The CBZ Newswire

Bondaravas Falls Short versus Monroe, and Kopylenko, Gattica, Adams Advance in Boxcino Tourney

by on Mar.01, 2014, under Boxing News

By Juan C. Ayllon

Photos courtesy of Hitz Boxing/ Tomba-Images

Bondaravas, at left, and Monroe mix it up.

Bondaravas, at left, and Monroe mix it up.

HAMMOND, IN, March 1, 2014 – It could have been him facing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tonight on HBO instead of Brian Vera – but for a translation error.

In a compelling seesaw battle televised by ESPN last March, the Lithuanian Donatas Bondaravas suffered cuts to the bridge of his nose and the inside of his right eye, prompting referee Charlie Fitch to ask him between rounds if he could still see.  His trainer, Sam Colonna, who was acting as interpreter, translated his response as “not good” and then despite protests, the bout was halted in the seventh round in favor of Vera, who ironically lost a controversial decision to Chavez last September in his biggest payday and faces him again tonight.

Thoughts of “it could have been me” and “this time, it’s mine!” have to be coursing through his mind as he punches the turnbuckle in his corner.  It’s now Friday, July 28, 2014 and once again, he’s on ESPN.  In the other corner, it’s Rochester, New York’s Willie Monroe, Jr. (17-1, 6 KO’s) in this week’s installment of the Boxcino 2014/Middleweight Tournament (where bouts are limited to six rounds unless there’s a tie, where it goes to a seventh round and if it’s still a tie, media writers and Facebook fans vote for the tie breaker, and  tonight, Fightnews’ Sam Geraci and I are pulling media duties).

Maybe it’s the fact that Monroe is the great nephew of the famous 1970s Philadelphia middleweight contender, Willie “The Worm” Monroe, who’d owned a unanimous decision win over all-time great Marvin Hagler or, as too often happens in boxing, Monroe is the new face and elicits favoritism.   Or maybe it’s simply that he brought some of his great uncle’s skills to the ring this night, but either way, he spoiled Bondaravas’ plans.

Before an estimated crowd of 1,900 at the Horseshoe Casino’s Venue Theater, Chicago’s Donatas Bondaravas (158.2 lbs., 18-5-1, 6 KO’s) – who goes by “Bondas” – appeared to edge, but falls short in losing a close one against Monroe (160 lbs., 17-1, 6 KO’s).

Impassioned, Bondas is stalking, firing jabs and maintaining a high guard in the first round.  He lands a thudding on a ducking Monroe, who’s been swinging hard while in retreat.  Bondas misses with a left hook, then a searing right – by inches.  Trapping him in a corner, Bondas unleashes a fusillade that lands on shoulders and arms.  He maneuvers him to a corner again, flicking the jab as a range-finder, but misses with his money punch – a hard right hand.  I score it 10-9 for Bondas.

Bondaravas (AKA "Bondas"), at left, on the attack.

Bondaravas (AKA “Bondas”), at left, on the attack.

The strategy of Monroe, whose style calls to mind Demetrius Hopkins, the nephew of the longtime Middleweight and current IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins, is clear:  He’s trying to walk him into big counters.  It’s not working so far. He catches the charging Bondas’s shoulder with a right as the second begins, but Bondas jabs, fires the right and digs to the body with his right.  Monroe bounces three hard jabs off his head.  Ducking under a counter, he eats a left.  He manages a right back, but escapes.  On his bicycle, he catches a jarring right to the chest.   10-9 for Bondas.

Monroe is pumping the jab as round three gets underway, then circling.  Bondas stalks and fires a hard right to the chest.  Monroe misses with a wild left hook that Bondas ducks under.  Exchanging more, Monroe snaps his head back with a right jab and after Bondas is warned for punching on the break, he snaps his head back with a left.  Bondas fires hard, but misses more, finally digging a hard right to the chest at the bell.  10-9 for Monroe.

Monroe, at right, fires back with a vengeance.

Monroe, at right, fires back with a vengeance.

Moments into the fourth, Monroe repels Bondas with a jarring right to the head.  A loud “Ohhh” rises from the crowd.  Bondas is still the aggressor, cutting off the ring, flicking the jab, hooking and crossing, but he’s finding Monroe more slippery and elusive.  Monroe digs to the body with a hard left-right.  Bondas connects with a left-right to the head and energized, he pursues.  Bouncing on his toes awaiting the moment to strike, he pounces, drilling Monroe to the head with a potent right.  Not a big knockout puncher, Bondas seems desperate in trying to force a knockout, while Monroe is growing in confidence and appears more relaxed and confident in his abilities.  Moments later Bondas fires a flurry of arm punches.  It could go either way, but I call it for Bondas and his aggressiveness by a smidge, 10-9.

Early in the fifth round, Monroe pulls Bondas’ head down and catches a low blow.  Referee Bill Paige warns him to keep them up.  Monroe is throwing a potent, leaden jab.  Bondas avoids most of them.  He catches Monroe with a hard right to the side of the head.   He eats a return right and lands another hard big right of his own.  Monroe surges back, catching him with a hard straight left to the head.  Bondas edges 10-9.

Monroe causes Bondas to lurch forward with a left to the head, but.  He fires a showy five punch combination.  The crowd responds with a loud “OOOH”.  They exchange heavy blows in the corner – Monroe drilling the head and Bondas ripping the side.  A Bondas right slams into the side of Monroe’s head.  Monroe digs a hard left to the midsection, but misses a follow-up left that catches Bondas back as he darts to his left.  The two engage in a protracted frenzy to close out the fight.  The crowd roars.  I call the round 10-9 for Monroe.

Bondaravas, at left, nails Monroe as referee Bill Paige looks on.

Bondaravas, at left, nails Monroe as referee Bill Paige looks on.

It was a close bout, but in the end, judges scored the bout 58-56 and 59-55 twice for Monroe, while even though our round by round breakdown was different,’s Sam Geraci and I score it 58-56 for Bondas.  We agree that perhaps our seating, some 35 feet away at a media table, may have accounted for the difference, as judges sit right next to the action and can see more the punches and infighting more clearly.  A conversation with judge Nathan Palmer, who scored it 58-56 for Monroe, and a subsequent conversation with referee Bill Paige in the Men’s Room afterwards seems to substantiate this.  Bill Paige confides that from his vantage point, Monroe fought with more skill and was clearly winning the bout.


Kopylenko has Fort down.

Kopylenko has Fort down.

Los Angeles, California’s Vitalii Kopylenko (160 lbs., 22-0, 12 KO’s) looked very sharp in dismantling St. Paul, Minnesota’s Cerresso Fort (160.2 lbs., 17-3-1, 11 KO’s) inside the distance.

Fort misses with a “hail Mary” right in the opening seconds of the bout.  He’s swinging wide against Kopylenko, who maintains a tight, high guard.  Then, like a skilled surgeon, Kopylenko begins to dissect him.  Presently he’s talking landing a jab, a hard right and a low left hook.  Spivey tells him to keep it up.  Kopylenko is firing sharp, precise blows, whiie Fort flails ineffectually.  Fort stumbles and retreats as blows slam home.  A product of the softer Midwest circuit, he appears over his head as he manages to make it to his corner at rounds end.  10-9 for Kopylenko.

Kopylenko, right, lands a smashing right to the chin of  Fort.

Kopylenko, right, lands a smashing right to the chin of Fort.

Moments into the second, Fort falls to his haunches hard from the first punch thrown – a crunching left hook to the jaw.  Rising, he attacks, but is quickly overwhelmed, driven across the ring and deposited in a corner from the fusillade.  He rises, Spivey takes a good look into his eyes, and waves it off at 43 seconds into the second round.  10-7 for Kopylenko.

Gattica, at left, tags Agbeko.

Gattica, at left, tags Agbeko.


In a sloppy affair, Acra, Ghana’s by way of Columbia, Indiana’s Sena Agbeko (157.2 lbs., 16-1, 16 KO’s) looked the more powerful and adept in the early going, but was surprised as Austin, Texas’ Raymond Gattica (158.4 lbs., 14-2, 7 KO’s) overwhelmed and ultimately upended him inside the distance.

They waste no time as they try to dislodge each other’s heads in the opening seconds.  Wide-swinging, the awkward and shorter Gattica connects with some hard left hooks and dodges away.  Limber and loose-limbed, he’s landing more often, while the taller and more powerful Agbeko manages a hard, wallop to the body and several other hard blows. Still, he finds Gatica elusive, who appears to edge the first.  CBZ scores it 10-9 for Gattica.

Agbeko nails Gattica in the face with a wicked right in the opening seconds of round two.  He’s finding his range more, but eats a straight left to the chin.  The two land blows and Gattica falls to the floor.  Referee Bill Paige rules it a slip. Resuming, Gattica appears to stun with a left to the head, but moments later, Agbeko is unloading on him and appears to land the more meaningful blows.  CBZ scores it for Agbeko 10-9.

Gattica continues to pepper in the third; his blows land like flak bursting aout Agbeko.  Many appear slapping, but some are landing with authority.  After one potent left, Agbeko mocks and sticks out his tongue.  Yet, it’s Gattica landing the solid blows now to the point where Aggbeko is covering and not punching back.  Then he’s floundering on unsteady legs as bombs rock him hither and to.  Referee Bill Paige is watching closely.  The storm abates, but seconds later it erupts again.  Agbeko walks back to his corner exhausted on wobbly legs, while Gatica strides back energized.  10-8 for Gattica.

EAgbeko (Black ) vs Gatica (Black-Yellow_Winner)-7


In the fourth, Gattica ends it.  Resuming where he left off, he drives Agbeko across the ring under a steady barrage.  Agbeko is wilting, his head bobbling under the impact as blows rain down in a corner. He fires back a few counters, but fades under the punishment.  Referee Paige waves it off at 1:06 into the fourth round.


Edouard, at left, and Adams trade in close.

Edouard, at left, and Adams trade in close.

Hailing form West Palm Beach, Florida by way of Haiti, the chiseled and ebony-hued Daniel Edouard (160 lbs., 23-5-2, 14 KO’s) cuts a scary figure, with knotted muscles and dense, billy-goat beard that scream “prison strong”.  However, he also has not fought in three years.  Thus, California’s lighter-skinned and hard-swinging Brandon Adams (160.8 lbs., 13-0, 9 KO’s), whose swollen physique appears the product of an L.A. Fitness health club, raised his record to 13-0 with 9 knockouts in vanquishing his harder looking foe.

The first stanza is a feeling-out round.  Adams jabs Edouard’s head and circles out.  Later, Edouard connects with a right high on the head.  They exchange a few in close and tie-up.  Referee Kurt Spivey breaks them.  Edouard connects with a right to the head that draws a large “OHH” from the crowd.  I call it 10-9 for Edouard.

Edouard(Red_Blue) vs Adams (Black_Winner)-13

Edouard draws another large “Ooh” from the crows as he kicks off the second with a hard heft to Adams’ head.  Not to be outdone, Adams digs a hard right hook to the midriff and, opening up, he rips lefts and rights to the midsection and lands a left uppercut on Eduoard, who blocks most of the incoming.  About a minute later, Adams lands two hard left hooks to the side and another, rousing the crowd and sealing the round.  10-9 for Adams.

Spivey is quick to break the two early in the third.  Edouard bounces a right off the temple that draws an “Ooh” from the crowd.  A brief skirmish ensues.  Eduard glances a left to the head, and lands another 30 seconds later.  Edouard digs a potent left-right combination to the ribs, but a single left to the body by Adams lands harder and appears to hurt him.  10-9 for Edouard.

Adams lands a left-right to the head, and rakes the body to kick of the fourth.  A left hook to the jaw drops Eduoard hard. He rises.  Adams is raking the body and head with hard concussive blows while Edouard is fighting back for his life.  He clears the ropes, but gets clocked with a left that buzzes him.  He’s not out of the woods yet.  Adams appears worn, but he’s stalking and firing hard, single blows.

It’s a big round for Adams that I score 10-8 round for him, but it’s academic, as Edouard did not come out for the fifth, claiming that he could not continue, which results in a technical knockout win for Adams.

Afterwards, Adams said, “I hit with a good left hook.  He was tough.”  Allowing that he did a good job, he added, “I know I can do better.”

The Boxcino finalists, left to right, Gattica, ring announcer Ray Flores, Adams, Monroe and Kopylenko.

The Boxcino finalists, left to right, Gattica, ring announcer Ray Flores, Adams, Monroe and Kopylenko.

 Non-Boxcino Bouts

Jimenez, at right, catches Campbell with a compact uppercut.

Jimenez, at right, catches Campbell with a compact uppercut.

Popular Des Plaines, Illinois’ Mike Jimenez (175 lbs., 12-0, 9 KO’s, 1 ND) made short work of Evansville, Indiana’s by way of England’s Jimmy Campbell (173 lbs., 11-6, 8 KO’s).

As they touch gloves, Campbell lunges prior to the start of the bout, bumping heads with Jimenez and earning a shove and stern warning from referee Bill Paige.  However, that would be the effective end of his histrionics.

Campbell (gold) vs Jimenez (Black -orange-winner)-07

Campbell (gold) vs Jimenez (Black -orange-winner)-16

Round one has hardly gotten under way, when after landing a hard right, Campbell is rocked, then dropped by a Jimenez left hook.   The crowd roars.  Rising with a bad cut on the outer ridge of his right brow, Campbell appears a little unsteady.   Jimenez pounces, unloading with both gloves.  Referee Bill Paige jumped in perhaps a smidge too soon, halting it at 56 seconds of the first round.

Jimenez celebrates on the ropes.

Jimenez celebrates on the ropes.

“I’ve been training really hard.  I came in with ‘Beast mode’ and caught him with a really hard punch,” Jimenez says afterwards.  His trainer, Pete George adds, “It was a good win for him.  He needed it.”


de Oca, at left, and Navarrete trade blows.

de Oca, at left, and Navarrete trade blows.

Chicago’s never-say-die featherweight, Sergio Montes De Oca (124 lbs., 7-2-2, 2 KO’s) pitched a feverish battle and appeared to edge against Highland, Indiana’s truculent Fidel Navarrete (127 lbs., 4-0-2, 3 KO’s), but came up short in the end.  Referee Kurt Spivey warned Navarrete for repeatedly pulling down the head of Montes de Oca in round three.  Judges scored the bout 58-56 for Montes de Oca, and 57-57 twice for a majority draw.

Chicago’s Russell “Rocky” Fiore (11-2-1, 7 KO’s) fought like he was angry for his bad haircut that looked equal parts young Jack Dempsey and Livingston Bramble in beating up Tim Carrizales (134.4 lbs., 4-8-1).  Dominating throughout, the more muscular Fiore dropped Hardy once each in the third and fourth rounds of their fight, winning by scores of 40-34 all.

Heavyweight Donovan Dennis (226 lbs., 10-0, 8 KO’s) knocked out Zab Cummings (264 lbs., 10-1, 8 KO’s) with a left-right hook combination at 1:34 into the first round.

Simeon “Candy Man” Hardy (157.6 lbs., 11-1, 8 KO’s) put forth a workmanlike effort before dropping, then poleaxing his stubborn opponent, 43 year-old Chad Greenleaf (158.8 lbs., 13-19-1), at 2:50 into the fifth round.


Juan C. Ayllon, at left, with Vitaliy Kopytko, who helped him with a newspaper report on deadline for the Houston Chronicle several years ago.  Kopytko was here to watch Vitalii Kopylenko (photo by Sam Geraci)

Juan C. Ayllon, at left, with Vitaliy Kopytko, who helped him with a newspaper report on deadline for the Houston Chronicle several years ago. Kopytko was here to watch Vitalii Kopylenko (photo by Sam Geraci)

PROMOTERS:  Banner Promotions, Hitz Boxing, Round 3 Productions.


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