By Cliff Rold
27-year old Light Heavyweight Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KO) of Greenvale, Victoria, Australia, made his US debut on Friday night at the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, New Jersey, with a ten-round unanimous decision over 34-year old Albanian veteran Alvir Muriqi (40-5, 24 KO) of New York City, New York. There were no knockdowns in the contest and Caparello controlled throughout.
Both men came in under the 175 lb. limit, Caparello at 174 ½ and Muriqi at 171 ¾. The referee was Benjy Esteves Jr.
Caparello started the fight working behind a long jab as the elder Muriqi came forward and the long limbed southpaw stayed behind it as the fight progressed. Bringing the right hand behind it, Muriqi struggled to cross the gap and failed to exert his own jab enough.
The rounds were hard to distinguish from each other, the fight staying at a measured pace throughout with Caparello piling up points and Muriqi following him with token offense. Action was halted briefly in the eighth for loose tape on the glove of Caparello, one of the few moments of the fight that felt different than the others.
With two rounds to go, Caparello just kept doing his thing and Muriqi never went for broke. The scores were academic at 98-92 twice and 100-90. Muriqi suffers his first loss since 2009. Caparello gets his sixth straight on points, the last win coming against former title challenger Allan Green in October 2013.
In the co-feature, 22-year old Puerto Rican Jr. Featherweight Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KO), 122 ¼, of New Haven, Connecticut, scored two knockdowns en route to an eight-round unanimous decision over 26-year old Jorge Diaz (17-3, 10 KO), 121 ¾, of New Brunswick, New Jersey. The referee was Albert Brown.
Rosa was in command almost from the start and made it a long night for a Diaz who couldn’t avoid the right hand. In the third, it was a left hook and right to the body that sent Diaz to the floor. In round four, Rosa landed a big right hand to send Diaz’s head jerking upwards before toppling forward as Rosa missed with some follow-up blows. By the end, the left eye of Diaz was swollen and his body language spoke to a long night. Rosa scored the duke with totals of 78-72, 79-71, and 80-70.
It was Diaz’s third loss in five fights and first since a knockout loss to Yenifel Vicente in June 2013.
In the televised opener, 19-year old Welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (20-0, 11 KO), 146 ¼, of Washington, DC, remained undefeated with an efficient unanimous decision over 29-year old Tim Witherspoon Jr. (10-4-1, 2 KO), 146 ½, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Witherspoon is the son of former two-time Heavyweight beltholder Tim Witherspoon.
The referee was Benjy Esteves, Jr.
The lanky Witherspoon got off to an active start in the first but Hernandez-Harrison adjusted and alternated well between pressuring and moving about the ring. The youngster showed good head movement and a solid jab, pegging himself one to keep an eye on going forward. Hernandez-Harrison carried the bout on scores of 78-74 across the board.
The card was broadcast on ESPN2 as part of its “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org