Dawson Survives Knockdown
To Beat Rankin In Comeback Fight
Back in the ring for the first time in more than two years,
former world champion and pound-for-pound king Chad Dawson
shook off some early rust and survived a flash knockdown
Saturday at Foxwoods Resort Casino to earn a hard-fought win
over Quinton Rankinat the Fox Theater.
The 36-year-old New Haven, Conn., southpaw won for the first
time since April of 2016, beating Rankin (15-6-2) by
unanimous decision, 80-68, 78-72, 78-72, despite getting
dropped by an uppercut in the fifth round.
In what turned out to be a bizarre, somewhat sloppy, finish,
Rankin had two points deducted – one in the fifth for
swinging at Dawson while he was down and again in the
seventh for hitting his opponent on the break. Even with the
knockdown, Dawson (35-5) still dominated the majority of the
rounds, ripping Rankin to the body and using his height and
reach advantage to keep the free-swinging southpaw from
boxing on the inside.
In the co-main event, co-promoted by CES Boxing and Roc
Nation Sports, New Haven featherweight Tramaine Williams
(18-0) remained unbeaten with a methodical, 99-91, 99-91,
98-92 unanimous decision win over tough Filipino Neil John
Tabanao (17-6). Williams’ hand speed was the difference and
he consistently landed two-punch combos while boxing
effectively on the outside. There weren’t a lot of long,
drawn-out exchanges as neither fighter seemed too eager to
box on the inside, but Williams no doubt got the better of
his opponent with superior speed and footwork.
In another wildly entertaining bout, Manchester, Conn.,
junior middleweight Jose Rivera (8-4) won his Connecticut
homecoming, defeating Italian slugger Luca Podda (7-4) by
unanimous decision, 59-54 on all three scorecards. The two
came out throwing haymakers with Podda landing a few solid
shots, but once Rivera regained his footing and slowed the
fight down, he consistently backed Podda against the ropes
and pressed the action. Rivera closed strong and scored a
knockdown in the fourth round to seal the fight.
Bridgeport, Conn., lightweight Oscar Bonilla (6-3-2)
remained hot, winning his third consecutive bout and second
in a row at Foxwoods with a 59-55 unanimous decision across
the board against Worcester, Mass., vet Julio Perez (4-4).
Bonilla’s work to the body was just too much for Perez to
overcome as he maintained a consistent pace from the opening
The female flyweights kicked off the pro card in style with
an entertaining, back-and-forth battle as New Haven’s Marisa
Belenchia (1-0) earned the win in her professional boxing
debut, beating Clearwater, Fla., native Delaney Owen (0-3),
by unanimous decision, 40-36, 39-37, 39-37.
An accomplished amateur boxer, Belenchia is also a
professional in mixed martial arts, where she currently
boasts a 3-0 record. Her win Saturday came less than one
month after her third career MMA win, which highlighted the
preliminary card of CES MMA 56 in Hartford on May 31.
In what might’ve been his most performance to date, New
Bedford, Mass., super lightweight Wilson Mascarenhas (2-1)
dominated Philadelphia pro debut Anthony Ramirez (0-1) to
earn a 40-36 unanimous decision on all three scorecards.
Fighting for the second time since April, Mascarenhas weaved
in and out of traffic effectively, using his footwork to
baffle Ramirez. The 24-year-old right-hander has now won
back-to-back fights since taking a loss in his pro debut.
New Britain, Conn., featherweight Nathan Martinez (4-0)
remained undefeated with an impressive unanimous decision
win over Minnesota’s Jose Homar Rios (2-7-1) in what turned
out to be a fast-paced slugfest with Martinez earning the
40-36 score on all three cards. Rios held his own, even
landing a few effective body blows, but Martinez was the
aggressor the entire night and simply kept applying the
pressure to pile up points on the scorecard.