PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Feb. 19th, 2016) – Khiary Gray finally got the test he’d been waiting for, and he passed with flying colors.
The unbeaten Worcester, Mass., native kept his perfect record intact Friday in the main event of CES Boxing’s season opener at Twin River Casino, defeated the game Eduardo Flores (23-20-3) of Ecuador, 100-90, 100-90, 99-91, to capture the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) International Junior Middleweight Title.
Gray (12-0) had knocked out his previous eight opponents, including seven in the first round, entering Friday, but Flores, who agreed to the fight on Tuesday after Gray’s original opponent, Cameron Rivera, fractured his wrist, gave Gray the fight of his life.
Entering the bout, Gray planned on pacing himself more than he had in his previous fights and he stayed true to his word, methodically picking apart his opponent while cutting off the ring effectively and simply out-boxing Flores for all 10 rounds. Gray fought more rounds Friday than he had in his previous eight bouts combined, but stamina was no issue; he looked as fresh in the eighth round as his did in the first.
The co-feature didn’t last nearly as long. Providence’s Kali Reis (8-5-1, 4 KOs) made quick work of Albuquerque, N.M., vet Victoria Cisneros (11-19-2), stopping her opponent at the 1:31 mark to capture the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) Female Middleweight World Title.
Fighting in front of her hometown fans for the first time in more than three years, Reis wasted no time establishing a frenetic pace, landing clean shots upstairs early and often. Cisneros (11-19-2) tried to keep pace, fighting her way out of her own corner, but Reis backed her into a corner again and landed another unanswered flurry, forcing referee Johnny Callas to stop the bout.
The UBF title is Reis’ second world championship; she captured the International Boxing Association (IBA) Middleweight World Title in November of 2014 with a knockout win over Teresa Perozzi in Bermuda and will travel to New Zealand in April to fight for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Female Middleweight World Title.
Alabanian middleweight Fatlum Zhuta (3-0-1, 3 KOs) and Framingham, Mass., featherweight Timmy Ramos (3-0-1, 3 KOs) each scored knockout wins in their second appearance with CES.
Zhuta, who now lives and trains in Anchorage, Alaska, faced the dangerous Greg McCoy (3-6-1) of New Haven, Conn., rocking McCoy midway through the first round before stopping him at the 1:39 mark of the third. Ramos made quick work of pro debut Tanner Dodd (0-1) from Robinson, Tex., dropping Dodd three times in the opening round, forcing referee Joey Lupino to stop the bout at the 2:28 mark.
Holyoke, Mass., welterweight Mohamad Allam (2-1, 1 KO), now fighting out of Framingham and fighting for the first time since making his CES debut in September, earned his first career win on U.S. soil, stopping Brockton, Mass., vet Lionel Young (1-3) at the 2:07 mark of the second round.
The two exchanged power punches in a spirited first round before Allam began working the body, dropping Young with a series of left hooks to the ribcage midway through the second. Pressed against the ropes with Allam looking for the knockout, Young fought back valiantly, at one point landing a hard right hook upstairs, but Allam absorbed the blows and eventually stopped Young with a series of unanswered shots, prompting Lupino to wave it off in the final minute.
Worcester’s Freddy Sanchez (7-0) and Brockton’s Antonio Fernandes (7-25-2) clashed heads in the opening seconds of their scheduled four-round junior welterweight, resulting in a cut over Sanchez’s eye. After a second accidental head-butt, the ringside physician stepped in to examine the cut and decided to stop the fight, resulting in a no-contest.
Framingham’s Julio Perez (4-0) remained unbeaten, earning a 40-36 sweep on the scorecards in a unanimous decision win over sturdy junior welterweight Josh Parker (0-2-1) of Skowhegan, Maine, who fought tooth and nail for 4 rounds.