Bronx, NY—A large contingent of Bronx pugilists, amateur and professional, participated in the latest installment of the popular boxing series Punchin’ at the Paradise on Thursday night. The 12th edition of the series was presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing at the Paradise Theater on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx on Thursday evening, July 7. The show consisted of nine bouts, five pro and four amateur matches.
In the headline encounter, Bryant Pappas (13-9, 12 KO’s) , a popular law enforcement officer in Yonkers, protected his undefeated record, but for the first time as a pro could not stop his opponent. The Yonkers Housing Police Sergeant has not been the only winner in each of his bouts as he donates his entire purse to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan
His opponent in the six round super middleweight encounter will be Allen Medina (8-20, 1 KO) of Colorado. The 33 year old has not had much luck in the ring as of late as he has lost seven of his last eight bouts.
Despite the disparity in past records, the fight was competitive. Neither boxer was floored during the match, but Pappas’s nose was bloodied in the fourth round, which affected his breathing. His white trunks were spotted with dropped blood throughout the final three rounds. The undefeated 38 year old won a majority decision on the cards of the judges, 59-55, 58-55 and 57-57.
Pappas was not the only undefeated boxer on the card who continued his winning streak. In the co-feature, Danny “Joe-Joe” Valle (5-0, 3 KO’s), a third generation participant in the ring sport, entertained his many local fans in a 6 round lightweight contest in against a fighter from Yonkers, Angel Torres, 2-6-2, 1 KO), who also had many supporters in the crowd.
The two former NY Golden Gloves champions were rivals in the amateur ranks and met for the first time as pros on Thursday. As in the headline bout, past records were not an indication of how the fighters would fare in the ring. Valle was floored with a left seconds into the first round. Almost as soon as Valle rose from the canvas, he downed Torres. The intense action continued unabated throughout the bout. Torres followed Valle around the ring attempting to put his opponent against the ropes, but had difficulty cutting the ring off. The unanimous nod went to Valle by scores of 59-55, 60-54, and 60-54.
The Bronx was in the house during two bouts that featured local boxers. Michael Ocasio (2-0, 2 K0’s) of the Bronx demolished Abdellah Smith (1-3, 1 KO) of Queens with a knockout in 1:57 of the first round in a lightheavyweight encounter. Ocassio was cut over the left eyebrow in the early action. After the knockout, he told the spectators, “He [Smith] was leading too much with his head. I love the blood. That’s what I’m here
Stephen “The Mandingo Warrior” Owusu (8-6, 4 KO’s) has found a lucky home in the Paradise Theater as he won his most recent fight in DeGuardia’s last Bronx show on May 5. That successful bout came after an absence of 11 years in the ring for Owusu. The opponent of the 33 year old, Angel “White Tiger” Rios (9-5, 6 KO’s), like his opponent on Thursday, was away from the sport for many years because of legal problems. The most recent bout for Rios was in 2003. Bronx bragging rights for the two Bronx residents went to Owusu by unanimous decision, 60-53, 60-54 and 60-54.
The opening pro contest was between two welterweights with unimpressive records. Juan Perez (1-1), whose only previous fight was fought at the Paradise in May, took a seven count early in the first round. He came back to get the unanimous decision of the judges over Andrew Jones (1-7-1) by very close scores of 38-37 on all three cards.
The program began with the presentation of four amateur bouts, also featuring several sons of the Bronx. The NYPD was proudly represented by two of the winners. Jamal Spence stopped Shaka Davidson in the second and Mark Sinatra won a three round decision over Jonathan Jenkins.
In other amateur contests, Bryant Cruz won a decision in three rounds over Carlos Nieves in134 pound novice encounter and highly skilled youngsters, Josue Vargas and Brandon Irogo met in a 102 pound contest. Vargas, 13, won the decision over Irogo, 12, in an exciting match between two Bronx future pros.
The experienced and respected promoter is a Bronx native and resident who understands the fight fans in his borough and the history of the sport of pugilism in New York, “Our goal is to build up boxing here in the Bronx. We have a tremendous venue with the Paradise Theater, and now by pulling together exciting fights that match Bronx fighters vs. Bronx fighters, we are confident we are well on our way to achieve that goal. Back in the glory days of boxing, these were the types of fights and cards you saw all the time…Not only does it make exciting fights, but also for a great atmosphere and in my eyes that’s what boxing is about.”
The next show in the series will be at the Paradise on October 6. Tickets and information about the show can be obtained at the Paradise Theater on 2403 Grand Concourse or from Star Boxing, 7-8-823-2000.