The CBZ Newswire

Smith Pole-Axes Fonfara in TKO Upset; Warren Regains Crown over Payano with Dominant Win

by on Jun.19, 2016, under Boxing News

By Juan C. Ayllon

Photos by Nabeel Ahmad / Premier Boxing Champions


Joe Smith, at left, rocks Andrzej Fanfara.

Joe Smith, at left, rocks Andrzej Fanfara.

CHICAGO, June 18, 2016 — He was a crude banger whose record was built on nobodies, in nothing towns, and across the ring was the established king — a future hall of famer — who’d battered and nearly knocked out Muhammad Ali nearly two years earlier. However, this didn’t stop a young George Foreman from bludgeoning Joe Frazier into submission that night in Kingston, Jamaica in January 1973.

Fast forward to tonight at the UIC Pavilion. Although Joe Smith, Jr. was a well decorated amateur (he won the 2008 New York Golden Gloves with a victory over Seanie Monaghan) he is no George Foreman (who won the Gold Medal at the 1968 Olympics as an amateur), but he’s a heavy handed slugger with a record of 21-1 with 17 knockouts against second rate opposition. Tonight, he’s facing Andrzej Fonfara, an established contender who dropped and went the distance in losing a decision for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC title in May 2014 and stopped the former WBC Middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in April 2015. This should be a no-brainer.

Only it’s not.

The crowd roars as Fonfara (174.5 lbs., 28-4, 16 KO’s) enters the ring wearing a long red velvet robe resembling a king’s flowing train emblazoned with the image of the Polish flag. Or is that a cape? Indeed, some 10 Polish flags are being waved to chants of “Andre!” “Andre!” to the beat of a drum. With Chicago having the largest Polish community in any city outside of Warsaw, Poland, he is royalty here.

In contrast, Joe Smith, Jr. (173 lbs.) is roundly booed when he enters the ring.

The bell rings to initiate the action. Smith comes in jabbing and banging away. Fonfara repels him with a single right. They slug in close, with Smith favoring a clubbing overhand right on his taller foe. Fonfara strafes him with a series of jabs and crosses. They trade hard hooks to the body.

Smith is warned for a right behind the head. Fonfara snaps his head back with an uppercut. Gloves held high, he hurts Smith with a left hook and right. The end looks near.

Coming on, Fonfara is caught with a short, whistling right to the chin. He falls. The crowd shrieks.

Smith goes to a neutral corner as Fanfara lies on the canvas.

Smith goes to a neutral corner as Fanfara lies on the canvas.

Rising, he staggers to the ropes and grabs hold. Cleared to continue, he covers up as punches batter him about. Two clean left hooks capped by a right drop him on his back and under the ropes. Unsteady, he rises at about the five count. It’s no use. The referee hugs him and waves it off. It’s over at 2:32 into the first round.

Smith landed 26 out of 67 punches thrown, with 20 out of 48 power punches connecting.  Fanfara landed 21 out of 56 punches thrown, and connected on 18 of the 37 power punches he threw.

“Now everybody knows who I am,” an elated Smith says afterwards. “This is the best thing that could have happened.” With the win, Smith most likely get a shot at a world title.

“I threw some good punches, but I got too comfortable,” Fonfara concedes. “I didn’t see the punch coming. That made it a great punch.”  He promises to come back and become  a world champion, but like the mythical King Sisyphus rolling a huge boulder up a hill, he faces a daunting challenge ahead.


Sweet Revenge: Rau’shee Warren defeats Juan Carlos Payano

Warren, at left, swarms Payano.

Warren, at left, swarms Payano.

Having lost his WBA World Super Bantamweight title to the Dominican Republic’s Juan Carlos Payano (117.2 lbs., 17-1, 8 KO’s)by controversial split decision last year, Cincinnati, Ohio’s Rau’shee Warren (22-1, 4 KO’s) is looking to regain his crown tonight in this highly anticipated rematch.

There’s a brief skirmish kicking off the fight. Warren looks quicker as he slams home a series of lefts and rights to Payano who misses a slew of punches before glancing with a single blow.

It’s mostly footwork in the second, as Payano misses three jabs as Warren retreats, flitting left and right, then popping his with quick rights. Payano pins him to the ropes and clubs with a left. Once loose, Warren continues to evade and pepper in quick bursts, while Payano reaches and tries to time him with jabs, hooks and rights.

Early in round three, Payano touches him with a straight left. A girl screams. Payano clubs with an overhand right; Warren rakes the body, catches a glancing left. There’s a lot of missed shots, but the left-handed Payano is beginning to catch him with right jabs with increasing regularity as the round closes.

Payano, at left, is on the attack.

Payano, at left, is on the attack.

Chants of “Rau’shee! Rau’shee!” usher in the fourth round. A right hook staggers an off balance Payano, who grabs hold and fires back. He shakes his head in denial, then commences an attack. They both land. Payano slips to the canvas. As action resumes, Payano digs to the midriff and eats a right hook to the face, then attacks the body with lefts and rights. Now it’s Rau’shee shaking his head “no.” They trade furious blows at close quarters.

“Come on, Rau’shee!” a female fan exhorts.

Rau’shee is back in evade mode as the fifth round begins, retreating and ducking, then pot-shotting Payano with a straight left to the head. Payano attacks, but is warned to keep them up by referee Celestino Ruiz.

“Use the jab!” a fan exhorts Warren.

“Let it go now!” says another.

Warren slams home a left, eats a right, and engages in a firefight. Payano clubs in close with both fists. Warren clutches Payano’s right for a moment’s respite and shakes his head that he’s okay to his corner — and is clubbed with the left. The round ends.

Payano is mauling in close early in the sixth, gets caught by a quick counter and is warned for hitting the back of the head. Payano is catching Warren more now with lefts and rights. A hard right connects to Payano’s jaw.

A collective “OHHH!” resounds from the crowd.

A lead left, then a right slams off the sides of Payano’s head. A skirmish ensues — followed by a clinch.

Rau’shee catches four blows to the head and adjusts his mouthpiece in the seventh. they mix it up. Warren nails him with a lead left to the chin.


Payano tries desperately to catch him clean. Warren digs to the body and escapes.

A straight left catches Warren in the mouth. Payano swarms, but has spray sent flying from his head from a sharp counter, then is buffeted by a flurry of lefts and rights to the midsection at the bell.

HIs right cheek bruised and swollen, in the eighth round, Payano continues to pursue, throw punches and catch mostly air. A lead left catches the side of the head of Warren, who clinches. Warren continues to retreat, duck and evade. Finally, he plants, digs a right to the midsection, and engages intermittently. A right hook knocks Payano a step back just prior to the bell.

“USE YOUR JAB! *USE YOUR JAB — IT’S ALL THERE!” former world light heavyweight champion Montell Griffin yells from the seat behind in press row as the ninth round begins. “Don’t take any chances!”

Warren, who eschews that advice, is coming on now, slamming home sharp blows. Taking a break, he absorbs some lefts and rights at ring’s center. Trapped on the ropes, he appears to stager after a few clubbing blows, but he’s okay. They swap punches along the ropes on the opposite side as the round closes.

Round ten kicks off fast and furious, the two trading, but little landing cleanly. Warren rips the body and catches a right hook upside the head. Warren sends spray flying with a right to the head, then lands another moments later. And another, as Payano seeks desperately to catch this slippery eel in front of him.

A right hook knocks Payano into the ropes early into the eleventh round. A follow up barrage has him unsteady. Bleeding from a cut on his right cheek, Payano ducks and clears his head He lashes out with both fists, but make no mistake, he is now the one being stalked. A straight left lands flush on Warren’s face. Warren bounces a right hook to the head, digs to the body and fires back as Payano swings in desperation Warren picks up the attack, winging lefts and rights in spurts. He is in control at the bell.

Warren knocks Payano back with a right hook to the head moments into round 12. He’s sitting down more on his punches, is mothering

Warren, at right, clubs Payano with a heavy right.

Warren, at right, clubs Payano with a heavy right.

Suddenly, Warren seems hurt. The crowd is screaming. Was it from an illegal blow? The referee calls time.

Either way, upon resuming, Warren’s gloves are a blur as he unleashes a fusillade of lefts and rights to head and midriff. Slowing down, he grabs as Payano mauls him in close. Spent, Warren rides out the waning seconds.

“AND NEW!” Griffin bellows from the seat behind me. My ears hurt.

The crowd buzzes with anticipation as they await the judges’ scores.

One judge calls it 114-114, but “This is overruled,” ring announcer Ray Flores says, scoring 115-113 twice for “The New —“ champion, Rau’shee Warren, who collapses with several of his handlers to the ring.

“This feels great. It’s unbelievable. Payano came to put on a great fight but I came out victorious,” Warren says. “It was a good fight. If he wants the rematch, we can do it again.”


Lubin Hammers Sandoval

Lubin, at right, and Sandoval engage.

Lubin, at right, and Sandoval engage.

Like a praying mantis toying with and then puling the wings off a fly, Orlando, Florida’s Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (153.3 lbs., 15-0, 11 KO’s) boxed, then savaged Guadalajara, Mexico’s Daniel Sandoval (158 lbs., 38-4, 34 KO’s) inside the distance.

Sandoval kicks off the first round pressing forward winging lefts and rights. It’s not long before Lubin begins drilling him with hard right jabs and a cross to the chest. A potent right right glances Sandoval’s chin. A right hook, then left, and right rake Sandoval’s sides. Sandoval mounts an ineffectual attack. It appears that the dangerous Lubin is trying to bank some rounds of experience early on.

Sandoval fires jabs and crosses in the second, but is repelled by a few sharp counters. Lubin connects hard to the body. He slams home a heavy left to the chin and rips the body hard with a right. Coming off the ropes, Sandoval digs to the midsection and fires off a few as Lubin takes a break. A hard left hook connects to Sandoval’s jaw moments before the bell rings.

Lubin amps up his attack early in the third: his straight left to the chest slams hard; a left hook is blocked; another connects behind the ear.

The end is near, as Lubin, at right, unloads on Sandoval.

The end is near, as Lubin, at right, unloads on Sandoval.

Still standing, Sandoval fires a pair of jabs and a right. He traps Lubin’s glove and misses with an uppercut. A pair of right hooks club himThen the fusillade begins. Rights and lefts wallop head and body. Like a cork tossed about in turbid waters, his head snaps to and fro, prompting the referee to jump in at 2:30 into the third round.

“I felt great. He’s a veteran so I wanted to take my time and get him out of there by chipping away,” Lubin says. “I saw that he was hurt with a hook. I saw that it cut him and I wanted to rush him. A flurry of punches and the ref stopped it.”


Sulecki Overwhelms Centeno, Jr.

Centeno, at left, and Sulecki mix it up.

Centeno, at left, lands a left hook to the side of Sulecki’s head.

Perhaps energized by the shocking loss by his compatriot, Andrzej Fonfara earlier, Warsaw, Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (159 lbs., 23-0, 8 KO’s) came out very aggressively, throwing hard, hurtful blows at Oxnard, California’s Hugo Centeno, Jr. (163 lbs., 24-1, 12 KO’s), who looked unconcerned and boxed.

“Ma-check!” Clap, clap, clap! “Ma-check!” Clap, clap, clap!

Through the second round, Sulecki seems to be manhandling and handling Centeno, who hasn’t shown much strength.

However, Centeno kicks off the third throwing hard. At one point, Sulecki connects with a clean hook to his jaw, Centeno shakes his head no, and the two re-engage. Sulecki continues to land well, punctuated with a hard, smacking right to the jaw that draws a roar from the crowd at the bell.

Now in the fourth, a drum noisily joins the chants: “Machek!” Bam, bam, bam! “Machek!” Bam, bam, bam! Sulecki is swarming Centeno, who remains composed as he ducks, steps to the side, catches blows, and attempts to mount an offense.

A small rivulet of blood streams down the right side of Centeno’s face from a cut on his right orbital bone as the fifth round unfurls. He’s ducking — and he’s absorbing a drubbing. His cutman works furiously over him in between rounds.

It’s a good thing his opponent doesn’t hit too hard or he’d be in serous trouble. The problem is neither does he. When he lands several flush rights to Sudecki’s face, nothing happens. Towards the end of the sixth round, Sudecki lands a series of lefts and rights in what is becoming a rout.

Leaning hard on a doubled-over Centeno, he shoves his forearm hard on the back of his neck, prompting Centeno to smack him with a flagrant right when the ref breaks them apart. Centeno is frustrated.

Sulecki drops Centeno.

Sulecki drops Centeno.

The punishment catches up with him in the tenth and final round, when Sudecki ducks under his punches and drills him with a right to the jaw. He falls hard, he rises, but is rescued by the referee. In a sportsmanly gesture,

It is waved off at 1:06 into the tenth.

“I knew from the beginning that I was going to dominate,” Sulecki says. “I needed a couple of rounds to get my timing. Once I got my timing, I knew that I was physically and mentally better than this guy.

“I want to fight Daniel Jacobs. I think that would be a great fight.”

Centeno groused, “I had trouble making weight. I don’t want to make excuses. He did what he had to do, but I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.

“I felt sluggish by the fourth round. The fatigue set in hard. I wanted to finish the fight. I work hard for it. It is what it is, but I can’t wait to get back in the ring again.”


Carrillo Defeats Munguia

Carrillo, at right, and Munguia mix it up.

Carrillo, at right, and Munguia mix it up.

Chicago’s Ramiro Carrillo (136.5 lbs., 11-0, 7 KOs) slugged his way to a clear win over a surprisingly entertaining scrap versus Tegucigaipa, Honduras’ Jorge Munguia (138 lbs., 12-6, 4 KO’s).

Carrillo looks sharp, firing crisp, hard jabs and stiff rights in the first round. A right uppercut stuns Munguia, who smiles and shakes his head, “no.” His face reddening, he retreats, even scoring with a straight right to the chin. At this juncture, he looks overmatched.

The taller, chiseled Carrillo is putting the wood to the fireplug before him in the second, ripping the body and head. A fire fight heats up as the two slug it out at close quarters.

Carrillo is battering a discouraged Munguia around the ring as the third heats up, stunning and snapping his head back with lefts and rights. Back to the ropes, Munguia waves in Carrillo, who seems to have tired with the effort. He reengages and the two slug back and forth for the final 30 seconds.

Munguia gets to work right away in the fourth stanza, looping lead rights to Carrillo’s head. Sporting a nick on the outside of his right eye socket, Carrillo begins the systematic beating again.

Not so fast. Munguia lands a thudding left hook to the side of his head.


He wings malevolent lead rights but soon after has his head battered like a speed bag. Surviving the onslaught, he reengages. The action ceases for a moment, as the referee intervenes following a low blow by Carrillo, then resumes.

The slugfest spills into the fifth round. Slugging in close, Munguia has his head snapped back but nonplussed, he gestures, “Bring it on!”

Carrillo pauses, smiling with a look of incredulity — and he eats a left hook. The crowd cheers as Carrillo scores and a flailing Munguia pursues. They tap fists at the bell.

Carrillo, at left, drills Munguia to the head.

Carrillo, at left, drills Munguia to the head.

Carrillo punctuates a four punch volley with a right that snaps Munguia’s head back in the sixth round and later, pushes his off-balance adversary to the ground. Heads to shoulders, they batter away. When he gets more room to extend his arms, the rangy Carrillo slams home hard lefts and rights to his tormentor’s head. A right to the midriff and a left to the chin slow down Munguia and a follow up volley stuns him. The bell rings and they slam gloves with enthusiasm.

All three judges score the bout 60-54 unanimously for Carrillo.


Quezada Decisions Krael

Quezada, at right, bangs away at Krael along the ropes.

Quezada, at right, bangs away at Krael along the ropes.

Chicago’s Jose Felix Quezada (11-0, 6 KO’s) kept his undefeated record intact in grinding out a win over Honolulu, Hawaii’s Cameron Krael (8-11-2, 1 KO).

Looking slick, Krael pops a series of jabs in Quezada’s face and circles out. Quezada jabs the head, body, and head and begins opening up. Quezada misses with a whistling right that draws cheers from the crowd; another lands. Moments later, he’s caught with a glancing right to the head. Quezada is throwing single shots, while Krael measures with a jab, circles and misses with left hook.

“Keep your chin down!” a cornerman shouts to Krael prior to the second round. “Keep your chin down!”

As with most of the fight, Quezada is the aggressor pressing the action in the second, firing hard rights, uppercuts and hooks while Krael covers and looks to catch him with jabs and counters.

Krael, at left, fires back with a right.

Krael, at left, connects to the chin of Quezada with a right.

A thudding right staggers Krael, who regroups and fires back hard with a two fisted volley. More exchanges. Krael has landed two hard shots to the liver area this round. While not game changers, they may be a real threat later.

Krael shrugs off a hook to the head, jabs, measures and eats another left hook as the third round gets underway. He covers up against a follow up volley, but is taking punishment. Krael fires in bursts, but looks wobbly following some hard lefts and rights. Then, that hard liver shot! Quezada clearly is in shape, absorbing it, digs his own left to the liver and catches another hurtful one at the bell.

After catching some guard-piercing blows to the head in the fourth, Krael lands a hard right to his aggressors head that draws an “OOOOH” from the crowd. It’s becoming more of a dogfight as Quezada continues mauling and battering the head and body of Krael, who covers and slugs back with sharp rights and lefts in bursts.

Early in round five, Krael rides out a right with a turn of his head. Quezada continues to press, battering and banking points while Krael covers, takes a beating, then jabs (saying “Ah!”, “Ah!”, “Ah!” every time he threw a punch) as he fires punches) and lands single rights. A Quezada left hook elicits another large “OHHHH!”

Quezada snaps the head of Krael back with an uppercut.

Quezada snaps the head of Krael back with an uppercut.

Karel snaps Quezada’s head back in the sixth and final round with a hard jab and has his snapped bakc in terture with a left hook. Krael showboats, pumping his legs in an Ali shuffle, is busier and more successful this round, firing jabs, crosses and hooks. He bounces a left hook off Quezada’s unprotected jaw and digs to the liver with a hook. However, Quezada continues to advance forward and batter away, punctuating the final round with a snapping right to Krael’s head.

Judges score the bout 57-57, 58-56 twice for a majority decision for Jose Quezada.

“(He) was a good opponent — definitely made me work,” Quezada says afterwards. “It’s just a learning experience. I thought I could’ve did way better than that, but to each his own.” When asked if he was ever hurt in the fight, he says, “He didn’t ever hurt me. It’s just that I was trying to find him way too much. I couldn’t get him stationary. I had to go through all the rounds today.”

Quezada’s trainer, Shaun Tallon, adds, “He did everything I told him to; he never got in trouble. He just needs to throw more punches to show off his talent.”


Martin Edges Abreu

Chicago’s Alex Martin (147 lbs., 13-0, 5 KO’s) defeated La Romana, Dominican Republic’s gJuan Carlos Abreu (147 lbs., 19-3-1, 18 KO’s) in a testy fight by split decision with scores as follows: 78-74 for Martin 76-75 for Abreu, and 75-73 for Martin.


Josh Hernandez Flattens Eric Gotay

Hernandez, at right, drills Gotay with a vicious right.

Hernandez, at right, drills Gotay with a vicious right.

The son of the popular former Chi-Town middleweight “Macho” Miguel Hernandez, Chicago’s Joshuah Hernandez (129.5 lbs., 3-0, 3 KO’s) lit up the crowd in a big way versus Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico’s Eric Gotay.

A photo of a fight poster featuring "Macho" Miguel Hernandez and a very young Joshua Hernandez (photo courtesy of Dr. Stoxen).

A photo of a fight poster featuring “Macho” Miguel Hernandez and a very young Joshua Hernandez (photo courtesy of Dr. Stoxen).


Round one is hardly underway when Gotay glances with a right to Hernandez’ head. Hernandez catches him with a left hook moments later. They move about the ring. Suddenly, Hernandez explodes a short right off his chin and it’s over. The crowd is delirious as referee counts Gotay out at 1:14 into the first round.



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