Ronson Frank’s Uprising Promotions kicked off 2016 with a sell-out show at the Five Star Banquet Hall in Long Island City on Friday night, treating a capacity crowd to an exhilarating evening of boxing. Friday Night Fights featured a pair of title bouts on the docket, with middleweight Alicia Napoleon and welterweight Zhankhozh Turarov leaving the venue with gold strapped around their waists.
“Looking around the room tonight, I was really proud of the turnout,” said Ronson Frank, President of Uprising Promotions. “This is exactly what we envisioned when we put the company together, having a nice blend of local guys and up-and-coming fighters. We had really competitive matches, and it was great to see everyone enjoying the fights. We are looking forward to doing something again really soon as we set our focus on taking Uprising Promotions to the next level.”
In the main event of the evening, undefeated local favorite Alicia Napoleon (5-0, 4 KOs) hosted Hungarian veteran Szilvia Szabados (10-5, 3 KOs) in a 10-frame affair, with the WBC Women’s Silver Middleweight Championship hanging in the balance for the victor.
As she is accustomed to doing, Napoleon arrived at the Five Star Banquet Hall in superb shape, and she immediately began working behind a stiff jab from the onset of this contest. As early as the second round, she began getting off numbers and finishing three and four punch combinations with strong hooks. She maintained consistent ring control throughout the encounter and unloaded an artillery of work that left its mark on the face of Szabados, but the gritty Hungarian continued to hang tough and do everything she could to find a hole in the armor of Napoleon.
By the start of the sixth frame, Napoleon was picking her spots and was very methodical in her approach. As her comfort level steadily grew, she repeatedly found a home for her overhand right and had the fight in hand by the start of the tenth round. Despite the clear advantage on the scorecards, Napoleon left nothing to doubt and went for the knockout. However, Szabados refused to go anywhere and was still there when the final bell rang.
After wide scorelines led to a Napoleon unanimous decision, the Long Island native saw her hand raised and claimed the WBC Women’s Silver Middleweight title in the process.
A second title was on the line in the Friday Night Fights co-feature, as Kazakhstan native Zhankhozh Turarov (18-0, 13 KOs) took on Joaquin Carniero (22-7, 20 KOs) for the NBA Welterweight Championship. With much fanfare surrounding him, Turarov did not disappoint. After establishing early ring generalship, he worked Carniero onto the ropes in the first frame before blasting him with a right hook to the midsection, forcing the Brazilian to a knee once his body had a chance to process the pain. When action resumed, Turarov went back the body and fired a left hook that sent Carniero down for a second time.
With Carniero crouched over on the canvas, he was clearly in no position to continue, which resulted in the referee stoppage at 2:23 of the opening round.
The very entertaining and equally charismatic Jose Gonzalez (1-0, 0 KOs) was successful in his professional debut, defeating battle-tested Marquis Pierce (1-8, 0 KOs) in a four-frame encounter. Gonzalez displayed incredible hand and foot speed, throwing a lot of volume under steady balance. His evident skill set and crowd pleasing style earned the respect of the ringside judges, who awarded him the unanimous decision by counts of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37.
Brooklyn native Mikkel Lespierre (12-0, 4 KOs) improved his undefeated resume by defeating wily veteran Malik Jackson (3-7-4, 2 KOs) over eight rounds. Lespierre worked behind the jab, slipping and dishing counters off what Jackson tried to feed to him. He showed great poise and discipline against awkward opposition, as Jackson was warned by the referee for a number of different infractions. Lespierre also did well in keeping his defensive shell intact when Jackson tried to get active, blocking most of his attempts and looking to finish the exchange with a counter left hook of his own.
In the seventh frame, Lespierre perfectly timed a counter right hook that sent Jackson flying across the ring and through the ropes, but the referee let the action continue without counting out a rather clear knockdown.
Lespierre continued to work behind the jab in the final frame, repeatedly turning Jackson and moving to his left to keep him out of range while he picked his spots to throw his own numbers. When that last round was completed, the Brooklyn resident improved his professional record to 12-0 behind tallies of 79-73, 78-74 and 76-76.
Undefeated welterweight Maxito Sainvil (3-0-1, 1 KO) earned himself some new fans following an impressive four rounds against pro debuting Malik Joe (0-1, 0 KOs). Despite a distinct height disadvantage, Sainvil was able to consistently snap his jab and leap into some fully committed hooks that found their target. By the time that the four frames had concluded, Sainvil had hit his opposition with everything but the handle from the kitchen sink, but the resilient Joe was still there when the final bell sounded. As a result, Sainvil would have to settle for a well-deserved unanimous decision shutout following flush 40-36 counts on the scorecards.
Light heavyweight Stephen Frank made good on his long awaited professional debut, ripping shots to the body through three rounds against 16-bout veteran Marlon Farr (4-12, 0 KOs). Frank continued to press forward with success until eventually buckling Farr with a brutal left hook at the start of the fourth frame that left him unable to continue. The official time of the stoppage was 22 seconds into the final round.
“This is the best feeling ever,” an emphatic Frank stated after the win. “The ring is like my office, and that is where I am at my best. This is like a family business. I grew up doing this, but now I am taking it much more seriously. This feels incredible right now, but this is only the first one.”
Two-time New York Golden Gloves champion Natalie Gonzalez (1-0, 0 KOs) was impressive in her professional debut, out-pointing a tough veteran in Kimberly Tomes (2-7, 2 KOs). The focus of her attack was speed and volume, which earned her straight 40-36 counts from the ringside judges for the unanimous decision win.
In the opening bout of the night, Phillip Legrand (1-1, 1 KO) spoiled the professional debut of Daniel Castro (0-1, 0 KOs), buzzing him early in the first round with a left hook before dropping him with a straight left hand. Castro was in a world of trouble when he got back to his feet, but he was somehow able to make it out of the frame. It did not take Legrand long to finish off the job in the second round, immediately blasting Castro with another left hook that placed him on shot legs and forced the referee stoppage just 16 seconds into the stanza.
Friday Night Fights continued the initiative of Uprising Promotions to KO Autism, with proceeds from the night getting donated to The School For Language and Communication Development (SLCD) in Glen Cove, New York. This card was sponsored by Brooklyn Brothers, Sleep Inn, Alma Restaurant and Charlie’s Auto Collision in Long Island City.
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