Boxing

Antonio Escalante Defeats Jose Angel Beranza By Decision

antonio escalanteBy Pavel Yakovlev at ringside. Tonight Mexican junior featherweight Antonio Escalante dominated countryman Jose Angel Beranza en route to winning a unanimous decision at The Castle at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. The bout was filled with high intensity exchanges in every round, with Escalante’s superior strength, speed and aggression enabling him to win by scores of 98-92, 100-92, and 96-94 on the judges’ cards.

Escalante, rated seventh in the world by the WBO, displayed an intense offensive that force Beranza to fight a gritty, desperate battle of survival for most of the bout. Both fighters demonstrated superb conditioning, boxing skills and courage throughout the match.

In the first two rounds both fighters circled each other, keeping their hands held high near their chins and jabbing aggressively. Each threw wide, strong left hooks, most of which missed. Escalante, 123 lbs., won the first round by utilizing his superior hand speed, while Beranza, 122 lbs., seemed to win the second round by dint of his skilled counterpunching.

In the third round, Escalante took control of the fight by dramatically increasing his aggression. In this round Escalante exhibited a furious bobbing and weaving offensive and he landed numerous strong left hooks to Beranza’s head and body. By the end of the round, Beranza was in full retreat and for most of the rest of the fight, he seemed to be focused on surviving his opponent’s relentless attack.

In the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, Escalante resembled a bulldozer in the way that his intense, energetic attack drove Beranza around the ring. In these rounds Beranza took many hard punches to the head and body, and he was constantly forced to retreat before his Escalante’s relentless onslaught. Although Beranza fought back tenaciously, he was breathing hard as he returned to his corner at the end of the sixth, and it seemed as if Escalante might be on his way to winning the bout by stoppage in the upcoming rounds.

Escalante continued to dominate the bout in the seventh round, steadily driving Beranza back with his forward movement. In the eighth, Escalante slowed his attack down somewhat, and late in the round Beranza assumed the offensive for the first time since the early rounds. Escalante had the upper hand in the ninth round, although Beranza stood his ground and fought furiously as the two fighters exchanged heavy leather.

Beranza launched a desperate final rally in the tenth round, as he seemed to realize that only a knockout would enable him to win the right. This round was Beranza’s best of the fight, as he landed several strong right hands to Escalante’s jaw during the exchanges on the ropes. Escalante however took the punches well and the two boxers traded punches evenly in the seconds leading up to the final bell.

This writer scored the bout 98-93 for Escalante, who now posts a record of 17-2, including 10 knockouts. Beranza falls to 30-12-2 with 25 knockouts.

In a post fight interview Escalante said that during the later rounds his corner told him to slow down his attack and not get overconfident. Escalante also stated that he found Beranza to be an awkward foe.

In the evening’s semi-final bout, Jeffrey Resto of the Bronx won an eight round split decision over Mexico’s Humberto Tapia in a battle of welterweights. The 5’11” Resto made excellent use of his three-inch height advantage, and for most of the bout he easily slipped and countered Tapia’s aggressive, bull-like rushes.

Numerous times in the bout Tapia’s attack forced his opponent to the ropes, but consistently Resto appeared to get the better of the exchanges, picking off punches with his arms and elbows and countering with sharp hooks and uppercuts. During long range fighting in the center ring, Resto made good use of his left jab and boxing skills.

Resto assumed the offensive in the eighth and final round of the fight, scoring with solid punches from both hands that seemed to have Tapia hurt.

The final scores were 77-75 (twice) for Resto, and 77-76 for Tapia. This writer scored the bout 79-73 for Resto. Resto, 143 lbs., is now 20-2, with 13 knockouts. Tapia, 142 ¾ lbs., falls to 12-6-1, with six knockouts.

In a battle of middleweights, Worcester’s Edwin Rodriguez scored a technical knockout over Fitzgerald Johnson of North Carolina. The end came at 2:37 of round four when the referee waived the bout off following Johnson’s fifth trip to the canvas. Johnson, 164 ½ lbs., fought a very brave and game fight but he was no match for the strength and power of Rodriguez, 163 lbs. Rodriguez, who is now 2-0, 2 knockouts, as a professional, is a strong stand-up puncher with an exciting slugging style. He twice won national championships as an amateur and he was easily the most popular fighter with the audience at tonight’s event. Rodriguez is a native of the Dominican Republic and he has lived in Massachusetts since 1998. Johnson’s record is now 1-3, with one knockout.

The card featured four other bouts. Welterweights Sean Ecklund (5-2, 1 knockout) and Jose Velazquez (0-2) fought a four rounder, with Ecklund emerging the victor by split decision. In a junior welterweight match, Anthony LaMonica (5-0, 4 knockouts) stopped Scorn Hatcher (0-4) at 1:45 of the third. A middleweight bout between Eddie Caminero (3-0, 1 knockout) and Kevin Bartlett (0-3) was won by Caminero by TKO at 0:26 of the first round. At heavyweight, Phillip Miller (3-0, 2 knockouts) stopped Justin Calloway (0-2) in the opening seconds of round one.

Tonight’s card was promoted by Cappiello Boxing Promotions in association with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. The main event was televised live by the Spanish language broadcast network Telefutura. Approximately 1,400 fans attended the bout at The Castle.

Article posted on 10.02.2008



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