The fight card was billed as “Fists and Firework”, and Duva Boxing delivered exactly what they promised to. There were no surprises at the end of the night, all of the fighters who should have won their bouts did. Samuel Peter knocked out Taurus Sykes, as most thought he would. The undercard was packed with really good young talent making it a night full of action as we watched the future of boxing right before us.
In the opening bout, local favorite Simon Ruvalcaba (3-7-2) took a tough Brooklyn kid in Ray Biggs Jr (3-0, 3 KO’s). Biggs came out aggressive and put Ruvalcaba on the canvas seconds into the fight. Simon pounded the canvas in anger and went on to avoid major punishment throughout the round. The second round was more strategic, with Biggs getting the better of the exchanges. In the third round Biggs came out aggressively, much like the first round, and floored Ruvalcaba. The ref started a count; however, he noticed the distress of Ruvalcaba and stopped the bout at 1:15.
The next bout was a Special Attraction featuring Elena Reid (17-2-5, 5 KO’s) fighting Stephanie Dobbs (17-18-2, 9 KO’s). Elena caught Dobbs cold in the opening seconds of the fight to put her down; however, Dobbs would beat the count. Following the knock down, each round was a carbon copy of the previous round. Reid kept landing punches cleanly while Dobbs backed up and landed an occasional punch. Reid’s punches were crisp and sharp and she fought her way to a 6 round decision win. The scores were 60-53 and 60-51 twice. Reid was rebounding off of a knock loss in her last fight and hopes to prove she’s not just a pretty face.
Lou Duva’s latest boxing prodigy, Michael Marone (10-0, 9 KO’s), fought next against veteran Forrest Neal (16-6, 12 KO’s). The nineteen-year old Marone showed discipline and preciseness that you would expect from a fighter older than he is. Marone worked the body and threw headshots that reduced Neal to do a lot of holding. Early in the third round the ref warned Neal about holding and threatened to take a point away. Seconds after the warning, Marone landing a clean combination to put Neal down. Neal would beat the count and Marone went on the attack landing accurate combinations to put Neal down twice more before the end of the round. Neal would not come out for round four, giving Marone the TKO victory after three rounds. Marone made a step up in competition defeating a guy who has fought the likes of Vassiliy Jirov, Steve Cunningham and Darnell Wilson. Time will tell how far this talented heavyweight can go.
In the main event, Samuel Peter annihilated Taurus Sykes in the second round. The first round both fighters were feeling each other out, however, towards the end of the round Peter started landing shots. The second round started off with Sykes throwing a quick jab. While Sykes started showing his hand speed, he also started to drop his guard by keeping his left had dangerously low. Sykes also stayed in Peter’s punching range. These tactics spelled disaster for Sykes as Peter landed a powerful right. Sykes responded to the punch with a huge grin, then Peter followed up with a series of rights followed by a left that put Taurus down. The ref stopped the fight seeing that Sykes was out.
After the fight Sykes stated, “The first round went how I thought it would. I did two things wrong in the second. I quit jabbing and I stayed on the ropes. He rocked me. He’s a sharp puncher and strong.” Sykes showed that he could come into a fight in very good shape and may eventually get another opportunity to prove himself.
With the impressive showing, Samuel Peter will continue on his quest to prove that he is the savior of the heavyweight division. One thing has continually proven is that he can punch. There are still question marks regarding his boxing ability that can only be answered by taking the next step up in competition.
Oscar Diaz (21-1, 11 KO’s) continued his comeback with an eight round unanimous decision over Arturo Urena. Urena had his moments in the fight, but as it would come to pass, Diaz was too accurate. Urena landed some good shots and Diaz reacted by fighting with him Urena fought in spurts, while Diaz would throw combinations throughout the whole round. The fight was entertaining and when the scores were read, many in the audience felt the decision should have gone the other way. Diaz won by the scores of 77-75 and 78-74 twice.
Christian Cruz (11-2-1, 9 KO’s) knocked Edmund O’Neal (9-7-2, 1 KO) out in the third round. O’Neal went down in the first round, but beat the count. The second round was tactical. In the third round Cruz backed O’Neal into a corner and landed a hard right that knocked O’Neal down and out at 2:35.
In the closing bout of the evening, Nonito Donaire pounded out a six round unanimous decision over Larry Olvera. Donaire was credited with a knocked down in the first round that appeared to be cause by a slip. In the second round Donaire landed a hard shot that legitimately put Olvera down. Olvera would rise and finish the round. From there Donaire would dominate with crisp punches and excellent footwork. In the sixth round Donaire came out to close the show, hurting Olvera several times, nonetheless, the fight would hear the final bell. While the decision was neither announced to the crowd nor did the fighters know the score, Boxingtalk obtained the scoring as follows, 60-50 59-53 twice.
In all, the fight card was solid and entertaining. It was a very good night for Duva Boxing. Boxingtalk would like to send special thanks Lou Duva and the Donaire Camp for allowing us access to interviews and footage you will not see anywhere else.
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