Wilson KO’s Caputo to Win PA State Cruiserweight Title
By Tony “The Tornado” Penecale (Ringside)
When you sign a boxing match between combatants named “The Bull” and “The Ultimate Warrior,” it is inevitable that a slugfest will ensure. “The Bull vs The Ultimate Warrior.” In the words of Apollo Creed, it “sounds like a monster movie.”
In front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Valley Forge Casino, with the vacant Pennsylvania State cruiserweight title at stake, Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson and Anthony “The Bull” Caputo Smith waged an 8-minute slugfest, ending with a highlight-reel knockout.
Wilson (above right), 195, of Philadelphia, came into the bout off a valiant showing against the undefeated Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. Across the ring was a near clone of himself in the stocky and aggressive Caputo Smith, 197, from Kennett Square, PA. It was an intriguing matchup between two throw-back fighters trying to rebound from some tough losses and secure a spot as a contender.
The bout opened with both fighters charging out of their corners like a couple of high-mountain rams and locking horns in the center of the ring. Neglecting there was a full ring to operate in; Wilson and Caputo Smith stood their ground, trading punches in the center of the ring.
While Smith was more aggressive, Wilson closely won the first round by throwing a higher volume of punches on the inside, winging right hands to the head and landing short body shots. Wilson’s success continued in the 2nd round, as he landed a volume of hard chopping rights to the body, leaving welts around Caputo Smith’s ribcage.
During an exchange of left hooks, Wilson landed just a little bit quicker, dropping Caputo Smith to a knee. Caputo Smith bounced up and was ready to resume his head-first attack. Wilson started to change his tactics, using a stiff jab to negate Caputo Smith’s aggression, drawing blood from Caputo Smith’s nose.
Undeterre–and with a warrior-spirit of his own–Caputo Smith kept applying the pressure and engaging Wilson on the inside. Again, like two rams, they locked horns in the center of the ring. In a flash, Wilson stepped back and unleashed a homerun uppercut, depositing Caputo Smith flat on his back, his head thudding off of the canvas. As the referee Shawn Clark counted, Caputo Smith vainly pulled himself to his feet. Despite courageously beating the count, he was in no shape to continue, forcing Clark to stop the bout at the 1:41 mark.
Wilson, the new PA State cruiserweight champion, is now 14-9-1 (8 KO’s) while Caputo Smith falls to 15-5 (10 KO’s).
In other bouts:
* Milton Santiago, only a week after his high-school graduation, had a brief scare in winning a unanimous decision over Jose Miguel Castro.
Santiago, just 18 years old, was competing in his 11th professional bout, and his youthful maturity and confidence is reminiscent of a young Wilfred Benetiz, who was world champion when he was only 17.
Santiago, 140, of Philadelphia, boxed smoothly and controlled the tempo against Castro, 138, of Carolina, Puerto Rico. Try as he might, Castro could not find any rhythm against the stylish Santiago.
The only hiccup for Santiago came in the 2nd round, when as he was backing up; he was clipped on the chin, sending him to the canvas for a brief count. Upon rising, Santiago regained control, boxing masterfully.
For his part, Castro never stopped trying, landing a nice uppercut in the 4th round, and continued his desperate aggression through the 5th and 6th. But no matter what he did, Santiago was just a step or two ahead of him and cruised down the stretch, winning on all three cards by identical scores of 59-55.
Santiago improves to 11-0 (3 KO’s) as Castro falls to under .500 and is now 4-5 (2 KO’s).
* The evening’s most entertaining bout was a six-round slugfest between undefeated Erik Spring, 153, Reading PA, and upset-minded Robert Sweeney, 154, Hampton VA.
The dueling-southpaws started quickly, both standing in front of each other, trading punches on near-even terms with Spring just a little bit better. Sweeney pressed the action in the 2nd round, and Spring was willing to stand his ground and counter punch.
The intense and highly-competitive bout continued as a battle of right-hooks in the 3rd round with the crowd enjoying the entertaining scrap. As the 4th round commenced, the breathtaking pace was taking its toll with both fights taking deep breaths as they continued to exchange power punches.
The fight was close going into the final two rounds, but Spring was just a little bit better down the stretch. The final bell was a welcome respite for the weary warriors.
Spring was rewarded with a unanimous decision victory by scores of 58-56, 59-55, and a surprisingly wide 60-54, improving his undefeated record to 6-0 (1 KO), as Sweeney falls to 3-3.
* Hafiz Montgomery brought an enthusiastic group of supporters for his professional debut and he sprinted to the ring to meet up against tough journeyman Brian Donahue.
Montgomery, 207, of York, PA, was quicker and more polished than the flabby Donahue, 203, of Philadelphia. Donahue was content to throw wide, single punches. Montgomery attacked in the 2nd round and landed a few body shots but his pace started to slow as the round progressed with Donahue landing a few jabs.
The pace considerably slowed in the 3rd and 4th rounds with a tired Montgomery landing a few punches and the slower Donahue offering a few sneers in return. It was no surprise as all three judges scored 40-36, awarding Montgomery his debuting victory, sending his supporters into a cheering frenzy.
Montgomery wins his pro debut and is now 1-0 while Donahue falls to 3-13-2.
* John Madge took the next step in his professional career, putting his undefeated record up against the tough and experienced 35-fight veteran Dionisio Miranda.
Madge, 167, of Rutherford, NJ, found a home early for his southpaw straight left, splitting his opponent’s guard and landing flush against Miranda, 169, of Miami, FL. Not to be discouraged, Miranda landed a few right hands late in the round.
The bout fell into a pattern with Madge landing a few good combinations punctuated with his laser left hand while the slower Miranda tried to sit down and counter with hard but infrequent right hands.
Miranda had his best success in the 4th round with a few good right hands early, but Madge quickly regained the momentum. His superior skill and work rate were enough to control the action over the final two rounds.
Madge cruised to a unanimous decision win by scores of 59-55 and 60-54 twice and remains undefeated at 11-0 (7 KO’s), while Miranda drops to 22-12-2 (19 KO’s)
* Another undefeated prospect, Earl Newman, made the most of his opportunity to impress by destroying veteran Lamont Capers in five brutal rounds.
Newman, 177, of Brooklyn, NY, started the bout rather slowly, allowing Capers, 177, of Hawley, PA, to disrupt his momentum by clinching after each punch thrown. Newman started to warm to the task in the 2nd round, working behind a stiff jab and penetrating Capers defense with thudding body shots. A thunderous body shot suddenly drove the air from Capers, folding him to the canvas.
Newman kept attacking the exhausted Capers in the 3rd round, and the only respite came when Capers took a low blow. The extra minute to recover did very little for him as he continued to take punishment. By the 4th round, Capers was in pure survival mode with Newman landing a series of five straight uppercuts, sending Capers to the canvas for the 2nd time.
Newman came looking for the kill in the 5th round, punishing Capers throughout the round before finally flooring him for the third time with a big uppercut. Capers managed to climb to his feet, but indicated to referee Blair Talmadge that he had enough, prompting an immediate stoppage at the 2:56 mark.
Newman remains undefeated 6-0 (5 KO’s) with Capers slipping to 5-7.
* Out to showcase his skills was another undefeated prospect; Stephen Fulton was impressive in dismantling Pablo Cupul over three one-sided rounds.
Fulton, 123, of Philadelphia, wasted no time in taking the fight to Cupul, 120, of San Diego, CA. Fulton quickly found a home landing his jab to the body and arching his right hand over Cupul’s low left hand, landing it with ease. Despite his courage, Cupul was simply too slow and too wide-open to compete.
It became worse for the visiting fighter in the 2nd round, as Fulton decided to add a left hook and body punches to his arsenal, landing virtually every punch he threw. The beating continued through the 3rd round with Fulton in dominating command, leaving a badly swollen and beaten Franco wobbling back to his corner. His corner and the doctor decided the punishment over three rounds was more than enough, stopping the bout before the 4th round.
Fulton also keeps his undefeated record preserved and is now 6-0 (3 KO’s) and the veteran Cupul dips to 8-18 (5 KO’s).
* Samuel Quinones brought the fireworks to Valley Forge a few weeks before the 4th of July, and Shiwone Gortman was the unfortunate recipient of his grand finale.
Quinones, 149, of York, PA had to survive an early onslaught from Gortman, 147, of Grand Prairie, MI, who stormed from the corner throwing wild, ineffective punches. Quinones established control late in the round with a combination at the bell.
Quinones started to land thudding lead left hooks in the 2nd round while Gortman was reduced to throwing slow, single punches. With Gortman breathing heavily, Quinones stepped in with a vicious overhand right in the 3rd round, depositing Gortman flat on his back. It didn’t last much longer as Quinones attacked his wounded prey, forcing Blair Talmadge to halt the bout.
Quinones raises his record to 9-3 (4 KO’s) while Gortman is now 4-8-1 (2 KO’s).
In a sloppy affair, Jack Grady and Kevin Garcia battled to a disputed four-round draw.
Grady, 138, Buffalo NY, a tall and lanky fighter with awkward movement and amateurish abilities started quickly, throwing long and sloppy punches. Garcia, 135, Phoenixville PA, landed a few counters.
Garcia slowly gained control as Grady tired with the bouts spiraling into a crude affair. After four uninspiring rounds, it seemed as Garcia had secured his second professional victory. One judge agreed, awarding him the win by the score of 39-37. Unfortunately for him, the other two judges couldn’t decide on a winner, turning in scores of 38-38, with the bout being declared a majority draw.
Garcia is now 1-1-1 and Grady is still winless at 0-1-1.
The event, promoted by Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions, was again an entertaining show with an appreciative crowd. The Valley Forge Casino is a fan-friendly place to see a boxing match and there was a lot of mingling going on after the show. Garrett Wilson was wearing his newly-won belt, shaking hands, and taking photos with friends and fans. His career has been rejuvenated and his smile showed a man that was happy to be back on the right path. His eyes showed a man who knows he is now a target with that belt around his waist. It is exciting to see who he will fight next and where “The Ultimate Warrior” will go from here.