Jerry Glick reporting from ringside: During the first half of the last century New York was crowded with venues for club shows. Almost every month fans had a bunch of opportunities to see some of the most entertaining fights in some of the best places to watch boxing; St. Nick’s, Sunnyside Gardens, and the Eastern Parkway Arena, to name a few. Those places are long gone but small club fights are still with us. They need to be. Boxing needs them. They are the backbone of the sport, the minor leagues. Almost all of the great ones started there.
Promoters today have to make do with existing venues that include theaters such as the Paramount in Huntington, and The Paradise Theater in the Bronx; sports centers like the Aviator in Brooklyn, plus catering halls like Russo’s on the Bay, and The Cordon Bleu in Woodhaven, Queens. That brings us to New Legends, Old World, and now add to that a third promoter, W.O.N. Promotions who together put on a show that allows fans and young fighters to meet under the best of circumstances.
On Friday, June 8th, they supplied enough thrills to keep fans asking for more long after the Cordon bleu show was over. This is the latest installment in a series of fights cards where the promotional teams involved are interested in making everyone happy. Matchmaker Felipe Gomez put together a show that he could be proud. Drawing from local talent (all but two of the participants on the show were from New York State), and using them in a creative way to make seven fights that showcased some of the better young battlers available.
In the main event Jonathan Cuba, from New York, NY, defended his NYS Lightweight belt that he won last September against Edward Valdez, 134 pounds, from Corona, NY. Cuba, 6-4-1 (4 KOs), entered the ring in a festive mood. Smiling and waving to the crowd. After dropping a one sided unanimous decision and his belt, he actually left the ring the way he entered it, smiling and dancing to the music playing from the loud speakers.
Cuba’s flawed defense was the deciding factor here. Valdez found an easy target to land his right hand shots, none of which appeared to hurt Cuba, but Valdez was piling up the points. In many of the rounds Valdez would lay back and block Cuba’s punches then about half way through he would punch holes in Cuba’s defense with left/right combinations and sometimes he would throw leads right that often connected with the back of Cuba’s head, mostly because Cuba would duck under the punches exposing that part of his head.
In the third Valdez caught his opponent on the ropes and fired off a two handed volley of punches; impressive but Cuba, 133 pounds, managed to block most of them. He slipped away but ran into a solid right to the head. He also tried unsuccessfully to box at long range in the next frame and took some hard combinations to the head in the fifth round.
By round six the pattern was set and Cuba’s left eye bled in the seventh from a cut and swelling under it.
Valdez, 9-8-2 (6 KOs), did not come to lose. He could not miss with his right and was able to land combinations that convinced the judges to give him the eight round unanimous decision by scores of 78-74, 80-72, and 79-73. David Fields refereed.
Fast becoming a hot prospect, Frank Galarza, 157, Brooklyn, NY, 7-0 (4 KOs), destroyed Yolexcy Leiva-Martinez, 156, Nashville, TN, 5-3 (4 KOs), in only two minutes and fifty-nine seconds. He came out working his jab, landed a left hook to the body that hurt Martinez. Galarza went after him with a barrage of punches that staggered the visitor from Nashville. Galarza opened a cut over Martinez’ left eye. After being tagged by a left hook Martinez fell into the ropes and referee Sammy Viruet ruled it a knockdown. After an eight count, Martinez was battered and again fell into ropes as the fight was stopped just as the bell rang ending the first round of six scheduled.
“We trained for all six rounds,” said Frankie in his dressing room after the fight where his corner tended to a cut on his forehead from a butt. “But when I felt the warm blood come trickling down it kind of changed my mind. My emotions took over and I said let me take him out because I could see he was hurt.”
Ian James, 135, Brooklyn, NY, 2-3 (1 KO), did not look like a winner at the start of the fight. Angel Garcia, 135, Brooklyn, NY, 2-1 (2 KOs), ran out from his corner hell bent on making it three in a row by KO. As he threw punches from every angle he was suddenly staggered by a right then another dropped him to the canvas. He got up only to be hurt again by a flurry. The rest of the four rounds saw James in control most of the way. Now the shoe was on the other foot, with James chasing a fleeing Garcia. The judges were split, 39-36 and 38-37 for James, 38-37 for Garcia, making James a split decision winner. Pete Santiago refereed.
It may have been called a draw, but if you listened to most observers Hamid Abdul-Mateen, 175, Brooklyn, NY, 3-2-2, was very lucky to get that draw in a six round affair against tough Alexander Mancera, 172, Rego Park, NY, 7-4-1 (5 KOs). With the exception of the first frame it was Mansera pressing forward landing the more effective and harder punches on his taller opponent. The judges scored it 58-56 Mateen, 58-56 for Mancera, and 57-57, even. David Fields refereed.
Patricia Alcivar, 113, Forest Hills, NY, 6-1 (3 KOs), outfought and out punched a willing Vanessa Greco, 115, Brooklyn, NY, 1-1-1 (0 KOs) in an exciting four. Viruet was the third man in the ring.
Milkkel Lespierre, 141, Brooklyn, NY, 1-0 (1 KO), did a number on Miguel Rodriguez, 137, Philadelphia, PA, 1-4 (0 KOs), catching him in a corner and throwing power shots that had Rodriguez covering his eye in obvious distress as he sank to the floor at 1:24 of the first of four rounds. Santiago refereed.
In a fight between two debutants, Christian Arrega, 121, Ridgewood, NY, 1-0 (0 KOs), got off first and even managed to counterpunch effectively when he had to, to take a unanimous (39-36 three times) four round decision over Daniel Hernandez, 121, Corona, NY, 0-1. Fields referred.
**GIRL’S NIGHT OUT AT THE FIGHTS**
Women’s heavyweight contender Sonya Lamonakis, 6-0-1 (1 KO), was in attendance along with a whole bunch of other professional boxers. Sonya is different in at least two ways from many of her peers; first she is a she; secondly boxing is only her night job, her day job is teaching in the New York City school system. “First I’m an educator before I’m a fighter,” said Lamonakis. “I teach kindergarten through fifth grade technology at PS 241 on 113 Street in Harlem, and I have a couple of other certifications too.”
Lamonakis first turned to pugilism when she was living in Massachusetts and was jumped. It was then that she decided that she needed to know how to defend herself. “I went to a boxing gym to learn to defend myself and I took a fight three months later and three year after that I was in New York fighting in the Gloves.”
She said that she loves to box, “But I’m still a teacher before I’m a fighter.” Why not, her students and the staff at her school support her in her boxing career, so that helps to keep her two lives in sync.
Many in boxing will walk a mile to get to a show and ring announcer Joe Antonacci is no different. “It took me three and a half hours to get here with all the traffic,” said Joe. “There was a two hour delay at the bridge. The whole way I kept telling myself, at least it’s a Felipe Gomez show so I know the fights will be great.”
There were many boxing luminaries in the crowd including Luis Collazo, Will Rosinsky, Vinny Maddalone, Juan Dominguez, Mike Ruiz, Tommy Rainone, Junior Jones, Derric Rossy, Sadam Ali, Floriano Pagliar, Curtis Stevens, Sonya Lamonakis, Ariel Duran, Amanda Serrano, and Cindy Serrano, among others.