ESPN2’s Boxcino makes its 2015 return at junior middleweight



Boxing tournaments are a rarity these days in the professional ranks but luckily, the definitive format of producing the best among a group of fighters is displayed when Banner Promotions conducts its yearly “Boxcino” tournament. The 2015 edition started last night on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. featuring eight middleweights looking to advance to the semifinals. Here is how the first batch of fights played out.



Moore startled by a Nuclear Ghost


Undefeated Ukrainian prospect Stanyslav “The Nuclear Ghost” Skorokhod, 9-0 (7), dismantled Michael Moore, 13-1 (6), earning a TKO victory after referee Mike Ortega put a stop to the bout in the fourth round. After a first round in which Moore looked to be in control, Skorokhod was merely feeling out the shorter southpaw and looking for a weakness. He found that flaw and it was one that typically gives left-handed boxers fits, the right hand. In the second, a big right hook found Moore’s chin, visibly wobbling him. From that point on, Moore couldn’t hide the fact that his legs were unsteady as he was seen stumbling around the ring. Thirty seconds into the third, another right cross sent Moore into disarray which sparked the beginning of the end. Moments after another knockdown of Moore in the fourth, Ortega looked for any viable opportunity to stop the bout. A final big right hand from Sorokhod momentarily stopped Moore in his tracks, creating that opportunity; Ortega rightfully stopped the bout before any more damage was caused.



Thompson comes off the bench to beat Pinell



Substituting for an injured Cleotis Pendarvis, John Thompson stepped into the ring on just a day’s notice and easily beat Ricardo Pinell via wide unanimous decision victory. All three judges agreed in scoring the bout 60-54 in his favor. Thompson, 15-1 (5), used a lengthy jab that set up fluid combinations, frustrating his opponent early in the contest. Also, by using every part of the ring with his long legs, Thompson kept Pinell at a comfortable distance all night. Pinell, 10-2-1 (6), just couldn’t figure out a way to evade that initial jab and get into an inside position that would have favored the shorter southpaw. As the rounds went on, Thompson grew confident, unafraid of any retaliation from Pinell and, at times, was seen smiling at his opponent fearlessly. The self assurance for Thompson was something he needed for his career because he was knocked out cold in his last bout a little more than a year ago. By throwing his punches in bunches at a distance, Thompson cruised to victory without a moment of being in trouble and, by a stroke of luck, taking another fighter’s injury for granted, finds himself advancing in the tourney.



Gasparyan rallies to beat Hardy


Overcoming a slow start, Vito Gasparyan figured out his opponent and earned a unanimous decision (58-56, 60-54, 59-55) over Simeon Hardy. Perhaps Gasparyan’s slow start was attributed to his 26-month layoff from the ring after he was decisioned by touted prospect Jessie Vargas but after two rounds of weathering the storm, the Armenian got it all down. Hardy, 13-1 (10), started the fight off well but that may have been due to Gasparyan’s lack of activity. Once he flashed the defensively aggressive move of shifting, otherwise known as two-legged punching, Gasparyan found a flaw in Hardy’s game. By using this tactic, Gasparyan, 15-3-5 (8), was able to push forward and counter with a right hand while his opponent was seemingly off-balance for the rest of the fight. It also forced the scrap on the inside and was a clear advantage for Gasparyan in close quarters.



Adams rolls through Perez


After sending Alex Perez to the canvas with a big right cross. Brandon Adams earned the TKO victory after referee Harvey Dock waved off the bout in the middle of his count in the fifth round. Right out of the gate, both men left no time wasted, throwing nothing but power shots, leaving no recollection of a single jab thrown. By the second round, Adams got the better of Perez, particularly mixing it up with shots to the body. This eventually forced Perez to be trapped against the ropes in that round and it continued to be the same frustration for him over the rest of the fight. As time ticked on, Adams looked stronger and his ferocious punching to the ribs and head broke Perez down as he remained helpless against the ropes. The knockout punch was looming; the right that stopped Perez, 18-2 (10), was bold and clear. Perez complained as Dock waved his arms, calling off the bout but he struggled to aid his objection. Adams, 16-1 (11), suffered his only defeat in last year’s Boxcino tournament to Willie Monroe Jr., whom later went on to win the middleweight finals of the series.


The four winners who survived the first bracket of the 2015 junior middleweight Boxcino tournament will now clash in the semifinals on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights on April 3. Stanyslav Skorokhod will face John Thompson and Brandon Adams will take on Vito Gasparyan.



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