Casal strings two wins together
On a night in which several boxers stepped into the ring for potential career-altering bouts at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, unbeaten Buffalo super featherweight Guillermo Sanchez and veteran Dorin Spivey stole the show while Niagara Falls' Nick Casal proved he's still got plenty of fight left in his body.
Casal went the distance in the main event against an opponent who's fought his share of world-class opponents the past year, earning a unanimous decision over veteran Christopher Fernandez, 79-73, 80-72, 79-73.
Casal (20-4-1) hurt Fernandez (18-8-1) early in the fight but his 33-year-old avoided becoming Casal's 16th knockout victim by preventing the 23-year-old junior welterweight from nailing him with three- and four-punch combinations by holding on — at times for dear life.
It didn't matter in the end as Casal won back-to-back fights for the first time since winning the first 14 fights of his career, a string of consecutive triumphs that ended with a draw in the spring of 2006. Casal KO'd Shad Howard in three rounds last June at the Convention Center.
"I told you it was a credible opponent," said Nick Casal, who moved up to No. 5 in the North American Boxing Association national rankings. "It's a fight I needed for work. I needed the rounds."
"It's been a while since he's won two in a row," said Ray Casal, Nick's trainer and father. "That's nice. He proved he could go to the end. We needed a quality opponent, someone who could fight. ... It's a good win."
Both Sanchez and Spivey had exceptional wins. The 21-year-old Sanchez and the 36-year old Spivey won their first professional championship belts Friday night during the six-card "Road to Redemption" event before an announced crowd of 1,800.
Sanchez (11-0, 5 KOs) and Jose L. Guzman engaged in plenty of gamesmanship during their eight-rounder, with Sanchez knocking down Guzman twice — once in the first round with a left hook after being trapped along the ropes. Sanchez, who won via unanimous decision 79-71, 79-71, 79-72, dropped Guzman in the seventh round with a nifty combination. Guzman claimed he slipped but to no avail as he was hit before he lost his footing in the eyes of the referee.
"I feel really, really good," Sanchez said. "I'm just going to take it step by step. This is just the first step. I've got to keep going."
Spivey won the NABA lightweight belt in upset fashion, beating world No. 12 Meacher Major via fourth-round TKO.
Spivey (36-6, 29 KOs), the former world No. 5 fighter, knocked down Major (16-4-1) twice in the second round before stopping him in the fourth. Although Spivey was bleeding profusely from the nose, the 36-year-old got the better of most exchanges with his 27-year-old foe. Spivey put him away in the fourth round with a flurry of rights and lefts in the corner before the ref stepped in to stop it.
In the undercard, former state Golden Gloves champion Lionell Thompson returned to the ring after the longest layoff of his career and had little trouble beating old friend Michael Montoya (2-1-1) via unanimous decision, 40-36 on all three cards.
Thompson (2-0, 1 KO), who had been idle since his debut last February, moved and jabbed well and cut Montoya, who he beat when both were amateurs, below the left eye in the opening round.
Thompson's training buddy, former state Golden Gloves champion Excell Holmes, didn't lose but he didn't win either. He battled Colorado heavyweight Joe Montoya (1-0-1) to a draw in a sloppy four-round bout that all three judges scored, 38-38.
Broderick Antoine (8-8-1) of Troy beat Geoffrey Spruiell (8-8) of Colorado via split decision.