By Tracy Morin at ringside
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
Local favorite Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2, 6 KO) received a hometown welcome from fans as he stepped into the ring with John Thompson (17-3, 6 KO) for a middleweight 10-rounder. Monroe Jr., a slick southpaw, ducked and dodged punches in the first while landing some sneaky counters in return. One of those, a cuffing left, landed awkwardly in the second, putting Thompson down briefly and rousing the crowd. Thompson found the target a handful of times in the third and fourth, but Monroe’s herky-jerky, reflex-driven defense made him difficult to pin down, even amid occasional exchanges. In round 5, Monroe Jr. scored another knockdown with a leaping-forward right power jab after faking out Thompson with a feint, spurring some action in the closing seconds. But the sixth returned to a tactical touch-and-go, punctuated by a late flurry from Thompson, who fought in both orthodox and southpaw stances during the fight. Monroe Jr. used his legs in round 7 to mostly potshot from the perimeter, while the eighth and ninth found few shots landing cleanly from either. There was a bit more action in the tenth as Thompson tried to chase down and engage with his slippery foe, but he found limited success. Ultimately, Monroe Jr.’s slick boxing scored him the unanimous decision, albeit through some divergent scorecards: 96-92, 95-93 and 99-89.
Heavyweight 2015 Boxcino winner Andrey Fedosov (29-3, 24 KO) gave up 60-plus pounds against Mario Heredia (13-2, 11 KO), who jabbed his way to a solid first round while keeping his shorter opponent at bay. Fedosov soon looked to time him with counter left hooks and landed a solid four-punch combo in the second. Both fighters had their chins tested in a power-punching third round, but Heredia’s was the first to crack when he was stunned and put down by a sweeping left. In both the fourth and fifth, Fedosov caught him with left hooks for second and third knockdowns–after which Fedosov went into attack mode, but, with 10 seconds left both times, couldn’t close the show. He started his aggression earlier in the fifth, only to sustain Heredia’s own attack, then respond back with the now-reliable left hook that put Heredia down for the final time at 1:33 of the sixth. Ref Richard Pokozdi waved off the fight, giving Fedosov the TKO victory and the WBA Fedelatin heavyweight belt.
Undefeated cruiserweights Stivens Bujaj (16-0-1, 11 KO) and Sergio Ramirez (11-1, 7 KO) faced off in a bout scheduled for four, but the end arrived in seconds. Despite an aggressive start by Ramirez, Bujaj landed a flush left hook that sent his opponent to the canvas–and when he got up, an identical left hook and emphatic knockdown prompted ref Charlie Fitch to wave off the contest at 1:09 of the first round.
Welterweight Jose Miguel de la Rosa (3-1, 1 KO) initiated the pressure in the first round against the somewhat hesitant Oscar Sarmiento (3-0-1, 1 KO), who hadn’t fought since 2013. But in the second, Sarmiento woke up a bit, turning the tables to back up his opponent–though he also caught a counter in the process that led to a flash knockdown. By the third and fourth rounds, both fighters seemed committed to grind away for a victory as they traded thudding body shots and uppercuts on the inside, but Sarmiento looked fresher and put forth a more sustained attack. Accordingly, all three judges awarded Sarmiento a unanimous decision, with scores of 39-37 across the board after four rounds.
The opening bout of the night was a fast affair as Miguel Trejo (5-0, 4 KO) took on La’Torrie Woodberry (0-2-1, 0 KO) in a junior middleweight bout scheduled for four. Though both came out exchanging jabs, Trejo soon saw an opening and landed a game-changing power punch that put Woodberry down and on unsteady feet when he arose. Only a few more right hooks from Trejo were needed to put his dazed opponent back on the canvas. Woodberry beat the count and protested the stoppage, but the ref waved off the fight at 1:27 of the first round.
Tracy Morin covers fights around the United States for FightNews.com and is founder of BoxingGems.com.