Western Mass. was in the house last night for the
“Springfield Championship Boxing” Pro-Am card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions, at MassMutual Center in Springfield. All the action was streamed live on www.bxngtv.com.
Holyoke welterweight Denzel “Double Impact” Whitley (10-0, 6 KOs) and Pittsfield light heavyweight Steve Sumpter (7-0, 6 KOs) captured the vacant Massachusetts State titles in front of a sold-out venue.
“I remember where Granite Chin was 5 years ago and where it is today,” Granite Chin Promotions president Chris Traietti commented. “This was unquestionably our greatest show to date. I’d like to thank our staff, Boston Boxing, sponsors, fans and, of course, all the fighters.”
A notoriously slow starter, Whitley evaluated his opponent, Fall River’s Kris Jacobs (5-2-1, 2 KOs), in the opening round and then took a methodical approach for the first few rounds, using his gloves-high defensive stance, effectively counter-punching in spurts.
In the eighth and final round, Whitley decked Jacobs with a right hook, but Denzel chased Jacobs from one side of the ring to the other, going for the knockout. It didn’t come but Whitley won a workmanlike 8-round split decision, surprising because one judge somehow scored, 75-75, despite the knockdown.
In a rare match-up of two undefeated prospects, Steve Sumpter and New Bedford’s Edet “Papito” Mkpanam put their perfect pro records on the line for the vacant Massachusetts State Light Heavyweight Championship.
A southpaw, Sumpter was the crowd favorite of the Western Mass. crowd. Both fighters were cautious in the opening round with Sumpter opening up in the second. The third belonged to the more aggressive Sumpter. Both fighters let their hands go in the fourth, ending as they pounded each other.
More of the same for Sumpter in the fifth and he cruised from there for a decisive 8-round unanimous decision to improve to 7-0 (6 KOs), going the distance for the first time, winning all 8 rounds on one judge’s card, 7 on the other two. Mkpanam (8-1, 7 KOs)had trouble throughout the fight getting off as Sumpter was a more potent sharpshooter.
“I went with the game plan to jab, jab, jab,” Sumpter said after the fight. “Once I realized he couldn’t stop my jab, it opened up other things because he was looking for the jab. I feel great, I can’t really explain it. Bringing this (touching his Mass. state title belt) back to Pittsfield is great.”
“Denzel had a real breakout fight,” Traietti added. “Whitley wanted to be tested and Chris Jacobs did. He fought better as the fight went along.
“I’m so proud of Steve and Edet. Not a lot of guys around here would have taken the fight (2 unbeaten prospects). They went for it and took it to another level.”.
Promising junior middleweight prospect Carlos Castillo (6-0, 4 KOs), of Holyoke, MA, passed the stiffest test of his young career against veteran Tyrone “Hands of Steel” Luckey (16-19-4, 12 KOs), who failed to answer the bell for round five.
Castillo, 24, was too powerful for Luckey, taking early control and never letting up. Castillo cracked Luckey with a right hook that put the New Jersey fighter on the seat of his trunks. Obviously hurt and near the end of the round, the always game Luckey was done.
Undefeated lightweight prospect Isiah Cruz (5-0, 3 KOs), of Springfield, cruised to his fifth win when Mexican Pablo Batres suddenly went down as he was back-pedaling in the opening round, failing to beat the referee’s 10-count
Springfield welterweight Ian “Dinamite” Garcia (2-0-1, 1 KO) overpowered Ronny Arana (0-7) en route to an opening round victory. Arana took a knee, got dropped by a body shot, and then Garcia unleash a barrage of punches in the red corner. He went down again right before the end of round one and referee Melissa Kelly stopped the bout.
Hometown favorite “The Gladiator” Carlos Gonzalez (3-0, 3 KOs) got the pro card rolling with a third-round technical knockout of pro debuting Mathew McGee (0-1). With a large Springfield contingent rooting him on, Gonzalez, a Springfield lightweight, patiently boxed in the first two rounds, but in the third he caught McGee with a left-right combination, dropping McGee in the blue corner. Referee Jackie Morrill halted the match at that point.
Five amateur matches featuring boxers from throughout New England opened the show.