By Jason Marchetti
In the main event, Khiary Gray (15-3, 11 KO’s) battled Greg Jackson (8-5-1, 2 KO’s) to a majority decision on a card promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s CES Boxing. The program also celebrated Burchfield’s 25th anniversary of promoting boxing in New England.
Gray surprisingly controlled the early rounds of the bout despite fighting a taller opponent and moving down a weight class. Jackson was not able to use his reach to keep Gray at bay, as Gray was able to land multiple combinations and disrupt Jackson’s plans. Gray landed his signature straight right hand from time to time, but was most successful setting up combinations when landing his jab, something only used in spurts.
Jackson tested Gray’s chin several times, once at the end of the 2nd round, and again at the beginning of the 8th. Several of the rounds were close, but Gray’s volume was difficult to overlook as he crafted his ability to box late in a fight, something he has struggled with recent opponents. Gray looked comfortable at welterweight, perhaps a new venture for him in the sport of boxing.
In the co-main event of the evening, Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (18-4-2, 1 KO) fought Natasha Spence (8-3-2, 6 KO’s) to a majority draw at welterweight. Over 8 rounds, Spence and Lopes both took turns pressing the action. Lopes, a bit more technical, used her reach and effective counter punching skills to her advantage. However, when Lopes fatigued, Spence had success on the inside. In the 8th, Lopes took a right hand on the chin which proved her toughness, but likely lost her the round and tipped the scores towards a draw.
Fan favorite Anthony Marsella, Jr. (7-0, 4 KO’s) finished Oscar Eduardo Quezada (7-5, 5 KO’s) with a left hand to the body in the first round of their scheduled 6 rounder at lightweight. Marsella, Jr., who trains in Las Vegas, keeps his record perfect after connecting on a few combinations against his lesser conditioned opponent who couldn’t beat the count.
Lightweight Jamaine Ortiz dominated Derrick Murray to improve his perfect record to 7-0, 4 KO’s. Ortiz’ fast hands and speedy footwork make him a nightmare for opponents to hit. Constantly moving, lunging, and fainting, Ortiz makes his opponents miss and counters with solid combinations from all angles. He is likely Burchfield’s best and fastest rising prospect on his entire roster. Murray had no answers, and falls to 13-4-1, 5 KO’s
Kendrick Ball, Jr. ((8-0-2, 5 KO’s) defeated Alshamar Johnson (1-2-1, 1 KO) by TKO in the 6th round by a last effort onslaught of right and left hooks to the head and body. Ball appeared to have his opponent on his heels within the first minute of the fight, but Johnson survived and regrouped, gaining confidence as the bout wore on. Johnson pressed the action at times and scored when Ball kept his guard low. However, Ball landed a tremendous uppercut in the 5th that sent blood and flesh flying around the ring and got the fans back to the edge of their seats. In the end, Ball used his conditioning to overwhelm and finish Johnson in the 6th as referee Joey Lupino halted the contest at 1:22 mark.
‘Bling Bling’ Michael Valentin (3-0, 1 KO) out-punched Efren Nunez (0-1) in a four round slugfest. The two lightweights came out swinging in the first minutes of the fight, with Valentin getting the better of the exchanges with his classic left hook. Nunez was much tougher than expected, and landed a few shots of his own, breaking Valentin’s guard early. However, Valentin set the chase and the pace, working hard for his 3rd victory which was dedicated to the late Marcelino DeBarros by everyone at Valentin’s gym in Providence, Big Six Boxing Academy.
In the first of four Worcester boxers on the card, Bobby Harris III (2-0) showed grit and grinded out a win versus former MMA fighter, Amadeu Cristiano (0-1) in a bout at super middleweight. Harris survived Cristiano’s lunges and timed his opponent throughout the contest to score and dominate the judges scorecards, 40-36 (twice) and 39-37
In a lazy four rounder at super middleweight, Jarel Pemberton (2-0) defeated Rene Nazare (0-2) in the opening bout of the night. It was a quiet fight until the 4th round where both fighters landed some heavy blows. Jarel Pemberton, son of ‘Sandman’ Scott Pemberton (29-5-1), improves his record with a unanimous decision by the judges, 39-37 (twice) and 40-36.