At Ringside: Lou McLaughlin – Friday night November 4 at Robert Treat Hotel, Newark New Jersey live boxing returned to Northern New Jersey through the efforts of Rising Star Promotions. Rising Star is the promotional company of boxer Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna. Thomas who is a rising local star in the sport having fought in televised events. While still an active boxer, Thomas is setting his sights on life after boxing as a promotor. He is following in Oscar De La Hoya’s footsteps, by transitioning his career as an active boxer into a boxing businessperson. It is a wonderful thing that young Thomas is bringing live boxing back to the “Brick City “ Newark, N.J. The card was a success with a capacity crowd. The fight card also brought realization that boxing is a dangerous sport. The first two bouts ended with the losing fighters being taken out of the ring on stretchers. Individuals no matter how skilled or unskilled deserve recognition for the bravery to even enter the ring.
In an 8 round main event at 144 lbs. Mikey “Artist” Perez 26-3-2 12KOs a hometown fighter from Newark, New Jersey, took on Juan De La Cruz Rodríguez 10-18-1 hailing from Front Royal Virginia. Perez started boxing with an extremely successful amateur career. He earned three East Coast titles, the 2003 Silver Gloves championship, the 2005 Junior Olympic National title, and the 2008 National Golden Gloves title. Mikey Perez’s introduction was heralded by raucous applause from the Newark crowd. The first round began with each boxer fighting cautiously. As the round progressed Perez started to force the action driving Rodriquez backwards at the round’s end finishing the round with a nice right hand to Perez’s head. The second round began with Rodriquez trying to establish himself. But by mid round it was Perez who was dominant, though Rodriquez had his moments. The third round featured fierce action, as both fighters exchanged punches furiously. Rodriquez was sporting a marked left eye. The round finished with a great exchange. The fourth round had even exchanges However, Rodriquez’s was swelling and badly marked. Perez went down briefly in what was ruled a slip. Both guys began the fifth-round ring center winging hard shots. Rodriquez seemed a little winded. Also, now it was Perez’s right eye that was marked. The sixth again began at a rapid pace with both fighters throwing haymakers. But Perez was winning this battle of attrition. Both boxer’s eyes were showing damage incurred in the exchanges. Rodriquez was knocked down at rounds end and was saved from further punishment by the one minute between rounds. But the break between rounds was not sufficient for Rodriquez who took a knee for a standing 8 count. As the seventh round began He was fading fast taking punishment on the ropes and the referee stopped the contest at 1:57 for a TKO win for Mikey “The Artist” Perez
In the 6 round semi-main event at 115 lbs. another hometown boxer from Newark, Anthony “Big Back” Johns 5-0 4KO fought the seasoned Jenn” El Infinito “González 10-18-1 Front Royal, Virginia. Johns was the 2019 National Golden Gloves Champion in the Light flyweight division. The partisan crowd loudly applauded for the Newark native son Anthony Johns. Round one started with both men tentatively jabbing . Both favoring the jab as an offense. Midway in the round Johns started to pick up the pace. The second round saw the opponents using their jabs. There was a slip by Gonzalez. The third started with increasing momentum. Johns’ superior strength was a deciding factor in this round. The round finished with Gonzalez holding due to the momentum and backing away. In the fourth Gonzalez was withering under Big Back’s onslaught. Gozalez was holding and turned his back causing the referee to stop the contest at the 1:52 mark of the second..
Undefeated super lightweight Kurt Scoby 10-0 8K0s of Brooklyn N.Y in a scheduled for 8 rounds contested at 142 lbs. against veteran Raymundo “ Ruso “Rios Cardiel 4-10-2 3KO’s from Durango Mexico. The first few seconds were a feeling out period between the fighters. Then the much huskier Scoby used his superior upper body strength to drive Cardiel around the ring. Scoby was simply too powerful for his Mexican opponent. The second round again saw Scoby use his strength advantage knocking Cardiel down for a standing 8. The referee opted to stop the one-sided affair at 2:06 for a TKO for Kurt Scoby to remain undefeated.
John McDonagh of Queens, New York made his pro debut against John Bailey 0-2-0 of Kalamazoo, Michigan in a scheduled 4 rounder at 168 lbs. An interesting sideline McDonagh, is a nephew of the last McDonagh to capture the attention stateside Seamus McDonagh. On 1 June 1990, Seamus fought WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield but lost by a TKO in the fourth.
Bailey came out moving with hands held high but was driven into a corner absorbing punishment and the referee stopped the fight by TKO at 1:02 of the first. John McDonagh won his pro debut in convincing fashion.
At 140 lbs. in the junior welterweight division Jamir Cope undefeated at 3-0 2KO from nearby Teaneck, N.J. fighting Carlos Nunez 0-3-1 of New York in a 4-round bout. Cope works days as a kindergarten teacher at KIPP SPARK Academy in Newark, N.J. Both combatants started by keeping distance behind jabs. Cope had the edge in speed and accuracy with Nunez missing with wild rights. The second had Cope with a stinging jab mixing in left hooks to the body. At the end of the round referee Harvey Dock asked Nunez if he was okay. The third saw more of the same with Cope leading the action. The fourth round had more of the same. The bout ended in a unanimous decision of 40-36 on all three judge’s score cards.
Fighting at 164 lbs. in a four round bout James Abraham 2-0 2KO of Queens, New York took on Elijah Hasman 0-2-0 a native of Detroit, Michigan. The first round had Abraham utilize an effective jab to set up head combinations. A super combination to the head staggered Hasman and the referee stopped the fight. Hasman was administered oxygen on his stool and was the second fighter in a row to be removed by stretcher
In 6 rounds at 164 lbs. Queens New York’s Gian Garrido put his undefeated record of 7-0 5KOs against Hansen Castillo 3-6-1 3KOs out of Orlando, Florida. The first round had both opponents start tentative feeling each other out. Then Garrido opened up effectively working the body with wicked combinations. Midway through the round Castillo was backing up trying to throw shots off the ropes. The second round commenced with Castillo pinned against he ropes lowering his hands from the vicious body attack. With that option, Garrido put together sizzling head combinations. The upper cut was highly effective as Castillo was bending at the waist from the body attack. The third saw Castillo try to bring the action to ring center only to be driven back to the ropes absorbing more punishment. At the round’s end Castillo wearily trudged back to his corner. The fourth saw more of the same with Castillo pinned on the ropes . The fifth had Garrido employ an in and out strategy eventually forcing Castillo to the ropes. In the sixth round the Florida fighter absorbed tremendous punishment and sank to the canvas requiring medical attention at the 50 second mark and was taken from the ring on a stretcher.
In the first 4 round bout of the evening two boxers made their pro debut at 142 lbs. Gabriel Gerena from Piscataway, New Jersey contested against Brodyx Gilman 0-1 of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Gerena of New Jersey was the fan favorite. The shorter Gerena came out fast throwing excellent combinations to Gilman’s head. Gilman went down in the first from Gerena’s unrelenting assault. The referee gave him an 8 count but ruled he could not continue. The stoppage was at 1:11 of the first round giving Gabriel Gerena his first win as a pro.
In conclusion, it was an entertaining fight card. By the sound of the crowd, they thoroughly enjoyed the show. Also, it is giving young and upcoming fighters a platform for exposure to fans.