Star Boxing packs the Paradise Theater in the Bronx

Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing has found a home to showcase the fights.

The Paradise Theater in the Bronx, which opened as the Loews Paradise Theater in 1929, was one of the nation’s premiere movie and vaudeville houses, hosting in its day old school showbiz luminaries like Bob Hope and Milton Berle in a faux 17th century baroque setting. The joint is beautiful, complete with a starry sky blue ceiling filled with painted clouds and flying nymphs, ornate fountains, statues of famous and half-dressed mythical figures posing on pedestals, and carved marble and oak columns swarming with ivy. But as urban blight hit the Bronx like a sucker punch from hell and knocked the borough to its knees for what looked like the count, the entertainers and their fans stayed away from The Paradise in fear for their lives, and the theater closed its doors in 1994.

But just as all things must pass, all things must pass, and gentrification, where yesterday’s slum becomes today’s inflated real estate, visited the Bronx and The Paradise was renovated and reopened in 2005 to much acclaim. In addition to serving as a touchstone of the Bronx’s renaissance, the Paradise Theater, thanks to Star Boxing, is also hosting fights on a regular basis.

At the Paradise Theater on Thursday, January 25, in the main event of the night, Raul Frank (28-5-3, 14 KOs) was awarded a TKO7 over USBA junior middleweight champion Terrence “The Heat” Cauthen (32-4, 9 KOs) in a fight/result that is being formally protested to the New York State Athletic Commission.

In a snoozer of a bout, Frank, 153¼, from Brooklyn by way of Ghana, struggled to overcome the effective southpaw style of Cauthen, 153¼, from Trenton, NJ. The Ghanaian was behind on all the judges’ cards after six when he connected with a shot to the forehead that dropped Cauthen. Cauthen struggled to his feet and beat the count, but collapsed again, at which time referee Ricky Gonzalez counted the champ out at 2:59.

Although ruled at TKO victory for the challenger, those sitting ringside immediately raised a ruckus because it wasn’t a punch that dropped Cauthen, it was an unintentional headbutt which the officials failed to recognize.

The promoter DeGuardia approached Ron Scott Stevens, the NYSAC czar, who admitted he didn’t see the headbutt reasonable enough with all the fly girls and booty bouncing around Paradise whereupon DeGuardia produced a tape of the TKO for the commissioner’s assessment. Unfortunately, Stevens said, Replays are not used in New York, but in the interest of fairness to all parties I will hold a hearing next Wednesday and try to settle this situation.

In undercard action, super featherweight Maureen Shea (9-0, 5 KOs) from the Bronx, 127½, stopped tough Elizabeth Villareal (2-2-1), 126, from San Antonio in round six.

Eric “Outlaw” Hunter (6-1, 3 KOs), 124½, hailing from Philly, decisioned Pasquale “The Tiger” Rouse (19-12-3, 11 KOs) of the Bronx, 126, in six rounds of featherweight action. The final tally was 58-56, 59-56 and 59-55.

Also from the Bronx, the favorite, light heavyweight Joel “El Rey” Castillo (5-0, 3 KOs), 171½, did just enough to win a decision after four over William Gill (6-14, 5 KOs), 173, from Toms River, NJ, with scores of 39-37, 39-37 and 38-38

In heavyweight action, Vaughn “MVP” Parham, 255, from the Bronx, making his pro debut, stopped Travis “Walk the Walk” Waters from Salsbury, Maryland, also making his pro debut, at 2:06 the first round.

Junior flyweight Suszannah Warner (7-3, 2 KOs), 107, stopped Nancy Bonilla (2-5-1), 106, in the third round.

Welterweight Tommy “The Razor” Rainone (4-0), 147, from Plainview, NY won a UD4 over John Lipscomb (2-8), 144½, from Cleveland, Ohio, with scores of 40-36, 40-36 and 38-38.

And in a swing bout, light heavyweight Denys Lozada (3-1-1, 1 KO), 175, from Nanuet, NY, scored a TKO2 over New Brunswick, NJ’s Mike Ciccone (1-3).