NEW YORK — On his last visit to New York, Joelo Torres had his hands full, and was probably fortunate to get out of town with a draw against Christopher Fernandez at Gotham Hall last summer, but the Puerto Rican junior welter had a somewhat easier time of it on Wednesday night's edition of Lou DiBella's Broadway Boxing at B.B King's Blues Club.
Torres caught his first break when David Armstrong, his 20-11 Florida opponent in the scheduled main event, flunked his pre-fight physical. Matchmaker Joe Quiambao was able to procure a substitute opponent, Washington Hago of Queens. The New York State Athletic Commission was willing to approve Hago only for a six-rounder, but it quickly became apparent that had it been scheduled for one round it wouldn't have gone the distance. Torres made short work of the new foe, decking him with a right hand in the first round. Although referee Pete Santiago was willing to let the fight continue, Hago's corner wasn't, and almost as soon as the referee waved the pair back into action, a while towel came sailing across the ring, bringing matters to a conclusion after just 1:49 of fighting. Torres went to 11-0-1 with the win, while Hago is now 5-4.
The demotion of Torres' bout elevated the evening's other scheduled eight-rounder between Dominican junior welter Argenis Mendez and Anthony Napunyi of Kenya to titular main event status. Although Napunyi battled gamely in the early going, he was pretty clearly out of his element. A hard right-left at the end of the fourth drove him into the ropes with such force that Benji Esteves could have ruled a knockdown, and while he didn't, the referee had Napunyi on a pretty short leash thereafter, and after watching the visitor absorb some fairly serious punishment without returning fire, stopped it at 2:25 of the fifth. Mendez is now 14-1, with the only blemish his split decision loss to Jaime Santiago in Denver last year. Napunyi is 14-9 overall, but 0-3 in three 2009 fights since leaving Kenya last year.
“Tor Hamer” might sound like what Ingemar Johannson used to call his right hand, but DiBella's heavyweight hope is a Penn State grad, New York born and bred. While he didn’t exactly look overpowering doing it, Hamer improved to 8-0 as a pro, posting a unanimous decision over Chicago's Theron Johnson (3-2). Robin Taylor scored it 58-55, while Luis Perez and Woleska Roldan had it closer at 57-56.
Bronx featherweight “Crazy Eddie” Irizarry came into Wednesday's fight 6-1, his Feburary loss at the Roseland Ballroom to Guillermo Sanchez had come in his only bout against an opponent with a winning record. Although 35 year-old Felix Flores (14-11-1) technically qualified as his second, Flores was 13-0-1 when he left Colombia, and since taking up residence in Miami six years ago has gone 1-12. Irizarry, who decked Flores with a right in the second, won 59-53 on the cards of all three judges (Taylor, Rivera, Roldan) and 58-54 on the Sweet Science scorecard.
Luis Del Valle, a 22 year-old prospect from Puerto Rico, improved to 6-0 with a fifth-round kayo of Arizona opponent Robert Guillen, 4-4-3. Guillen, who may be the world's only practicing featherweight to box under the name “Big Bob,” went down from a flash knockdown after walking into a counter left in the second, a stanza that might otherwise have been his best round. Del Valle staggered his opponent with a hard left late in the fourth, and while Guillen was rescued by the bell, he was clearly feeling the effects in the ensuing round. A Del Valle right hand brought him up short, and then in a delayed reaction Guillen fairly melted to the canvas, where he was counted out by Esteves at :44 of the round.
Brooklyn welterweight Gabriel Bracero improved to 4-0 with a unanimous decision over Melchior (no relation) Guillen, now 1-3, with Matt Ruggero, Taylor, and Roldan all recording a 40-36 shutout verdict.
You can probably take it to the bank that you'll be seeing more of Brooklyn-based Egyptian heavyweight Ahmen Samir on Broadway Boxing cards. Samir, who bills himself as a Prince, produced a pretty good-sized posse for a four-round fighter. Several dozen of his fans filled a chartered bus (from Brooklyn, not Egypt) and an hour before the doors opened, at least fifty more the Prince's subjects were milling around in matching black t-shirts outside the venue. The Prince, now 7-0, prevailed in his 4-rounder against Eddie Mustafa Muhammad trained Nevadan Clarence Tillman (2-3), with Ruggero, Rivera, and Taylor returning matching 39-37 scorecards. (TSS also had Samir winning, 39-38.)
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JUNIOR WELTERS: Joelo Torres, 136, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico TKO'd Washington Hago, 142, Queens, NY (1)
HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tor Hamer, 220, New York dec. Theron Johnson, 240, Chicago (6),
Ahmen Samir, 228, Alexandra, Egypt dec. Clarence Tillman, 224, Henderson, Nev. (4)
WELTERWEIGHTS: Gabriel Bracero, 142, Brooklyn, NY dec. Melchior Guillen Jr., 141, Irvington, NJ (4)
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Argenis Mendez, 130, San Juan de Maguana, Dominican Republic, TKO'd Anthony Napunyi, 129 1/2, Nairobi, Kenya (5)
FEATHERWEIGHTS: Luis Del Valle, 127 1.2, Bayamon, P.R. KO'd Robert Guillen, 125, Glendale, Ariz. (5)
Eddie Irizarry, 123, Bronx, NY dec. Felix Flores, 122, Valledupar, Colombia (6)