MONTEBELLO, CA.—Celebrities roamed around the makeshift ball-room and inside the boxing ring, young kids and prospects belted each other with extra vigor. It was another All Star Boxing fight card at the Quiet Cannon.
James Toney walked around giving autographs and posing for photos. He also had interest in a couple of young fighters on the card. Toney, who vehemently stated he’s not retired, will be promoting his own shows. He’s looking to begin in April.
Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera walked into the Quiet Cannon and immediately spotted Toney. He approached Toney for a photo. Not known to many, Toney is an idol to Herrera, who looks at his old fights to get pumped up. Herrera said he doesn’t normally attend fight cards outside of his own. But he decided to visit Montebello, which is about 40 miles from where he lives in Riverside.
Midway through the fight card, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin arrived. He descended from the Big Bear Mountains 100 miles away to see his stablemate perform. The middleweight champion was mobbed by the crowd. Golovkin spotted Toney and asked for a photo with the former middleweight champion, now participating as a heavyweight. Golovkin knows all about middleweight history. He’s mentioned Toney before and here was the great fighter right in front of him. They took a few photos together.
Leo Santa Cruz was supposed to attend but no one I knew saw him.
The main event was Russian Murat Gassiev, a cruiserweight bruiser who has been ruining sparring partners in four Southern California counties. He works in Big Bear with Golovkin and is trained by Abel Sanchez. He was making his U.S. debut.
Gassiev (20-0, 14 Kos) or “Murat” as everyone calls him, fought Terrence Smith (8-18-3) in a bout set for six rounds or less. Smith was brought in from Oklahoma and when introduced during the touch-gloves ceremony, the muscular cruiserweight menacingly stared at the Russian. Someone from the audience murmured “uh oh, that means Smith is going down. Guys that mad dog usually go down hard.” Boy, was that person correct.
When the real fight started Smith circled quickly around Gassiev, who stayed right in punching distance. Gassiev has fast hands and good balance. And when he connects that power in his punches seems like he has a hammer inside his gloves.
For a couple of months Abel Sanchez and Ben Lira have lauded his talent. They say he’s the second coming of GGG, which is a very tall task. Gassiev had plenty of support from a large Russian crowd.
Smith, who realized early that running wasn’t working, tried to punch his way to some respect. That didn’t work either. Gassiev kept coming and began connecting to the body and head with wicked-fast combinations. Smith’s face began to swell and soon his nose bloodied. The knockout was coming and Smith began to hold in the fourth round. When the referee told him to release Gassiev, the Oklahoman refused, which seemed comical to the crowd but not to Smith. He was deducted a point but that did not matter. Smith held again when the fight resumed and would not let go. The referee stopped the fight and disqualified Smith at 2:29 of round four.
Gassiev, 21, won his American debut.
England’s Samuel Antwi battered Palmdale’s Daniel Fabela in a battle of debuting boxers. Antwi, who now trains in Southern California, was much too accurate and once he connected he kept on firing precise punches. Fabela was just about to go down when referee Ray Corona stopped the welterweight fight at 2:48 of the first round.
Jose Hernandez (7-2-1) defeated Anthony Juarez (0-5-1) by unanimous decision after four rounds of a super middleweight match.
Eddie De La Huerta won his pro debut with a second round stoppage of Percy Peterson (1-6-1) in a lightweight match. Peterson was doing well until he was connected with right hands from De La Huerta. The end came at 2:34 of round two.
London, England’s Isaac Dogboe (5-0) was a unanimous decision winner over Alejandro Ochoa (5-10-2). Dogboe and Ochoa fought on even terms but the English fighter was more accurate.
Edgar Nava (1-0) and Ngoc Truong rocked the house in their pro debuts. Both exchanged freely and Truong was dropped badly. He beat the count and was able to continue. Truong must have been in great shape because he was able to resume battling but was caught again 58 seconds into the fourth round of their junior welterweight bout.
Panama’s Israel Duffus (7-2, 6 KOs) knocked out Jamel Reynolds (0-5) with a counter left hook in the first round of their cruiserweight battle. It was a comeback fight after Duffus was stopped in his previous fight. He trains at the Wild Card Boxing gym.
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