McGirt Jr. upsets Joval!
By: “Boxing” Bob Newman
Photography by Emily Harney
Lisa Elovich of Pugnacious Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment and Star Boxing packed the Saratoga Springs City Center for “Night of the Future Champions” which showcased top local talent and a main event featuring former IBO champion Ray Joval against rising star James “Buddy” McGirt Jr. in a ten round middleweight contest.
In a scintillating headliner televised on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, McGirt bounced back from his first career loss to Carlos DeLeon Jr. four months ago to engage the veteran Joval in an entertaining war.
Joval put his top ten ranking on the line after winning four straight since his loss to Fernando Vargas loss in March of '05 while McGirt had moved back to middleweight where he feels he has the advantage against his opponents in size and power.
McGirt utilized that advantage in the first three rounds, as he boxed Joval from the outside with pinpoint southpaw jabs and left crosses.
It looked like a short night for 25-year old fast-paced McGirt as he landed a chopping right to drop Joval – twelve years his senior - in the third. A followup right-left combo put the Dutchman down against the ropes for a second count. The resilient Joval refused to go down, actually staving off the KO loss by returning as good as he got to finish the round.
By the fifth, McGirt seemed to abandon what brought him success and resorted to phone booth warfare, trading with Joval on the inside, and giving the crafty veteran a chance to gain momentum. It also cost McGirt a bloody nose which seemed to flow for the remainder of the contest.
Inexplicably, this trend continued as McGirt chose to battle tactically from a distance in the opening minute of the next few rounds, then he would fall into Joval's game plan and rumble on the inside, negating his superior reach.
McGirt lost his mouthpiece in the seventh during a rough and tumble stretch while Joval was warned for low blows in the same round.
In the final rounds, Junior listened to Senior (dad and trainer Buddy) and used his angles, jab and movement to finish in style.
Youth prevailed as McGirt won going away by scores of 99-89 twice and 97-91.
Fan reaction seemed mixed as Joval had quite a throng of supporters in the house. McGirt Jr. moves to 19-1, 9 KOs, and Joval lowers to 37-5, 16 by KO. This may be Joval's final ledger as he took the microphone from ring announcer "Generous" Joe Antonacci to address the crowd. Citing that he dreamed of and fought for "world" championships, he mentioned the "young bloods" in the sport, pointing a finger to his conqueror McGirt. He mentioned writing a championship book while leaving championship boxing to the "young bloods" in the sport.
We shall see.
NOVICE AGUILERA DECISIONS VETERAN WILCOX!
In the opening TV bout, up and comer Nagy Aguilera of Newburgh, NY, by way of the Dominican Republic scored a unanimous decision against native son Gary Wilcox in a heavyweight eight rounder.
The thirty five year old Wilcox used his legs, reach and ring experience to fend off the forward pressing twenty-two year old Aguilera for the first four rounds, with seemingly effective results. Up to that point, Aguilera came forward behind left hooks and right crosses, no jab in sight.
Wilcox was content to pick off Aguilera behind his left jab, then tie up. Aguilera’s corner was exhorting him to put more than one punch together, with former heavyweight contender Lou Savarese joining the calls that Aguilera might need a K.O. The sixth was the most entertaining as Wilcox came off his bicycle and traded blows in the middle of the ring to the delight of the crowd.
As the bout drew to a close, Aguilera’s corner looked sullen and expecting the worst.
To the dismay of the crowd, the scores of 80-72 and 78-74, all for Aguilera who is now 9-0 (6 KOs). Wilcox stands at 21-3, 7 KOs.
MORE UNDERCARD RESULTS:
n the opening four rounder, two Albany super middles squared off as Markus Williams battled Donyell Dukes. A right hand from Williams opened up a cut over Dukes’ left eye midway through the first. Dukes fought back hard in the second to try and even things up. Williams kept up the pressure and never let Dukes mount a sustained attack. Scores were unanimous at 40-36 and 40-35 twice, all for the now 2-0 Williams. Dukes slides to 0-4.
In a bout that could have gone either way, super middle Julio “The Animal” Garcia of Rincon, Puerto Rico had all he could handle against Albany, New York’s Borngod Washington. Garcia looked the more skilled and tough than the physically soft body Washington. Midway through the first, Garcia was cut under the right eyebrow from a punch as ruled by referee Ken Zimmer, although he seemed to take the round. Things were fairly even in the second, but the third round saw a terrible cut opened just outside the left eye of Garcia, also ruled from a punch, though heads were coming together frequently. Referee Zimmer also warned Washington for throwing a tired and clutching Garcia off of him into the neutral turnbuckle. Washington began to throw punches in bunches, seemingly having an effect on the cut and tired Garcia. In the fourth and final round, Garcia went for broke, throwing bombs away, sensing he needed a knockout. In the end, scores read 40-36 and 39-37 twice, all for Garcia, who now moves to 2-1, 1 KO, while the unlucky Washington slides to 0-4.
The two walkout bouts may very well have been the best of the night according to the fans, most of who remained.
Amateur standout Mike Faragon, who just turned 21 four days ago, had all he could handle against tough guy Francisco Palacios in a six round lightweight bout. Palacios began to gain momentum with unorthodox shots that began to land in round three. Despite Faragon being the local favorite from nearby Guilderland, NY, the game and durable Palacios excited the crowd by never giving up, landing the occasional looping right hand and standing up through everything Faragon landed. Final scores after six read 60-54 across the board, all for the now 4-0 Faragon. Palacios dwindles to 3-4-4, 1 KO.
The last bout of the evening was dubbed “The Battle of Schenectady” as both combatants hailed from the nearby city. Brian Miller sported a 2-0-2 record while Bryan “Brick” Abraham was making his pro debut. Technically, somebody’s “0” had to go, right? Think again. Miller appeared to be fundamentally schooled in basic boxing, relying on pressure. Abraham on the other hand appeared naturally gifted with speed of hand and foot, throwing from awkward angles, confident that he could get away with such tactics without having to pay for it in return. Abraham seemed to have first bout jitters in the beginning, running a bit too much, and Miller had trouble cornering his foe. Things settled down a bit to the fans’ satisfaction and punches began to land, although neither fighter was hurt in the process. Supporters of both guys shouted instructions to “Brian” or “Bryan,” confusing as it may have seemed. Both gave everything they had and no, nobody’s “0” did go…….for now. Final scores were 39-37 for Abraham, and 38-38 twice for a majority draw. Rematch anyone?
Boxing celebrities in the audience included Gerry Cooney, Livingstone Bramble, Vinnie Maddalone, Lou Savarese, Frank Houghtaling and Tony Marshall.