Boxing Recap 2021: Looking At Gionta Management’s “Murrysville Madness”

By Larry Snyder

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Promoter Derek Gionta and matchmaker Brian Dillon gave the fans of the Sweet Science a terrific evening of professional boxing Saturday, September 18, 2021, with their “Murrysville Madness” card at the Murrysville SportZone. It is at local events where you can find the future of the sport across the country.

Gionta remarked to me about the SportZone, “The venue was great to work with…They were very organized and professional and made the whole experience a great one. It was our best show.”

The “Sweet Child” of Pittsburgh Matt Conway (20-2, 9 KOs) claimed his third consecutive victory and the 20th of his career with a technical knockout at 1:39 of the second against Rodolfo Puente (20-8-2, 16 KOs) from Barranquilla, Colombia. There were six rounds set for this junior lightweight main event.

Puente, who goes by the nickname “El Tsunami,” blew across the ring to push Conway toward a neutral corner with a rapid series of punches. The problem was that many of his shots did not connect or caused only minor damage. Conway forced the battle quickly back to the middle of the ring.

When boxers clinch one another, they contain their opponent’s arms to slow down the barrage coming at them. Puente slipped or fell to his knees during their fourth tie-up in the first and tried to wrap up Conway around his legs. In the second, the 27-year-old Colombian went down three times. However, referee Chris Riskus declared two good knockdowns against Puente before stopping the bout.

Conway, 26, said on his Facebook page, “Definitely wasn’t the prettiest win and I’m not too happy with it but that comes with the territory and you take the good with the bad, now we’re on to bigger and better!” He wants to defend his International Boxing Association Intercontinental Super Feather title on Gionta’s next card in January at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center in Cheswick, PA.

Super middleweight Kiante Irving (9-0-1, 9 KOs) of Beaver Falls entered the six-round co-feature event with no defeats and departed with his first draw against 22-year-old Antonio Louis Hernandez (15-22-2, 12 KOs) of Kansas City, Kansas. The match marked the first time “The Irv,” 27, went the scheduled distance in one of his professional fights.

Irving demonstrated his control early as he seized the opening three rounds with solid shots to the body of Hernandez. It was the fourth frame when the crowd came to their feet. The duo became entangled and flipped over in the center of the ring. Irving was on his back, and Hernandez was lying on top.

Hernandez continued to press forward over rounds four through six. He came out of clinches with combinations to the head and shoulders of Irving. When the final bell rang, anticipation filled the arena floor as everyone awaited the verdict. The breakdown of the judge’s cards was as follows, George Kachulis scored it 58-56 for Irving; Al Amelio had it 58-56 for Hernandez, and John Santore listed it even at 57-57. Gionta told Patrick Varine of TribLive Sports “both fighters have shown interest in a rematch.”


Lightweight (6 Rnds): Ryizeemmion Ford (6-1, 4 KOs), Alliance, Ohio, WINS By TKO At 2:01 Of The 1st Round Vs. Carlos Jimenez (1-3-1) Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico

DG: “Ford is a Co-main or main event fighter right now. Despite being over 2 hours away from Pittsburgh he brings an exciting fan base with him each time. We are excited about his future.”

Super Middleweight (4 Rnds): Eric Lomax (4-0, 3 KOs) Pittsburgh, PA WINS By TKO At 2:51 Of The 4th Round Over Jacob Ibaika Martin (1-1, 1 KO) Tacoma, WA

My Comment: You need to keep an eye on Lomax. He brings energy and charisma to the arena. DG: “He is a very respectful, hard-working young man and fights with a nice combination of skill and will.”

Featherweight (4 Rnds): Baszybek Baratov (5-1-2, 1 KO), Monroeville, PA WINS By Unanimous Decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) Vs. Joe Reed (0-1, 0 KOs) Buffalo, NY

Super Lightweight (4 Rnds): Mike Conway (4-2-1, 1 KO) Pittsburgh, PA WINS By Unanimous Decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) Over Joshua Zimmerman (0-4) Baltimore, MD

Middleweight (4 Rnds): Paul Palombo (1-0, 1 KO) Aliquppa, PA WINS By TKO At The End Of 2nd Round Against Jabrandon Harris (0-7) Bryan, TX

BEST LINE FROM THE CROWD: The sports fans from around the City of Bridges let their thoughts be known throughout the night. An Eric Lomax supporter from behind me, “He has pockets; take his lunch money!”

TIP OF THE CAP: The consummate duo of Riskus and Tim Shipley split the referee duties and provided quality control over all seven matchups. Ring announcer George Phillips did an outstanding job behind the microphone. Dr. Eric Bohn was the physician-in-attendance from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission.

CORNER NOTES: Gionta teamed with Brock Kull of Kastle Boxing from Johnstown, PA, and USA Boxing to produce an amateur boxing show that began at 12:30 p.m. at the Murrysville SportZone. Tim Shipley was the official in charge and Dr. Dianna Craig was the ringside physician.

Derek Gionta spoke with me, “There were a number of very competitive amateur fights during the day which was great to see.” Here are the verified outcomes from the 13 bouts.

Bantam Male – 139 lbs: Marces Gorzelsky wins by points split over Damien Wiley

Elite Male – 147 lbs: Oliver Dudley wins when the referee stops the contest against Toby Gorzelsky

Elite Male – 165 lbs: Londell Smith wins by points split versus Drequan Davieswade

Pee Wee 9-10 Male – 85 lbs: Noah Santimauro wins by unanimous points over Aiden Castle

Pee Wee 9-10 Male – 85 lbs: Xavier Martinez wins by points split against Mikyel McGowan

Bantam Male – 125 lbs: Damon Corley wins by unanimous points versus Duke Kadlecik

Bantam Male – 85 lbs: Kason Offield wins by points split over Deairee Bell

Elite Male – 141 lbs: Giavoni Farina wins by unanimous points against Dzhafar Abuzakhra

Elite Male – 132 lbs: Harold Camper wins by unanimous points versus Muhammad Saritoprak

Elite Male – 201 lbs: Christian Ortiz Ruberte wins when the referee stops the contest over Dashawn Hernandez

Elite Male – 176 lbs: Tyrone Johnson wins by unanimous points against Artimus Barnes

Elite Male – 152 lbs: Paulo Nguyen wins by unanimous points versus Caleb Rivera

Elite Male – 152 lbs: Hamza Imad Abedrabo wins by points split over Brandon Watkins

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