Uprising Promotions, in association with Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, put on another explosive card at the Five Star Banquet Hall in Long Island City on Friday night, thanks in large part an incredible job of matchmaking from promoter Ronson Frank. In the co-feature of The Big Payback, Uprising Promotions featherweight Angel Luna (11-0-1, 7 KOs) dropped Jhovany Collado twice in the opening round of an eventual unanimous decision victory, while Top Rank welterweight John Jackson (16-3-2, 13 KOs) was forced to settle for a majority draw in the main event against a very game Rafael Gonzalez (7-2-2, 6 KOs).
After a highly questionable result in his last bout (majority draw with Victor Serrano in November), Angel Luna came out with extreme aggression against Jhovany Collado, doing all he could to make sure that the ringside judges had little relevance in the outcome of the contest.
About 40 seconds into the opening frame, Luna stepped over a Collado body shot and into a perfectly timed counter right hand that literally sent his opponent stumbling to the opposite side of the ring. However, Collado foreshadowed some impressive resilience by quickly getting back to his feet and choosing to keep engaging. Luna was more than happy to oblige, and he scored a second knockdown in the waning seconds of the round when he flattened Collado with a left hook, straight right hand combination, following a lazy punch to the body from the Queens native.
With three points in his back pocket after the opening frame, Luna seemed to be on his way to an early night, but Collado bit down on his mouth piece and made it a fight for the ensuing five rounds. The action remained within close range for the most part, as Luna looked to stalk with quick head movement while rolling under Collado and making use of the overhand right and inside uppercut.
After six action-packed frames, the judges would be needed to decide the victor, but Luna made it easy for them. With tallies of 60-52 (twice) and 59-53, the Dominican Brooklynite found himself with a unanimous decision win.
In the main event, Top Rank welterweight John Jackson found himself opposite gritty Puerto Rican Rafael Gonzalez, who was able to make good use of a two-inch height advantage over the heavy-fisted Jackson. The two fighters put on an entertaining scrap over eight frames, with Jackson looking to work behind the jab while Gonzalez tried a more straight-forward approach. The two styles created heightened action on the inside and certainly made it difficult for the ringside judges after each competitive round.
In the final stanza, Jackson switched to a southpaw stance to mix things up, trying to start confrontation with a lead right hand while Gonzalez attempted to work on the body. By the time the bell rang to conclude that final frame, both men anxiously awaited the final outcome. The first card read aloud was a 77-75 tally in favor of Gonzalez, but the bout was deemed a majority draw when the final two counts were even at 76-76.
Making his professional debut on the card tonight was former Cuban amateur standout Marcos Forestal (1-0, 1 KO), who was victorious in three World Series of Boxing matches before defecting from Cuba for the pro ranks of boxing. Now training alongside fellow countryman Guillermo Rigondeaux, much anticipation has surrounded his bout tonight against 54-fight veteran Ignac Kassai (14-39-2, 3 KOs) of Hungary. From the opening bell, Forestal seemed very comfortable and was a constant aggressor who possessed plenty of power in his dominant left hand.
That left hand remained on display in a much-shortened second round, as Forestal pawed with a jab before coming over the top with a ferocious left hook that crumbled Kassai. The Hungarian journeyman was briefly able to return to his feet, but the referee in charge saw that his eyes did not accompany his legs. Just 12 seconds into the second frame, Forestal had registered a knockout in his pro debut.
Following in the footsteps of his twin brother, Scott, who had fought on the last Uprising Promotions card in November, Dean Burrell (10-1, 7 KOs) shook off the rust of nearly a year layoff against Las Vegas junior welterweight Ryan Picou (2-6, 0 KOs). Burrell looked very good over the opening two rounds, working behind the jab while bouncing in and out of confrontation. A very game Picou began to pick it up over the middle frames and even gained a bit of momentum, making the home stretch of this six-rounder very competitive. Picou began trying to walk down Burrell in the final frame, landing his best punch midway through the stanza. However, a gritty Burrell stayed in the pocket and looked to express his boxing pedigree, which ultimately led to him getting the call on the scorecards.
With tallies of 58-56 from two of the ringside officials, an even tally of 57-57 was negated from the third judge to give Burrell a majority decision.
Also shaking off some rust on this card was slick southpaw Mikkel Lespierre (6-0-1, 3 KOs), who eneded a nine-month drought by mixing it up with tough St. Louis native Christopher Porter (0-2-1, 0 KOs). Lespierre worked behind the jab while using his elusiveness to slip under punches and roll out of the way of any offense from Porter. The Brooklyn native scored the lone knockdown of the bout midway through the second round, perfectly timing a slip hook on the break that caught his opposition off balance.
Lespierre seemed very comfortable after the knockdown, repeatedly going to the body and heeding the advice of trainer Don Saxby to have Porter on the edge of being ready to go. However, Lespierre did not take unnecessary risks by overpursuing the knockout, yet still earning the win all the same in the end. When the fourth bell rang to conclude this contest, Lespierre picked up his sixth professional victory with a pair of 40-35 cards matched with a 39-36 count, all in his favor.
As is normally the case with an Uprising Promotions show, the women also got the opportunity to showcase their talents. In junior flyweight action, popular New York native Susan Reno (1-3-2, 0 KOs) and Paola Ortiz (0-5-1, 0 KOs) met in a four-frame affair. The duo stepped inside a phone booth early and immediately chose to keep it there, engaging in a back-and-forth scrap that made determining the victor of each round a difficult decision. That was evidenced in the final outcome as well, with the judges declaring this one a majority draw. Ortiz earned one 39-37 card, but it was leveraged by a pair of 38-38 tallies.
In the opening bout of the night, the highly anticipated pro debut of former New York amateur standout Maxito Sainvil got the action started, facing off against Dustin Parrish (1-5, 1 KO) from Tallahassee. This fight looked to be over as quickly as it began, as Sainvil landed a flush two-punch combination immediately at the start that froze Parrish and sent him to the canvas. To his credit, Parrish was able to get his legs back under him and somehow battle his way to the first round bell. The second frame would need just over a minute to determine the victor, with Sainvil throwing a right hand to the body before coming underneath with a right uppercut that dropped Parrish face forward. As soon as Parrish was down, the referee called a halt to the match at the 1:02 mark of the second frame.
Scheduled to end a nearly five-year layoff in the original main event of the evening was ultra-popular New York junior lightweight Gary Stark Jr. (23-3, 8 KOs), but his return remained on hold after his opponent, Jesus Navarro (22-9-1, 16 KOs), failed his final medical examination earlier today.
Tonight’s card, entitled The Big Pay Back, continued the initiative of Uprising Promotions to KO Autism, and proceeds from the night will be donated to The School For Language and Communication Development (SLCD) in Glen Cove, New York.
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