Gesta Impresses on Boxeo Telemundo!
Ringside report by Christopher P. Cook
by Scott Foster
Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta won the vacant WBO Americas lightweight title in an exciting and well-fought battle against Oscar “Estudiante” Meza.
Televised live on Telemundo and in front of a packed audience at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, Florida, Gesta (18-0-1, 8 KOs) dominated Meza (19-4-0, 17 KOs) from the first bell. It was an impressive performance that netted the young Filipino his first belt in what seems to be a bright future.
The first round was a feeling out round with both fighters showing good movement in the ring, avoiding punches well. Gesta turned it on in the second landing a solid right hook to the head of Meza, causing Meza to hold on for dear life. Gesta finished the round picking his shots wisely, winning the round. Meza was caught again in the third with an overhand right. Meza was able to withstand the punishment of Gesta, but never found a way to counter the undefeated Filipino.
Gesta finally was able to put the finishing touches on his impressive performance in the fourth. Starting by controlling the action and pace, Gesta caught Meza against the ropes and unleashed a brutal rib-breaking right hook to the body of Meza. Meza, clearly in pain, was forced to drop to a knee shortly after. He beat the referee’s count of ten and amazing survived the attack of Gesta right after. Gesta did everything he could to stop the game Meza after the knockdown, but was unable to complete the task. While in the corner Meza seemed very reluctant to come out. As the bell for the fifth rang, Meza remained on his stool, retiring at 0:00 of the fifth round. Meza appeared to have damage to his ribs after the ripping shots he took from the new WBO titleholder Mercite “No Mercy” Gesta.
Serrano draws with Dostiev
Local favorite Charlie Serrano (9-2-1, 2 KOs) met undefeated Sherali Dostiev (6-0-1, 2 KOs) in the final non-televised bout.
After a pair of tactical nondescript rounds, Serrano began setting himself up as the aggressor, trying to bring the fight to Dostiev. The soft-throwing fighters both found it hard to land a telling blow, both landing cleanly, with Serrano outworking the undefeated Dostiev. Dostiev came back strongest in the final round, sensing some urgency and tried to land a solid shot on Serrano.
The uneventful bout was seen as such by the judges, as all three judges scored the bout in different fashion, 58-56 for Dostiev (Don Balas), 58-56 for Serrano (Ged O’Connor), and 57-57 (Michele Hellstern) ending the bout in a draw.
Thomas outpoints Rabotte
Heavyweights Lenroy “TNT” Thomas (16-1-0, 8 KOs) and Joseph Rabotte (8-13-1, 3 KOs) squared off in the dirtiest contest of the evening.
The first round saw both of them trading, with Thomas seeming to establish himself as the more powerful fighter. The second saw a much dirtier round with Rabotte landed first a low blow causing Thomas to take a break. A minute later, Thomas was credited with a knockdown by referee Frank Santore Jr. when clearly Thomas was holding the head and neck of Rabotte down and landed three extremely illegal punches in succession. Rabotte complained much to the referee only to be refuted. To follow the three illegal punches, Thomas then landed an illegal low blow.
Thomas turned up the pressure in the third, landed a series of body shots with Rabotte bent over. Thomas again held Rabotte down and struck him, this time causing the referee to warn Thomas. The referee called Rabotte for another borderline low blow on Thomas soon after. The break Thomas took after the punch not only aided Thomas but also seemed to give some life to Rabotte, who seemed out of it after the series of body shots earlier in the round. A powerful left hook landed solidly toward the end of the fourth round, by far the most telling punch of the fight. Both boxers slowed their pace down much in the last two rounds.
The four-punch combination Rabotte pulled off in the fifth was the only succession of punches landed in the final two. Thomas’ power won him the fight, but his lack of stamina will cripple his future. The final round saw Rabotte dancing around away from “TNT”, while Thomas seemed reluctant at times to follow.
Judges for the bout scored all in favor of Thomas, 60-53 twice (Mike Ross and Hellstern) and 59-54 (Balas).
Elegele sharp in TKO win
Joseph Elegele (8-0-0, 6 KOs) looked very sharp in his match against Bahamian Hensley Strachan (5-8-1, 1 KO) winning via TKO in the sixth six round.
Elegele utilized his reach advantage in keeping Strachan at bay, and fired off a solid jab to score early points. Elegele landed a crushing straight which knocked Strachan back into the corner hard. Solid 1-2 combinations told the story of the second, keeping Strachan on the move unable to find an answer to Elegele. A solid straight in the final five seconds of the round sent Strachan on his rear.
A straight in the third staggered Strachan again, as he continued to just weather the punishment. The sheer power of Elegele impressed, consistently knocking Strachan back into the ropes. The valiant Strachan kept up, even encouraging Elegele to continue the onslaught.
The fourth further emphasized Elegele’s skills, as his crisp 1-2s and intelligence kept him in complete control of the bout. Strachan tried to mount an offensive set, catching Elegele in the corner, however, Elegele blocked almost all of the punches, not allowing Strachan to inflict any damage.
Fittingly finishing off the fifth, Elegele landed a devastating straight which sent Strachan across the ring, only to be saved by the ropes. As the sixth began, Elegele continued his impressive combinations, forcing referee Max Parker Jr. to call a halt to the bout at 0:31. Elegele seems destined for much bigger things, being able to dominant thoroughly, maintain his poise, and win via TKO by sticking to his game plan and not attacking wildly.
Campfort bests Jones
“Silky” Wilkey Campfort (3-1-0, 3 KOs) bested Darrell Jones (2-5-0, 1 KO) in a four-round bout. Overcoming the speed and fur shorts of Jones, “Silky” Wilkey maintained control of the bout throughout, landing the more solid punches. The southpaw Jones kept himself in the bout with his fast hands, but was not able to withstand the power of Campfort. Campfort caught Jones in his corner with a pair of head shots dropping him to a knee. Jones was unable regain his feet and the referee called off the bout at the 1:23 mark of the third giving Campfort the victory by TKO.
Arnold decisions Davis
In a battle of the big men, Lamar Davis (4-3-0, 1 KO) and Kelsey Arnold (3-4-2, 1 KO) both began the fight trading sloppy shots at each other. Arnold successfully landed a combination against the ropes. The second was filled with sloppy, uneventful trading, until after the bell rang and Arnold visibly seemed in pain, bending over grimacing prior to moving to his corner. Arnold nearly took a dangerous spill on to a judge as Davis held Arnold against and almost over the ropes. Arnold took a short breather after the incident, but was able to continue. The incident must of woke Arnold up a bit, as he ran after Davis landing wild overhand rights and lefts. A heated altercation ensued after the bell, with both fighters continuing to throw punches and exchanging words.
Arnold held on for much of the fourth, throwing a punch then grabbing for Davis, Davis landed cleaner more consistently. Davis landed a low blow in the fourth, and Arnold immediately went for his corner to find a chair. Davis appeared to lose all will to continue, but then came out from the corner throwing wildly lefts and rights to the head of Davis. In one of the most unique if not strange bouts, judges scored the bout in favor of Kelsey Arnold via majority decision (Hellstern and O’Connor 39-37, Balas 40-36 for Davis).
Munoz stops Gonzalez
Starting off the night Jorge Munoz (22-5-0, 15 KOs) squared off against Noe Gonzalez (24-1-0, 16 KOs) in a ten round contest. Munoz started the fight off strong, applying pressure to the taller Gonzalez throughout the first, highlighted with a tight right uppercut which knocked Gonzalez‘s head back. Out of nowhere, Gonzalez decided to make it a fight in the final 15 seconds of the first, landing several hard combinations to the head of Munoz. Gonzalez continued effectively punching Munoz in the head in the second, utilizing the overhand right on numerous occasions opening a slight cut over Munoz‘s right eye. Pace slowed considerably in the third, Munoz kept to arm punches, while Gonzalez was able to pick his crisper combinations. Munoz complained vocally to the referee in the round about punches he felt were behind the head.
Munoz caught Gonzalez backpedaling with a lunging left hook to cause some damage. Referee Frank Santore Jr. did warn Gonzalez in the early part of the round about illegal punches to the back of the head, validating Munoz‘s earlier complaint. Munoz’s output increased in the round, overcoming the less active, but more accurate Gonzalez. The fifth saw Munoz’s punching power diminish as Gonzalez continued to land solid headshots. Sensing a weakness, Gonzalez continued to pummel the head of Munoz red. Both fighters appeared winded, taking in deep breaths. Gonzalez mustered the strength to land a five punch combination that set up the body shot knockout in front of Munoz’s corner. Official time at stoppage was at 2:02 of the sixth.
Local favorite Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry (27-6-2, 15 KOs) was scheduled to fight on the card, however, his opponent Ira Terry (24-3-0, 14 KOs) withdrew at the last moment and a suitable opponent was not able to be found in such short time. Former champions Winky Wright, Jeff Lacy, Tyrone Booze, and David Santos were in attendance for the fight card. The exciting night of boxing was promoted by Tuto Zabala and All Star Boxing, along with Aaron Jacobs and Fight Night Productions and TKO Boxing Productions.