FRIDAY BOXING RECAPS — Jose Felix Jr., a consensus 9/4 favorite, stumbled badly on Friday night in El Paso where he was taken to school by unheralded 33-year-old Jonathan Maicelo (pictured on the left), a native of Peru fighting out of North Bergen, New Jersey. Felix, who had a 35-1-1 record coming in, had designs on fighting the winner of the forthcoming lightweight title bout between Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla. Now it’s back to the drawing board for the fighter from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Felix had no antidote for Maicelo’s left hook. It deposited him on the canvas five times. The Mexican showed spunk in lasting the distance, but the scorecards told the tale: 97-88, 96-90, and 95-90. Maicelo, who was raised in poverty in the impoverished Peruvian coastal town of Callao, is a good human interest story. He improved to 25-2.
In the co-feature, local fan favorite Jennifer Han (16-3-1) pitched a shutout over Canadian veteran Olivia Gerula, winning by scores of 100-89 on all three cards. Han was making the third defense of her IBF women’s world featherweight title.
The 33-year-old Korean-American Han, a UTEP graduate, is the most celebrated athlete in El Paso. Veteran El Paso Times sports journalist Bill Knight gushed over her performance vs. Gerula in words that stirred memories of Willie Pep. She is trained by former lightweight contender Louie Burke. In another bout of note, Esquiva Falcao, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist from Brazil, won a lopsided 8-round decision over Costa Rica’s Jaime Barboza.
As part of the hype for his match against Roy Jones Jr. on Friday in Wilmington, Delaware, Bobby Gunn was ornamented with a record of 72-0 in clandestine bare-knuckle bouts. His performance against Jones cast more doubt on that attestation. The 48-year-old Jones (65-9) won every round en route to an eighth round stoppage. The 43-year-old Gunn slumped to 21-7-1 in documented fights.
Jones stunned Gunn with a left hook in the waning seconds of round seven. The bout was stopped seven seconds into the next round with the approval of Gunn’s corner. After the fight, Jones was vague on the question of whether this was his farewell fight.
In the chief undercard bout, junior middleweight Kanat Islam made short work of Robson Assis, dismissing him in the opening round. Assis was 16-3 going in, but all 16 of his wins came in his native Brazil and his three prior losses were all by stoppage.
Although Islam (23-0, 19 KOs) was matched soft, he is yet an intriguing prospect. Born in China, the fighter now based in Pahokee, FL, pays homage to his ancestry with his nickname: “The Kazakh.” If he keeps on winning, he will join Triple-G and Double-Z (Zhanat Zhakiyanov) in the pantheon of outstanding fighters from Kazakhstan.
In another Friday fight of note, junior welterweight Robert Manzanarez made an impressive U.S. debut with a fourth-round stoppage of Gamaliel Diaz at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. For further details, check out David A. Avila’s ringside report.
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.