By John DiSanto at ringside
Junior middleweight Joey Spencer, 10-0, 7 KOs, Linden, MI, pitched a shutout against Reading, PA’s Erik Spring, 13-4-1, 1 KO, in a 6-rounder. Spencer chased Spring, loading up on every punch he threw, but the fight never really ignited. Spencer just piled up points and kept pressing. Finally in the closing seconds, Spencer whacked Spring with a left hook that staggered him to the ropes. It was the best punch of the fight and the only time Spencer’s touted power was on display on this night. It looked like he had Spring, however time ran out and Spencer had to settle for a points win. The scores were all 60-54. The referee was Eric Dali.
Mexican Jorge Cota, 30-4, 27 KOs, stopped Thomas LaManna, 28-3-1, 10 KOs, Millville, NJ, in round five of their scheduled 10-round junior middleweight contest. Cota controlled the action and administered a thorough beating while it lasted. LaManna landed a few clean shots but it wasn’t enough to stop Cota from chugging forward and landing consistently. As early as round one, LaManna’s face showed wear and tear, and it only got worse as the bout progressed. Finally in round five, LaManna’s corner asked for the stoppage and referee Gary Rosato complied. The time was 1:22 of the fifth.
In a 4-round welterweight fight, Vito Mielnicki of Roseland, NJ, 4-0, 3 KOs, was extended to the limit for the first time as a professional by Preston Wilson of Parkersburg, WV, 6-4-1, 4 KOs. Although he failed to score his fourth straight knockout, Mielnicki swept all four rounds and won the unanimous decision by three scores of 40-36.
Junior featherweight Romuel Cruz, 4-0-1, halted Julio Garcia, 3-4, 2 KOs, Madison, WI, after two knockdowns in round one. Cruz, a Philly-based Puerto Rican, first dropped Garcia with a right uppercut to the chin. Then moments later scored another knockdown with a right to Garcia’s body. Garcia rose, but referee Benjy Esteves stopped the fight at 2:56 of the first round.
Middleweight Kyrone Davis, 15-2, 6 KOs, Wilmington, DE, scored a fourth round TKO over Atlanta’s Antonio Todd, 7-3, 4 KOs, in their scheduled 8-rounder. Davis dominated each of the first three rounds before unleashing a brutal combination along the ropes in the fourth. With Todd trapped and not answering back, referee Gary Rosato could have stopped the fight much earlier, but instead gave the wounded fighter the benefit of the doubt. The slow stoppage only allowed Davis to needlessly pound Todd some more before Rosato eventually stepped in at the 2:28 mark.
In an all-Philly junior middleweight bout scheduled for 8 rounds, Paul Kroll, 7-0, 6 KOs, stopped Marcel Rivers, 7-3, 4 KOs, at 49 seconds of round four. Kroll dropped Rivers with a right in the third, but could not finish him in that round. However, Kroll continued to dish out the punishment in the fourth, knocking Rivers down twice more. Finally, when Kroll, a 2016 Olympian, staggered Rivers with a body shot that nearly put him down again, referee Benjy Esteves jumped in to stop the fight. This was the third straight defeat for the once-promising Rivers.
Patterson, NJ heavyweight Norman Neely made it five straight knockouts with a quickie over journeyman Karry Knight, 4-23-1, 1 KO, of Birmingham, GA. Neely, 5-0, 5 KOs, jumped right out and took control. Then just past the one minute mark, Neely trapped Knight in a neutral corner and landed an extended flurry that put him down. Knight remained on all fours and made no effort to rise as Eric Dali counted him out. The time was 1:21 of round one.
In the opening bout at the Liacouras Center in North Philadelphia, local bantamweight Miguel Angel Roman Jr. made a successful pro debut with a 4-round unanimous decision over Antonio Lucaine, 0-3, of Mt. Vernon, NY. Roman, 1-0, scored a knockdown with a left hook in round three, but Lucaine survived and even won the final round on two of the official scorecards. Roman won the bout by scores of 40-35 and 39-36 twice. The referee was Shawn Clark.