The CBZ Newswire

U.S. Cellular Field Serves Up Home Runs as Fonfara KO’s Campillo, Granados Stops Salser and Szpilka Stops Mollo!

by on Aug.16, 2013, under Boxing News

By Juan C. Ayllon

Photos by Tom Barnes and Greg Rodil

 

An exultant Andrzej Fonfara raises his fists in victory (Tom Barnes photo)

An exultant Andrzej Fonfara raises his fists in victory (Tom Barnes photo)

CHICAGO, August 16, 2013 – It was fitting retribution.  The International Boxing Organization said they’d strip him of their title  for tonight’s unsanctioned fight and the International Boxing Federation jumped in, christening it as an eliminator for their crown.  Then, Andrzej Fonfara went out and bludgeoned Gabriel Campillo inside eight rounds before an estimated 15,000 at U.S. Cellular Field.  So much for politics.

A native of Warsaw, Poland residing in Chicago, Fonfara (173 lbs., 24-2 and 14 knockouts) sets a pattern in the first round. He’s throwing hard, hurtful and straight blows at Campillo (175 lbs., 22-6-, 9 knockouts) a wily contender hailing from Madrid, Spain, who fires back in spots.

Gloves high in the second, Fonfara repels a Campillo surge and racks up points with his systematic battering when, suddenly, Campillo snaps his head back with a straight left and pastes him with a right hook moments later. Fonfara reasserts himself with his straight right, but Campillo is on more even terms at the close of the round.

Gabriel Campillo nails Fonfara with a hard left (photo by Tom Barnes)

Gabriel Campillo nails Fonfara with a hard left (photo by Tom Barnes)

Campillo drives Fonfara back with a pair of straight lefts to the head in the third. Fonfara surges back, but has his head snapped back with a straight left 30 seconds later. They take turn piercing each others’ high guards. The crafty Spaniard — who in 2012 survived several knockdowns by then-champ Tavoris Cloud but went on to win the IBF championship in everyone but the judges’ eyes — is gaining traction.

After suffering abuse in the early moments of the fourth, Campillo snaps back the head of Fonfara with a straight right and mounts a sustained attack that has him covering. Granted, he fires back hard but Fonfara is getting pasted about the head with increasing regularity. The crowd grows silent.

Fonfara re-energizes the crowd with a potent rally, but will this be short lived?

Tom Barnes photo

Tom Barnes photo

Campillo reasserts himself in the fifth after an early Fonfara rally, raking him to head and body. A straight left snaps back the head of Fonfara, who rallies back. His head snaps back again from a counter volley, but he soldiers on and finishes the round strong.

Chants of “Ande” – clap, clap, clap – “Andre” – clap, clap, clap — thunder from the stands as the two take turns battering while the other covers up in the sixth. Another minutes passes and it’s “Polska!”—clap, clap, clap, “Polska!” – clap, clap clap! This pattern continues into the seventh, where at one point, partisan Poles break into fervent song.

Near the end of the eighth, a potent left-right wobbles Campillo. Piston-like blows follow, but the bell halts the battering.  For now.

Bellows of “Andre!” – clap, clap, clap – fuel Fonfaras kickoff assault in the eighth. They fall back into their pattern of give and take.

Fonfara puts Campillo down (photo by Tom Barnes)

Fonfara puts Campillo down (photo by Tom Barnes)

Bang! Campillo is hurt! He staggers backward from the onslaught, bounces off the ropes, and pitches forward from a crescendo of lefts and rights. a final right bounces off the back of his head as he succumbs.   Just like that, referee Geno Rodriguez counts him out at 1:39 into the ninth.

Referee Geno Rodriguez raises Fonfara's hand after the scintillating win (photo by Tom Barnes)

Referee Geno Rodriguez raises Fonfara’s hand after the scintillating win (photo by Tom Barnes)

Afterwards, Fonfara says, “Campillo is a very tough fighter. Hes a lefty – a very sneaky fighter. I did my best and I beat Campillo. I have (a) hard punch, but I must work more on defense. I’m happy that I win this fight!”

 

Granados wins thriller over Salser

Adrian Granados, at right, catches Mark Salser with a potent right (Tom Barnes photo)

Adrian Granados, at right, catches Mark Salser with a potent right (Tom Barnes photo)

An exciting brawler, Chicago’s effervescent light welterweight, Adrian Granados (14o lbs., 12-2-2, 8 knockouts), was nearly knocked out, but rallied to halt Mansfield, Ohio’s Mark Salser (138 lbs., 15-1, 9 knockouts) in a scintillating match.

Granados jumps on Salser from the opening bell, jabbing, crossing, and hooking him over and under. It looks like a heavy punching bag workout as the Chicagoan tees-off. Keeping his gloves high, Salser alternatively ducks and stalks him. Salser just misses with a big right at the bell ending round one.

It’s more of the same in the second when a Salser left nearly short-circuits the Adrian Granados highlight reel. Another left sends him crashing. Wobbling after he rises, he staggers against the ropes and gets a generous reprieve from Chicago referee Celestino Ruiz, who gives him an eight count and allows the battering to resume for another 20 seconds. Granados barely escapes.

A reinvigorated Granados resumes the battering in the third, but is rocked by several counters. Nonplussed, Granados unleashes another two-fisted assault that draws an “oh” from the crowd. Digging in, Salser is giving as good as he’s getting. Trapped in a corner, Salser fires back hard, but is rocked at the bell with a crashing right to the head. Granados walks back to his corner with his hands raised. But, is it a pyrrhic victory?

Abused by  trainer George Hernandez in between rounds, Granados modifies his assault in the fourth: He unloads a flurry, then skips out of range. He does this again – and again. Bouncing on his toes, he does his best impression of a young Muhammad Ali, firing a quick shot – or two or three – and dancing out of range. A particularly hard left hook draws a collective “OHHH” from the stands.

He has a momentary lapse. Battering Salser on the ropes early in the fifth, he lingers in range too long and crashes hard from a right counter. Less hurt this time, he covers and weathers the follow-up, then trades shoulder to shoulder. Unleashing hard salvos, Granados repeatedly batters Salser along the ropes and steps away.

Precariously close to repeating last round’s error, Granados connects with a wicked right to Salser’s jaw.

He hit the sweet spot. Salser falls, but rises and gets a standing eight count.

Granados is on him like a whirling dervish. Countless blows rain down on his cowering foe, who finally collapses under the sheer volume of it all. Referee Ruiz waves it off at 56 seconds into round six. Granados has won by technical knockout.

 

Szpilka repeats versus Mollo

Szpilka batters Mollo (photo by Tom Barnes)

Things get blurry for Mollo as Szpilka attacks (photo by Tom Barnes)

Their first fight was a war. Both fighters crashed to the canvas before Wieliczka, Poland’s undefeated heavyweight, Artur Szpilka (233 lbs., 16-0, 12 knockouts) knocked out Chicago’s Mike Mollo (226 lbs., 20-5-1, 12 knockouts) at the UIC Pavilion. Promising a knockout win, this time a better honed Mollo says he’s more focused.

Or is he? A frequent poster at the social media site, Facebook, he uploaded a new profile photo of himself just minutes before their fight.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mollo's Facebook page

Photo courtesy of Mike Mollo’s Facebook page

Perhaps it was his way of amping-up his “Beast mode,” as he put it. Or maybe it was a distraction. Either way, he lost – this time, a round earlier – in another knockdown-filled battle.

Cautious, they circle for the first minute as they get under way. Mollo holds his hands out, inviting Spzilka to attack. Chants of “Szpilka! Szpilka!”thunder from the large Polish contingency. Mollo charges in firing with both hands but missing all. Moments later, he connects with a left-right combination. Another right glances. However, Spzilka backs him up, landing a right, then a left to the chin. Szpilka bounces a right off the chest of Mollo, who misses with a counter right at rounds end.

Mollo nearly ducks into a straight left early in the second. He draws cheers with a hard left hook that bounces off Szpilka’s jaw. Szpilka spears the top of the ducking Mollo’s head who, moments later, is rocked by a looping left and, again moments later as he charges in. Szpilka is picking him apart at the bell.

Szpilka picks up where he left off with a left to the jaw. A straight right, and then another. Szpilka is battering. The end seems near. Suddenly, he crashes from a searing right counter. He rises. An eight count ensues and, resuming, his head clears as he jabs, crosses and strafes Mollo. Another thundering left hook from Mollo – and then Szpilka rocks him.

Szpilka drills Mollo as referee Gerald Scott looks on (Tom Barnes photo)

Szpilka drills Mollo as referee Gerald Scott looks on (Tom Barnes photo)

“Damn, how much more is he going to take?” writer Jay Kemp asks from the press box. A guttural roar greets the rounds end.

An enraged Mollo gives chase, looking to knock Szpilka’s head out of the ballpark as Szpilka sidesteps and counters with right hooks and lefts.

Mollo is down!  (Tom Barnes photo)

Mollo is down! (Tom Barnes photo)

Mollo plays batter to Szpilka’s pitcher for the first half minute of round five when, suddenly, he’s beaned with an arcing left uppercut to the jaw. He falls. Hard. Rising at about the four second marker, it’s no use. He’s still hurt and referee Gerald Scott waves it off at 1:41 into round five. Szpilka has won by stoppage.

Referee Gerald Scott raises the gloved fist of Artur Szpilka (Tom Barnes photo)

Referee Gerald Scott raises the gloved fist of Artur Szpilka (Tom Barnes photo)

Mollo, at left who says of Szpilka, 'He was the better man tonight" embraces him afterwards (Tom Barnes photo)

Mollo, at left who says of Szpilka, ‘He was the better man tonight” embraces him afterwards (Tom Barnes photo)

 

Luck of the draw for Garcia-Bueno

Fighting for Autism Charities, Chicago’s Trinidad Garcia (164 lbs., 5-3-3) gave a good account but broke even versus South Bend, Indiana’s Ramiro Bueno (165 lbs., 2-3-1, 1 K0). It was a mauling, clubbing give and take fight. Both fighters had their moments; Garcia boxed better and occasionally snapped Buenos head back with crisp rights, while the busier and harder swinging Bueno banged away and kept him on his back foot more often than not. Judges scored it 39-37 for Bueno and 38-38 twice, resulting in a majority draw.

 

Gearhart wins scrapper versus Cooper 

Kristin Gearhart, at right, bounces a right cross off the head of Amanda Cooper (Tom Barnes photo)

Kristin Gearhart, at right, bounces a right cross off the head of Amanda Cooper (Tom Barnes photo)

In her pro debut, five-time Chicago Golden Gloves winner Kristin Gearhart (138 lbs., 1-0) made well on the boxing axiom of hit and don’t get hit in edging hard-charging fellow Chicagoan Amanda Cooper (138 lbs., 1-1, 1 KO) over four rounds.

Jabbing well, she maintained a tight guard, flicked with the jab and occasional right while her shorter, stoutly muscled opponent slugged away with reckless abandon in the first. They both connected in a close round which Cooper may have edged.

Cooper connected flush with a left hook to the side of the face moments into the second. Midway through the round, Gearhart connected with a telling right and began rallying. Cooper connected with a hard right but was jarred with a right to the chin at the bell.

Gearhart, at left, rallies against Cooper

Gearhart, at left, rallies against Cooper (photo by Greg Rodil)

Gearhart jarred Cooper with a stiff jab and a couple rights as round three commenced. While her opponent remained ever dangerous with her sledgehammer swings, Gearhart landed with pinpoint accuracy and appeared to be taking over.

Continuing her surge in the fourth, Gearhart drew large “oh’s” as she jabbed and landed a series of hard rights to the head. Cooper caught her leaning back with a wide left hook and swung hard to mount a rally, however, her head buffeted to and fro, she was solidly out-landed for the balance of the round. Judges scored it 40-36 and 39-37 twice for Kristen Gearhart.

Trainer Sam Colonna guides his charge, Kristin Gearhart, as retired boxer Rita Figueroa looks on (Greg Rodil photo)

Trainer Sam Colonna guides his charge, Kristin Gearhart, as retired boxer Rita Figueroa looks on (Greg Rodil photo)

 

Second time a charm for Junior Wright 

After hurting his opponent repeatedly in a six round cruiserweight bout, Evanston, Illinois’ hard-slugging Junior Wright (195 lbs., 8-0, 7 KO’s) allegedly suffered a baffling setback to Baltimore, Maryland’s Nick Kisner (199 lbs., 12-1-1, 5 KO’s). Ring announcer pronounced the tally as 58-56 for Junior Wright, 59-55 for Kisner, and 59-55 for Nick Kisner, who’d won by split decision. Loud boos. After several minutes passed, Treiber picked up his mic and said, “I was told there was an error in the scoring. We are going to re-read the scores.” It read 58-56 for Kisner, 59-55 for Wright and 59-55 for Junior Wright. Cheers greeted the correction.

Oops.

 

Anticipated fireworks fizzle with Littleton versus Turner

It didn't get much more exciting than this for Paul Littleton tonight, seen here getting his hands taped by trainer George Hernandez (photo by Greg Rodil)

It didn’t get much more exciting than this for Paul Littleton tonight, seen here getting his hands taped by trainer George Hernandez (photo by Greg Rodil)

We expected fireworks, but got a pillow fight instead.  Chicago’s undefeated middleweight Paul Littleton (160 lbs., 7-0-1, 4 KO’s) and fellow Chicagoan Louis Turner (158 lbs., 12-3, 8 KO’s) fought cautiously in what appeared more a casual sparring session than a prizefight.

Commencing with a chess match in the first, they elicited chants from the dissipated crowd of “Boring, boring!” Many punches were thrown, but most were blocked. Tuner, once a promising Don King prospect, caused Littleton to do a stutter step with a glancing left hook to the temple at the end of the second. In one of the more entertaining moments, he ducked under the clutching Littleton, lifting him high on his shoulder, and did a quarter turn before setting him down. The two slugged in earnest at rounds end.

As would be their custom throughout, they tapped gloves in a sporting gesture after the bell rang, doing little to disspel the notion that they were friends taking it easy on each other.

Round four featured a lot of grabbing and the referee deducted a point from someone.  It was not clear who lost the point to any of us in the press box, but my guess is it was Littleton because, afterwards, he commenced battering Louis around the ring in earnest. Louis got in a right, but was corralled into a corner battered as he covered up for the remaining 10 seconds of the round.

After more sparring, Littleton raked the body and head in the fifth, only to be lifted again by a clutching Louis, conjuring thoughts of ballet or WWF Wrestling.  To his merit, once he lowered him, Turner bounced him into the ropes with a larruping right, only to be repelled and punished some more.

A fight broke out in the sixth, with Turner ripping hard shots to Littleton’s waist, only to be pummeled in a counter surge. Louis glanced Littleton’s left shoulder with a hard right and ate pumping lefts and rights as he covered up. Some more punches are exchanged, and it’s over. Applause and cheers greet their stronger finish, as well as the subsequent scores: Judges called it 59-54 all for Paul Littleton.  Good night!

Photo by Tom Barnes

Photo by Tom Barnes

Overall, though, the fights were a big hit and truly worthy of holding court at U.S. Cellular Field.  Congratulations to the promoters for knocking this one out of the ballpark!

Mike Mollo reclines in the locker room earlier in the evening prior to his fight vs. Artur Szpilka (Greg Rodil photo)

Mike Mollo reclines in the locker room earlier in the evening prior to his fight vs. Artur Szpilka (Greg Rodil photo)

 

Trainer George Hernandez tapes the hands of Adrian Granados (Greg Rodil photo)

Trainer George Hernandez tapes the hands of Adrian Granados (Greg Rodil photo)

PROMOTERS:  8 Count Productions, Round 3 Productions, and Warriors Boxing

 

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