By Ricardo Ibarra
Photos by Mike Blair/Boxingprospects.net
Resurging super middleweight prospect Mike “Imagine Me” Gavronski (24-2-1, 15 KOs) turned in an impressive showing on Saturday night, scoring a sixth round stoppage win over Brian Vera (26-12, 16 KOs) at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington.
Fighting in the main event of Brian Halquist Productions’ Battle at the Boat 112, Gavronski out-boxed Vera for a majority of the fight before landing a series of shots in the sixth that led to the referee stopping it.
Gavronski utilized his longer reach and lateral movement from the start of the fight, landing solid one-two’s and catching the oncoming Vera with counter right hands. Gavronski maintained a disciplined approach early in the fight, maneuvering effectively and keeping his opponent reaching and unable to get in close enough to do any damage in the first two rounds.
Gavronski continued to control the range of the fight in the third, but Vera slowly began to cut the distance. Late in the round an accidental clash of heads opened a bad cut over the right eye of Vera.
Vera began to land more often mid-way through the fourth round, letting his hands go as his opponent stepped into the pocket, cracking him with solid right hands. Gavronski rallied back, abandoning his movement momentarily in favor of exchanging, making for some of the best two-way action of the fight.
Gavronski regained control of the tempo in the fifth, returning to his game plan of moving and keeping the fight on the outside, effectively stifling Vera’s aggression. The pace continued in the sixth, with Gavronski working at range and catching Vera with short left hook counters and stiff right hands. Late in the round a left hook stunned Vera. Gavronski pounced, unloading with a follow up left and a series of body shots that sent Vera down to a knee. Referee Bobby Howard stepped in and initiated a count, but made the call to stop it after taking a closer look at Vera. The end came at 2:21 of the round.
With the win Gavronski adds his fourth consecutive win and his second of the year, doing so over the most accomplished opponent he’s faced so far.
“He was a tough competitor,” Gavronski said after the fight. “And I like that. I enjoyed having a guy smile at me in there. I though he was a fun guy to fight. The guy was game and he came to fight.”
“We want to finish up the year strong,” Gavronski continued. “I need a little bit of a rest, but I’m ready to go in the next couple weeks. I want to fight the best guys out there… We’ll see what we can do.”
Vera, meanwhile, drops his twelfth career loss.
The remainder of the card delivered an entertaining line-up, featuring five fights between regional fighters.
Tacoma’s own Andre Keys (4-1, 1 KO) claimed a five round unanimous decision win over Yakima’s Andres Reyes (7-3-1, 2 KOs) in a welterweight match-up. Keys used his movement and counter-punching well throughout the fight, consistently catching the forward pressing Reyes with short left hooks. Reyes had his moments, particularly in the third round when he was able to cut the distance and land in tight. Keys adjusted well, though, and maintained a steady stream of counter left hooks and right hands aimed at Reyes as he tried to cut the distance. All three judges scored the fight for Keys with scores of 50-45, and 49-46 twice.
In an intense Jr. welterweight battle, Ricardo Maldonado (8-6-1, 1 KO), of Seattle, earned a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Salem, Oregon’s Marcos Cardenas (6-7-1, 2 KOs). Both fighters went to work as soon as the first bell rang, stepping in close and unloading. The pace was fierce but controlled as each man displayed a solid set of skills, both trying to out-land and out-maneuver their opponent. The first three rounds were very close with Maldonado landing at a higher rate and Cardenas seeming to land the harder shots. In the fourth, Maldonado landed a precise right hand that finally seemed to slow Cardenas’ relentless attack, although only momentarily. Cardenas roared back at the end of the round, trading hard in the pocket with his willing foe.
The fifth quickly erupted into a frenzied back-and-forth round with both combatants slamming each other with vicious combinations, neither wanting to give an inch. Late in the round, Cardenas snapped a left hook that caught Maldonado flush and prompted him to fire back, leading to another vicious exchange to close out one of the best fights seen in the region all year. All three judges scored the fight for Maldonado at 49-46, giving him the well-earned victory.
Seattle’s Jorge Linares Montejo (1-0, 1 KO) made a successful entrance into the pro game in a wild and entertaining welterweight fight, coming back from an early knockdown to stop Jesse Barich (0-3), of Port Orchard, Washington, in the second round. Linares was dropped early in the first catching a shot on the chin as he traded left hooks with Barich. He weathered a follow up assault and returned the favor, sending Barich down for a count moments later with a left hook of his own. The round continued at a fast pace with both fighters swinging hard and Linares finding himself pushed through the ropes and almost completely out of the in the ring. Nearing the end of the round, Linares dropped Barich once more with a flurry along the ropes.
The action in the second round was delayed momentarily as the doctor was called in to look a cut suffered by Barich, but once it started Linares wasted little time, rocking him with a left hook. A follow up combination quickly deposited him on the canvas. Referee Paul Field let it go, but after Linares smashed Barich with two more left hooks that sent him down again, he waved it off. Linares claimed his first win as a professional at 1:00 of the second round.
In a Jr. welterweight rematch, Portland, Oregon’s Niko McFarland (0-4-1) and Shae Green (1-0-1), of Tacoma, fought to a four round majority draw. The two had fought three months ago, with Green taking a unanimous decision win. McFarland began the return bout much more assertively than he did in their first meeting, working his way in behind his jab and unloading in the pocket. Green used his movement more in the second and into the third, firing from range and keeping the fight at a more favorable distance for him. McFarland closed the gap in the fourth, stepping up his output and forcing the fight in close. In the end, one judge saw the fight for McFarland at 39-37, with the remaining two seeing it even at 38-38.
In the night’s opener, Tommy Turner (5-7, 3 KOs) made short work of Klamath Falls, Oregon’s Cole Milani (2-5, 2 KOs), stopping him in the first round. A hard over-hand right hand rocked Milani early. Turner quickly opened up, pushing his stunned foe into the corner where he poured on sustained attack. After a lengthy barraged went unanswered, referee Paul field stepped in and rescued Milani from any further punishment. The end came at :31 of the first round. The bout was fought at super middleweight.
The 112th edition of Brian Halquist’s ‘Battle at the Boat’ was one of the best cards of the year at the venue with the line-up put together by promoter Brian Halquist and matchmaker Andy Nance delivering on expectations. The next ‘Battle at the Boat’ will take place November 18th. Tickets are available now at the EQC box office or all Ticketmaster outlets.