo in round 2 after Johnson landed the first big right hand.  Johnson found rhythm from round 3 onward, jabbing the nose causing Nuno to bleed, occasionally dropping his hands. Johnson charged in round 5, landing BIG shots as the blood poured from Nuno's nose got worse. Huge heart shown by Nuno, but the fight would be stopped before the next round - earning Rasheed Johnson a victory

[Fight 6] (ABO championship bout) Martino Jules vs. Danny Flores 

Possibly the 'boxing clinic" of the night. The intellect and overall ring IQ the flashy Martino Jules was astonishing to say the least. Round 1 can actually describe the majority of the fight by Jules, as the southpaw landed significant left hands at will, utilized eye friendly footwork and defense, and simply dominated. Jules must really love this sport, because the boxer was full of smiles even during the few times he was hit flush.  A clear unanimous decision was earned for Jules, as all three judges scored the fight 60-54.

[Fight 7] Fight 7 Jonathan Torres vs. Jerrod Miner

Round 1, the boxers were feeling their jabs out. Good counters by Miner at the start of the bout, Torres answered back each time with strong combos. This was the tempo set for the rest of the fight, more counters by Miner, but slightly more pressure and effective punching by Torres. Miner appeared desperate for a knockout in the final round, as he charged in throwing everything he had forcing Torres to use his defense and footwork. A strong finish by Torres would lead him to a unanimous decision victory, earning scores of 39-37 and 40-36 by two judges.

[Fight 8] Erik Spring vs. Nicholas Hernandez 

This writer emphasized "fight of the night" with a previous bout, but as the co-main event, the clash between these skilled jr. middleweights proved to have the most energy as well as entertainment. Both southpaws measured their jabs from the opening bell with Spring landing combos, Hernandez pressured well, but also fought effectively on the outside. Body work by both boxers turned into long exchanges until the end of the first round. The tempo was set from that point on, and the crowd roared for the rest of the fight. When Hernandez, or Spring looked to be struggling, the thunderous chants of "Nikki!" Or "Erik!" appeared to wake up the fighters, seemingly giving them extra stamina and punch output. Each round was similar in that sense and the boxers had spent a lot of time fighting in the pocket, landing stark punches until the final round. The fans around me all had mixed opinions on who won, some even calling it a draw. It would be Spring who acquired the unanimous decision with all judges scoring the contest  77-75.

[Fight 9] Frank De Alba vs. Ruben Dario Lopez

The main event of Judgement Day may not be the highlight for most fans who were in attendance, considering there were hours of intense action prior. A somewhat slower start by the boxers, not wasting any energy and picking their punches carefully, Lopez "wore the ear muffs" as he spent a lot of time trying to block De Alba cutting corners with more aggression. De Alba banging the body, then came up top in what could best be described as the early rounds and overall, his aggression was the highlight of the entire fight. Lopez had some flashy footwork in the final rounds, but it was questionable as to why he didn't engage more to win rounds. It was a decisive performance by De Alba and three judges scored the fight 80-70, a clear sweep.

Another one in the books, and overall, a great night of boxing presented by Kings Promotions and Titian Boxing Promotions. Kings will have their next event in Philadelphia, at the 2300 Arena on May 10th for another night of action. The Weigh-In is looking forward to more intensive boxing bouts to come and we can only hope they continue to keep up with the potent atmosphere Judgement Day presented at The Sands Casino.

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