By Matt Thompson
Photos: Emily Harney
If front of a sold-out, standing room crowd at the historic House of Blues on Lansdowne Street in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, MA, local favorite Mark “The Italian Bazooka” DeLuca improved his record to an impressive 18-0 picking up his 12th knockout stopping the game Travis Scott (19-3, 5 KOs) of Baton Rogue, LA in the eighth round of a scheduled ten. Sporting a four-inch height advantage, Scott attempted to use his reach and leverage against the compact former Marine Iraq War Veteran, but DeLuca’s subtle head movement and patient counterpunching continued to chip away at opponent, slowly closing the gap and creating openings when the opportunities appeared.
DeLuca, a natural southpaw, switched up seamlessly, a strategy Scott likewise attempted to employ, but abandoned by the fourth round when he found that it did nothing but enable his opponent easier access to his ribs.
Hurting Scott with a clean body shot in the seventh, Scott took a knee prompting the call of a knockdown by referee Jackie Morrell, to the protests of Scott, but the break bought him the rest he needed to continue the contest.
Sensing the opportunity to close the show when the action resumed, DeLuca came out more aggressively, pinning Scott on the ropes, where he set up a perfect combination to the head and body, dropping Scott for the count.
Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan of Cork, Ireland, continued his quest for a title a shot, walking down Ronald Montez of Columbia, causing Montez to quit on his stool after the third round of a scheduled eight-round super-middleweight bout.
The power-punching Montez, who’s dropped Wilky Campfort and Jorge Paez, Jr before himself succumbing to KO losses, came out blasting but found the tight defense of O’Sullivan difficult to penetrate. O’Sullivan pressed forward throughout, picking his spots accurately, landing body shots that had the audience gasping in sympathy for the Montez. The battle of wills ended before the bell for the fourth, as Montez corner informed the doctor that his rib was injured and he had quite enough for the evening. O’Sullivan picks up his 24th win against 2 defeats and 16th KO while Montez drops to 17-6, 15 KOs.
A much anticipated local rivalry ended with a victory for former top ten welterweight contender Danny O’Connor of Framingham, MA winning a majority decision over Donegal, Ireland transplant Michael McLaughlin for the New England Welterweight title. The two southpaws, both Murphys Boxing fighters and cross-town rivals, had to be separated at the weigh-in when a quick photo op nearly escalated to a shoving match. The animosity followed them into the ring as they both came out aggressively, rocking each other with jabs but it was the ring generalship and crisper punching of O’Connor that got the judges attention through the first half of the fight. A solid left seemed to rock McLaughlin in the fifth, but it also proved a wakeup call, prompting him to fire back landing power shots of his own. The remaining half of the fight was give and take with both men landing power shots. McLaughlin’s rather ill-fitting mouthpiece however was dislodged three times, the last of which caused a point to be deducted by referee Jackie Morrell.
At the end, the two grudgingly touched gloves acknowledging each others efforts.
Judge Martha Tremblay scored the bout a draw to be overruled by judges Gary Litchfield and Lucy Miller, both awarding the fight to O’Connor. Following the bout, O’Connor stated that he intends to drop back to jr welterweight and continue in his pursuit of a world title.
One of the evening’s most intriguing matches was for the Massachusetts State Heavyweight Title pitting undefeated Wexford, Ireland police officer Niall Basil Kennedy (8-0, 5 KOs) against veteran Hyannis, MA heavy Jesse Barboza. With the better opposition on his ledger, Barboza, at 11-3 entered the fight with confidence, experience, and a 22-pound weight advantage. The first three rounds, however, gave the edge to the slick, fast-handed Irishman as he continued to land flashy combinations on the defensive-minded Barboza who seemed content to try to duck under the vigorous combinations of Kennedy. However by the fourth, Barboza began to move forward, looking for power shots behind a pawing jab. Kennedy showed excellent head movement for a heavyweight, slipping and looking for counters. The action remained give-and-take for the next four rounds with Kennedy slightly ahead, keeping Barboza off balance with his movement. Early in the eighth, Barboza moved back onto the ropes, leaving an opening for Kennedy to land a clean right on the chin which left Barboza sitting on the middle strand. When the referee did not intervene, Kennedy landed the Coup de Gras with another right hand driving Barboza onto his back out of the ring, where he was unable to beat the count.
The jubilant Kennedy felt this was his best victory and would love a showdown with New England champ Alexis Santos.
Greg Vendetti of Stoneham, MA, scored the best win of his career against former prospect Ayi Bruce of Ghana but now fighting out of Albany, NY, in a scheduled eight-round jr middleweight bout. The New England champ looked impressive from the start, banging Bruce to the body and head, showing his swarming, all-action style much to the appreciation of his enthusiastic audience.
Vendetti continued to pound Bruce to the body, dropping him twice in the second to end the fight. Vendetti improves to 13-2-1, 9 KOs while Bruce drops to 23-14, 15 KOs.
Former World Jr Amateur Champion Raymond Moylette of Co Mayo, Ireland, made his U.S. debut with a unanimous decision win over the extremely game Matt Probin of Lewiston, Maine. Moylette, who turned pro in London a week ago looked to be on his way to an early win, landing at will on the rugged Probin, dropping him with a frightening uppercut-hook combination minutes into the bout. Probin, nonetheless, showed his resolve and chin rising to his feet and smiling at Moylette, waving him in for more. Moylette accommodated him, continuing to land throughout the round, with Probin weathering the storm. The second round showed a more aggressive Probin, trying to press the action and look for body shots off both sides. Moylette was consistent with his jab and crisp, lightning fast combinations, while Probin continued to power his way forward banging the body. After four entertaining rounds, Moylette walked away with the unanimous decision victory in a one-sided but competitive and extremely entertaining fight. Moylette is now 2-0 while Probin drops to 2-3, 1 KO. The charming and articulate Moylette, who took the bout at a 144 pound catch weight, stated that he will continue to campaign at lightweight where he feels considerably stronger and faster. From what FightNews saw, if he were much faster, the audience would have trouble seeing his punches.
In an exciting welterweight bout, former Revere, MA native Travis Gambardella, now living and training in Los Angeles, fought to a tough draw against Ricky Ford (0-1-1) of Claremont, NH, over four rounds. Gambardella pressed forward looking to land power shots on his taller opponent and proved successful over the first two rounds until Ford was able to establish his range enough to utilize his reach and land flashy, fast combinations, keeping Gambardella at bay. Gambardella, with a tremendous amount of fan support, was not disappointed in the even outcome, and both men agreed to a rematch on Murphys Boxing’s May 20 card in Melrose, MA.
The evening opener was an all-out war between Paddy Irwin (3-0, 2 KOs) of Athlone, Ireland, facing an extremely determined Josue Rivera (2-9) of Philadelphia, PA. Irwin showed great offense with little regard for defense as he pressed forward, content to exchange 1-for-1 with Rivera. Both men took more than their share of shots, continuing to exchange throughout the four rounds, with both being staggered only to fire back hurting the other. One would be hard pressed to have a better fight to get the audience motivated for a full night of boxing.
Promoted by Murphys Boxing, the “St Patrick’s Clash II” was sold out a week before fight night. The successful evening was punctuated by an acoustic performance by the Dropkick Murphys, playing a set before the main event.