Spina Smashes Gokel!!
By: Scott Ploof and
Billy “Loops” Luppert at ringside
Photography by Emily Harney
A fighter will take a win no matter how they get it. Some victories however can be less than satisfying.
Such was the case at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI on Friday night as light heavyweight Joey “The KO Kid” Spina knocked out journeyman Matt Gokel at 1:55 of the first round.
Spina (24-1-1, 17 KO's) stalked Gokel from the opening bell and it was clear who the better fighter in the ring was. A left hook from Spina put Gokel down on the canvas, but did not seem to have him in any sort of trouble as he got right back to his feet. Apparently referee Charlie Dwyer thought differently however and waived off the bout.
Not only was Gokel (12-10, 7 KO’s) surprised and upset with Dwyer’s decision, but Spina was as well, throwing his hands up in the air in disgust, as the stoppage left the crowd completely dumbfounded.
The sold out nine bout fight card was promoted by Classic Entertainment and Sports. – Bill Luppert
McCreedy Decisions Starnino!
Captures Vacant EBA Super Middleweight Title!
In what may be considered the fight of the night by many in the audience, "Irish" Joe McCreedy (10-2-1, 5 KO's) won a very hard fought and closely contested majority decision over Bobo "The Bull" Starnino (9-5-2, 2 KO's) in a rematch of their previous encounter. Not only did McCreedy capture the win but also the vacant EBA super middleweight title as well. Scores of the bout were 79-73 and 78-75 for McCreedy, while the third judge had the bout a draw at 76-76.
Both fighters looked to be in tremendous shape and ready for the fight of their respective careers. Both delivered as they left their all in the ring for the entire eight round fight. The sold out crowd in attendance gave a standing ovation to both competitors after the final bell rang as it was obvious both were exhausted.
Starnino started out strong in round one as he landed a strong hook to the body of McCreedy. McCreedy was able to gain separation from his opponent using his jab. Starnino however continued to throw a barrage of punches over the first two rounds.
McCreedy used his lead jab again in the third but this time to setup a punishing right hook to the head of Starnino. Both fighters have displayed an excellent chin throughout the contest as they punished each other with hooks that would have knocked out any other normal fighter.
The punishment from both fighters continued to take their toll on each other and by round five, both seemed to be running on fumes. McCreedy opened up a cut with a straight left causing blood to come from the nose of Starnino. Just like “The Bull” that he is, Starnino seeing his own blood energized him as he began throwing flurries of hooks at McCreedy just like he did over the first two rounds.
Starnino absorbed a lot of punishment in round seven as everyone in attendance could not believe that he did not go down from the powerful hooks that McCreedy was able to land flush on his opponent’s jaw. McCreedy began to time and effectively counter the aggressive Starnino, forcing him to have to change his game plan.
In the final round, McCreedy continued to connect with powerful hooks and again Starnino continued to fire back with flurries of hooks to the body. Starnino was able to survive displaying his chin of granite to allow the judges to render a decision, as he appeared almost out on his feet as the final bell sounded. – Scott Ploof
Soto Defeats Eklund!
Captures Vacant EBA Lightweight Title!
Undefeated lightweight prospect Eddie Soto won a very close and unpopular six round split decision over fellow New Englander, Sean Eklund to capture the vacant EBA lightweight belt. Scores of the bout were 57-56 and 58-55 for Soto, while Eklund received a score 57-56 from the third ringside judge.
Soto (11-0, 4 KO’s) utilized his size advantage in the early rounds as he overpowered and out-landed Eklund (6-3, 1 KO) over the first two rounds. Soto landed hooks to the body of Eklund that had him backtracking early on. Eklund, the nephew of “Irish” Micky Ward, kept pace with his larger opponent as he landed hooks and moved well to avoid the onslaught of Soto.
As round five approached, both fighters appeared to be tired as they gave it their all in the previous four rounds. A straight left from Eklund wobbled Soto and sent him to the canvas. Soto continued to retreat away as he was hurt by his opponent, until the end of the round.
The sixth and final round had both fighters swinging for the fences with neither connecting with anything significant since both appeared to be out of gas. Both fighters claimed victory after the final bell rang, however only Soto was left celebrating with the EBA belt around his waist. – Scott Ploof
Williams Decisions Harris!
In an absolute lackluster fight, cruiserweight David Williams (6-2-1, 2 KO's) scored a six round unanimous decision over Adam Harris (10-1, 7 KO's) by scores of 58-57, and 58-56 twice. – Bill Luppert
McLean Drops Minor!
New York Heavyweight Shawn McLean improved to (3-4, 2 KO's), knocking out Rashad Minor (1-1, 1 KO) in just 27 seconds of round one.
McLean landed a big right hand that put Minor flat on his back for the full ten count and then some. He remained on the canvas for a few short minutes after the bout, but was able to walk out under his own power. – Bill Luppert
Caro Stops Pressley!
Providence, RI’s Jesus Caro (4-0, 4 KO’s) kept his perfect record intact as he stopped Jerry Pressley (0-3). Caro landed three consecutive hooks to the body of Pressley that crumpled him to the canvas. Pressley was able to reach his feet at the count of eight but was quickly met with a right from Caro that prompted referee Charlie Dwyer to call a halt to the fight at 1:49 of the first round. – Scott Ploof
Pietrantonio Stops Macy!
In a minor upset, local super middleweight Brian Macy suffered the first defeat of his young career after being knocked out by Anthony Pietrantonio in the third round of their scheduled four round battle.
Macy (5-1, 2 KO's) from nearby Ledyard, CT was on the deck in all three rounds, including twice at the end of the second round that Macy was never able to recover from.
Pietrantonio dropped Macy again early in the third round with a right hand, and referee Charlie Dwyer called a halt to the bout at :46 of the round, as Macy was in no condition to continue. Pietrantonio, of Youngstown, OH, improves to (5-2, 4 KO's). – Bill Luppert
Beeman and Saunders Fight to Draw!
Junior welterweights Josh Beeman (4-2-3, 2 KO's) fought to a four round draw as he battled with Atlanta, GA's Jamar Saunders (2-1-1, 1 KO). Scores of the bout were 39-37 for Beeman, 39-37 for Saunders, and 38-38. Both fighters were able to land good hooks throughout the contest with Saunders getting the better of the exchanges. Beeman was able to attack the body in retaliation and was successful landing straight up the middle with his powerful uppercut. At the end of the fight Saunders was hanging on for dear life as Beeman almost finished him off, however Saunders was able to survive till the final bell to pull out the draw. – Scott Ploof
Holland Defeats Varnadore!
It did not take Jay Holland long to record his first professional victory in the opening bout of the evening as he clobbered an overmatched Kevin Varnadore with a right hook at 51 seconds of the opening round. With the victory, Providence, RI’s Jay Holland improves to (1-0, 1 KO) while York, SC’s Kevin Varnadore falls to a winless (0-5). – Scott Ploof