Rising Welterweight prospect Khiary Gray rebounded from his recent loss to Jr. Middleweight prospect Greg Vendetti earlier this year by scoring a close eight round majority decision over Philadelphia-based veteran Greg Jackson on Thursday night at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI. Gray was able to control the tempo of the fight in the early going landing combinations and being able to get on the inside of the taller Jackson’s reach.
Jackson however, would gradually work his way into the fight and it evolved into a close contest where Gray’s greater activity appeared to give him the benefit of the doubt giving the Worcester, MA native a hard fought decision victory. Official scores were 76-76, 78-74, 80-72. Khiary Gray advances to 15-3, with 11 Knockouts. Greg Jackson falls to 8-5-1, with 2 Knockouts. The win for Gray, who had previously competed as a 154lb. Jr. Middleweight earned him the Interim New England Welterweight championship in his first fight at the Welterweight limit of 147lbs.
Also on this card, in the Women’s Welterweight division prospects Aleksandra Lopes and Natasha Spence fought to an eight round majority draw. This was a fight where neither fighter was really able to stand out clearly from the other as both women had periods of effectiveness in almost every round. Lopes being effective when she was able to use her reach to keep Spence at distance and periodically land counter punches, Spence more effective when she was able to on the inside particularly in the late rounds. At the end of the bout two of three official judges scored the fight four rounds a piece or 76-76 in points, while the third judge scored the fight in favor of Lopes 77-75, resulting in the draw. Unofficially, I had the same score as two of the judges 76-76. The fight was fought at a measured pace and when two fighters are each able to get things done in rounds it can be very challenging to score. This can be more apparent when one factors into the equation that rounds in Women’s Boxing are two minutes in duration and as such fights like this can result in “Swing Rounds” where the winner of the round is determined by moments rather than which fighter was able to control the combat for most, if not all of the duration of a round, which can subsequently cause a difference of opinion as to who got the upper hand. This fight was simply too close to call and this observer can see an argument for either fighter deserving the decision. Aleksandra Lopes advances to 18-4-3, with 1 Knockout. Natasha Spence advances to 8-3-2, with 6 Knockouts.
In the Lightweight division Michael Valentin advanced his unbeaten record to 3-0 with a four round unanimous decision over a “Game” Efren Nunes, who was making his pro debut. Valentin controlled the action from the opening bell consistently beating Nunes to the punch and landing combinations. Nunes could not find a way to land consistent offense on Valentin and missed some of his offense by throwing wide looping punches. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 in Valentin’s favor, which was the same score as this observer had unofficially.
Also in the Lightweight division undefeated prospect Jamaine Ortiz scored a six round unanimous decision over veteran Derrick Murray. Ortiz used lateral movement and combination punching to dominate the action over the course of the fight. Although he appeared to be tactically out gunned and might have been on the verge of being stopped Murray hung in and made it to the final bell. At the end of the six round bout all three judges scored all six rounds or 60-54 in points for Ortiz. Jamaine Ortiz advances to 7-0, with 4 Knockouts. Derrick Murray falls to 13-4-1, with 5 Knockouts.
Fellow unbeaten Lightweight prospect Anthony Marsella scored a first round knockout over Oscar Quezada. Marsella brought the fight to its conclusion in the final seconds of round one with a left hook to the body that sent Quezada down for count. Official time of the stoppage was 3:00 of round one. Anthony Marsella advances to 7-0, with 4 Knockouts. Oscar Quezada falls to 7-5, with 4 Knockouts.
In Super-Middleweight action Unbeaten prospect Kendrick Ball advanced his record to 8-0-2, with 5 Knockouts by scoring a stoppage of Alshamar Johnson, who fell to 1-2-1, with 1 Knockout in his career, in the final round of a scheduled six round bout. Ball appeared as though he might have been able to get a stoppage of Johnson in the early going, but Johnson showed his mettle hanging in there and was able to have success in his own right periodically as the bout progressed. Ball however, would bring an end to the fight with a combination of hooks to the body and head of Johnson forcing Referee Joey Lupino to stop the fight. Official time of the stoppage was 1:22 of round six.
Bobby Harris advanced his unbeaten record to 2-0 with a four round unanimous decision over Amadeu Cristiano, who was making his pro debut on this card. Official scores were 40-36 (On two scorecards), and 39-37 in Harris’ favor.
Jarel Pemberton also advanced his record to 2-0 with a four round unanimous decision over Rene Nazare, who fell to 0-2 in his professional career. Official scores were 40-36, and 39-37 (On two scorecards) in favor of Pemberton.
The card also marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of promoter Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports a milestone that was celebrated throughout the evening as CES Boxing celebrated its storied history. Overall this card provided a look at some prospects who are at varying stages of their development in their respective careers and as CES Boxing celebrated twenty-five years of success, the future does look bright for the both Classic Entertainment and Sports as well as the fighters in its stable.
Although it remains uncertain as to what the future may hold for fighters like Anthony Marsella, Khiary Gray, Kendrick Ball, and Jamaine Ortiz, just to name a few it will be interesting to see how all of these fighters progress in 2018 as all of them look to make the transition from prospects, to contenders, with the eventual goal of fighting for world championships.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
The card was streamed live on Facebook by Linacre Media’s FightNight Live and can be viewed on demand on the FightNightLive Facebook page: www.facebook.com/facefightnightlive. For more information about CES Boxing please visit: www.CESBoxing.com. For more information about Linacre Media please visit: www.linacremedia.com.
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