Home never felt so sweet for Toka Kahn Clary and Shelly Vincent. Kahn and Vincent celebrated their long-awaited homecomings with wins Friday at Twin River Casino in the CES Boxing season finale, Kahn by second-round knockout and Vincent by unanimous decision.
Fighting in his hometown for the first time in more than two years, Kahn (20-1, 14 KOs) wasted no time sending the fans home happy, disposing of Mexican veteran Mario Macias (28-21) via second-round knockout at the 1:58 mark.
The lightning-fast super featherweight showed off his flashy footwork and hand speed in the opening round before unloading in the second, dropping Macias with a straight left midway through the round. The game Macias got back up and kept fighting, at one point landing a hard right hook to the body, but as he continued to fight on the inside, Kahn adjusted by cracking him to the chin with a right uppercut, effectively ending the bout. Macias dropped to both knees and tried to beat the count, but referee Danny Schavione waved it off, awarding Kahn his first win – and 20th of his career – since suffering a stunning knockout loss in September.
Vincent (19-1), who hadn’t fought at Twin River since 2015 prior to Friday, outworked the tough Marquita Lee (3-3) of Novato, Calif., 80-72, 77-75, 79-73. Vincent dictated the pace from the opening bell, stalking Lee, utilizing her jab and landing effective, clean shots to control the early rounds. Lee hung in and began to work the angles in the middle rounds while forcing Vincent to chase her along the ropes, ultimately prompting the Providence native to cut the ring off and continue to pound away at the body.
For Vincent, it was her first fight since August when she battled Brooklyn’s Heather Hardy on national television.
The battle of the unbeatens between New Brunswick, Canada slugger Nathan Millier (9-0-2) and Kendrick Ball Jr. (4-0-2) of Worcester, Mass., was as good as advertised, as the two traded blows for six hard rounds and fought to a majority draw.
Millier came out swinging, trying to land the knockout blow with the overhand right against the taller, leaner Ball. Millier landed a few glancing blows, but never landed anything flush as Ball used his nifty footwork and head movement to avoid getting hit clean.
As the fight wore on and Ball figured out Millier’s game plan, the momentum began to shift in the Worcester native’s favor. Ball began to utilize his reach and his jab to neutralize the overhand right and started to box more effectively on the inside. After a back-and-forth fifth, the two staged a dramatic sixth and final round, starting with Ball landing a flurry of left and right hooks, following by Millier catching his opponent on the chin with a straight right, backing him against the ropes.
Many rounds were too close to call as neither fighter seemed to take a breather for any extended period of time. Judge Clark Sammartino scored it 58-56 in favor of Millier, but judges Glenn Feldman and Ken Ezzo scored it 57-57, resulting in the majority draw.
Providence’s Anthony Marsella Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs), returning to Twin River just one month after scoring his first career knockout in just 45 seconds, made it two knockouts in three fights, stopping Devante Seay (0-2-1) of Martinsville, Va., at the 3:00 mark of the opening round, dropping Seay at the bell with a flurry of ropes, forcing referee Joey Lupino to stop the bout.
Seay came out swinging, willing to engage Marsella, but paid the price when Marsella landed a straight right that pressed Seay against the ropes. Marsella continued to unload in the closing seconds until Seay fell to the canvas right before the bell. Seay made it back to his feet before the bell, but Lupino decided he’d seen enough and waved it off.
In the first of several Fight of the Night candidates, New Bedford, Mass., junior middleweight Ray Oliveira Jr. (6-0) remained unbeaten in another tough test, this time fighting the first six-round fight of his pro career and passing with flying colors, defeating the game Matt Probin (2-2) of Lewiston, Maine, 59-55, 60-54, 60-54, by unanimous decision.
Probin absorbed punishment in flurries from the experienced Oliveira, who boxed effectively on the inside and land clean hooks to the body while mixing in the uppercuts to control the pace. Probin’s best weapon was his short hook to the inside, but Oliveira survived and continued to press the action, backing Probin into a corner toward the end of the third and ending the fifth round with another flurry, a hard-fought battle for Oliveira just five months after beating Andy Gonzalez in July.
The night began with a back-and-forth junior welterweight battle between Washington, D.C., vet Lamont White (0-5) and East Haven, Conn., native Anthony Laureano (1-0), who made his Twin River debut. White showed a tough chin, continuously coming forward and eating a few short hooks along the way in order to fight on the inside, but Laureano controlled the pace for the first two rounds until the two accidentally butted heads in the third, opening a nasty cut over White’s left eye. After examining the cut, the ringside physician decided to stop the bout, resulting in a no contest.
Also making his Twin River and professional debut, Lynn, Mass., junior welterweight Khiry Todd (1-0, 1 KO) made quick work of fellow debut Patrick Leal (0-1) of Somerville, Mass., knocking Leal to the canvas twice before finishing him for good with a straight left at the 47-second mark of the opening round.
Returning to Twin River for the second time this year and the second time since September, Durham, N.C., vet Isaiah Robinson (3-5) again fought four hard rounds, this time against New London, Conn., prospect Cristobal Marrero (3-0), who won all four rounds on each of the three scorecards, 40-36, to score the unanimous decision win. Marrero won his two first professional bouts by first-round knockout, but faced his toughest test to date against the veteran Robinson, who also went the distance with Lawrence, Mass., prospect Adrian Sosa three months ago.