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Perez-Smith Draw: Gomez, Browne, Galarza Win in BK

By Thomas Gerbasi

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York - A solid action fight between lightweights Michael Perez and Lonnie Smith met an abbreviated end, with an accidental head clash opening a cut on Perez’ head that forced a halt to the bout and a visit to the scorecards, where a majority draw resulted.

Scores were 66-66 twice and 67-65 Perez.

After a first round spent posing more than fighting, Newark’s Perez got on the board in a big way in round two with a left uppercut that put Smith on the canvas. Smith rose to his feet and almost got caught again with the left uppercut before Perez started focusing on his overhand right. By the end of the round though, Smith was back in the fight and tagging his opponent with flush shots.

The action continued to heat up in the third and fourth rounds, with both fighters getting their licks in both from long range and in close. But by the fifth stanza, Perez’ face was starting to show the wear of battle and Smith looked to be breaking him down.

In response, Perez started the sixth by boxing more and using his jab, which worked well enough until he let Smith get in close to land his thudding hooks and maul him in the trenches.

In round seven, a clash of heads opened a deep cut on Perez’ forehead, with referee Shada Murdaugh bringing the New Jersey product to the ringside physicians, who recommended the stoppage of the fight. After Murdaugh initially raised Smith’s hand in victory, the fight was rightfully sent to the scorecards moments later, with the draw verdict rendered.

Perez’ record now sits at 18-1-2 with 10 KOs; Las Vegas’ Smith moves to 14-4-3 with 10 KOs.

Junior middleweight prospect Eddie Gomez made short work of Tijuana’s Javier Gomez, winning by first round TKO.

In his opponent’s face from the opening bell, the Bronx’ Gomez got his foe against the ropes and staggered him with a flush left hook. The fight was basically over there, as Gomez staggered and wobbled before hitting the canvas. He rose on unsteady legs, prompting referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop the bout 77 seconds in.

2012 United States Olympian Marcus Browne stole the nickname of his opponent, Cincinnati’s Josh “The Pitbull” Thorpe in light heavyweight action, going on the attack at the bell and not letting up until the bout was stopped at 2:42 of the opening round.

Browne, now 3-0 with 3 stops, put Thorpe (1-3) on the canvas with a ferocious body assault with a little over a minute left, and after a follow up barrage, referee Pete Santiago called the fight, giving the popular Staten Islander his first pro victory in New York.

Given a rousing reception by the still arriving Barclays crowd, Brooklyn’s Frank Galarza didn’t disappoint in his junior middleweight bout against Los Mochis’ Guillermo Ibarra, stopping his foe in the second round.

Given a rousing reception by the still arriving Barclays crowd, Brooklyn’s Frank Galarza didn’t disappoint in his junior middleweight bout against Los Mochis’ Guillermo Ibarra, stopping his foe in the second round.

In control from the start, Galarza overwhelmed Ibarra from every angle, eventually using a cumulative barrage of shots to send the Mexican to the canvas in round two. Ibarra rose, but a second knockdown prompted referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop the bout at the 2:19 mark.

With the win, Galarza improves to 9-0-1 with 5 KOs; Ibarra falls to 7-2 with 4 KOs.

Debuting Brooklyn junior featherweight Claude Staten Jr. didn’t get a knockout in his first pro bout, settling for a shutout unanimous decision win (40-35 on all three cards) over New Orleans’ Mike Hill (0-2) in a sloppy four rounder made that way by the awkward Hill, who hit the deck in the opening round courtesy of a left hook.

Unbeaten New York City cruiserweight Steve Bujaj hurt Zeferino Albino with the first punch he threw - a left hook to the head - and though things didn’t get much better for the Philadelphian throughout the rest of the four round opener at Barclays Center, he did gamely go the distance before losing a shutout decision that dropped his record to 4-16-3 with 2 KOs. It was the 13th unbeaten opponent Albino had faced in his career.

Scores for the 9-0 (6 KOs) Bujaj were 40-36 across the board.

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