Boxing returned to DCU Arena (Exhibition Hall) for the first time in 11 years and Worcester’s newest budding star, Irvin Gonzalez, entertained the hometown crowd, capturing the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) Featherweight Championship, last night in the “New England’s Future 3” main event.
“New England’s Future 3” was presented by Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE), which is owned and operated by retired three-time, two-division world champion Jose Antonio Rivera and his son, Anthonee (A.J.) Rivera. RPE will return to the DCU Center on October 28th for its final installment of “New England’s Future” series in 2017.
In the co-featured attraction, popular New York City heavyweight Sonya “The Scholar” Lamonakis, by way of Greece and Turners Falls, MA, faced Laura “Lady Ram” Ramsey in a female battle of former world champions for the vacant UBF World title,
The 21-year-old Gonzalez (7-0, 6 KOs) was fighting in his first scheduled eight-round bout, against Raul Lopez (10-32-1, 5 KOs), of Bronx (NY). The two fighters came out fast in a firefight, both throwing leather from all angles, although neither was hurt in the opening round. The pace picked up even more in the second as both fighters landed solid shots.
Fighting in the third round for the first time in his young professional career, Gonzalez turned up the heat, ripping effective combination to the head and body of Lopez, who responded by pounding Gonzalez on the ropes.
Gonzalez dropped Lopez early in the fourth with a strong right to the chin, followed by a brawling fifth round, and the action slowed slightly in the sixth. Gonzalez, who took control in the final two rounds, went the distance for the first time, taking a hard-fought eight-round unanimous decision (79-73 X 2, 76-75).
“He was definitely the toughest I’ve fought,” Gonzalez said after the fight. “I still have to work on things in the gym. I didn’t go to the body like I did in my last few fights. I was head-hunting tonight. The dude was tough, I had to out-box him. I hurt my left hand late in the later rounds and stayed southpaw.
“I definitely learned a lot. My conditioning was there and I went eight strong rounds. I feel good, I could go another eight rounds. Fighting at home was good, I have a big fan-base here. I hope to be back here in October 28th.”
Lamonakis (10-2-3, 1 KO), a former IBO world champion, and past GBU world titlist Ramsey (108-1, 5 KOs) went toe-to-toe from the opening bell for 10 competitive, non-stop rounds, ending in a 10-round draw by three judges’ scores of 95-95.
Undefeated Worcester heavyweight Bryan Daniels (5-0, 3 KOs) unloaded on an over-matched Christopher “The Archbishop” Boykins (1-9), dropping the Floridian three times in the second round until referee Leo Gerstel mercifully waved off the fight at the end of the second.
Former No. 1 USA amateur boxer Bobby Harris III, the son of multiple national amateur champion and retired pro heavyweight, Bobby Harris, made his long-awaited pro debut. Fighting out of Worcester, Harris overcame early roughhouse tactics by Brazilian light heavyweight Rodrigo Almeida, of Woburn, MA, to earn a four-round “shutout” decision.
In a rematch of a fight this past April, Antonio Chaves Fernandez (8-32-4, 2 KOs), of Brockton (MA), defeated Worcester welterweight Andy Gonzalez (6-2, 5 KOs), by way of a six-round majority decision, to even their rivalry at 1-1.
Southbridge, MA welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (2-0) and his Lawrence, MA opponent, Anthony Everett (1-6), turned in an entertaining performance as Pagan won a four-round majority decision, despite him being decked in the final round.
Lawrence, MA welterweight Adrian Sosa (3-0, 3 KOs) needed only 41-second to stop New York City’s Zach Johnson (0-2). Sosa dropped Johnson in the first 10 seconds and again moments later, after which referee Gerstel halted the action.
Springfield, MA welterweight Derrick “Double Impact” Whitley (2-0), the son of a retired professional boxer, improved to 2-0 with a four-round unanimous decision over veteran Connecticut fighter Shaka Moore (12-23-3, 2 KOs).
Worcester’s pro-debuting Neal Sullivan (0-0-1) and Brazilian super middleweight Saul Almeida (0-8-1) opened the night fighting a four-round majority draw.