Pavlik stops Espino
Ringside by Brady Crytzer and Antonio Castro
Photography by Gary Sarti
In a phone booth affair, WBC and WBO world middleweight Champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik (36-1, 32 KOs) battered challenger Miguel Espino (20-3-1, 9 KOs) for five rounds until the challenger’s corner threw in the towel giving Pavlik the TKO victory. In front of a supportive hometown crowd Pavlik dropped the challenger three times, each with a ripping right uppercut, en route to earning the TKO victory.
Despite being just six days before Christmas, the loyal followers of Pavlik came out in stride to support their hometown hero in the quaint basketball gymnasium that is the Beeghley Center on the campus of Youngstown State University. With 3,409 spectators in attendance, numbers paled in comparison to Pavlik’s February defense against Marco Antonio Rubio, but one would never know the difference judging by the vocal crowd support given to “The Ghost.” With the snow flurrying outside, fans were giddy with excitement.
After all, it’s not every day that fans seated on wooden pull-out bleachers, eating prepackaged bags of popcorn, get the opportunity to watch a live defense of the world middleweight championship.
As the men met in the center of the ring, Espino set the tone of the bout as he threw a short left hook when Pavlik attempted to touch gloves. Pavlik, who is known for his methodical use of thumping punches, started unusually fast throwing hard hook to the head and body of Espino. The gritty Espino was unafraid of the champion and was hit flush with a left-right combination after bullying his way forward. On the inside “The Ghost” slammed hard left hooks to the body of the challenger. Clearly having the heard the bell sound Espino threw a left hook at Pavlik. In perfect position referee Steve Smoger penalized the challenger one point.
Round two saw the phone booth brawl continue and Espino was warned for hitting Pavlik below the belt with multiple punches. After resuming the scrap Pavlik punished the challenger with a right hand to the face that snapped Espino’s head back. The game Espino refused to give ground and found a home for a snapping left hook. Round three saw Espino come alive and land five punches flush to the face of the champion. Despite enjoying a significant height advantage Pavlik elected to fight in close quarters playing into the gameplan of the motivated challenger. Espino found a punch wandering low and Smoger issued a final warning. With ten seconds left in round three the men traded heavy blows with their foreheads pressed together.
Espino began round four as a man on fire winging hard punches to the stationary head of the champion. His momentum was stifled however when his head snapped back from a wicked uppercut courtesy of the world middleweight champion that sent him to the mat. Espino was slow to rise however he beat the count. After a brief exchange in which Espino continued to press forward Pavlik dropped the challenger with an identical punch. Espino once again beat the count and, badly bloodied, finished the round swinging with “The Ghost.”
A desperate Espino came out looking to grapple in round five. Once again fighting inside Pavlik was hit hard, short punches from the challenger. After creating some space Pavlik launched two straight punches that stunned Espino. Suddenly a third uppercut put the challenger on the floor. Espino was willing to continue; however, his corner had seen enough and threw in the towel at 1:44 of the fifth round.
“There was a little bit of rust in there tonight,” Pavlik admitted. “Espino fought a great fight. I don’t need to go in there and trade punches with a fighter like that.”
Following the win Pavlik and promoter Bob Arum made it very clear where their attention was focused next.
“Paul Williams you’re not the most feared fighter and you’ve got a guy standing right here in Youngstown, OH that wants you.” - Brady Crytzer
Peter Wins Fight; Brown Clowns, Wins Crowd
In a wildly entertaining bout Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter scored a fourth round TKO over Gabe “Big G” Brown at 2:58.
At 6’4 and 363 pounds “Big G” Gabe Brown was an instant fan favorite. Despite his vocal group of supporters, he would need more than the adoration of the Beeghley Center to defeat the formidable former heavyweight champion Peter.
Brown pumped out a lazy jab to start off the fight to impede the progress of Peter. Although he enjoyed a significant advantage in speed and power, Peter’s offense was sloppy and off target. At the midway point of the round Peter found an opening to land two looping, hard overhand rights on the chin of his opponent. “The Nigerian Nightmare” closed out the round with a three punch combination to the corpulent midsection of Brown.
Peter started off the second round by utilizing a stiff jab to soften up his opposition. The massive Brown stood his ground, undeterred by the power punching slugger, and brought the crowd to its feet after throwing, and landing, a classic bolo punch. Brown finished the round with a smile on his face but was thoroughly outboxed in the period. The third round witnessed Brown stand in front of Peter and, after eating two ripping body shots, drop his hands and taunt the former WBC heavyweight champion. Brown proceeded to stick out his chin and absorb four haymakers, only to raise his gloves and ask for another. The frustrated Peter resorted to grappling with his XL opponent until the final bell.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” was all business in the fourth round as he kept his distance and connected with short, jarring hooks. As the behemoth Brown wound up for another bolo punch Peter connected with four wicked hooks that sent his opponent tumbling down like a tree. Much to the chagrin of the crowd Brown regained his footing and raised his arms to announce his return. Smelling blood Peter jumped all over Brown and, with two seconds left in the round referee Randy Jarvis jumped in to stop the contest.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:58 of round four. - Brady Crytzer
Martirosyan Still Unbeaten, Nabs NABO/NABF Crown
Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan (26-0, 17 KOs) defeated Willie Lee (17-6, 11 KOs) via TKO at 2:13 of the third round making him the NABF and NABO super welterweight champion.
Martirosyan utilized quick footwork early in the fight to land hard, angular punches on Lee. Though Lee was firing back, the Olympian Martirosyan was exploiting every opening that his wily opponent was giving him. In a flash, the Freddie Roach-trained Martirosyan launched a counter right cross on the chin of Lee that buckled him. With his opponent badly hurt Martirosyan unloaded with several hard combinations. Despite the blows, Lee managed to stay on his feet and survive the round.
Lee, although still badly shaken, was unafraid of Martirosyan and backed his opponent up with stiff jabs to start round two. Lee continued to pressure Martirosyan but was hit with several straight punch counters. The undefeated Martirosyan was largely on the defensive throughout the round and had Lee firing badly off-target shots by the final bell.
Martirosyan began to headhunt in the third period and scored with multiple right hands. As Lee rushed in with a left hook that missed its mark Martirosyan countered with a short right hook that sent his opponent to the canvas. While Lee managed to beat the count, he was on shaky legs and his opponent pounced. Martirosyan unloaded with a vicious combination that Lee down for one final time. Although Lee beat the count referee Randy Jarvis waved off the contest.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:13 of round three.- Brady Crytzer
Korobov Continues to Roll
In a middleweight contest 2008 Olympic standout Matt Korobov (9-0, 7 KOs) earned his ninth professional victory stopping Ken Dunham (6-12-1, 4 KOs) at 1:29 of the third round.
The men fought at a measured pace early as Korobov focused his attack to the body of his opponent with a stiff jab. Although Korobov was pressing, Dunham picked his shots with his back against the ropes. Korobov excited ringside observers with a smacking southpaw left to the body of Dunham, and quickly sent him to the canvas with a short left hook at the bell.
Round two saw the southpaws struggle with clinches early on causing referee Randy Jarvis to intervene. It was midway through the period that the amateur experience of the Russian began to shine as he created space and punished Dunham with hard southpaw rights to the head. Upon hearing the ten second clapper Korobov exploded with punches, ripping combinations to the head that left a wobbly Dunham stumbling back to his corner.
The third round saw Korobov begin to choose his punches more carefully. After being hit with a hard left hook Dunham took a knee in the corner to avoid more punishment. Though he beat the count Dunham was sent to the canvas with a sweeping southpaw left cross that ended his night.
The official time of the stoppage was 1:29.- Brady Crytzer
Henry remains perfect
In the opening bout of the evening, undefeated Junior middleweight Omar Henry (6-0, 6 KO’s) kept his perfect knockout streak alive by destroying a game Jessie Davis (11-16, 8 KO’s) at 2:23 of the first round.
Henry started off quickly, coming straight out and opening up with about 15 unanswered power shots. Davis did a great job to remain standing, until about ½ the round remained when a right uppercut by Henry staggered and sent Davis down. After getting up at the count of eight, Davis was dropped immediately by a straight right hand.
Davis rose quickly from the second knockdown, but Henry remained on the offensive and sent Davis down with another right hand, which forced referee Jimmy Villers to call a halt to the contest.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:23.- Antonio Castro
Hazimihalis wins debut in impressive fashion
Local favorite Chris Hazimihalis (1-0, 1 KO), a lightweight, made his much anticipated pro debut a successful one by stopping Norman Allen (0-6-1) at 1:06 of the 3rd round.
The first two rounds featured Hazimihalis using his aggressive style to trap Allen on the ropes while he unleashed several combinations. In the third round, Hazimihalis landed a straight right that staggered Allen, and ended up dropping him to a knee. Allen then spit out his mouthpiece and informed referee Jimmy Villers that he was unable to continue.
The official time of the stoppage was 1:06.- Antonio Castro
Giuriceo and White battle to crowd pleasing draw
The first fight to go the distance was the junior welterweight barnburner that saw local fighter Jake Giuriceo (5-0-1, 2 KO’s) and Clevelander Henry White (4-4-2, 3 KO’s) fight to a six round majority draw.
Both boxers came out aggressive and the early rounds were tough to score. White landed a great left hook to the body and then to the jaw that Giuriceo took and showed he had a tough chin in the third round. The fourth round appeared to be a round that White took off, as Giuriceo was in total control throughout. The remaining two rounds were again, fought aggressively by both boxers as each had their moments.
The official judges scores were 57-57 twice, and 58-56 for Giuriceo. Fightnews scored the fight for Giuriceo 58-56. - Antonio Castro
Garcia stops Herrera
After two uneventful opening rounds, Miguel Angel Garcia (19-0, 16 KO’s) found his mark and stopped Yogli Herrera (22-13, 15 KO’s) at 2:19 of the third round in a featherweight matchup.
Garcia knocked Herrera down twice in the third round, the first from a left hook to the jaw, and the finisher was a right cross to the face. Referee Jimmy Villers reached the count of ten.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:19.- Antonio Castro
Nelson Defeats Carrasquillo
In a welterweight matchup, Willie Nelson (13-0-1) 8 KO’s survived a first round knockdown to win a six round unanimous decision over Doel Carrasquillo (12-14-1, 10 KO’s).
Nelson was knocked down by a right hand to the chin after he was caught off balance. He rose immediately, suggesting that it was a flash knockdown. There were not many other highlights in the fight as Nelson chose to use his 6’3 frame to box circles around Carrasquillo.
Despite the knockdown, two of the three judges saw it a shutout, 60-54, with the third judge scoring the bout 59-55.- Antonio Castro