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Photos copyright by Chris CozzoneFonfara forces Campillo to quit on historic Chicago card

Ringside by Sam Geraci
Photos by Tom Barnes/Tomba Images

In what was the first outdoor boxing event held in Chicago in more than 50 years, IBO light heavyweight champion and local hopeful Andrzej "The Polish Prince" Fonfara (24-2, 14 KOs) scored a ninth round stoppage over former world champion Gabriel "El Chico Guapo" Campillo (22-6-1, 9 KOs) of Madrid, Spain. The ESPN2-televised card was held in front of more than 8,000 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.

In the first, Fonfara came out aggressively behind his jab and straight right, looking to test the Campillo's chin. As the round progressed, Fonfara began to double his jab. Toward the middle of the round, Campillo began to look for straight left counters, but overall he was too inactive. Fonfara continued to jab and then work his way to the body with straight rights. Campillo's right eye began to swell as the round came to a close.

Photos copyright by Chris CozzoneTo start the second, Fonfara continued to press forward and land straight lefts and rights for which Campillo had no answer. Toward the middle of the round, Campillo began to get into a groove and started to catch more of Fonfara's shots while occasionally landing straight left counters. That being said, Fonfara's sheer aggression and stiff jab followed by his thudding rights were the difference. It is important to note that for some reason, Campillo did not throw his jab in the first two rounds despite the great success that Fonfara's last opponent, Tommy Karpancy, had with it. The second was another strong round for Fonfara.

Throughout the first minute of the third, Campillo was much more active and effective, but overall, his lead lefts were no match for Fonfara's aggression and simple 1-2's. Toward the middle of the round, Campillo had some success coming forward as Fonfara began to fight while going backwards. In what was a competitive round, Fonfara absorbed several of Campillo's best shots, though Fonfara's thudding rights to the body and head probably did enough to take the round. At this point, however, Fonfara's jab had disappeared, and Campillo appeared to be gaining in confidence.

To start the fourth, as he did in the previous rounds, Fonfara again stormed Campillo but was much less effective as Campillo appeared to have figured Fonfara out by using his lead left counters and superior movement to thwart Fonfara's attack. As the round progressed, Campillo's counterpunching began to make the difference as he began to outbox and outmaneuver Fonfara. In the final minute of the round, Campillo even appeared to hurt Fonfara. The fourth was a terrific round for Campillo.

Photos copyright by Chris CozzoneThe fifth was another close round in which Campillo outboxed and outmaneuvered Fonfara but absorbed the stiffer shots. As the round progressed, Campillo's left began to land with precision and frequency. Fonfara, either because of fatigue or strategy, began to loop his right hand slightly, which was effective in scoring but left him open for counters. It was a very close round that could have gone either way, but Campillo looked to be the fighter gaining in strength and confidence.

Throughout the sixth, it was clear to all at ringside that Campillo had begun to get into a rhythm and had begun to outwork Fonfara, who appeared to be confused and at times somewhat outclassed. Campillo's right eye and Fonfara's left eye were beginning to close. It was a very dominant round for Campillo.

In the seventh, Fonfara was more effective with his jab, but it was thrown with much less frequency and he did not always follow it with his right as he had done so effectively in the early rounds. As the fight progressed, Campillo's superior movement and boxing acumen were making the difference. He continued to turn Fonfara and while landing stiff jabs and solid lead lefts. It was another dominant round for Campillo, who, depending on the scoring of rounds three and five, might have pulled ahead on the scorecards.

There was terrific action in the eighth, as both fighters appeared to believe that they could score a stoppage. Campillo carried the first half of the round with his superior movement and jab. In the final minute, however, Fonfara probably did enough to steal the round as he nearly scored a knockdown in the final ten seconds with a terrific straight right that buckled Campillo's legs and nearly sent him through the ropes.

To start the ninth, the Chicago crowd began to chant "AN-DRE! AN-DRE!" while clapping. With over 8,000 fans behind him, Fonfara dropped Campillo with a right to the body, then followed with a two-punch combination upstairs. Although Campillo attempted to rise to his feet, referee Gino Rodriguez called a halt to the bout at 1:37.

With the win, Fonfara becomes the IBF mandatory challenger for the light-heavyweight championship.

Granados Comes from Behind to Stop Salser

In perhaps his most meaningful bout to date, Chicago's most promising prospect Adrian "El Tigre" Granados (12-2-2, 8 KOs) returned to the junior welterweight division after his controversial draw with Kermit Cintron at welterweight, to overcome two devastating knockdowns then score another exciting come-from-behind stoppage. This time, Granados did it against a very rugged and game Mark "The Ring Shark" Salser (15-1, 9 KOs) of Mansfield, OH. Referee Celestino Ruiz called a halt to the bout at 56 seconds of round six after Granados scored his second knockdown in the round.

In the first, Granados came out as he always does, with aggression. This time, however, Granados appeared to be more committed to using his footwork and hand speed to stay out of harm's way than his Chicago fans have grown accustomed to. Throughout the round, Salser held, covered up and squatted in an attempt to avoid Granados's assault. Granados simply stepped to the side of Salser to land terrific left hooks to the head and body. Granados outclassed Salser throughout the first and began to buckle his lesser opponent's legs with straight right hands in the final minute of the round.

For most of the second, it was more of the same as Granados used his superior movement and hand speed to outwork and outclass Salser, who simply plowed forward with his hands held high without throwing any shots. Toward the end of the round, without any alternative, Salser backed himself into the neutral corner and covered up while Granados attempted to go for the finish. Backing himself into the corner, however, turned out to be a brilliant move as it encouraged Granados to abandon all technique as he is accustomed to doing when the crowd gets behind him. While backed into the corner, Salser effectively blocked or avoided all of Granados's meaningful shots and on several occasions appeared to be looking to sneak in an overhand right but was unable to do so for about fifteen seconds. When he did land, however, Salser sent Granados crashing to the mat. Granados rose to his feet but was seriously hurt. For the remainder of the round, Salser unleashed a series of shots that would have stopped most fighters. Many at ringside were surprised that the bout was not stopped, as Granados's appeared to be out on his feet when the bell sounded.

Salser began the third by backing himself into a neutral corner, looking to use the same tactics that scored him the knockdown. This time, however, Granados was not lured into his trap. As a result, Salser was forced to fight in the center of the ring where Granados's superior hand speed and movement gave him the advantage. Toward the end of the round, however, Salser again backed himself into the same neutral corner from which he was sent Granados crashing to the canvas. This time, Granados managed to avoid being floored despite absorbing several significant right and left hooks, which might, however, have done enough to steal the round for Salser.

Most of the fourth resembled the first as Granados simply outclassed and punished Salser from a distance. At times, however, Granados still fell into the trap of brawling along the ropes and in the corners. Despite giving in to Salser's style, Granados dominated the fourth.

For the first minute of the fifth, Granados controlled the action with his footwork and hand speed. As the round progressed, Granados could not resist the temptation to drop his hands and brawl with Salser against the ropes. When he did so, Salser scored with left and right hooks that hurt Granados. During one of those exchanges toward the middle of the round, Salser floored Granados with one of those hooks. After being floored this time, however, Granados rose to his feet to dominate the remainder of the round and even appeared to have Salser ready to quit as the round came to a close.

To start the sixth, Granados jumped on Salser and pounded him upstairs and downstairs before scoring a knockdown with a body shot. When Salser rose to his feet, Granados continued his attack and scored another knockdown, which did enough to convince referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the fight.

Photos copyright by Chris CozzoneSzpilka Stops Mollo in Another Classic

In another brutal and exciting heavyweight bout that rivaled their first encounter in February, undefeated Polish heavyweight contender Artur "The Pin" Szpilka (16-0, 12 KOs) rose from the mat after being crushed by a desperate left hook in the third to use his superior movement and counterpunching to score another crowd-pleasing TKO of Chicago's "Merciless" Mike Mollo (20-5-1, 12 KOs). Although Mollo was able to rise to his feet after being sent crashing to the mat with a dynamic sweeping left, referee Gerald Scott wisely called a halt to the bout at 1:41 of the fifth.

In the opening round, Mollo came out circling to his left to combat Szpilka's southpaw style. Clearly, Mollo's work at the 5th Street Gym in Miami with heavyweight Luis Ortiz paid off, as Mollo outboxed Szpilka for most of the first two minutes by landing occasional body shots and grazing shots upstairs when backing Szpilka to the ropes. Toward the midway point of the round, however, Szpilka figured Mollo out and began to counter with uppercuts and right hooks. The first was a very close round to score, but Szpilka's clean counterpunching down the stretch might have done enough to take the round.

Much to everyone's surprise, the second continued to be a boxing match with both fighters circling each other. Mollo scored to the body in the first burst of action. Shortly after, both fighters traded horrific shots with Szpilka scoring to the head and Mollo landing to the body. Mollo was clearly looking to back Szpilka to the ropes to score to the body while Szpilka was looking to counter with straight lefts upstairs and uppercuts to the body. In the final minute of the round, it appeared as if Mollo might have hurt Szpilka with a right to the body followed by a terrific left hook upstairs, but shortly after, Szpilka wobbled Mollo with a two-punch combination. Toward the end of the round, all at ringside began to get the sense that another brawl like their first one was about to break out.

In the third, Szpilka was controlling the action, had Mollo hurt and even appeared to have him on his way out before being caught with a dynamic but desperate left hook that sent Szpilka crashing to the mat. Somehow, just like their war in February, Szpilka rose to his feet and gave as good as he got for the remainder of the round.

For most of the the fourth, both fighters appeared gassed and attempted to go back to trying to box, which benefited Szpilka, who used his height and superior footwork to counter. By the end of the round, Mollo began to bleed from his right brow and nose.

Throughout the fifth, Szpilka continued to use his height, movement and left counters to stun and confuse Mollo, who looked exhausted and ready to go. Toward the middle of the round, Szpilka unleashed an electric straight left that sent Mollo crashing to the mat. Although Mollo rose to his feet, referee Gerald Scott called a halt to the bout at 1:41.

Wright Decisions Kisner

In his first test to date, undefeated cruiserweight Junior Wright (8-0, 7 KOs) of Evanston IL, managed to pull-off a majority decision over Nick "The Slick" Kisner (12-1-1, 5 KOs) of Baltimore, MD. When the scores were initially read, Kisner was awarded the decision, but judge Mauro Di Fiore's score was inaccurately given to ring announcer Thomas Treiber in favor of Kisner. Several minutes later, the correct scores were given: 58-56 for Kisner and 59-55 twice for Wright. Although Fightnews scored the bout in Wright's favor, this was an ugly and difficult bout to score with neither fighter landing many clean shots that could have gone either way.

In the first, Wright cut off the ring and looked to back Kisner to the ropes to pound the body and land his dynamic right hand while Kisner looked to counter with the left hook from a distance. Although Wright continued to back Kisner to the ropes, anytime Wright closed the distance, Kisner either countered with his left or held. The round probably could have gone either way, but Kisner appeared to pull it off.

Throughout the second, Wright plowed forward without his jab but managed to back Kisner to the ropes to land several significant body shots. Although Wright managed to land the most significant blows of the round, at times, Kisner managed to thwart Wright's attack by firing shots off the ropes and then clinching. Another close round, but Wright's aggression and body shots might have done enough.

Throughout the third, Kisner frustrated Wright, who did not have any answers for Kisner's elusive style followed by clinching. Even though Wright lost every second of the round, he managed to score with a big right in the final fifteen seconds followed by a small flurry against the ropes that should have done enough to steal the round because Kisner failed to land anything of significance.

In the fourth, Wright continued to plow forward and then get countered but did manage to score with several solid rights that probably did enough to steal another ugly and uneventful round. In the final minute of the round, however, Wright was caught with a solid counter left hook that might have cost him the round.

In the fifth, there were more ugly exchanges followed by holding with referee Celestino Ruiz forced to be the most active participant in the bout. Again, the round was ugly and it could have gone either way as Wright landed the more meaningful shots while coming forward at all times and Kisner countered effectively at times. In the final minute, Wright did begin to find a home for his left hook, which probably gave him the round.

In the sixth, Wright's durability and left hook carried the round. In fact, the sixth was probably the only round for which there should not have been any debate.

Both Wright and Kisner are talented fighters who deserve another opportunity to prove themselves, but please, let's not let them fight each other again!

Littleton Decisions Turner

Undefeated Chicago middleweight Paulie Littleton (8-0-1, 4 KOs) of Chicago, IL, outworked and outsmarted veteran Louis Turner (12-4, 8 KOs) of Chicago, IL, en route to a unanimous decision with three scores of 59-54. Turner was penalized in the fourth for excessive holding.

Littleton continues to show promise as a crafty fighter who is capable of figuring out his opponents. Although neither fighter has expressed interest in it, a Chicago fight between Littleton and Mike "Hollywood" Jimenez is one that Chicago fans want to see.

Garcia and Bueno Fight to a Draw

Middleweights Trinidad "El Cholo" Garcia (5-3-3) of Chicago, IL, now trained by Chicago fan favorite Ivan Popoca, and Ramiro Bueno (2-3-1 1 KO) of South Bend, IN, fought to a majority draw. Scores were 39-37 for Bueno and 38-38 twice.

Gearhart Decisions Cooper in Debut

In her pro debut at junior welterweight, five-time Chicago Golden Glove Champion Kristin Gearhart (1-0) of Chicago, IL, outclassed MMA fighter-turned boxer Amanda Cooper (1-1, 1 KO) of Fowlerville, MI, to score a unanimous decision. Scores were 40-36 and 39-37 twice.

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