By Michael Benjamin
Light showers and a damp atmosphere permeated the Giftland Shopping Mall, Liliendaal ECD but failed to quell the heat in the ring when the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC) ‘Hostile Territory’ card concluded at that venue last Saturday evening.
IBF Inter-Continental bantamweight champion, Elton ‘The Bully’ Dharry then warmed the hearts of his fans when he unleashed a two fisted attack on former IBF World Super Flyweight champion, Venezuelan, Felix Machado, and forced him to quit on his stool at the end of the 4th, of their scheduled 8 rounds bantamweight fight. One fight earlier, Dexter ‘The Kid’ Marques was his usual classy self and out-boxed Freddy Beleno to register a lopsided majority verdict, while Revlon Lake turned back the challenge of Barbadian, Miguel Antoine, and avenged an earlier loss with a points win in their welterweight encounter.
Quincy Gomes and Imran ‘Magic’ Khan fought a very entertaining fight and the former pugilist utilized his experience to eke out a close points victory one fight before Mandessa Moses pounded out a unanimous verdict over Ansilla Norville in an entertaining 6 rounds bantamweight duel. The opening bout of the night saw Anson Green turning in a late effort to upstage Kishawn Simon in their welterweight encounter.
The rains had threatened since before the first fight but held up until just around the penultimate fight between Marques and Beleno. The latter fighter purposefully addressed the task at hand from the first bell when he surprised Beleno with a sharp left hook. The Venezuelan did well to shrug off the effects of the punch and advanced with flailing fists. However, a wily Marques utilized the ring to good advantage while scoring occasional flurries.
Beleno retaliated early in the second stanza with a wicked body attack but Marques continued to apply the pressure as the round progressed, this time landing from long range.
Beleno enjoyed sporadic moments early in the 3rd round, connecting with right crosses and looping straight rights but by then an energized Marques had found his rhythm and unleashed several combinations that pushed the Venezuelan on the back foot. The action heated up in the 4th round and both boxers stood in center ring in a vicious exchange. Marques then lashed out and landed a grazing blow to Beleno’s temple and down he went.
Beleno rose, more surprised than hurt and attempted to recover lost ground and was met by several right crosses but to his credit, he bravely advanced while scoring with a few punches of his own.
The 6th round was a shutdown for the Guyanese whose fleet footed movements and quick combinations kept Beleno at bay. Marques enjoyed target practice for most of the 7th round, as by now, Beleno appeared defeated and was just content to last out the fight. This proved to be a deceptive move as Beleno entered the 8th round aggressively, landing several telling shots to Marques’ head and body. Marques bounced out of range but quickly regrouped and reasserted himself with several telling shots to his opponent’s body and head.
A toe to toe battle ensued in the early stages of the 9th round but Marques quelled the Venezuelan’s pluck with timely right crosses and by the end of that round Beleno had convinced the spectators that he could take a punch after he stood his ground despite being at the end of Marques’ flailing fists for most of the bout. Indeed, Beleno refused to give up and staunchly fought on to the final bell. The judges’ scorecard did not reflect such courage but the lopsidedness of the encounter. Andrew Thorne saw it 97-92, while Carlton Hopkinson and Trevor Arno saw the bout 98-82 and 100-86, all in favour of Marques. Dharry entered the ring to a chilly breeze and light drizzles with the organizers anxious to beat the impending rains. Apparently cognizant of this, Dharry peppered his opponent with several jabs and then converted a perfect straight right that buckled Machado’s knees. Recognizing his man was hurt, Dharry hustled in but the bell beat him to it. Dharry resumed the onslaught at the start of the second round and staggered his man with a straight right and then rocked him with another but the Venezuelan managed to stem the tide to the end.
The drizzles continued to cascade the venue and forced some of the spectators to retreat under the canopy of the building while others braved the weather to enjoy a close view of the fight.
The pattern continued into the third stanza where Dharry kept his man blocking up but despite receiving some telling blows, the former world champion refused to quit.
Perseverance finally began to reap dividends for Dharry as Machado started to back- peddle from his vicious volleys in the 4th stanza. Dharry pursued his man and connected with a several wallops but though drifting backwards, Machado refused to go down even as Dharry urgently stepped up the pace.
By now the sky was overcast and it appeared as though the rains would have tumbled down any minute. As if on cue Dharry unleashed several unanswered punches but though obviously hurt, Machado refused to touch canvass. When the bell rung the two pugilists were in one of the neutral corners with Dharry pummeling away on Machado’s hapless body drifting him into the ropes.
Machado managed to make it to the end of the round and fans were just lauding his courage when he decided that the torridness of the previous round was too much and refused to return to the fray when the bell for the 5th round sounded.
Khan attacked Gomes from the first gong and had his man covering up to stem the onslaught. Gomes shuffled forward and threw fewer punches but with meaner intentions. It was Khan at his best as he punched and danced away before Gomes was able to get off his power punches.
Gomes attempted to bully his man at the start of the 2nd round but Khan used lightening quick combinations to ward him off. The exchanges were even up until nearing the end of the 3rd round where Khan unleashed a 4 punch combination that forced Gomes to cover up.
Shuffling forward Gomes, the shorter of the two, unleashed several hooks to Khan’s body and head forcing him to retreat. This was clearly Gomes’ round and he entered the 5th round full of confidence. He attacked and while at close range, connected with a short right hand and Khan’s knees touched the canvass for a fraction of a second. The referee ruled it a knock down and instituted a mandatory 8 count.
Khan, apparently in an effort to recoup the lost point, drove Gomes to one of the neutral corners with two ramrod shots but the bell halted his aggression.
The final round was a gem as both fighters, realizing that the fight was close, purposefully went after each other. Khan unleashed several unanswered punches before Gomes decided to respond with a few of his own.
The two gladiators held the crowd’s attention right down to the final bell which rang as they unleashed combinations on each other in a bid to influence the judges. In the end, Gomes prevailed after Thorne and Arno give him the bout 58-55 and 57-56 respectively while Dexter Torrington felt that Khan had done enough to win and scored in his favour 57-56.
Indeed, the general consensus seems to suggest that the fans had enjoyed the fights. As one patron was heard saying as he left the venue, “Those Venezuelans were warned not to venture into hostile territory.”
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