By Alex Pierpaoli
Greg “The Villian” Vendetti defeated Jimmy “Quiet Storm” Williams by 10 round split decision at the Hartford Convention Center tonight. The official judges saw the bout 96-94 and 97-93 a piece, with a lopsided 99-91 from Judge Glenn Feldman* swinging things in favor of the Stoneham, MA, native. Vendetti versus Williams was the Main Event of a seven bout card that heralded the return of professional boxing to Hartford for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Making the first defense of the WBC US Silver strap he won from Yuri Foreman in June, Jimmy Williams went right to work, circling Vendetti, jabbing at him and reddening his nose in the first round. Vendetti started slower, chopping at Williams with hooking shots from both sides. Williams seemed to control the action until midway through round three when they exchanged shots and Vendetti clearly did more damage. Williams did well when circling and firing out a jab or slashing the pressuring Vendetti with overhand rights and long right uppercuts. In round six, Vendetti came up big with power-shots, especially right hands to the jaw of Williams that seemed to hurt him. Williams got back to boxing in the seventh but Vendetti continued to walk him down, landing the heavier shots more often as the rounds wore on. In the tenth, with just a minute to go, both fighters slugged away, thrilling the prizefighting starved crowd of Hartfordites.
When the decision is announced it’s a puzzling one as two of the officials seemed to score what actually happened while the third, who gave Williams just a single round, was clearly an outlier. Whatever. There’s certainly been worse decisions.
With the victory, Greg Vendetti improved to 23-4-1 (12) and becomes the new WBC USNBC Silver titlist. Jimmy Williams, now 35 years old, dropped to 18-6-2 (6).
Bout 7, Stevie Jane Coleman, 149lbs, of Columbia, CT, battled Christina Barry, 147lbs, of Manitoba, Canada, through 4 in the final bout of the night. Coleman outworked her larger opponent throughout, delighting a large group of fans who stuck around to support her. After four the officials see it 40-36 x 3 all in favor of Stevie Jane Coleman, now 1-1. Christina Barry dropped to 1-8.
Bout 6, Carlos Perez, 140lbs, of New Haven, CT, 1-0 versus Tyriek Gainey, 134lbs, of Paterson, NJ, who will be making his pro debut. All three judges saw the bout the same at 40-36 in favor of Carlos Perez, now 2-0. Gainey backs his way into the pro-ranks, now 0-1.
Bout 4, Nathan Martinez, 126lbs, of New Britain, CT, hammered away at 6-1 (2) Francisco Dominguez, 126 1/2 lbs, of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, for six rounds but was unable to put him down. Maintaining consistent pressure throughout, Martinez kept Dominguez on the defensive, punishing him with repeated left hooks to the body. Returning to the ring for the first time since December of twenty-nineteen, Martinez put in a grinding effort that thrilled his enthusiastic fans.
When the scorecards were read the decision was unanimous in favor of Martinez, all 3 judges seeing it 60-54. In victory, Martinez raises his record to 7-1 (2) while Dominguez returns to Mexico at 7-12-1 (1).
Bout 3, Chordale Booker, 159lbs of Stamford, CT, 16-0 (7) versus Silverio Ortiz, 157lbs, of Yucatan, Mexico, 37-27 (18). After a sloppy and somewhat tedious start, Ortiz started punching with both hands to Booker’s body in the fifth and both fighters rumbled at close quarters. Booker got the better of the exchanges in the fifth and benefited from a point deduction ffrom Ortiz for rabbit-punching in the fourth. Booker was able to sting Ortiz at the start of the sixth, to the delight of his fans, but by round’s end Ortiz’s survival tactics of clutching and muscling got both fighters a stern warning to knock it off from Ref. Danny Schiavone. In the seventh round Ortiz lands a hard low blow that hurts Booker and he opens up with power shots when the bout continues but the bell sounds. Booker was able to counter the cuffing, mugging attack of Ortiz in the eighth and when the decision is announced it’s all Chordale Booker. All three judges scored it 80-70 for Booker, now 17-0 (7), and Ortiz falls to 37-28 (18). Afterwards, in the in-ring post-fight interview, Booker says he watched video of Ortiz and expected him to try to survive, and he hopes to fight the winner of tonight’s main event.
Bout 2, Angel Gonzalez, 116lbs, of Hartford, CT, battled Juan Gabriel Medina, 117lbs of La Ramona, Dominican Republic, in a scheduled 6 rounder. Gonzalez was the busier fighter in a cautious first round. With a minute gone in the second Medina got Gonzalez’ attention with a right to the jaw. Medina switched back and forth from orthodox to southpaw in the second, giving Gonzalez lots of different angles. Both fighters land bigger shots in the fourth and Medina retires on his stool before the start of round number five.
Angel Gonzalez improves to 6-0 with 4 wins inside the distance and Juan Gabriel Medina falls to 12-8 (11).
Bout 1, Ramon Caraballo, 146lbs, of New Britain, CT, made his pro debut versus Samuel Lajoie-Dery, 146lbs, of Montreal, Canada, 1-0 (1). Caraballo was swarmed with straight punches from Lajoie-Derry in the first and appeared stunned after a hard right hand. In round two both fighters opened up with both hands and the southpaw, Caraballo, scored a knockdown with a right hook. By the end of the second it was Lajoie-Derry landing heavily again with Caraballo on the defensive. In the third, Caraballo roared out of his corner and scored another knockdown. Again, Caraballo seemed to gas-out in the final minute of the round and Lajoie-Derry surged back, keeping an arm-weary Caraballo on the defensive when the bell sounded. The fourth and final round was non-stop punching with the edge to Lajoie-Derry.
When the scorecards are read the unanimous decision went to Ramon Caraballo, by scores of 38-36 x 2 and 38-37. Caraballo enters the ranks as a prizefighter, now 1-0 while Lajoie-Derry, despite an incredible amount of punches thrown, drops to 1-1 (1).
*Note: an earlier version of this story misidentified the judge who scored the fight 99-91 in favor of Vendetti as Ken Ezzo. That was incorrect. Glenn Feldman scored it 99-91. Apologies to Ken Ezzo.