Reymart “GenSan Assassin” Gaballo of General Santos City, Philippines, captured his first version of a world title and introduced himself to the world stage with a unanimous decision victory over perennial top contender Stephon “Showstopper” Young of St. Louis.
Fighting in the main event of Kris Lawrence and The Heavyweight Factory’s “Rumble at the Rock” at Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the hard-punching Gaballo (19-0, 16 KOs) became the WBA Interim World Bantamweight Champion with unanimous scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 117-110.
Young, now 17-1-3, 7 KOs, was down in round three and badly hurt, but to his credit, got up and kept it exciting and closer than the scores indicate throughout the remainder of the 12 rounds.
The speed and reflexes of 19-year-old Honolulu-based welterweight prospect Logan “Korican Kid” Yoon (11-0, 10 KOs) overcame the determination and experience of former two-time world champion Juan Carlos Salgado (27-8-1, 16 KOs) of Mexico City over 10 workmanlike rounds.
Fighting for the NABO Super Lightweight Championship, Yoon showed surprising poise and maturity for a young fighter in his 11th fight and seemed unphased to be facing such an accomplished foe. His sharp counters landed with regularity on the tough former champion. To his credit, Salgado fought bravely, but at 33 years old, seems to have lost a step.
The scores were 100-89, 97-92 and 98-91, unanimously for Yoon.
Former WBA World Super Bantamweight Champion Juan Carlos Payano survived a real scare against “Magic” Mike Plania in their 10-round brawl for the NABO Super Bantamweight Championship.
After a strong first couple rounds, Plania, now 14-1, 7 KOs, had Payano down and badly hurt near the end of round three.
He never really threatened Payano again. A consummate professional, Payano (20-1, 9 KOs), of Miami via La Vega, Dominican Republic, came out for round four with the answers for neutralizing the harder punches of his Philippine opponent and never lost another round.
The scores were 96-93, 97-92 and 97-92, unanimously for the new champion Payano.
The 6-foot 9-inch heavyweight from Kissimmee, Florida, via Rudniy, Kazakhstan, Ivan Dychko (7-0, 6 KOs) scored a highlight-reel first-round, one-punch knockout over Miami Beach’s formerly undefeated Stephan Kirnon (2-1, 2 KOs).
Kirnon, admirably, came out aggressive against the giant, but quickly ran into a shot that propelled him violently into the floor. The fight was immediately waved off at :38. Dychko, a two-time Olympic Super Heavyweight Bronze medallist, could not have been more impressive.
In a 10-round battle for the NABA-USA Featherweight Championship Miami via Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan bomber Mussa “Warrior” Tursyngaliyev (8-0, 7 KOs) clubbed away at brave, but outgunned Luis “Barcelo” Hinojosa (31-14, 18 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, until stopping him at the end of round three.
Tursyngaliyev is very strong and accurate, and he had things all his way throughout. He scored a knockdown in the second and finished it a round later. Hinojosa elected to stay on his stool, probably wisely.
Miami super welterweight JD “Pretty Boy” Martinez (9-0, 7 KOs) managed to squeak out a questionable majority six-round decision over fellow Floridian Jose “Colombian Necktie” Cortes (3-2, 1 KO) of West Palm Beach.
Cortes chased Martinez around the ring, seemingly with the harder punches and a more aggressive demeanor, but it was not enough to please the judges. They scored it 57-57 draw against 58-56 and 58-56 for Martinez.
Popular Miami welterweight Harold Calderon (15-0, 9 KOs) took a round or two to settle in against Barranquilla, Colombia’s Ronald “Salvaje” Montes (18-8, 16 KOs), but, once he got his rhythm, it was all over.
The powerful undefeated southpaw lobbed enough accurate bombs to convince his Colombian foe to pack it in at the end of third round of their scheduled six. The official result is TKO 3 at 2:59. Calderon is ready for deeper water.
In an entertaining all-Florida super bantamweight bout, Miami’s popular Jessy “Beast Boy” Cruz (12-7-1, 5 KOs) and Palm Bay’s Sam Rodriquez (5-2, 3 KOs) slugged it out over six exciting rounds.
In the end, Rodriquez took a razor-thin unanimous decision (58-55, 57-56 and 57-56) on the strength of a fourth-round knockdown.
Fighting out of the southpaw stance, the heavily muscled Cruz got out to an early lead and rocked the smaller Rodriquez with his thudding left hand. But Rodriquez hung tough and clawed back into it by round three.
The pair went back and forth the entire fight and it could have gone either way.
Former WBO Asia Pacific Light Heavyweight Champion Steve “The Ambassador” Geffrard (17-2, 12 KOs) of Boca Raton stopped Budapest, Hungary’s Zoltan Sera (38-16-1, 20 KOs) in the fourth of a scheduled six.
For the first three rounds, Geffrard, who lost his first two fights and hasn’t lost since, shook off the rust and kept his composure against the awkward offerings of his European foe. He finally broke through in the fourth, scoring two knockdowns and prompting Referee Sam Burgos to wave it off at :39.
Miami’s Jorge De Jesus Romero (5-0, 4 KOs) put on a bodyshot clinic in his abbreviated six-round super bantamweight battle against Hungarian veteran Szilveszter Ajtai (12-10-1, 2 KOs).
In the first, Romero came forward like an aggressive buzzsaw against the circling Ajtai. In the second, he lowered the boom, scoring three consecutive bodyshot knockdowns, and necessitating a stoppage at 2:01. Impressive showing for the Florida prospect.
The son of a legend, Robert Duran Jr. of Fort Lauderdale made his impressive professional welterweight debut by stopping Orlando’s also debuting Miguel Morales in the fourth round.
Morales was no pushover, but Duran, looking like he already has some seasoning, put educated combinations together and waited for his opening. It came in the final stanza, as he scored his first knockdown of Morales with a right to the body left uppercut combo, and then finished things off with a thudding right hand that produced a second knockdown.
Referee James Warring waved it off without a count at 2:21.
Header photo by Lester Silva/Univision