Photo by Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment.
Ringside Report by Resolution Sports
DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing returned to the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn on Friday night, with the women taking stage in the main event.
Heather Hardy (9-0, 2 KOs) vs. Nydia Feliciano (7-5-3)
Junior featherweight Heather “Heat” Hardy put on the best performance of her young professional career on Friday night, facing a well-tested veteran in Nydia Feliciano. The Brooklyn native showed great improvements to many aspects of her game, and she unquestionably proved to be very worthy of holding down the feature slot on this card.
As is typical by Hardy, the punches came in bunches, and that was clearly overwhelming and frustrating Feliciano, who continually tried to come forward but had a very tough time of finding the elusive Hardy. The unbeaten 121-pounder did a very good job throughout the fight of working off the bend while reading the advances from her opposition well enough to slip or roll under most of her punches. Hardy continually dealt huge flurries that were packed with heavy numbers, and she began timing Feliciano coming forward to unload a good series of lead uppercuts. In the late rounds, Hardy began parrying the jab and using distinct and sudden head feints, literally opening up entirely new components to what is a steadily evolving repertoire.
Feliciano must be given a ton of credit because she did all she could to get into the fight and never backed down from confrontation. However, Hardy was just too big of a problem for her to solve in the end, and the undefeated Brooklyn native treated her hometown fans to a well-earned unanimous decision victory by counts of 78-74 (twice) and 79-73.
Joe Smith (15-1, 12 KOs) vs. Michael Gbenga (13-12, 13 KOs)
Smith came out blazing in this contest, immediately exploding in numbers as soon as the bell got the action underway. The Long Island native repeatedly delivered punishing blows to the body of his opposition, and it was evident early that they were paying a toll on Gbenga. Smith then came out in the second round doing more of the same, eventually putting an exclamation point on the frame with another thunderous flurry at its conclusion. When the bell rang to start the third round, Gbenga remained on his stool, and he would not continue due to an apparent rib injury. The bout was officially ruled a TKO for Smith, who improved to 15-1 as a professional with 12 knockouts.
The return bout for Lamar Russ (14-1, 7 KOs) after suffering his first professional loss to Matthew Macklin in December was short lived, as a first round accidental headbutt left Oakland’s Tony Hirsch (15-6-2, 6 KOs) unable to continue. The fight was officially deemed a no contest… Unbeaten 154-pounder Patrick Day (7-0-1, 4 KOs) had a short night, unloading a furious flurry on Duane King (4-3, 2 KOs) after the opening bell, quickly dropping him with a hard left hook to the body. King got this knee but chose not to continue, giving Day the knockout just 39 seconds into the bout… Junior middleweight Chris Galeano (3-0) gritted out four rounds against Azmat Umarzoda (0-3), earning a unanimous decision by three counts of 39-37 from the ringside judges… Hard-hitting junior lightweight Joel Diaz, Jr. (15-0, 12 KOs) got in six tough, hard rounds against 67-bout veteran Jose Angel Beranza (36-30-2, 28 KOs), looking sound defensively while also putting on a crowd pleasing attack on offense. When all was said and done, it was just the third time that Diaz heard from the judges in his professional career, winning the unanimous decision with tallies of 60-54 and 59-55 (twice)… Middleweight Eduardo Alicea kept his perfect professional record intact, putting in six good rounds against the once beaten James Johnson (7-2, 7 KOs) with scores of 60-54 (twice) and 59-55… Joseph Williams (2-0, 2 KOs) was successful in his second professional outing, breaking down PJ Caligas (1-4, 1 KO) over two rounds before finishing him off in the third round with a crumbling left hook at the 1:49 mark…