Boxing


James Moore manages to fend off JC Candelo at MSG

By Mike Indri, Retired Boxing Foundation: New York - James Moore proved he was a legitimate draw as the Wamu Theater in Madison Square Garden was packed with the Irish fighters die-hard fans. The native of Arklow, Ireland also proved he was "for real" as a fighter, surviving an early scare from veteran contender Juan Carlos (JC) Candelo and prevailing to pull out a career defining ten round unanimous decision win..

Not fighting like a former contender who was coming into this fight with a record of 2-5-1 in his last eight bouts, a rejuvenated Candelo traded with Moore early and had the fair skinned middleweight hopeful cut over the eye in round three. While the cut was seriously bothering Moore, Candelo caught the troubled fighter more often then he should have and hushed the boisterous Irish faithful throughout the MSG Theater.

The thirty year-old Moore battled through the rough spots and began wearing down the body of the Colombian fighter, a weary thirty-four year-old fighter who has been in many boxing wars and is not the same fighter that challenged Ronald "Winky" Wright for his IBF light middleweight championship five years ago (12 RD Unanimous decision loss: 03/01/03) in Las Vegas.

The gutsy late round work by Moore solidified the win and ensured a Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend for his huge legion of fans that filled the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Judge Bob Gilson scored it 97-92, Julie Lederman had it 97-93 and Tony Paolillo saw it a little closer at 95-94, all for the likeable James Moore, who stay perfect at 15-0 (10 KO's), while the aging veteran Candelo, who can only be extremely proud of his all out effort, drops to 27-10-4 (18 KO's).

The co-feature bout saw Polish middleweight Pawel Wolak pound cagey Dupre Strickland into quick submission. Slated for ten rounds, Wolak sent his loyal throng of delirious fans home early with his second round knockout of a durable boxer who had only been stopped once before, in his third professional fight (02/17/01 vs. Carl Handy: KO 3) over seven years ago.

Fighting his usual swarming, two-fisted attack, Wolak landed many hard body shots and controlled the action. The only concern was the blood flowing from Wolak's right eye as the round ended.
Wolak came out "smoking" in round two, working the body and head of Strickland. With the cut over his right eye still bleeding freely, Wolak clobbered his weakened opponent into the ropes and drove an overhand right to the head, dropping Strickland down onto the canvas in a heap!

The usually durable Slidell, LA. fighter was unable to get to his feet and was counted out by the highly respected Steve Smoger at the 3:06 mark of round two. In Strickland's last fight, he went the 10 round distance in a losing effort against another popular fighter, Irish John Duddy. With the impressive knockout win Wolak jumps to 20-0 (14 KO's), while Strickland dips to 18-3-1 (7 KO's).

On the Celtic Gloves Promotions undercard:

Brooklyn welterweight Martin Wright improved to 5-0-1 (2 KO's) with his decisive four round unanimous decision win over Juan Carlos Sanchez, now fighting out of the Bronx, by way of Mexico. Wright controlled the bout from the onset and almost had Sanchez, now 3-3-1 (1 KO), out at the final bell.

Simon O'Donnell, trained by former two-time heavyweight world champion Tim Witherspoon, knocked out Ohio native Chris Overby in round two of a scheduled four round middleweight bout. After roughing up Overby throughout the first three minutes with a solid body attack, the Irish fighter who now fights out of Philadelphia dropped his damaged opponent with a big right head to the head. Overby, now 8-9 (2 KO's), stayed on his knees as referee Mike Ortega counted him out, 1 minute and 33 seconds into the second round. O'Donnell climbs to 5-1 (3 KO) with the impressive knockout win.

Jules Blackwell, from Philadelphia, battled Jaesung Lee, a Hanami, Korea import now fighting out of Queens, NY to a six round draw in an entertaining featherweight contest. Blackwell jumped out early until a nasty head butt in round two opened a cut on the forehead of both fighters; Blackwell definitely came out in worse shape and his performance was obviously affected.

Judge Bill Costello, a former welterweight world champion, scored the bout 59-55 for Lee, while Julie Lederman had it 58-56 for Blackwell. Ron McNair's 57-57 scorecard made it a draw. Lee is now 8-1-1 (5 KO's), while Blackwell manages to remain undefeated at 7-0-1 (2 KO's).

The lone female bout saw good looking Philadelphia jr. middleweight Olivia Fonseca defeat New Yorker Cristy Nickel via unanimous decision over four rounds. While a close fight, Fonseca come on strong over the last two rounds; staggering Nickel in the third and landing several clean punches over the final three minutes to ensure victory. The judges saw it 39-37, 40-36 and 39-37 all for Olivia Fonseca, who improves to 2-1-2 (1KO), while the popular Nickel slips to 7-6 (4 KO's).

Staten Island native Robert Phillips drew a too difficult task for his pro debut, in the name of Khabir Suleymanov, a rugged Russian brawler from Brooklyn. A head butt opened a difficult cut over the nose of Suleymanov in round one and only the proficient work of cut man Darren Antola, a Kenilworth, NJ native, kept the cut from being a problem for the head first fighter. Suleymanov battered Phillips all over the ring and only the ropes appeared to be holding Phillips up at the end of the four round bantamweight match. The always-busy "Russian Twin" earned the one-sided unanimous decision victory, as the judges scored it 40-35, 40-36 and 40-35. Suleymanov stays perfect at 3-0 (1 KO).

Jose "Poncho" Espinal knocked down Joe Rosa once in the first round and twice in the second and final round of the scheduled four round jr. lightweight fight between two New Yorkers. Espinal, from Brooklyn, rose to 4-3-1 with his first professional knockout, as Rosa, from the Bronx, could not handle the Espinal barrage. Referee Mike Ortega wisely waved off the mismatch as Rosa arose from the deck for the third time; 58 seconds into round two.

Oisin Fagan had little trouble with Brian Carden, who traveled from St. Joseph, Missouri to get knocked out. Fagan, born in Dublin, Ireland hurt Carden often in round one with a strong body attack and had his opponent in deep trouble early in round two as referee Pat Sullivan came in and stopped the beating just 16 seconds into the second round. Fagan improved to 20-5 (13 KO's), while Carden, not happy with the stoppage, dropped to 6-5.

In the final fight before the featured bouts, sharp looking jr. middleweight prospect Luis Ruiz stayed perfect, now 3-0, with a lopsided second round knockout over still winless Terrell Boggs (0-2).
After a solid first round Ruiz landed a wicked body shot late in round two which forced Boggs to turn his back, then squat in his corner as referee Steve Smoger quickly called a halt to the "All Ruiz" bout at the 2:14 mark, Boggs being Ruiz's first pro knockout victim.

Ten fights, with tons of excitement and even live music. A great effort by Celtic Gloves Promotions, and an extremely entertaining night of boxing in the finest place for boxing…Madison Square Garden.

Mike Indri can be contacted at: RBFNJMIKE@aol.com

Article posted on 16.03.2008



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