After winning their respective semi-final bouts last night at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, Brandon Adams and Willie Monroe Jr. will tussle in the Boxcino middleweight tournament finals on May 23. Both fights went the distance with the winners putting forth career best performances and setting up an all American Memorial day weekend clash for all the marbles.
Brandon Adams (14-0, 9 KOs) Def. Raymond Gatica (14-3, 9 KOs) via split decision.
After the opening bell Adams attempted to touch gloves with Gatica, who instead threw a punch which drew boos from the crowd. In round two, Adams began to time Gatica and land a series of clean straight rights. Gatica turned up the heat in round three and immediately trapped Adams against the ropes, while throwing a flurry of punches to the 24-year-old’s head and body. But by mid-round a composed Adams turned the tide and stunned Gatica with heavy left hooks. It was more of the same in round four as Adams leaped in with looping punches that continuously stopped Gatica in his tracks and had him hurt by the end of the frame. Gatica had more success and was the busier fighter in rounds five and six. By the seventh, Adams was back in firm control of the fight and carried that momentum into the eighth by landing counter power shots as a desperate Gatica pressed. The judges scored the bout 78-74 Adams, 77-75 Gatica (much to the dismay of Teddy Atlas) and 78-74 Adams.
Willie Monroe Jr. (17-1, 6 KOs) Def. Vitaliy Kopylenko (23-1, 13 KOs) via unanimous decision.
Out of the gate Monroe Jr. used his legs and effective jab to outbox the longer Kopylenko. In the second, Kopylenko inched closer and threw punches with bad intentions, but had trouble finding his target, as Monroe Jr. countered the often lunging Ukrainian. The crowd was loudly behind the hometown hero in round three, whose sharp jab rendered Kopylenko hesitant to use the aggression that made him successful in the quarterfinals. In round four, Kopylenko knocked Monore Jr.’s mouth piece out with a jab and again in the fifth, this time with an uppercut. In the sixth, Monroe Jr. thwarted Kopylenko’s offensive attack with movement and clinching. The seventh was the best round of the fight and as both fighters stayed in the pocket Monroe Jr. got the better of the exchanges. There was little doubt who had won the fight after the eighth and the judges agreed scoring it 78-74, 79-73 and 79-73, all for Monroe Jr.
As they have the entire tournament, ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” will air the finals and Banner Promotions will promote.