Headlining for only the second time in his young professional boxing career, undefeated lightweight prospect “Saint” Nick Molina took full advantage of his opportunity to fight on top of last night’s “Slugfest” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions, at New England Sports Center in Derry, New Hampshire.
The 22-year-old Molina (8-0, 2 KOs) fighting out of the same hometown of Lowell (MA) immortalized by “Irish” Micky Ward, patiently out-boxed “The Outlaw” Ryan Venable (2-11) on his way to a 6-round split decision (58-55, 57-56, 56-57).
The game Venable, who was penalized one point for using his shoulder in the opening round, used roughhouse tactics throughout. He started showboating in the final round, trash-talking and throwing exaggerated punches from strange angles, but Molina kept his composure to earn his eighth victory without a loss. The one-point deduction was critical because, if not for the point deduction, the fight would have ended in a draw.
In the co-featured event, Bay State fighters Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste (3-2, 2 KOs), of Woburn (MA), and Whitman (MA) middleweight Brian Urday (2-1, 0 KOs) stole the show. They buzzed each other in back-to-back second-round engagements, Baptiste blasted Urday with a powerful right in the third, but the resilient Urday bounced right back with his own attack.
Urday picked up the pace in the fourth, effectively picking his spots, but Baptiste responded in the fifth, snapping Urday’s head back twice in an action-packed round. The two fighters went toe-to-toe in the sixth and final round of the unofficial Fight of the Night. After the lone fight that went the distance, Urday emerged as the 6-round split decision winner in a fight that was as competitive as the judges’ scorecards indicated.
“We had an action-packed, seven-fight card tonight,” Granite Chin president Chris Traietti said.
Former New England Heavyweight Champion Justin “Crazy Train” Rolfe (7-3-1, 5 KOs), fighting out of Fairfield, Maine, overpowered his Mexican opponent Fabian “El Lobo” Valdez (3-7 (0 KOs) for a second-round win by TKO. Rolfe patiently cut-off the ring and caught Valdez with a few body shots that slowed down his opponent. Rolfe decked Valdez twice in round two and the fight was halted by the referee.
Boston heavyweight Viktor “The Siberian Express” Lobov (1-0, 1 KO) was too big and strong for Andrew Nolan (0-4), flooring his opponent three times en route to a first-round technical knockout victory in his pro memorable debut. Lobov put Nolan down with a stiff right-left combo, then a right cross, and finally a straight right.
New Bedford (MA) light heavyweight Edet “Papito” Mkpanam (6-0, 4 KOs) returned to the ring for the first time in 16 months against pro-debuting Igor Pessoa. Mkpanam worked off the dust rather quickly, after a feeling-out round one, clubbing the awkward fighting Pessoa with an overhand right in the second that decked his foe. The end came in the third when Mkpanam dropped Pessoa again and the fight was stopped by the referee.
In his impressive pro debut, Providence welterweight Michael Vongsavath, Jr. came out firing stiff combinations versus his Rhode Island rival from Tiverton, John Ferrera (0-3), who went down on the canvas from a left hook in round one. A right uppercut dropped Ferrera early in the second round, visibly hurt and unable to beat the count.
Pittsfield (MA) super middleweight prospect Steve Sumpter opened the show with a second-round stoppage of Kynndale Prather (3-12, 1 KO) in a battle of dueling southpaws. Sumpter kept his perfect pro record intact, improving to 5-0 with his fifth knockout in as many fights as a professional, and he closed the show in style with a single shot to his opponent’s head.
“We introduced Viktor Lobov to local fans,” Traietti added. “He has a lot of potential and a great fanbase. Steve Sumpter looked good again and he’ll be stepping up in terms of an opponent in his next fight. The co-feature was an exciting fight. Unfortunately, Julien Baptiste came out on the short end of the decision. And I will soon be announcing a big fight coming up for Justin Rolfe.”