The CBZ Newswire

Wlodarczyk Retains WBC Cruiserweight Title with KO at UIC Pavilion

by on Dec.07, 2013, under Boxing News, Guest Columnists

Fonfara, Grenados, Gonzalez and Wright Thrill with Knockouts in Entertaining Undercard

By Kerstin Broockmann

CHICAGO, IL, December 6, 2013 — In another mix of local and international boxing prospects, contenders and journeyman, 8 Count Promotions with Knockout Promotions and Warriors Boxing, drew a large and boisterous crowd to the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Evanston, Illinois Cruiserweight Junior Wright looked devastatingly impressive in his stoppage of Harley Kilfian. Light middleweight Jonathan Gonzalez dismantled the durable Jaison Palomeque. Middleweight Skyler Thompson did not make Henry Coyle’s job easier, though Coyle took the decision. Jose Romero, Fred Bowen, Trinidad Garcia and Ramiro Bueno Jr. engaged in crowd-pleasing battles to open the evening. Adrian Granados got off to a rough start before finding the path to victory over Carlos Winston Velasquez. Andrzej Fonfara demolished Samuel Miller in crowd-pleasing fashion. The main event got off to a slow start and never really got heated before being stopped for medical reasons to give Krzysztof “Diablo” Wlodarczyk the TKO victory—despite somewhat cautious performances from both cruiserweights, the Pro-Wlodarczyk crowd was ready to stand by their man, and they could not have been happier with the outcome.

The main event featured a 12-round WBC Cruiserweight Championship between defending champion Krzysztof “Diablo” Wlodarczyk (49-2-1, 34 KOs, 199 lbs.) of Poland and Italy’s Giacobbe “Gabibbo” Fragomeni (31-4-2, 12 KOs, 198 lbs.), hoping to regain the title he lost to Wlodarczyk in their second fight, after the two fought to a draw in their first outing.

The motivated Italian entered with a significantly shorter reach, and 12 years on his 32 year old foe. Fragomeni used effective movement at the outset to avoid Wlodarczyk’s harder punches, but he looked too flatfooted and off-balance to avoid Wlodarczyk’s punches for long. As the round progressed Wlodarczyk used his jab to find his range for some combinations and to keep Fragomeni from launching a consistent offense. Wlodarczyk began the second round more effectively, though still patiently looking for clean shots. He began landing some hooks to the body as well. Fragomeni found a number of opportunities to attack over Wlodarczyk’s low left hand and throw some hooks, but overall, Wlodarczyk dominated with his size, his jab and his ability to find targets for the hooks he occasionally launched. The third round saw some good exchanges, but both boxers seemed to be taking a conservative approach, with Wlodarczyk again gaining the edge with his size. Fragomeni began covering and wading through Wlodarczyk’s punches in the fourth to land some solid inside shots. This seemed to motivate Wlodarczyk who began to let his hands go a little more. As the two continued to exchange punches that did not seem telling, Wlodarczyk broke from a clinch to send the Italian to the canvas and open a cut under his left eye with a short left hook under Fragomeni’s arm. The fifth round was the most exciting of the bout to that point, with Fragomeni managing to put together combinations on the inside and showing some of the skills that won him the title in the first place while a motivated Wlodarczyk countered and backed out to stick straight punches in Fragomeni’s face. Fragomeni did not look as sharp in the sixth, though he continued to try to find openings. Wlodarczyk was finding his rhythm and throwing straight punches from the outside and then attacking the body when Fragomeni’s guard went up, then following with hooks to the head. Meanwhile, the cut under Fragomeni’s eye looked to be worsening, as indeed it was. After consulting with ringside physicians, the bout was stopped for medical reasons at :01 of seventh round, giving Wlodarczyk the TKO victory.

In another featured bout, local fan favorite Warsaw-born Andrzej Fonfara (26-2, 15 KOs, 176 lbs.) entered the ring against Columbian Samuel Miller (26-8, 23 KOs, 176 lbs.) for a scheduled 10 rounds. Miller has losses to some of the best on his record: though clearly a powerful puncher, he has struggled against fighters with winning records. The first round demonstrated both Miller’s power and the reason for his difficulty with contenders. Miller could not get inside Fonfara’s defense to land cleanly, often hitting arms or gloves. Meanwhile, Fonfara took advantage of Millers low guard to drop right hands as Miller backed into the ropes, then pinned him there with volleys to head and body. Miller could not get far in the second round, though he tried to find his range. He also tried some questionable tactics, including a rabbit punch that drew a warning from the referee. After that punch, the round and the bout belonged to Fonfara who first attacked and then, as Miller attempted to retaliate, caught Miller with a left that knocked him out before Fonfara had a chance to throw another punch. Though Miller did manage to get to his feet, he was in no state to continue, and the bout was waved off at 2:00 of Round 2, giving Fonfara another TKO victory.

Adrian “El Tigre” Granados (13-2-2, 9 KOs, 143 lbs.) of Cicero, Illinois via Mexico, faced the experienced Carlos Winston “El Guerrero” Velasquez (21-18-1, 11 KOs, 140 lbs.) from Managua, Nicaragua in a scheduled eight-round light welterweight bout. Granados got caught in the opening moments over a low guard and had trouble trying to find a target on his opponent. Though Granados did manage to land a few volleys to the body, Velasquez managed to find his target more frequently, often with a stiff jab to the face. Granados looked energized in the second round, but got caught with a powerful series of shots as he launched his attack. The action went back and forth, with both boxers effectively utilizing jabs and body shots. Though both fighters landed their fair share of shots, Granados probably mounted the more effective offense. In the third round, Granados picked up the pace, effectively attacking with left hooks to the body followed by hard overhand rights, and the occasional single right. Beginning to move in and out with a varied attack of hooks to head and body, uppercuts and overhand rights, Granados seemed to have found the right strategy for defeating his foe by the end of the round. Granados continued his assault on Velasquez in the fourth, with Velasquez hardly able to avoid Granados’s left hooks to the head and powerful overhand rights. With Granados moving in to attack and backing away just long enough to avoid a counter, Velasquez, though he stayed in the fight and stayed powerful, had no answer for the combinations that Granados put together. The pattern repeated in the fifth, with Velasquez trying to avoid punishment by holding when Granados came in a fired multiple shots. As the round drew to a close, Granados doubled up on his right, knocking Velasquez to the ground. Velasquez waited out the count and got up, but it was not long before two left hooks in succession from Granados sent him down again. Though Velasquez lasted out the round, he was clearly getting hurt, and did not come out for the bell in the sixth, giving Granados the TKO at :01 of the round.

A lightweight bout between Jose Romero (now 1-1, 134 lbs.) of Whiting, Indiana, and Fred Bowen (2-1-1, 134 lbs.) of Chicago via Jackson, Tennessee opened the evening. Romero set the pace at the outset, but Bowen countered well and landed by far the more effective shots, peppering Romero with a barrage to body and head whenever he tried to engage. A one-two combo from Romero caught Bowen off guard and he went down for the count, which he beat effortlessly. Clearly irritated, Bowen came back with another barrage and dropped Romero with a left hook to the head. Romero tried to re-engage, but again got caught, this time with a left to the body, which sent him down again. With two legitimate knockdowns, the first round belonged to Bowen. It looked like both boxers were trying to beat each other to the punch at the top of the second, and they traded volleys. Though the momentum slowed a bit as the round progressed, the advantage seesawed back and forth. Bowen may have had a slight edge on power shots. Romero landed a few solid shots at the top of the third, but both boxers were throwing wide looping shots at the outset, with Romero winding up too close to effectively land punches. Eventually, Bowen found a way to take advantage of this, throwing hard inside shots to Romero’s body as he closed. Though Romero managed to get a few more shots in, Bowen avoided most and countered with precision to take the round. Bowen kept on the move at the top of the fourth, sticking his jab whenever Romero tried to close, and again going to the body when Romero came into inside range. Bowen’s movement prevented Romero from landing too many hard shots, while Romero occasionally stayed too stationary for counters. It was an entertaining start to the evening, with two talented young boxers staying focused on the task at hand and demonstrating some effective boxing skills in the process. In the end, judge Mauro di Fiore scored the bout 35-40, while the other judges saw it at 36-39, all for Fred Bowen.

Next up was a five-round middleweight rematch between Trinidad Garcia (6-3-3, 164 lbs.) of Chicago and Ramiro Bueno Jr. (2-4-1 1 KO, 164 lbs.) of South Bend, Indiana, who first squared off this past summer. Bueno established himself as a brawler to be reckoned with as he pursued Garcia with hard looping shots to the body and head. Though Garcia looked to be the better boxer, he struggled to keep the motivated Bueno at bay. Near the end of the round, Garcia began using his jab more effectively to keep Bueno at his punching range to land a few uppercuts. The round was close, but may have gone to Bueno based on workrate and power. At the top of the second, Garcia turned the table on the charging Bueno, continuing to punch on the inside and tagging him with effective uppercuts and hooks to the body. When Garcia used his reach and kept punching, he got the advantage, but Bueno was able to dominate several exchanges by outworking Garcia after bulling him to the ropes. Garcia’s slight technical edge gave him a decided advantage in the second round. A wild but mostly indecisive flurry of shots began the third round. The exchanges continued, though both fighters began using their assets more effectively, with Bueno rushing Garcia with flurries of punches, while Garcia tried to keep him at the end of his reach with jabs, hammering him with overhands from both hands when Bueno came in unguarded. This round was the judges’ call.

Garcia came out strong in the fourth, though he did initially get caught by a Bueno counter. Though Bueno continued to try to bully Garcia, Garcia began utilizing more of his boxing skills, avoiding shots and countering, and looking for openings while covering when he found himself against the ropes. Though Bueno landed a few bombs, Garcia dominated most of the penultimate round. The combatants touched gloves at the top of the final round, before blasting away at each other. Bueno looked too tired to use his rushing style. While both fighters took shots they should have avoided over low guards, it was Bueno who got the worse punishment. Garcia’s shots landed with more snap and he was able to elude the slower version of Bueno. Final scorecards read 49-46 twice for Garcia, and 48-47 once for Bueno, giving Garcia the majority decision win. Trinidad Garcia thanked the teachers at Beard Elementary after his win, as he is donating his winnings from the fight to the fight against autism on behalf of his son who attends school there.

Evanston, Illinois-based cruiserweight “Hurricane” Junior Wright (9-0, 8 KOs, 193 lbs.) took the ring against Harley Kilfian (10-14, 8 KOs, 195 lbs.) of Kenton, Ohio. Though Kilfian’s record portrayed him to be the more experienced boxer, Wright’s extensive amateur experience and poise were no match for the lanky Ohioan. Using effective head movement, Wright used his jab and hooks to the body (and an occasional change in leads) to keep Kilfian from setting himself for his own punches. Kilfian went on the attack at the top of the second, using his reach to land a few shots on Wright, before Wright once again took control, leveraging his weight to throw jarring inside shots to the body and head. Not long into the round, a right hook to the body sent Kilfian to the canvas. He rose and came back after the count, only to fall again shortly after to a left hook to the head. Even without the two knockdowns, Wright would have dominated. Not to be discouraged, Kilfian again went on the attack in the third, but Wright soon found his way inside, throwing punishing shots to the body, and sending Kilfian down with left hook to the head. Again, Kilfian popped up, but the body shots were taking their toll. Though he tried to fight from a defensive crouch, Wright was still managing to throw powerful, accurate shots. One more left to the body, resulting in a final knockdown caused the referee to step in and end the punishment at 2:15 of the third for a TKO, giving Wright his eighth KO in nine bouts.

An eight-round light middleweight bout featured Puerto Rican Jonathan “Mantequilla” Gonzalez (17-0-1, 14 KOs, 165 lbs.) looking to keep his “0” against journeyman Jaison Palomeque (14-8-1, 9 KOs, 170 lbs.) of Arpartado, Colombia. Though Palomeque was the aggressor at the outset, Gonzalez countered well. Palomeque had some success with a fusillade of powerful punches that had Gonzalez covering to avoid punishment, but Gonzalez came back strong, ducking under punches to land brutal hooks to the body, one of which sent Palomeque to his knee for the count. Gonzalez took the offense from the start of the second round, snapping his jab and frequently catching Palomeque with counter hooks to the head. Palomeque showed some decent power and offense and defense throughout the round, but Gonzalez was faster and more powerful, wearing down the Columbian with punch combinations. Just before the bell, Gonzalez managed to get Palomeque on the ropes with a flurry of shots, ending with a left hook that once again sent Palomeque to the canvas. Palomeque was late to answer the bell for the third, but came out swinging. Palomeque kept trying to get off shots, while Gonzalez walked him down, hitting him at will with powerful hooks to the head and body. Though Palomeque still showed the power that made him dangerous, he was totally dominated by Gonzalez and never managed to put together an effective combination. In the fourth, Gonzalez was again in pursuit, while Palomeque tried unsuccessfully to get back in the game. Gonzalez was looking for a way to end his durable opponent and it looked like he would on several occasions, throwing powerful combinations that had Palomeque out on his feet. In the final seconds of the round, having driven Palomeque once more to the ropes with a volley of shots to body and head, Gonzalez dropped him with a right. Though Palomeque got up unsteadily, and it looked like a stoppage might be in order, referee Gerald Scott called for the fight to resume as the bell signaled the end of the round. The fifth round began with Gonzalez stalking Palomeque, who was throwing nothing of note. Gonzalez floored Palomeque with another barrage, ending with a right to the head (and a left that appeared to land after Palomeque had fallen). The end, thankfully, came soon, when Scott waved off the fight at 1:05 of the round, giving Gonzalez the fight by TKO.

A six-round middleweight battle involving Henry “The Western Warrior” Coyle (18-2, 12 KOs, 163 lbs.) of Chicago, via Geesala, Ireland and Skyler Thompson (12-9, 10 KOs, 167 lbs.) of Rockford, Illinois, turned out to be more competitive than it looked on paper. Thompson used his reach advantage effectively as the first round began, but Coyle was clearly looking for ways to work inside, eventually walking Thompson down and throwing hooks to the body and looping shots to the head. Once Coyle went on the offense, Thompson had difficulty keeping him at bay with his straight punches, too often finding himself backing into the ropes. Thompson briefly switched stances in the second round, but discovered that this strategy did not work. The second time tried it, he found himself on the ropes, not avoiding enough uppercuts from Coyle. Though Thompson managed to land some thudding body shots and stiff straights, this was Coyle’s round as he continued to back his opponent into the ropes and land hard shots from multiple angles. Thompson was highly motivated in the third round, and effectively put together some combinations while doing a better job of avoiding Coyle’s attack. However, Coyle still managed to outland Thompson. In the fourth round, Thompson began using his footwork more, working around the perimeter of the ring. Though it took Coyle a while to find a way to stop his progress, when he did he stayed inside for much of the round, targeting whatever part of Thompson he could find, though Thompson worked well off the ropes, throwing hooks to the body and keeping his head down and covered so that Coyle could not get as many clean shots as he wanted. Thompson moved even more in the fifth. With his hands down, he used head and foot movement to elude Coyle. When he stopped this strategy, Coyle moved in, pushing Thompson to the ropes and dropping overhand rights whenever an opportunity presented itself, as well as mixing in some body shots and hooks. Coyle’s punching was decisively more effective. The sixth round began with Coyle landing short punches with his left as Thompson held his right. The middle of the round was dominated by Thompson, who used his speed and reach to keep Coyle on his guard. What looked like a stumble from Thompson was counted as a knockdown by the referee. Thompson continued to look for the big punch, but Coyle came back at the end with more overhands to take the round. Final scores read 60-53 twice and 59-54 once, giving ‘The Western Warrior” the unanimous decision.

Though some of the evening’s boxers are clearly ready for a step up in competition, most of the fights were well-matched and provided the appropriate challenges for the house fighters. Polish fans were thrilled by the performances of both Fonfara and Wlodarczyk, and all of the crowd had someone to cheer.

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