An Exciting Night of Fisticuffs in the Bronx • Latino Sports


An Exciting Night of Fisticuffs in the Bronx


Bronx, NY—On Thursday night, May 5, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing renewed its series of exciting boxing shows, Punchin’ at the Paradise XI, in the Bronx with six bouts of fast paced action. The featured participants were fighters of varied weight classes and levels of ability.

Experienced welterweight Edgar Santana (25-3, 16 KO’s), after an absence from of the ring of more than three years, showed little ring rust during his comeback attempt. The Puerto Rican drew the cheers of his many supporters at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx by easily disposing of his opponent, Robert “Wolf” Jones (8-9-1, 3 KO’s). Santans’s pounding of Wolf led to a knockdown. He continued to slug Wolf with both hands until the referee halted the bout at 1:20 of the second round. The 32 year-old victor leapt to the top of the ring ropes to celebrate after scoring his 20th victory in his last 21 encounters.

Two recent signees, Emmanuel Gonzalez (8-0, 7 KO’s) and Jason “Monstruo” Escalera (11-0, 10 KO’s), to the Star Boxing promotional banner made auspicious debuts in the Bronx. The two youngsters are Puerto Ricans with strong ties to the metropolitan area. Each had a heralded amateur career with victories in the Golden Gloves. Both remained undefeated after achieving quick victories on Thursday.

Super featherweight Gonzalez’s bout ended early but not in the usual manner. He backed his opponent, (2-4, 1 KO) into his own corner, where Thornton appeared to have trouble walking. The ring physician ended the bout at 1:40 of round one. After the fight concluded, the ring announcer explained to the perplexed fans, “Thornton was unable to continue because of a knee injury. He did not stop fighting.”

Escalera dominated Mustafah Johnston (8-12-1, 2 KO’s) throughout the short-lived super middleweight contest. His aggressiveness and ring skill led to the bout being stopped at 1:13 of the second round. In an interview in the ring after the bout ended, DeGuardia predicted, “One day, he’ll [Escalera] be world champion.”

The large Albanian contingent of fans cheered their hero, Stevins “Superman” Bujaj (4-0, 3 KO’s) in the shortest contest of the evening. A powerful, straight right decked Chuck Dillard (4-8, 1 KO). Referee Shada Murdaugh stopped the cruiserweight bout at 52 seconds into the first round. After the bout, he explained, “I didn’t want that kid to get seriously hurt.” Murdaugh should be commended for halting this bout and the feature encounter with Santana as the major responsibility of a fight referee in the ring is to prevent a serious injury or a potential fatality. Murdaugh did his job well.

Issouf Kinda, (10-0, 5 KO’s) kept his undefeated mark unblemished after stopping Jorge Ruiz (7-14-1) The winner, from Bukina Faso stopped the Cuban fighter at 2:55 of the third round.

Another Bronx boxer, Stephen Owusu (7-6, 2 KO’s) spoiled the pro debut of Mt. Vernon’s Juan Perez (0-1) in the opening bout. Perez was floored early in round two, was bloodied and appeared tired in round three, but managed to end the fight on his feet. Owusu received the unanimous decision by scores of 39-37, 40-36 and 40-36. The first was the only bout that went the distance. Both locals received well-deserved applause.

The well-received bouts displayed the value of producing a show with talented, local boxers who appeal to the ethnic groups who frequent boxing shows. There is also a great appeal for fans to see a young boxer who has the ability to move up in the rankings and reach championship level. Another kudo the promotion deserves to receive is for the absence of extended intermissions only to entice patrons to visit the concession stands between bouts that needlessly prolong the evening. On Thursday, one action packed bout followed the previous one. For those present on Thursday and for those who wish to attend such shows in the future, DeGuardia’s next show at the Paradise is scheduled to take place on July 7.

About William Gerena-Rochet

William Gerena Rochet, is the former Latino Sports baseball editor. He is a retired NYC teacher who divides his time living between New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He started writing for Latino Sports during the inaugural World Baseball Classic when a series was played in Puerto Rico in 2006. On of his favorite moments was covering the 2006 MLB All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. During his time with Latino Sports, he covered several divisional and League championship series games and the 2009 World Series. He also covered the last game at the old Yankee stadium and the first game of the current one. In closing, William has covered multiples Latino Sports MVP Awards ceremonies and Spanish Language Press Conferences including the Jorge Posada retirement one. Now a contributor, Willie will occasionally cover the Yankees.