MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (July 22nd, 2016) – Previously unbeaten junior middleweight Khiary Gray suffered his first career loss Friday on the main card of ShoBox: The New Generation’s 15th anniversary fight card at Foxwoods Resort Casino, courtesy of an overhand right that no one – including Gray – saw coming.
Gray (13-1) dominated the first round and a half against New Jersey’s Ian Green (10-1, 8 KOs) until Green caught him with an overhand right that sent the Worcester, Mass., native to the canvas for the first time in his career. Gray was visibly hurt and took his time getting back to his feet. He tried to hold on for the final 20 seconds of the round, but referee Arthur Mercante Jr. stepped in and stopped it at the 2-minute, 50-second mark as Green unloaded with his opponent pressed against the ropes.
“It was just jitterbugs for me in the first round,” said Green, who agreed to take the fight on four day’s notice and weighed in at 157 pounds, the lowest weight of his career. “I just kept my composure and got back to boxing.”
Gray peppered Green with overhand rounds in the opening round and kept applying pressure early in the second, but once he took his foot off the pedal, Green fought back and landed a perfect counter right that changed the course of the fight.
“He just caught me,” Gray said. “I don’t even know what punch it was. I didn’t even see it. I tried to hold on and waste some time, but I got caught again. I just need to get back to the gym and fix my mistakes. I’ll bounce back.”
Unbeaten middleweights Kendrick Ball Jr. and David Wilson stole the show Friday on the preliminary card of CES Boxing, GH3 Promotions and Sampson Boxing’s fight card at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
The two unbeaten sluggers fought to a majority draw following four see-saw rounds in which they exchanged blows and unloaded haymakers without much defense or posturing with the jab.
Ball (2-0-1), who just fought last Friday and recorded his second knockout win, faced his toughest test to date in the slick southpaw Wilson (5-0-1), who came out firing from the opening bell and pressed the action from start to finish. An effective counterpuncher, Ball fought effectively with his back against the ropes, at times catching Wilson clean and momentarily stalling his momentum.
Ball appeared to land the cleaner blows early, but tired a bit in the middle rounds as Wilson – who hadn’t fought in more than a year before Friday – continued to come forward and press the action. John McKaie scored it 39-37 in favor of Wilson while Don Ackerman and Peter Hary scored it 38-38.
Making his New England debut, Augusta, Ga., lightweight Divante Jones (9-0) earned a hard-fought split-decision win over Philadelphia’s Anthony Burgin (9-2), 38-37, 37-38, 38-37. Bill Morande and Ackerman scored it in favor of Jones while Hary gave it to Burgin. The fight was back-and-forth from the opening bell, but Jones fought his best in the second and third rounds to earn the narrow victory in his toughest test to date.
Unbeaten New Haven, Conn., welterweight Jimmy Williams (12-0-1) kept his perfect record intact on the preliminary card with a 58-56, 58-56, 60-54 win over 37-fight veteran Antonio Fernandes of Brockton, Mass.
The preliminary card also featured the New England debuts of two 2016 U.S. Olympic alternates. Lightweight Brent Venegas III (1-0, 1 KO) of Elk Grove, Calif., made his professional debut with a second-round knockout win over Alexandria, Va., native Christian Foster. Foster earned the stoppage at the 1:37 mark, but not before Foster sent him to the canvas in the opening round. Venegas returned the favor with a knockdown just seconds later and finished Foster for good midway through the second.
New Brunswick, N.J., super flyweight Leroy Davila (2-0, 1 KO) fought an entertaining, four-round war against Edgar Cortes (2-3) of Vineland, N.J., earning a 39-36, 39-36, 40-35 unanimous decision win. The two exchanged blows in the center of the ring for the majority of the fight, but Davila landed the cleaner, more effective blows. Morande and Ackerman scored it 39-36 while McKaie scored it 40-35.