DiBella Entertainment staged a thrilling eight-bout night of boxing at the famed BB King Blues Club and Grill, in New York City’s Times Square, showcasing highly talented up-and-coming prospects in front a packed house of feverish fans.
Headlining the card in his US debut was Ecuador’s world-ranked welterweight contender Erick Bone, 145¼, 14-1 (8 KOs), now living in New York. Facing him was New York staple and veteran trial horse Francisco “El Gato” Figueroa, 146¾, 20-7-1 (13 KOs), of Bronx, who did his best to show Bone a few old school tricks and counter shots. Bone took his time finding the best opportunities to land his leather, slowly breaking Figueroa down to the body. Bone moved his attack upstairs as the rounds went and in the fifth frame, Bone hurt Figueroa with a combination to the head and trapped him against the ropes. With Bone unloading a barrage, Figueroa was not throwing back, resulting in the referee stopping the bout at the 2:40 mark.
Bryant “PeeWee” Cruz, 132, 10-0 (6 KOs), Port Chester, NY, pounded on Willshaun Boxley, 132, 6-11-1 (4 KOs), Coon Rapids, MN, for three rounds. Pinning Boxley against the ropes, Cruz landed an impressive array of punches, circumventing his foe’s tight defense well to bang to the body. Just 34 seconds into round three, Boxley’s corner asked the referee to stop the fight, feeling their charge had taken too much punishment. It was Cruz’s official DBE and New Legend Boxing debut. and he did not disappoint, sending the packed house intro a frenzy upon the stoppage.
Louis Cruz, 138, 7-0 (4 KOs), Bronx, earned a dominate six-round unanimous decision over Tony Walker, 138, 5-5-1 (3 KOs), Cincinnati, OH. Cruz controlled the action throughout, scoring with hard shots from the outside. Nicknamed “Cruz Control”, Cruz sailed to a shut-out decision, winning by scores of 60-54 across the board.
Junior “Sugar Boy” Younan, 167¾, a nine-time National amateur champion, 4-0 (4 KOs), Brooklyn, obliterated Dustin Parrish, 165, 1-3 (1 KO), Tallassee, FL, just 28 seconds into the opening round. Parrish immediately rushed Younan in an attempt to surprise him, but the 18-year-old phenom remained poised and countered hard with a right that dropped his foe hard. The Floridian bravely rose to his feet and forced the action once again, only to be countered this time by a left hook that felled him a second time. Feeling that Parrish was in no condition to continue, referee Harvey Dock stopped the fight.
Brooklyn’s Shemuel “The Chosen One” Pagan, 140, the five-time New York Golden Gloves champion, came out against James Gooding, 139½, Tampa, FL, employing a stiff jab early on. In the second stanza, a left hook dropped Gooding for a count and once he arose, Pagan pounced on him banging away forcing referee Benji Esteves to jump in and stop the carnage at the 1:50 mark. Pagan improved to 5-0 (2 KOs), while Gooding’s record fell to 1-6-1 (1 KO).
Ryan Gamache, 145, the comebacking nephew of former world champion Joey Gamache, lost a spirited four-round contest to Ryan Picou, 147, of Las Vegas, now 1-2. Picou stung Gamache in round three with a right hook. Gamache also lost a point in this round for continually spitting out his mouthpiece. The scores were 39-36, 38-36, and 38-37, all for Picou via unanimous decision. Gamache, of Lewiston, ME, who had not fought in 10 years, fell to 2-1 (1 KO).
Ievgen “The Ukrainian Lion” Khytrov, 163, the 2012 Olympian and heavily-hyped middleweight prospect now living in Brooklyn, improved to 4-0 (4 KOs), by scoring a second-round TKO over Jas Phipps, 160, 4-3 (1 KO), Killeen, TX. A left hook dropped Phipps in round one. Khytrov, a veteran of over 500 amateur contests, continued to batter Phipps throughout the second frame until referee Harvey Dock mercifully halted the contest at the 2:07 mark.
Kiun Evans, 126½, 7-0-1 (5 KOs), Little Rock, AR, fought to a six-round draw in an evenly-matched affair against Las Vegas resident Pedro Toledo, 128, 2-1-1. While Toledo was the busier fighter, Evans seemed to land the harder shots. The undefeated featherweight prospect also showed adept ability in throwing counter shots. A scorecard of 58-56 in Evans’ favor was overruled by scores of 57-57. 57-57.