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O’Connor Stops Soto in Four

Ringside Report by Scott Ploof
Photography By Emily Harney

It was a starry, fair weathered historic night within the concourse of the 68,000 seat Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, home to the NFL’s New England Patriots this past Sunday as it played host to its first ever professional boxing card, a three bout event held immediately after the New England Revolution were defeated by the Montreal Impact 1-0 in a Major League Soccer matchup. In the main event of the evening, welterweight Danny O’Connor (18-1, 17KOs), fighting out of nearby Framingham, MA knocked Providence, RI veteran Eddie Soto (12-5, 4 KOs) down twice in their bout with the second being his last as Soto could not reach his feet before the count of ten at 1:09 of the fourth round.  The three bout fight card was promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Warriors Boxing.

O’Connor cut off the ring early and worked his jab on Soto, who circled the ring looking for the right angle to attack. 
He worked combinations to the body of Soto.  O’Connor continued to dominate the first round and after several early body shots, Soto crumbled to the canvas with only seconds left in the first round. Soto was up at the count of eight as the bell rang to end the round.

Soto remained in trouble as round two began.  O’Connor continued his aggressive body attack while Soto was cornered against the ropes.  At this point he displayed little defense at this point as O’Connor was able to pick his shots at will. 
By round three, Soto threw wild hooks in desperation that O’Connor was easily able to dodge and counter.  Soto again was saved by the bell in round three as he was hurt by an O’Connor right hook but was able to keep his footing when the bell sounded.

The end came in round four with just over a minute into the round. O’Connor had Soto out of gas.  He backed Soto into the ropes and landed a vicious left-right hook combination that sent Soto to the canvas for the knockout. 

Concerning the importance of fights like this and what they can do for local boxers in the area, O’Connor said afterwards, “Well I think that is a pretty loaded question because every fight that is in front of my hometown fans is an important fight for me.  You know I wish I could have every single fight here.  You can see the type of support I get here, why would I want to fight anywhere else.  My fans are the best fans in the world and they motivate me every single day.  So for me to be able to perform in front of them is a way to give back to them. Every time, I think what I am doing is going to open doors for young fighters that want to pursue their dream and to bring the sport back to the city. We are looking at even bigger venues in the area for future fights. If we can open people’s eyes to how great the sport of boxing is and get away from all of the bullshit that is going on with it, and it can open a lot of doors for newcomers.”

O’Connor was then asked about Eddie Soto not being the originally scheduled opponent, and if it affected his game plan, “If you guys knew what went into the logistics of stuff.  I mean I had a list of opponents and one guy wanted it and another fell out. It is not hard for me because I am so focused.  I am going to prepare on what I have to do regardless on who is on the other side of the ring. It makes it nicer when I can watch tape and have time, but regardless I am going to work hard.  Eddie Soto took the fight on short money, and he came in to fight in shape.  He was a tough opponent and I give him credit, he came in here to fight in front of my fans to put on a show for the crowd, and I hope everyone enjoyed it,” said O’Connor.

“The game plan was to stay composed.  I knew that my fans were going to be here and it’s going to be overwhelming, so I wanted to stay composed so that I can focus on the things that I work on every day in the gym.  I think I did that tonight,” said O’Connor. “Of course there are things that I think I can improve upon, if you are not working to get better, than you are going to stay the same. There is stuff that I am going to take away from the fight because I am a perfectionist so I look at all of the negative things I did instead of the positive ones. So it’s back to the drawing board as my next fight is September 29th at Foxwoods (Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, CT).  So I will be back in the gym tomorrow and just ready to go.”

He was then asked if he felt like a different type of fighter due to his work with Coach Ronnie Shields. O’Connor said, “Oh without question I am a completely different fighter.  There isn’t enough time for me to mention all of the good things that I can about Coach Ronnie.  He is a hall of famer in boxing, he is a great man outside of the ring as he has done so much for me, and he is an amazing trainer and coach. Working at that elite level with a coach that has so much experience as he has worked with Evander Holyfield, Tyson, and Pernell Whitaker, I mean he has seen it all. Not only was he also was a world class trainer but a world class fighter as well so it just makes it all that much better.  I pride myself on surrounding myself with a great team, Team O’Connor, Ken Casey with the Dropkick Murphy’s, I would not be here today if it wasn’t for him.  He has taken me under his wing. It feels really good to have people behind you that really care about you and your well-being.”

 
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Traft KOs Bonnell

Dorchester, MA native Billy Traft (2-0, 1 KO) scored the first knockout of his professional career as he stopped Dan Bonnell (0-2) in the first round of their super middleweight bout. Traft dominated with his combinations during the round. With seconds left in the round, Traft dropped Bonnell with a left right combination. Bonnell was able to get up before the count of ten, however he was not able to get off of the stool for the beginning of round two. This gave Traft his first technical knockout at 3:00 of round one.

 
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Fernandes Decisions Garcia

Welterweight Antonio Chavez Fernandes, fighting out of historic Brockton, MA, won a four round unanimous decision over Springfield, MA native Noel Garcia (2-15, 1 KO), Scores of the bout were 40-36 twice and 39-37. Both fighters landed hard shots however Fernandes with his height and reach advantage dictated the pace of the fight, and by doing so gave him the nod on the scorecards.

 
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