Ali gave the fans at the Aviator what they wanted, a KO, over game Franklin Gonzalez on Saturday night.
Fight fans turned out in force Saturday night to cheer on local hero Sadam Ali in his headlining appearance on the inaugural card of his newly- formed World Kid Promotions.
A capacity crowd was in attendance at the Aviator Sports Complex in South Brooklyn as the former Olympian was set to face the tough and experienced Franklin Gonzalez. The undefeated welterweight prospect didn’t disappoint, scoring an 8th round TKO and capturing the WBU Americas Championship in the process.
Having not been in the ring since last September, Ali started slowly with
he and Gonzalez beginning the first round feeling each other out. Gonzalez, a lefty from the Dominican Republic, struck first with a left hand and the two boxers continued the cat and mouse. Midway through the round the crowd began chanting for “Ali.” The Brooklyn native responded by connecting with several right hands to end the round.
Ali (age 23; weighed 147 pounds) continued using the right hand in the second pressing the action and staggering Gonzalez (age 36; 146 lbs) after connecting with a straight right hand. His right uppercut also found some openings as well.
The third frame saw Ali getting busier with his jab, while trying to feint
Gonzalez out of position for more damaging right hands.
A focused body attack from Ali started the fourth round and he bore down
on the game Gonzalez. Ali fired thudding body shots and backed Gonzalez
against the ropes where he opened up with four and five punch combinations
to stagger the Dominican as the round ended.
Trying to capitalize on his strong showing in the previous frame, Ali mounted an aggressive attack in the 5th, perhaps looking for the knockout. His timing was a shade off and he missed with several homerun punches with Gonzalez moving and clinching in an effort to survive the attack.
With world champion Paulie Malignaggi and prospect Gary Stark Jr.
offering encouragement from ringside, Ali continued to find a home for his
right hand and provided consistent action throughout the sixth round.
A booming right hand from Ali opened the 7th round and he continued to
search for the show-closing KO. His uppercut was again effective as it
hammered the chin of Gonzalez, who by this point in the fight was
beginning to tire.
The final round found a focused Ali trying to walk down Gonzalez and
end the fight in crowd-pleasing fashion. Ali connected with a right hand
and shortly thereafter Gonzalez went down. The referee ruled it a slip and
the action continued. Ali continued to bear down on his opponent with flurries of punches. Gonzalez lost his mouthpiece and the resulting timeout allowed him to gather himself. With time back in Ali backed Gonzalez into the ropes with a left-right combination. Another combination put Gonzalez down but he was up and survived the referee’s count. Ali continued to find the mark with his punches but another trip to the canvas by Gonzalez was also ruled a slip and the action resumed. A focused left-right by Ali put Gonzalez down, but the tough competitor rose to his feet. Seeing that Gonzalez was staggering and defenseless, the referee waved off the contest at 2:22 of the final round.
The undefeated (15-0, 9 by KO) Ali provided the hometown fans with an exciting finish and won a title. Gonzalez dropped to 15-10.
In the co-feature, New York Golden Gloves champion Jennifer Santiago
made her professional debut. In the four round bantamweight bout the Brooklyn native faced Mikayla Nebal (0-1) of Columbus, Ohio.
The four round distance seemed to tire Santiago, but her focused presence in the ring earned her a unanimous decision against the tough and ready Nebal.
Maine native, currently fighting out of New York City, Steven Gamache
made his return to the ring after a 12 month layoff. Fighting at junior middleweight Gamache (2-0) faced the cocky Willie Bryant (0-3-1) from Conway, Arkansas.
Both fighters began at a busy pace, ready to start the action following some in-ring jawing at one another. Heeding the advice of his father and trainer, former world champion Joey Gamache, Gamache stayed patient and worked behind his jab to win a unanimous decision (40-36) from the judges. Bryant proved to be an awkward opponent who held often. Gamache would benefit from a quick return to the ring to continue to shake off the rust.
Cruiserweight Armin Mrkanovic (2-1) returned to action against Ohio’s Daniel Pietch, who was making his pro debut.
Mrkanovic started slowly and, after hearing his trainer Hector Roca implore
him to “get to work!” picked up the pace. The third and fourth rounds brought impressive exchanges and Mrkanovic stopped the bloodied and tiring Pietch at 1:10 of the 4th round, securing a TKO.
The evening’s opening bout matched two middleweights making their pro debuts.
Brooklyn’s Akil Frederick-Auguste faced New Jersey’s Jamil Gadsen.
The tense, stiff, and off-balance Gadsen succumbed to Auguste’s measured
attack at 2:26 of the second round.