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  Belasco Barnburners
Molina & Gramajo Victorious

By William Trillo & Albert Castillo


Super lightweights Javier Molina (17-2, 8 KO’s) and Jessie Roman (22-3, 11 KO’s climbed into the ring looking about as evenly matched as two fighters could be. Both quick handed with a lot of snap in their punches.

In the opening rounds it looked as though the fight could go either way. But as the fight ensued it was Molina who took charge and although the rounds were close he was clearly doing more than Roman. As Molina pressed the action Roman seemed content sit back and wait a bit too much.

In the seventh round it looked like maybe someone lit a fire under Roman as he came out guns blazing and may have done enough to win the round. But it was too little too late as Molina boxed well in the final round securing himself the victory. Judges tallies had this one 79-73 across the board giving Molina a hard fought and impressive victory.

"I felt I fought really well," said Javier Molina. "I got some ring rust off against a good opponent. I was off for two and a half years, so I'm happy to finally be back in the ring. This was something I needed. It's my first fight at 140 pounds and I felt the difference. I feel great. I need to talk to my team now and see what's next, but I want to stay busy."

"We came to fight, and tonight he was the better man," said Jessie Roman. "We are going to continue working hard for another opportunity and hope to come back soon. Congratulations to Javier Molina."

Super bantamweights Rafael Gramajo (10-1-2, 2 KO’s) and Victor Ruiz (22-9, 15 KO’s) gave the fights one of the best scraps seen on The Belasco stage this year. Ruiz, a very crafty southpaw gave the hometown favorite Gramajo everything he could ask for and more. In the other corner was a game Gramajo, he was bloodied early but kept coming at all costs. This fight was literally nip and tuck.

In the end a simple jab by Gramajo was the difference. That slight tap forced a flash knockdown in a round that up until then Ruiz was dominating. That sway on the scorecards made the difference as Gramajo edged out Ruiz in a tough unanimous decision. Final scores read 78-73 and 76-75 twice all in favor of Gramajo. Had it not been for the flash knockdown the decision would have went the other way. It was that close. We’d like to see them do it again.

"There are a few things I could have done better in this fight," said Rafael Gramajo. "We need to go back to the gym to work on some things. I'm happy I got the victory tonight, but I have to stay busier in the ring. I'll be back as soon as possible."

Super bantamweight Joshua Franco (14-1, 7 KO’s) looked sharp as he put the leather to Isao Gonzalo Carranza (15-12-1, 9 KO’s) in the scheduled 6 round affair. Franco used effective aggression to keep Carranza on wobbly legs for most of the battle.

Although he never officially visited the canvas Carranza looked to be on shaky legs, especially in the latter rounds. With discretion being the better part of valor Carranza’s corner brought a halt to the bout at the 1:36 mark of round 5.

"This victory means everything after my last setback,” said Joshua Franco. “I came better prepared than ever before, and my loss showed me that I have to keep coming back stronger and stronger. I want the rematch [with Lucas Leone]."

Middleweight Joey Alday Jr (8-0, 7 KO’s) was a non stop punching machine versus Nam Phan (3-7-1,2 KO’s) but he was unable to keep his KO streak alive as a tough Phan took everything Alday threw at him.

Alday used a plethora of punches from both sides to keep his foe at bay all night. Credit to Phan for coming to fight and not giving up in the face of a heavy handed onslaught. Final scores all in favor of Alday read 40-36 across the board.

“The fight went as planned,” said Joey Alday Jr. “I knew that he was a UFC fighter, so that meant I had to be very busy. I also knew he’d have a good chin because of his record. The win felt great and I’ll have to talk to my team about what’s next.”

Alday added, “This guy was tough. I was catching him with some good clean shots, I didn’t know how he was still standing. He did a heck of a job staying in there. I knew that sooner or later I was going to run into guys like this so it was good to do it early on. I like the energy here at this arena; it’s pretty small so I could hear everyone’s voices. The crowd definitely lets you know when you’re being active and when you’re not.”


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