By Bob Caico
A near-capacity crowd at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center-Cheswick, PA witnessed the inaugural event promoted by Gionta Management on Saturday night.
Leading off the first of six four-round scheduled bouts was super featherweight “Mad” Max Leasock of Somerset, PA against Ryan Carroll (1-2) of Warwood, WV. Max came out angry and threw mad body shots to open the round. A final blistering left to the body dropped Carroll to one knee and the referee realized he was finished at 1:47 of the first round. Leasock evened his record at 1-1 with the TKO.
Super middleweight Eric “Eternal Life” Lomax remained unbeaten with a second round TKO over Ryan McIntosh of Cincinnati, OH. In the second round a left uppercut to the body followed by a right to the head forced McIntosh to one knee. When he spit his mouth piece out at the count of six the referee waived off the bout at 2:27. Lomax improves to 2-0 with his first stoppage and McIntosh drops to 3-5.
“Humblebeast” Ryizeemion Ford of Alliance, OH made quick work of Aaron Hollis (4-12) of Cincinnati with a stoppage at 1:56 of round one. “I hit him with a right to the body and followed that up with a check hook up top”, explained the super featherweight prospect. Ford improved to 4-0 with 3 KOs and has won his last three fights in western Pennsylvania. He should receive a nice welcome from his hometown fans when he returns there to fight, stating, “I hope to fight next month or May in Cleveland.”
Ashton Sykes of Columbia, MD (5-3) was not worried about his opponent’s record when he entered the ring against undefeated Isiah Hart of Mays Landing, NJ. Super middleweight Sykes used a workman like style that had him busier, out hitting and out boxing Hart in each of the four rounds. Hart (5-1) lost his zero by scores 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37.
Heavyweight James Bryant of Pittsburgh improved to 6-1 (3 KOs) with a unanimous shutout decision over Thomas Hawkins (4-5) of Houston, TX. The big men were methodical in the bout and each had their moments. Bryant never had his opponent in serious trouble but did enough in each round to warrant the 40-36 thrice in his favor.
In the main event of the evening, “Pretty” Richie Cantolina of Pittsburgh and David Tomaso of Stuyvesant Falls, NY battled to a controversial 38-38, 38-38 and 38-38 draw. Tomaso was the aggressor for most of the fight and at times took the fight to Cantolina who seemed disinterested. In the final round the referee called break as Tomaso was beginning to fire a right hand. The punch landed and Cantolina went down and seemingly out. The referee ruled an unintentional punch on the break and gave the Pittsburgh fighter a five minute recovery timeout. Most in the crowd screamed foul while there also was a smattering of shouts that it should be a KO win for Tomaso. The fight resumed and the announcement of a draw was met with boos.