Almonte stops Diaz, Stevens TKOs Cruz

Riot erupts. Chairs, bottles and bullets fly

By Robert Coster

In Santiago, Dominican Republic, fans flocked to watch an entertaining night of boxing-entertaining until marred by violence between partisan camps. On the plus side, hot Dominican bantamweight prospect Junior “The Bomb” Almonte (10-0,8 KOs) showcased his talent and punching power halting Venezuelan Sander Diaz (7-4, 4 KOs) at 1:55 of the first round. Diaz came out like a whirlwind, connecting hard punches to Almonte’s jaw. At first, surprised by his opponent’ fury, Junior regrouped and put an end to the fight with just two textbook punches: a vicious hook to the side and a well-timed curved right hand to the jaw. Diaz went down then struggled to rise to his feet but was in no condition to continue. With this explosive victory, Almonte wins the WBC Fecarbox title. Keep an eye on this baby-faced Caribbean “bomber.”

Now, the negatives. Curtis Stevens (30-6, 22 KOs) returned to ring action and fought local boxer Carlos Jairo Cruz (18-3, 12 KOs) for the vacant IBA middleweight title. For four rounds the fight was an entertaining give-and-take. Cruz, the underdog, did more than expected, giving as good as he took. Stevens, however, was wearing him down with thundering body punches and at the end of the fourth round, the Dominican boxer appeared to be in trouble. Cruz’ brother apparently signaled to referee Steve Smoger that the fight should be stopped.

This prompted some fans to step into the ring and what followed was total mayhem. Chairs and bottles began flying and then shots (yes, shots). Fans started scrambling out of the arena in panic. Numerous police cars showed up to quelch the wild riot. The ring was transformed into a battlefield. Luckily, both Curtis Stevens and Steve Smoger were hustled out of the ring unharmed. A very unfortunate ending to an otherwise good card.

Other results. Dyana Vargas W 10 Diana Garcia (for Dominican Featherweight title); Dean Burrell W8 Andres Zapata (WBA Fedecaribe lightweight title); Luis Porozo TKO2 Alan Guzman (WBA Fedecaribe jr Lightweight title); Pablo Valdez KO1 Jose Manuel Almonte (Welterweights); Jean Carlos Rodriguez W 4 Saul Hernandez(Welterweights); Aneudy Bueno TKO2 Benito Colon (Featherweights); Carlos Welch TKO 2 Aneudy Marte (Heavyweight); Randy Foster TK0 2 Wilkins Bladimir (Middleweights); William Williams TKO3 Kelvin Liberato( Middleweights). Venue: Nani Marrero Coliseum, Santiago Promotor: Cruz and Rodriguez Promotions.

Photo: Frank Aybar
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