By Michael Benjamin
Venezuela’s, former International Boxing Federation World super/flyweight champion, Felix Machado
and Freddy Baleno arrived in Guyana two days ago to keep their ring date with WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation flyweight champion Dexter Marques and International Boxing Federation (IBF) Inter-Continental Bantamweight champion Elton Dharry respectively, and would be venturing into ‘Hostile Territory,’ as the card has been dubbed, at the Giftland Office Max Mall, Liliendaal ECD, tomorrow night.
Dharry will get the perfect opportunity to endorse the sobriquet, ‘The Bully’ while Marques will be anxious to prove that he is no longer ‘The Kid’ and ready to take on all comers when the action gets underway at 20:00hrs and fans are assured of a night of fistic fury.
Dharry flew into Guyana just under a week ago and, under keen supervision of former Commonwealth Champion, Lennox Blackmore, opened camp at the Andrew Lewis Boxing Gym, Independence Boulevard.
Having completed most of his work at the Gleason’s Gym, Brooklyn, New York, Dharry opted for speed and coordination exercises while oozing confidence of clinching the bout. Indeed, his phenomenal 19-5-1 record (5 KOs) certainly supports his ambition.
Dharry’s last loss seems a distant memory; a points verdict against Isander Beauchamp way back in September 2009 where all three judges’ gave the bout to his opponent (36-40, 37-39, 37-39). It was
Dharry’s 5th loss and he had then vowed to pick up the pieces of his career. True to his vow, he went on to win his next fight, against his countryman, Wilmut Hutson, at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall six months later and since then, the slimly built bantamweight has chalked up 15 victories on the trot.
His most recent bout was against Miguel Robles in June last year at the Amazura Concert Hall, Queens, New York where he continued his winning ways with a 3rd round stoppage in the scheduled 8 rounds duel. Now, eight months later, Dharry is set to add the scalp of Machado to his ‘death list.’
Dharry sports a sound resume and in what could be considered his best performance of his pro career, he scored an upset victory over the favored Jose Rivera by decision in New York City in 2010. His other accomplishments include IBF Inter-Continental Bantamweight champion (2014), while he registered sixteen consecutive wins in 2015.
Dharry is by no means a strong puncher but what he failed to achieve through brutal power, he has accomplished through perseverance and consistency. This view is firmly endorsed when one observes that he has managed to compile a 48% knockout ratio.
He is currently the IBF Inter-Continental bantamweight champion, a title he clinched in December 2014 after defeating Jose Rios. He also won his last outing against Miguel Robles in New York and is set to continue his winning ways.
In November 1999, Machado improved his world standing with a decisive technical knockout victory
over Antonio Jaramillo for the vacant IBF World super flyweight title. He successfully defended against Panamanian, William De Sousa, Columbian, Mauricio Pastrana, Panamanian, Martin Castillo and Julio Gamboa before losing that accolade to Nicaraguan, Luis Alberto Perez.
Like Dharry, the Venezuelan is by no means a knockout artist, having chalked up a 30% knockout ratio but he knows how to get the job done. His last outing was a success when he scored a points decision over his countryman, Jose Larreal. Machado fights out of a southpaw stance and carries the famed sobriquet, ‘El Macho,’ after the late world champion, Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho. Time will tell whether he can match the ability and skills attributed to this tab.
Spanish fighters are known for their aggression and much is expected of the Marques/ Baleno shindig. These two will square off in a 10 rounds flyweight fight and the Venezuelan sports a 26-10-0 record with a 42% knockout ratio.
He last fought in November last year and lost to his countryman, Alexis Diaz. Obviously, Baleno will be on the redemptive trail and would be out to dominate Marques who is slouch and has had more than his fair share of fistic warfare.
A former local bantamweight champion, Marques also won the WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) flyweight title after defeating Jamaican, Rudolph Hedge, in April 2014. He has not fought since after several planned fights were aborted for varying reasons.
Obviously, he will have to shake off some ring rust if he is to defeat the Venezuelan. With a 14-2-0 record Marques has a decent 31% knockout ratio, but is a highly skilled fighter. His last defeat was to Dharry in May 2011 but he has rebounded with six victories and would want to extend his winning streak to seven.
Dharry and Marques have been given added incentives for winning as, once successful in the impending fights, they will challenge for Commonwealth titles against English fighters, tentatively set for May 21.
Otherwise, fans have been assured of competitive action when the other fighters take to the ring. Imran Khan and Quincy Gomes battle it out in a 6 rounds lightweight affair while Barbadian, Miguel Antoine will oppose Barbados based Guyanese, Revlon Lake, in a return welterweight fight over 8 rounds.
Antoine had prevailed when the two last met in Trinidad and Tobago and Lake has since vowed to avenge the loss. Veteran boxer, Cassius Matthew will fight Kishawn ‘Special K’ Simon in a return bout; the former pugilist had prevailed when the two last met on Boxing Day 2013.
The card opener will see Mandessa Moses, back in the ring after a prolonged hiatus, matching gloves with Ansilla Norville over 4 rounds. The professional fights will be preceded by several amateur bouts and fans will be glad to know that their favourite warrior, Republican, Nankumar Singh, will be matching punches with Jason Phillips (FYF) in a highly anticipated slugfest. Dennis Thomas and Clairmonte Gibson will also show off their skills in a three rounds exhibition affair. These two boxers are currently preparing for the Olympic qualifiers in Argentina and the impending bout is meant to sharpen their skills. The amateur segment concludes with Courtney Gibson (GDF) tackling Diwani Lampkin (FYF) in another potential thriller.
The fighters are scheduled to attend the weigh in ceremony at the Giftland Office Max Mall tonight. The organisers have also planned a press conference immediately after the weigh in ceremony.
Admission is $5000 for a ringside seat while general seating costs $2000. Fans are also advised to retain their ticket stubs for a special draw where the lucky patron will win a 50″ Smart Led TV.
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