The 2015 HBO Boxing year culminated with a tremendous card at Turning Stone Resort Casino as Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) closed the show by maintaining his title with a knockout-of-the-year candidate over Bryant “Bye – Bye” Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) in the seventh round of their fight on HBO Boxing After Dark.
“Today, there is a new era in the heavyweight division,” Ortiz, who landed a vicious uppercut to end the fight, said. “Jennings is fighter who deserves much respect, but he can tell you that I am a force in the heavyweight division. I am going to go out and obtain my objective. “I have been training for a big fight of this magnitude for three years. My strategy was to keep him at a distance and I was able to do that effectively with my reach and my jab. I will fight whoever next, whoever Golden Boy Promotions gives me I will take. Wilder, Fury, Klitschko anyone of them, I am ready to prove that I am the heavyweight world champion. A lot of people say a lot of things about me, but the testing showed that I am a clean fighter.”
“I wasn’t on my game, and he got the best of me,” Jennings said. “I didn’t adjust well and he was the better man.”
The co-main event saw Nicolas “Axe Man” Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) and Jason Sosa (18-1-4, 14 KOs) wage a superb battle with both fighters landing tremendous sharp, accurate shots throughout the fight. While Sosa won the fight on one of the judge’s cards, the fight was ruled a draw as the two other judges had the fight even.
“I am in total shock. I was never in any danger, never hurt,” Walters said. “[Sosa] is a good fighter — the kind of fight I wanted — but I thought I won all the rounds. So surprised this happened to me.”
“I thought I won and am disappointed it was a draw,” Sosa said. “I worked hard, I really thought I won the fight.”
In the HBO Latino Boxing main event light heavyweight Vyacheslav “Lion Heart – Chigonsky” Shabranskyy (15-0, 12 KOs) kept his undefeated record intact slugging out a majority decision over Yuneski Gonzalez (16-2, 12 KOs) in an action-packed brawl that saw both fighters land huge shots throughout the fight.
“This fight was the most important and most exciting fight of my career,” said Shabranskyy. I did feel a lot of Gonzalez’ punches but I also feel like I hurt him — especially in the last round, he was beginning to sway. If I had a little more time I feel I would have knocked him out.”
“I knew that this was going to be a war and that is what we delivered tonight,” Gonzalez said. “We both gave it our all and didn’t let up. I knew that I needed to knock him out to win this fight but he was more resilient than I thought and didn’t open up enough for the knockout to happened. I did know the fight was very close and should have been a draw in my opinion. I would like the opportunity to fight him again and prove that I am the better fighter.”
In the co-main of the HBO Latino broadcast, rising middleweight “King” Gabriel Rosado (22-9, 13 KOs) shook off some tough early rounds to earn a hard-fought unanimous victory against former IBF Welterweight World Champion Joshua “Grand Master” Clottey (39-6, 22 KOs).
“It has been more than a year since I have been in the ring so I did feel a little I the rust but I feel like this fight really helped me shake it off,” Rosado said. Clottey is a tough opponent, former world champion, definitely a challenge for me in my first fight back. I delivered an entertaining fight tonight and I was happy with my performance. I am ready for my next big challenge, I would like a shot at Canelo [Alvarez] next.”
“Gabriel gave everyone a great performance today,” said Fernando Vargas, Rosado’s trainer. This was our first training camp together and I think we are going to keep growing and make great fights together.”
“This was an off night for me,” Clottey said. “I do think that the fans enjoyed the fight –we are both fighters that do not like to back down. However, I don’t feel comfortable at this weight class, I want to go back down to 154 and continue to fight at junior middleweight.”
Opening the HBO Latino broadcast, former WBA and IBF Featherweight World Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (25-1, 17 KOs) had all he could handle after a 13-month layoff, squaring off in a lightweight showdown against Hylon Williams Jr. (16-2-1, 3 KOs) of Houston. After 10 rounds of back-and-forth action, the judges awarded Gamboa a hard-fought unanimous decision.
“It feels good to be back in the ring,” Gamboa said. “I trained in Cuba, and I feel that all the hard paid off. I was faster and stronger in the ring. I know I dominated the action tonight, I made sure he knew I was in control from the first round.”
“I felt good about the pace of the fight, I know I hurt him a few times,” Williams said. “This fight should have gone my way.”
In a light heavyweight battle, rising prospect D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard (11-0, 7 KOs) won a shutout unanimous decision against a game Fabiano “Pit Bull” Pena (11-4-1, 8 KOs).
“I am glad I secured the victory today,” Ballard said. “[Pena] was able to go all six rounds with me, but I felt in complete control the entire fight. I think I am ready to step up to more rounds and bigger opponents. I am ready for the next big step of my career and this fight showed that. I want to thank Oscar and Golden Boy Promotions for the opportunity and I can’t wait for the next fight.”
In the opening bout of the evening, middleweight Steven “The Hitman” Martinez (16-2, 13 KOs) emerged with a second round TKO victory over Jorge “Destroyer” Melendez (28-6-1, 26 KOs). Martinez got off numerous combinations in round one and followed it up in round two with a sizzling left hook that floored Menendez. While Mendendez beat the count, Martinez quickly moved in, forcing the referee to wave off the fight at 1:33 of the second round.