Anthony Marsella Jr. won his first career championship Wednesday night in his first main event bout.
The Providence, R.I., super lightweight stopped Mexican challenger Jorge Rodriguez (10-4) at the 3-minute mark of the third round after Rodriguez failed to answer the bell for the fourth, capturing the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas Title in CES Boxing’s Thanksgiving Eve season finale at Twin River Casino Hotel.
After finding his distance in the opening round, Marsella began to let his hands go in the second, but Rodriguez was up to the task, landing a few shots of his own to momentarily keep Marsella at bay. In the third, Marsella turned up the heat, backed Rodriguez into a corner in the closing seconds and unloaded with lefts and rights to the head. Rodriguez survived the round, but his corner threw in the towel before the start of the fourth, promptly crowning Marsella the new IBA Americas Champion in just his 11th pro fight.
Facing a new opponent after his original foe, Maurice Byarm, was denied a license in Rhode Island, Sicilian heavyweight Juiseppe Cusumano (17-2, 15 KOs) made quick work of Florida’s Michael Marrone (21-10), earning the win by second-round knockout at the 2:49 mark. Marrone, who took the fight on four days’ notice, hit the deck twice in the opening round, the second time courtesy of a looping overhand right.
Cusumano has now won back-to-back fights since suffering his first loss in more than six years in June.
A back-and-forth war between Zain Shah (6-4-1) of New York City and Worcester, Mass., middleweight Kendrick Ball Jr. (11-1-2, 8 KOs) ended with Ball scoring his eighth career knockout win at 1:58 of the fourth round.
Shah, who boasted fights against Alantez Fox and Brandon Quarles on his resume, stood toe-to-toe with Ball from start to finish, taking Ball’s best shots over the first two rounds while landing a few of his own. Ball began to wear him down in the third, sending Shah to the canvas toward the end of the round, but Shah got back up and at one point the two exchanged haymakers near the center of the ring, testing one another’s chins while the crowd rose to its feet.
Ball finally finished the bout in the fourth with a looping overhand right that backed Shah into the corner. Ball then unleashed one last flurry while Shah tried to cover up and slip out of harm’s way, but the referee waved it off to save Shah from absorbing any further damage. Ball has won back-to-back fights after suffering his first career loss in June
Providence lightweight Cido Hoff (2-2-1), fighting for the first time since June of 2017, earned his first win in more than two years, toppling the previously-unbeaten Davhon Shelton (1-1) of nearby Pawtucket by unanimous decision, 40-34, 39-35, 37-36. Hoff controlled the pace early, burrowing his way to the inside and working the body to soften Shelton, but his opponent occasionally broke free, establishing his jab to momentarily turn the tide.
The fight remained close until the fourth and final round when Hoff scored two knockdowns, including one at the bell, to clinch the victory. Visibly shaken at the end, Shelton needed help getting back to his corner, as Hoff celebrated the long-awaited end of his two-fight losing streak.
In one of the more entertaining bouts on the undercard, Worcester junior welterweight Nicholas Briggs (2-0, 2 KOs) earned his second win in as many fights, stopping the game Stacey Anderson (0-4) of Falls Church, Va., at the 1:34 mark of the fourth and final round.
Anderson fought bravely, working his way to the inside to try to combat Briggs’ height advantage. He managed to stave off Briggs’ reach early until he ate an overhand right that sent him crashing to the canvas at the end of the second round. Briggs dominated the third and finished the job in the fourth, toying with Anderson in the closing moments to earn his second win by knockout since making his professional debut in September.
Heavyweight James Advincola (0-1) of Providence suffered an unfortunate setback in his professional debut, injuring his left knee 40 seconds into the opening round of a scheduled four-round bout against Miami’s Raphael Akpejiori (2-0, 2 KOs). Advincola slipped in the center of the ring early in the bout and dropped to one knee, but got up and tried to continue before landing awkwardly again and crumbling to the canvas. For Akpejiori, it was his second knockout win in as many fights after debuting at Twin River in September.
Making his Twin River debut, Pawtucket’s Lamont Powell (2-0, 1 KO) breezed through debut fighter Marcos Rosa (0-1) of Woburn, Mass., scoring the victory by knockout at the 1:22 mark of the opening round. Powell was just too much for Rosa, who tried to circle the perimeter and stay on the outside, but Powell cut off the ring effortlessly and eventually backed Rosa into a corner, where he unloaded with overhands until the referee stopped the bout.
Providence junior middleweight Victor Reynoso (2-0, 2 KOs) also remained unbeaten with a second-round knockout win over Woburn veteran Carlos Galindo (1-7), dropping his opponent four times in the process. Galindo went down twice in the opening round, first on a body shot and again at the bell courtesy of a short right cross. He survived the first, but Reynoso went for the kill early in the second and earned the stoppage 49 seconds into the second round.