In an ESPN Friday Night Fights main event on International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend, featuring a pair of fighters celebrating their 33rd birthdays tonight, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Yudel Jhonson (16-1, 9 KOs) won a unanimous 10-round unanimous decision (97-91 X3) over Norberto “Demonio” Gonzalez (20-4, 13 KOs).
Supporting promoter Mike Tyson at tonight’s fights were world champions Oscar de la Hoya, Andre Ward, Zab Judah, Felix “Tito” Trinidad, Leona Brown and actress/boxing fan Rosie Perez.
“It was a great night, I’m very proud,” Tyson remarked. “This was better than our first show here and the next time will be even better. It’s all about consistency. We saw some great fighters tonight and the fans were great, too. These guys make me look good, I’m honored.
“Oscar and Andre saw some good fights. There’s nothing better than hearing that from my peers. I’m really proud of Sammy. He’s an entertainer. I’d like to bring him back to Pittsburgh to fight Paul Spadafora, who is a great fighter. That will be a big fight.”
Jhonson, a stylist Cuban southpaw living in Miami, boxed his way to victory, decking Gonzalez with a short left in the fifth, buckling him in the sixth, and dropping him with a left in the ninth round.
“At the moment with my team, my managers and promoters,” Jhonson said after the fight, “I’m here to fight the top junior middleweights in the world and I proved that tonight. I’m looking for my world title shot. I’d like a rematch with Willie Nelson, to fight Ishe Smith, or any of the world champions. I’m open to fighting quality fighters to get my world title.”
Red-hot welterweight Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez, Jr. (15-0, 11 KOs) proved once again why he’s one of the most fan friendly fighters in boxing. In the ESPN co-feature, the aggressive southpaw from Monessen, PA attacked like the Iraq War veteran he is, dropping “Smokin'” Jay Krupp (17-7, 8 KOs) in each of the first three rounds, after which referee Benji Estevez halted the action at the 1:19 mark.
“For my fans out there, the soldiers and family, it was an honor fighting on ESPN,” Vasquez commented. “I want to thank IMP and my father for getting me here. I thought it was a B performance. I made a couple of errors but did what I needed to do.”
A star was born in the ESPN FNF opener as heavy-handed middleweight sensation Ievgin “The Ukrainian Lion” Khytrov (5-0, 5 KOs) stepped up in class against dangerous Chris Chatman (12-4-1, 5 KOs) and passed the test with flying colors. After a “feeling out” opening round, the 2012 Ukraine Olympian went to work, battering a game Chatman until a powerful, short left hook ended the fight in the third round.
Khytrov, now living in Brooklyn, recently signed a contract with IMP and is co-promoted by Fight Promotions, Inc. “The advice of my corner for the first round was to feel-out my opponent without showing much offense to see how things would go and let my opponent work.” Khytrov said after the fight. “I was the left hook was there from the first round but I waited a little until the left hook would be more effective. I had the straight right, left hook set-up from the first round.”
Detroit light heavyweight Isiah Thomas (13-0, 6 KOs) remained unbeaten, blanking (80-72 X 3) Pittsburgh veteran Rayco “War” Saunders (23-24-2, 10 KOs) for an eight-round decision.
Charlotte junior welterweight John Williams (12-3-1, 5 KOs) upset Johnny Garcia (19-2, 11 KOs) by way of an eighth-round split decision (77-75, 77-75, 76-76) for the vacant WBC Latino title.
IMP’s promising prospect Dennis Galarza (4-0-2 KOs), of Miami, kept his unbeaten record intact, consistently connecting with effective combinations for a six-round unanimous decision (60-54 X 3) over Chicago junior lightweight Gadiel Andaluz (4-7, 2 KOs)
Former standout amateur Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (6-0, 3 KOs), who is promoted by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, outclassed Brooklyn lightweight Ian James (2-8-1, 1 KO) en route to a unanimous four-round decision (60-54 X 3).
Popular junior welterweight Sam Quinones, Jr. (7-2, 2 KOs), fighting out of York, PA, also pitched a complete shutout over Greg Coverson, Jr. (3-9-3, 2 KOs), winning six rounds by identical scores of 60-54 on all three
Detroit light heavyweight Leo Hall (2-0, 2 KOs) needed only 49-seconds to knockout Bob Wilder (2-4, 1 KO), dropping him with a vicious left kook.
(winners listed first for each fight)
Isiah Thomas (13-0, 6 KOs) Detroit, Michigan
WDEC8 (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)
Rayco Saunders (23-24-2, 10 KOs), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Leo Hall (2-0, 2 KOs), Detroit, Michigan
Bob Wilder (2-43, 1 KO), Akron, Ohio
Ievgin Khytrov (5-0, 5 KOs), Brooklyn, New York
Chris Chatman (12-4-1, 5 KOs), San Diego, California
Yudel Johnson (16-1, 9 KOs), Miami, FL
WDEC10 (97-91, 97-91, 97-91)
NORBERTO GONZALEZ (20-4, 13 KOs), Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico 154 LBS.
(Jhonson won vacant WBC FECARBOX and NABA titles)
Sammy Vasquez, Jr. (15-0, 11 KOs), Monessen, Pennsylvania
Jay Krupp (17-7, 8 KOs), Catskill, New York
John Williams (12-3-1, 5 KOs), Charlotte, North Carolina
WDEC8 (77-75, 77-75. 76-76)
Johnny Garcia (19-2, 11 KOs), Holland, Michigan
(Williams won vacant WBC Latino title)
Sam Quinones, Jr. (7-2, 2 KOs), York, Pennsylvania
WDEC6 (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
Greg Coverson, Jr. (3-9-3, 2 KOs), Detroit, Michigan
Ryan Martin (6-0, 3 KOs), Cleveland, Ohio
WDEC4 (60-54, 60-54, 69-54)
Ian James (2-8-1, 1 KO), Brooklyn, New York
Dennis Galarza (4-0, 2 KOs), Miami, FL
WDEC6 (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
Gadiel Andaluz (4-7, 2 KOs), Chicago, Illinois