PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The original Contender turned out to be the last one standing Friday night at Twin River Casino.
In a battle of former reality-television stars, Providence, R.I., super middleweight Peter Manfredo Jr. (39-7) inched closer to his 40th career victory and won for the second time since returning to professional boxing with a dominant performance against fellow Contender participant Walter Wright (14-4).
Manfredo effectively worked his jab and simply out-boxed Wright over the course of 10 roudns to earn a 98-93, 100-90, 97-93 unanimous decision win against Wright, who took the fight – his first in two years – on just two week’s notice. Toward the middle rounds, Wright could barely see out of his right eye, which had swelled shut due to excessive shots from Manfredo.
“The Pride Of Providence,” a Season 1 finalist on The Contender reality television series, returned in November with a convincing win over Rayco Saunders and is now one win shy of 40 victories following Friday’s dominant performance. Wright, a Seattle, Wash., native, was a quarterfinalist on Season 2 of The Contender.
Facing his former sparring partner and protégé of former world heavyweight champion John Ruiz, Pawtucket, R.I., middleweight Thomas Falowo (9-1, 7 KOs) delivered an impressive over the tough Julio Garcia (6-4) of Boston (Rincon, Puerto Rico), stopping Garcia after five brutal rounds. With his face bloodied, Garcia did not answer the bell for the sixth and final round.
Two intra-city rivals squared off in the co-feature as Joe Gardner (11-5-1) and Reynaldo Rodriguez (6-6-1) battled until the final bell of their six-round super middleweight bout. The crafty Garnder kept his distance despite Rodriguez’s attempts to turn the fight into a brawl. Rodriguez picked up the pace in the later rounds, but Gardner ultimately out-worked and out-boxed his opponent to score a 58-56 unanimous-decision win on all three scorecards.
Looking to bounce back from the first loss of his career, Burlington, Vt., light heavyweight Kevin Cobbs (7-1) came through swimmingly in a 39-36, 37-38, 39-36 split-decision win over hard-hitting Harwich, Mass., native Paul Gonsalves (4-3). Once he found his rhythm, Cobbs maintained a steady pace and scored a knockdown in the third round to help seal the victory.
The night began with a dynamic, back-and-forth bout in the female bantamweight division as Noemi Bosques (1-0-1) of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Brooklyn’s Vanessa Greco (1-2-2) fought to a majority draw over four rounds. Bosques, who now lives and trains in Providence, R.I., won 39-37 on one of the judge’s scorecards, but the other two judges scored it 38-38. In the welterweight division, 19-year-old Patryk Szymanski (6-0) of North Bergen, N.J. (Wroclaw, Poland), kept his perfect record intact with a hard-fought 60-54, 59-57, 58-56 win over Brockton, Mass., veteran Antonio Chaves Fernandes (2-9-2). Warwick, R.I., veteran Benny Costantino (7-3) was forced to quit with 13 seconds remaining in the second round of his scheduled four-round super middleweight bout against Emmanuel Medina (3-3-1) after suffering a knee injury. Medina was credited with a second-round technical knockout, the third knockout victory of his career.