In front of a sellout crowd of his hometown fans, junior lightweight prospect Bryant “Peewee” Cruz, of Port Chester, NY, headlined DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing debut on Friday night, in Westchester County, at the beautiful Hilton Westchester, in Rye Brook, NY. Cruz, 130, showed tremendous heart to recover from a knockdown in round two then engage Jorge Pazos, 128¼, of Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico, in a slugfest the following frame. By the midway point of the scheduled eight-rounder, Cruz took back control of the contest, using his jab to set up combinations and outbox Pazos. Showing superior hand speed, Cruz used left hooks to punctuate flurries upstairs. By the seventh round, a bruised Pazos’ face had swelled up from all the punishment he’d taken. After eight exciting rounds, the judges tallied 78-73 twice, and 77-74, all for “Peewee” Cruz, who improved to 14-0 (7 KOs). Pazos dropped to 14-8-1 (8 KOs)
Brooklyn junior middleweight prospect Frank “Notorious” Galarza, co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and New Legend Boxing, needed just 76 seconds of a scheduled eight-rounder to demolish veteran Raul Munoz. Galarza, 156, walked down Munoz, 154¾, testing his right hand upstairs. Moments later, one of those straight rights landed to the side of the head causing Munoz to double over then stumble into the ropes, resulting in the referee’s stoppage. Widely considered one of the top 154lb. up-and-coming fighters in all of boxing, Galarza, now 16-0-2 (10 KOs), is poised to break into the upper echelon of his division in the near future. Munoz saw his record drop to 23-18-1 (16 KOs).
In a battle of Bronx residents, Peter Dobson, 148, used his jab to set up right uppercuts and hooks to break through the tight guard of Tyrell White, 145½. Keeping White backing up and against the ropes, Dobson’s combinations were doing damage. Dobson remained the busier fighter as he continued to pound away over the ensuing rounds until the referee had seen enough. The stoppage came at 2:38 of round three, upping Dobson’s record to 3-0 (1 KO), while White remained winless at 0-3.
Popular cruiserweight Alex Vanasse, 195¾, from nearby Carmel, NY, made his pro debut against Richard Ballard, 194, of Los Angeles, that had the adoring crowd on its feet the entire route. It was a Pier-Six brawl from the outset, with each taking turns smashing each other with explosive power shots. In round two, a straight right dropped the southpaw Vanasse, but he arose and battled his way back into the fight. In the fourth, Vanasse staggered Ballard with right hooks and went in for the kill, wailing away with wild hooks until his adversary was defenseless to force a referee stoppage at the 2:08 mark. Ballard’s record dropped to 0-2.
In his most impressive performance as a professional, Bronx’s former #1-rated U.S. amateur and now highly touted prospect Chris Galeano earned a shutout six-round unanimous decision on three scores of 60-54 to remain unbeaten. After outboxing Javier Loya, of Phoenix, AZ, in round one with a consistent jab, Galeano closed the gap, pinning his foe against the ropes and banging away. Focusing his combinations to the body, Galeano, 160, was forcing Loya, 157½, normally a pressure fighter, to step back. Galeano’s right hook upstairs was landing repeatedly and doing damage. A straight right snapped Loya’s head back in round four. Over the final two rounds, Galeano unleashed superb combinations, rocking Loya with more straight rights. The decision victory increased Galeano’s record to 7-0, while Loya dropped to 7-3 (6 KOs).
Using his adept defensive skills, Ukrainian prodigy Sergey Derevyanchenko, co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Fight Promotions Inc., and advised by Al Haymon, now living and training in Brooklyn, quickly neutralized the offense of Vladine Biosse while controlling the action with stiff jabs. Trapping Biosse in a neutral corner in round two, Derevyanchenko unloaded a fusillade of leather. As Biosse sagged down the ring ropes, the referee jumped in to halt the action by TKO at 1:42 of the frame. Derevyanchenko was an outstanding amateur, compiling an astonishing 390-20 record, as well as represent his native Ukraine at the 2008 Olympics and win a bronze medal at the 2007 Amateur World Championships. Derevyanchenko also competed in the World Series of Boxing, where he posted a 23-1 overall record and was the 2012 WSB Team Champion and 2011 and 2012 WSB Individual Champion. Derevyanchenko’s rise up the world rankings is expected to be meteoric and anything less than a world championship would be a disappointment.
Light heavyweight contender Cedric Agnew, 177½, from Chicago, made his DBE debut against fellow southpaw Samuel Clarkson, 178, of Cedar Hill, TX. Whenever in close, Agnew would dig shots to the body. In round two, a double left hook, first to the body then to the head, put Clarkson on the floor. Clarkson fought back gamely, but Agnew’s combinations clearly tired his adversary over the latter rounds. Though Agnew dominated the second half, the judges awarded Clarkson a very controversial split decision, each tallying 76-75, to the bewilderment of the crowd and ringside media. Agnew is now 28-2 (14 KOs), while Clarkson’s record stands at 13-4 (7 KOs).
Georgian-native world-ranked contender Avtandil Khurtsidze, 160, now living and training in Philadelphia, rushed Philip Penson, 159, like a bull, continuing to apply pressure throughout their eight-round middleweight contest. The much-shorter Khurtsidze, standing at 5’4″, bobbed and weaved his way inside then dug into at Penson’s body, slowly breaking him down. A left hook upstairs wobbled Penson into a corner in round four and Khurtsidze unloaded power shots until the referee stopped the contest at the 1:00 mark. Khurtsidze, who demonstrated excellent ability to cut off the ring, earned the third victory of his comeback that began in July 2014, upping his record to 30-2-2 (19 KOs). Orlando, Florida’s Penson suffered the first defeat of his career, dropping to 8-1-2 (2 KOs).
Returning to the ring for the first time since August 2013, junior welterweight prospect Andrew Ruiz, 138, one of the most promising young fighters out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy, in Oxnard, CA, resumed his career in his DiBella Entertainment debut, facing Evincii Dixon, 140, of Lancaster, PA. With a sustained attack to the body over six rounds, Ruiz dominated the action in an entertaining affair. Pressuring his way inside, Ruiz outlanded Dixon, often digging to the body to land uppercuts on the inside. At the conclusion of six rounds, scorecards read 58-56 twice for Ruiz, with a dissenting tally of 59-55 for Dixon, though most observers felt Ruiz, now 8-0 (4 KOs), deserved a unanimous verdict. The game Dixon’s record fell to 4-5-1 (2 KOs).
Co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Fight Promotions Inc., Ivan Baranchyk, 146¼, improved to 4-0 (3 KOs) with a brutal second-round knockout over David Thomas, of Los Angeles. After dropping Thomas, 146½, in the first, the Belarus-native Baranchyk, now living and training in Brooklyn, NY, floored him for good with a right hand-left hook combination. The time of the knockout was 2:07 of round two. Thomas’ record fell to 4-1 (1 KO). As an amateur, Baranchyk won gold at the 2010 Class A Vilnuse tournament, 2011 and 2013 Match Event tournament, 2011 Kostukovichi International tournament, 2011 and 2012 Soligorsk Open International tournament, 2012 Class A Liventsev tournament, 2013 Active Military tournament, 2013 Republic of Belarus Open Cup, 2014 Vitebsk University tournament in Belarus, and was an amateur champion of Belarus from 2009-2014.