Short But Victorious Night For Joel Diaz Jr. And Glen Tapia


From the 4 round fights to the main event, the festivities at the Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ was a card for boxing fans starving for action in a slow month of August, broadcast-ed by Go Fight Live.  In the main event, upcoming prospect and soon to be 130 lb. contender, Joel Diaz Jr. (11-0, 10 Kos) made a trek east from his home state of California to take on southpaw Guillermo Sanchez (13-7-1, 5k Kos). Diaz had said he had wanted to get some work in and remain active in this fight. However, it didn’t turn out exactly as he planned.

From the outset of the bout, Sanchez came in with a high guard and his awkwardness seem to give Diaz some trouble in the first round, landing lead rights flush on Diaz. Not to be deterred Diaz amounted pressure on his opponent and listened to the instruction of his corner man Abel Sanchez. “I heard my trainer from the corner telling me to thrown an uppercut to split the guard and that’s what I did. Then when Abel told me to go for the kill, I put the pressure on,” stated Diaz.

Indeed that’s what he did in the closing moments of the second round. While cutting off the ring and trapping Sanchez on the ropes, Diaz landed a big right hand flush that snapped the head of Sanchez way back as the bell rang to end the second round. As Diaz went to the corner, the ref checked on Sanchez and called a halt to the bout giving Diaz the TKO victory.

It’s hard to say how satisfying the win was but it was clear to Diaz, he got what he came for, the win. “I don’t know how much I learned about myself tonight except that I hate southpaws and I did ok against a southpaw. Obviously, the plan is to get back in there again. I didn’t get hurt, so I want to go home, see my son, and relax for a few then get back in the gym. I’ll be back again this year and hopefully I’ll get more rounds in and fight another 10 round fight.”

The pace for this young fighter is on course as his trainer Abel Sanchez wants to get more 10 round bouts in before the move up to world title contender status. “The kid is still young but that’s the plan, more 10 round fights and maybe at the end of next year he could be competing for a world title,” stated Sanchez. In a division lacking star power at 130, Joel Diaz might be the one to stamp his name as a star in the division.

In the other feature bout, “Jersey Boy” Glen Tapia (15-0, 9 Kos) took on late replacement Franklin Gonzalez (15-11, 10 Kos). If not for the late replacement, Tapia’s bout would have been scrapped and would have caused for more frustration to Tapia who has fought twice this year.  However, the result of his fight seemed to equal the same sentiments. In the first round, with Tapia applying pressure to his southpaw opponent, he dropped his opponent, not once but twice in the round.

Although Tapia landed some solid shots, it didn’t seem like it should have been enough to stop Sanchez, who after the second knockdown did not answer the referee’s 8 count, giving Tapia a 1st round KO. Tapia seemed to be visibly disgusted. “What can you do? I wanted to get rounds in, especially being in my first 8 round fight. Could he have continued? Maybe, but its ok, I’m just happy I had an opponent show up and fight me,” explained Tapia.

The plan for Tapia is to stay the course and fight more 8 round fights before making the jump to 10, then eventually 12. Tapia is comfortable at the 154 Jr. Middleweight limit, even though this bout was contested above that limit. The one time Manny Pacquiao sparring partner said big things are on the horizon. “Yes, I got some fame for that but that’s a long time ago. Now it’s time to be famous for the things Glen Tapia does in the ring, and that means winning world titles. We’re going to fight more 8 round fights, then move up to 10, and then get to that world championship contender status. The plan for the moment is simple, stay busy.”

Local Talents On Display

Aside from the featured bouts, the local talent was on display. Local favorite Thomas “Cornflake” Lamanna won a split decision(57-56, 58-55, 56-57) over Yolexcy Leiva. Lamanna started out fast winning the first two rounds and scoring a knockdown in the second round. Lamanna established his jab in the first two rounds, but after the knockdown went head hunting and may have punched himself out trying to close the show. It showed in the next 3 rounds, as Leiva chased Lamanna throughout the ring, scoring often. Lamanna seemed to be taking unneeded punishment from rounds 3-5. The extra weight on Lamanna, who usually fights around the 154 lb. limit, seemed to have an effect as well.

However, when the 6th round came, so did the left jab of Lamanna and his powerful right hand. Lamanna landed two big shots flush on Leiva which forced Leiva to halt his pursuit. The best round of action was the 6th, where Lamanna seemed to get the better of Leiva, earning him a split decision victory.

It was also, a pro debut for many New Jersey fighters. New Jersey Golden Gloves Heavyweight champion Tyrell Wright, won a unanimous decision over Dennis Benson, along with Jersey based  middleweight Irishman Tyrone McKenna winning his fight in the same fashion over Philly based fighter Anthony Morrison.

Anthony Gangemi of Mine Hill, NJ won his pro debut over Jimmy Ellis via 3rd round TKO in the welterweight division. Pat “Paddy Boy” Farrell won his heavyweight bout over Wayne Hamption in the same manner with a 3rd round TKO.

Upset of the Night

In what was supposed to be a fight for knock out of the night, heavyweights Joey Dewejko and Dorsett Barnwell took action in a 6 round contest. From the outset, it looked like this bout was going to end by KO as Dewejko landed hard and early, with the more powerful shots.

As the bout progressed, Dewejko threw less and was outworked by the more mobile and faster Barnwell. The bout went 6 and the judges gave the nod to the visitor Barnwell, via split decision with the scores of 58-58 twice and 55-59. Both fighters were undefeated but the Boxing360 fighter Dewejko was the local favorite and ended up on the losing side of the decision.

Knockout of the Night

While there were knockouts and technical knockouts, they were not in the fashion that Toka Clary of destroyed Jamel Winfield.  Clary in his second fight, came applying the pressure, there was not much to be said except, he landed at will against Winfield. He knocked him down early in the round and Winfield got up at 8. However, after he answered the count, Clary knocked Winfield down with a monstrous right and this time Winfield had no shot of getting up as the ref called a halt to the belt at 1:16 in the first round.