Reigning World Boxing Council U.S. National Boxing Council (WBC USNBC) welterweight champion Jimmy Williams retained his title Saturday in a wild finish over Issouf Kinda of the Bronx at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Williams (14-0-1, 6 KOs) scored the knockout at the 1-minute, 26-second mark of the fourth round in peculiar finish, cracking Kinda (18-5) with a right cross on the break as veteran referee Steve Smoger separated two following a brief clinch.
As Smoger yelled, “Break!” Kinda threw a quick right that momentarily clipped Smoger instead of Williams. The reigning champ landed with his right hand, sending Kinda crashing to the canvas. Smoger counted him out and Williams retained the title despite trailing on two of the three scorecards entering the fourth round.
The event, promoted by CES Boxing, aired live on Facebook via FIGHTNIGHT LIVE as a precursor to Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor megabout in Nevada.
The controversial finish set off a brief melee in the ring, but cooler heads prevailed as Williams celebrated his first title defense and 10th consecutive win since fighting to a draw with Greg Jackson in 2013. Kinda has now lost two in a row since his win over Zach Ramsey in May of 2016.
Up until the knockout, Kinda led by three rounds on one of the scorecards and one round on another card while Williams led by three rounds on the third scorecard.
In a fight that turned out to be as exciting as advertised, junior welterweight Cristobal Marrero (5-0) of New London, Conn., edged Springfield, Mass., vet Miguel Ortiz (2-1) by split decision, 57-56, 56-57, 57-56.
Marrero fought thrown a swollen eye and dropped Ortiz in the fifth round to seal his fifth win in as many fights, but Ortiz, as always, came to brawl and brought the fight to Marrero in the early rounds, using his come-forward style to bully Ortiz and press him into the ropes while landing short, clean punches on the inside.
Marrero found his difference down the stretch with the knockdown sealing Ortiz’s fate, even with one judge scoring the bout in favor of Ortiz. The bout was supposed to take place in June, but Ortiz was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury. The bout was rescheduled for Saturday and changed from four to six rounds, which ultimately worked in Marrero’s favor.
With boxing and mixed martial arts colliding in Nevada in the Mayweather-McGregor bout, CES got in on the action at Foxwoods with eight-time Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) vet Leandro Silva (0-1) of Sao Paolo, Brazil, making his professional boxing debut against unbeaten cruiserweight Richard Rivera (3-0) of Hartford, Conn.
Silva, who is 20-6 in MMA, came out with his hands held high, more reminiscent of his style inside the cage, which flustered Rivera at first. The hard-hitting cruiserweight had a hard time landing anything clean until he caught Silva flush with a right hook on the inside that sent him to the canvas for a split second.
Silva popped up quickly, unharmed by the flash knockdown, and continued to trade fearlessly with the heavily-decorated Rivera, at one point dancing along the ropes and taunting his opponent. Rivera won the fight, 40-35 on all three scorecards due to the knockdown.
Worcester, Mass., lightweight Jamaine Ortiz (5-0) kept his perfect record intact, earning a 40-36 verdict on all three scorecards against Loraine, Ohio, vet Angel Figueroa (4-5-1). Fighting for the first time since April, Ortiz’s endurance and output was too much for Figueroa, who hung tough early, but ran out of gas in the closing rounds. Ortiz returns to the ring Sept. 16th in Rhode Island, looking to improve to 6-0.
Sicilian heavyweight Juiseppe Cusumano (12-1, 10 KOs) continued to impress on his regional tour, making his Foxwoods debut in grand fashion with a first-round knockout win over Wilmington, Del., vet Robert Dunton (11-17-1) at the 2-minute mark. Dunton tried to work the body against the taller Cusumano, but Cusumano’s superior size and strength was too much to handle; Cusumano caught Dunton along the ropes with a left and followed by cracking him with three consecutive overhand rights, sending Dunton into the ropes and forcing the referee to step in and stop the bout.
Cusumano also returns Sept. 16th in Rhode Island in a six-round bout against Californian Matt McKinney.
Boston, Mass., native and former U.S. Marine Jarel Pemberton (1-0), the son of New England icon and former world-title challenger “Sandman” Scott Pemberton, impressed in his professional debut, defeating game challenger Nate Schulte (0-3) of Woburn, Mass., by unanimous decision, 39-37 on all three scorecards.
Pemberton was the aggressor from the opening bell, but Schulte hung in for four hard rounds, unafraid to fight on the inside, and even landed a clean left hand in the third round that momentarily stunned his opponent. Pemberton ultimately regained his composure and finished strong to seal the victory, his first win as a pro.
Also on the undercard, Hartford junior middleweight Jose Rivera (4-1) won his second consecutive fight, outworking the hard-charging Corwin Farmer (1-2) of Tarboro, N.C., to earn a 39-37, 39-37, 40-36 unanimous decision victory. Farmer, entered fresh off his first professional win in January, actually did his best work on the inside, but Rivera controlled the pace by utilizing his jab to keep Farmer from gaining any momentum.
Listed below are weights for all the participants in tomorrow’s CES Boxing event at Foxwoods Resort Casino’s The Premier Ballroom, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 26th, 2017.
Doors open at 5 p.m. ET and the opening bout begins at 6.
Tickets are priced at $55, $90, $155 and $325 and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.foxwoods.com, or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253 or 800-200-2882 or at the Grand Theater Box Office. All $55, $90 and $155 tickets offer buyers a reserved ticket to the exclusive Pay Per View showing of the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor from Nevada at Foxwoods’ Grand Theater. A $325 ticket purchase includes preferred seating. All bouts are subject to change.
Tickets for the closed-circuit event only can be purchased online at www.foxwoods.com, by phone at 800-200-2882 or through any Ticketmaster location.
The entire eight-fight card at The Premier Ballroom, presented by CES Boxing, will stream live on Facebook, free of charge, as part of the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Facebook Series.
New Haven, Conn.
13-0-1, 5 KOs
18-4, 7 KOs
11-1, 9 KOs
11-16-1, 6 KOs
4-0, 3 KOs
New London, Conn.
4-0, 2 KOs
2-0, 1 KO
2-0, 2 KOs
Sao Paolo, Brazil
3-1, 3 KOs