On a night where boxing was taking a night off on television, GH3 and Greg Cohen Productions partnered together to bring boxing action to Whippany, NJ. The gorgeous setting of the Birchwood Manor would be the backdrop to what was a night of entertaining brawls with a lot of up and coming fighters. The card was headlined by the world class Albanian light heavyweight contender Elvir Muriqi coming back from a 13 month layoff against tough Californian Paul Vasquez battling in a 10 round contest. On the undercard we would scout what could be the next wave of great young fighters from the east coast.
Action started with a four round junior lightweight bout that featured Brooklyn’s Glenford “Black Beauty” Nickey Jr. (1-0-1 0 KO’s) versus Cuban fighter Anolan Rigal (1-3-1 1 KO). The two men started the fight circling as the taller, lanky Nickey popped a jab in to his opponent’s face, he then goes downstairs and back up with short hooks causing a welt on Rigal’s right cheekbone. The second round was more of the same except now the game Cuban swung with wild hooks and uppercuts that seldomly found success as “Black Beauty” patiently landed counter straight rights and check hooks, he finished with a barrage against the ropes leaving Rigal dazed and confused. As Nickey continued to control the fight he found the right distance to land a strong straight right hand and as he followed up to the body he went back upstairs to land a vicious right cross, left hook combo to drop his man as the referee waved it off at 1:40 of the third round awarding Nickey his first KO win.
The second bout of the night featured a pair of junior welterweights with Danny “El Gallo” Gonzalez (2-0 1 KO) of Queens, NY facing Bronx native Carlos Nieves (0-1). Nieves being the taller fighter looked to start with a jab on his stalking opponent, with Gonzalez patiently closing the distance Nieves lands a right uppercut but to no effect as “El Gallo” pushed forward with hooks to the body and head against the ropes to end the round. With the left hook leaving red marks on Nieves’ cheek and ribs; Gonzalez lands an overhand right to back the taller man against the ropes and they begin to trade body shots. More of the same to start the third as they fight in close quarters but Gonzalez slowly begins to sap the energy of Nieves who lands the occasional uppercut but can’t seem to find the right range to get off with long range shots. With the fight in “El Gallo’s” control; Gonzalez slams Nieves to the body with vicious shots and cuts off his opponent as he tries to escape, Gonzalez pours it on trying to get the knockout victory as Nieves seems hurt towards the end but he smartly holds on and survives the final round. The judges award Gonzalez the unanimous 40-36 decision as the crowd cheers, bumping his record up to 3-0.
With the crowd enjoying the night the third bout brought the fans out of their seats as they welcomed the debut of Ricky “Paterson Boy” Edwards who is of course from nearby Paterson, NJ; against Moses Molina also from New Jersey. The lightweights entered the ring with confidence but it was Edwards who transformed that in to an active round landing a stiff jab, hard rights, and looping left hooks topped off with a six punch flurry to end the round. They keep their distance but the baby faced Molina is hit with a jab followed by a looping right that Molina gets under, they continue fighting on the outside but a left hook, straight right to the side of the head puts Molina down for an 8 count but narrowly escapes the round as “Paterson Boy” tries to finish it. As Molina looks to get his legs under him, he tries to hold on but Edwards smartly lands left hooks and short right uppercuts to back his opponent up, and crisp right hand puts Molina down who stays down while the ref counts him out, the Paterson, New Jersey native gets his first win in the pro ranks with an impressive knockout.
The fourth bout of the night showcased Anthony “Juice” Young (6-0 2 KO’s) from Atlantic City, NJ against game welterweight Ronnie Jordan (1-1-1 0 KO’s) visiting from Cincinnati, OH. Young sporting a Mayweather-esque stance; patiently lands lead rights as Jordan tries to tie up and fight inside, Young easily dodges all of his jabs and lands a counter jab, a stiff right to hurt Jordan, and a barrage to end the round against the ropes. With the crowd behind him, “Juice” leans back as Jordan comes in landing counter shots at will finding openings to the body that slow down the forward pressing Ohio native. As the third round opened, Jordan looked overmatched and was eating right hands and hooks, he slips to the floor and “Juice” accidently follows him with a punch to the head causing the referee to deduct a point; but to no use as Young begins to land inside his man’s guard with sweet uppercuts and left hooks. The fight ends in the same round as Young gets Jordan against the ropes and lands four very hard right crosses with no resistance; the ref steps in to stop the action and the round as he calls it off at 2:59 of the third and now 7-0 3 KO’s, Anthony “Juice” Young.
As St.Patrick’s was near, many Irish fans and supporters were packed in the Birchwood Manor and they cheered local talent Vinny O’Brien (3-2 2 KO’s) from East Hanover, NJ but now training out of Brooklyn, NY; against the Brooklyn southpaw Anthony Smith (1-1 0 KO’s). This 140 lb contest started rather timidly as Smith was staying out of range during the first minute, he switched to a bullying tactic and tried to wrestle and tie up O’Brien who stayed busy with compact uppercuts inside. Smith who was still trying to rough his rival up found little success as the shorter O’Brien landed two overhand rights in succession that buckled his legs, he followed with body shots as Smith left no room to do anything else as he tied up. The battle continued at the same range, O’Brien with hooks to the body and uppercuts between the guard, and Smith squaring up trying to land straight punches out of range, O’Brien catches Smith again with a right hand and Smith turns on the heat with a wild barrage to end the round. The fourth and final round started with the more active O’Brien landing one-twos and a hook that caught Smith on the temple that not only shook him up; but caused him to go back to trying to hold on, and ugly fight but the local fighter pushed forward and continued his body work giving him a 40-36 scorecard across the board and a win in front of his hometown fans.
The co-feature event was just about to start and little did the ravenous fans know that it would be the fight of the night. The heavyweight bout; scheduled for six rounds, starred Patrick “Paddy Boy” Farrell (8-1-1 4 KO’s) of Jersey City, NJ, against John Lennox (10-2 5 KO’s) of Carteret, NJ. The battle started with chants of “Paddy Boy” filling the venue, inside the ring though Lennox was scoring with a jab and followed with a left hook as a pair of straights would land for Farrell, the action was intense as both men were punching almost non-stop to end the first round. The crowd is in amazement as both heavyweights continue the ebb and flow with hard body shots, hooks from “Paddy Boy” and jabs followed by uppers off an angle from Lennox, smart but entertaining infighting. The action is intense, Farrell lands the volume but Lennox returns with the visually harder shots landed to both the head and body as he countered, Farrell gets back in it with a three punch salvo in the middle of the round that stuns Lennox but he returns with a jab and then uppercuts to the body, Farrell ends the third round with a bloody nose and Lennox gaining momentum. The two men are bruised up as the weight put behind the hooks and overhand rights they are trading land bluntly, Lennox looks tired by mid round but Farrell stays busy turning the momentum again with the shorter punches. Many of the crowd are on their feet going in to the last two rounds while “Paddy Boy” belts out right hands to the face of his opponent and left hooks to the body as Lennox looks to land combinations. The last round was close as the fight was evenly fought all over the ring, Farrell hurts Lennox only to be answered back with a sweeping right to back him off, the round and the fight ends with both warriors embracing. The scores read out as 59-55 Lennox, 58-56 Ferrell, and 58-56 Lennox bumping up John Lennox’s record to 11-2 with 5 KO’s with a split decision victory in an entertaining close fight.
The main event had finally got underway, Albanian flags waved as Elvir Muriqi (39-5 24 KO’s) fighting out of Queens, NY entered the ring while Paul Vasquez (9-2-1 3 KO’s) of Martinez, California quietly waited in the blue corner with a focused look on his face. Muriqi the world class fighter started the fight off leaping in and out with a lot of energy and a left hook, jab to the body combination that worked to dominate the round. Vasquez begins the second stanza rushing in but Muriqi uses angles and pivots landing a hard jab as he tries to make the gap in skill wide, Vasquez throws but Muriqi calmly back up and blocks the shots easily. The next few rounds were a mix of a jabbing contest that was won by the quicker Muriqi and Vasquez trying to land one shot at a time as he pressed forward on the quickly tiring Albanian. The harder shots are being landed by Muriqi but the frequency is slowly wavering and he looks tired as Vasquez doubles up on his punches to find a few openings. The last two rounds were initiated by action from the desperate Vasquez who looked to move forward with left uppercuts and a decent jab while Muriqi finds a spot for the occasional lead right sending the California fighter’s head flying back with sweat across the ring. With the two men touching gloves in the center of the ring to sound the final bell, fans are expecting an upset but Vasquez’s higher activity rate is countered with the fewer, yet harder shots by Muriqi who is hurt by a short uppercut to end the fight and the round. The scores are tallied and David Diamante reads them out, one judge had it even over eight, while the other two award a majority decision 77-75 to the fan favorite Elvir Muriqi.
Overall it was another night of entertaining fights, our eyes should be kept on the winners as Muriqi finally comes back after a hiatus and young men like Farrell, Lennox, O’Brien, Young, Gonzalez, and Nickey win impressively to continue their careers.