Chinese born and Kazakh hopeful Kanat “QazaQ” Islam won the WBO NABO and the WBA Intercontinental junior middleweight titles in Boca Raton Florida with a unanimous decision win over Norberto “Demonio” Gonzalez of Nuevo Leon Monterrey Mexico. Styles make fights and styles made a slow start to this fight as both fighters excellent defense created a snail’s pace for the first three rounds. Islam 24-0(19KO) of Almaty, Kazakhstan compatriot, and friend Gennady Golovkin started finding his mark beyond the fourth round and his high punch output was paying nice dividends while outpunching Gonzalez 23-9(13KO). With excellent defensive awareness, Islam works sharp inside slipping and countering, however, the closeness also caused several headbutts throughout the bout to which Gonzalez often complained to the referee. By virtue of the headbutts, a couple of nasty cuts opened over Demonios’ eyes early and he fought on through the last several rounds with a blood mask and the heart of a lion. Finally, in the 12th round, a point was deducted from Islam for headbutts, albeit unintentional. QazaQ of Kazakhstan who won a bronze medal at welterweight at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was not able to put Gonzalez away with a KO but decisively outboxed and beat the brakes off his foe from pillar to post. The final cards read (115-112) (116-111) (120-109). There was mention after the fight that James Kirkland, who was in attendance, could be Islams’s potential next opponent.
Gustavo Garibay 13-9-2(8KO) down with an aggressive and methodical attack. Turarov the rising welterweight from Kazakhstan and now fighting out of Pahokee FL entertained the pro-Kaz fans with a beautiful display of slick and strong boxing at a steady workman’s pace, a bit reminiscent of his countryman GGG. By the third round, the Mexican was visibly starting to break down where each next punch by the Kaz looked to cause more and more pain until, BOOM an overhand right that dropped Garibay like a thousand pound deadweight. Somehow, Garibay, I assume all heart, arose to take another bomb of an overhand right that put him down again. Remarkably Garibay made it to his feet yet again and started stumbling towards his corner just as the fight was called to a halt at 2:59 of round 3 and a great stoppage in this scribe’s opinion.
Opening the night of boxing was an interesting bout where someone’s 0 had to go, and that is exactly what happened after an awkward but entertaining tussle. Bruce “The Iron Lion” Lutchmedial improved 1-3 as he gave tough Christopher Salerno an ugly schoolyard beating and a new record of 0-2. From the opening bell, the Iron Lion hunted Salerno with a barrage of off angle punches, slaps and otherwise. Salerno went down twice in round two, the final time Sam Burgos stopped the bout at 1:58.
Jonathon “Popeye” Perez 37-18-1(29KO) of Barranquilla, Colombia played the part of the bull, Raul “El Cyclone de Miami” Chirino 11-6(6KO) played the matador, tonight the bull won. Popeye started and ended throwing heavy punches. Chirino had a plan to box behind his jab and move, however, the Colombian found early and often success cutting the ring off and scoring with counter punches and ultimately breaking down El Cyclone’ with body shots, uppercuts and strong hooks to the head. After taking a beating and a nasty cut opened over the left eye of Chirino in round 5 the Miami-based pugilist lost his mouthpiece for the fourth time and Frank Santore Jr waved the fight at 1:00 of round 5, officially scored a TKO win for the Barranquilla product, Popeye Perez.
Dagoberto Aguero sharpened his record to 12-0(9KO) with a quick knockout win over Mexican Gustavo Molina 24-15(9KO). The former Olympian Aguero from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic twice floored the Mexican with big right hands prompting referee Sam Burgos to call a halt to the bout at 1:38 of round 1.
Former Chinese Olympic Silver Medalist Zhilei Zhang 16-0(12KO) is huge, and he can box! Standing 6’6” tall the towering Chinese Olympian southpaw set his punches up nicely while Curtis Harper 12-5 did all he could to try and get inside the giant heavyweight. Zhilei dropped Harper with a great right hook putting an early end to the contest at 2:34 of round number one.
In an action packed crowd-pleasing heavyweight brawl between former standout college linebacker Mike Balogun and action figure chiseled Terrance Marbra the crowd was entertained with non-stop action for 6 rounds. Both fighters went down in the first round as the strong southpaw and former linebacker at Oklahoma Balogun landed a heavy straight left hand and put the Marbra down early but the Hulk of a man climbed off of the canvas to return the favor; just moments later with a right hand of his own that stunned the crowd. The back and forth affair continued and in the fourth round, Marbra again put the former footballer down. The strong Balogun rose from the canvas with a purpose and charged strong through the next two rounds putting Marbra 8-5(6KO) down and nearly out in the sixth round. The final bell found a standing room only of appreciative boxing fans. Balogun, who also appeared in two games in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills in 2010 remains undefeated with a unanimous decision victory. The scorecards read 58-53 twice and 58-54.
Photo Credit: Lester Silva