By Elisinio Castillo

Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9 KO) found the champion within himself and defeated Mike Plania (14-1, 9 KO) in a fight that stole the show among the fans who attended the boxing event at the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale.

The Dominican, who until a few months ago was the owner of the bantamweight world title, had to collect every last drop of energy to win by unanimous decision over a very tough opponent.

Plania came out with everything in the first half of the fight and even had Payano in trouble during the third round, giving the impression that the night would end early for the more experienced man, who went down and was hurt.

Payano, however, was saved by the bell and managed to survive and mounted a counterattack in a second half where he did more for the victory with a constant and precise attack, while the Filipino began to retreat.

The Dominican tightened the pace and closed the fence on the Asian fighter, who also did the impossible to recover the lost ground, although in the final rounds did not reach the effort. The scores were 96-93, 97-92, 97-92. 

The surprise of the night was Filipino fighter Reymart Gaballo, who was crowned interim-bantamweight champion of the WBA to win by unanimous decision over the favorite Stephon Young in a tremendous fight.

Gaballo dropped Young and hand him seriously hurt, but he managed to recover and then rallied to close the gap, although the judges offered ballots of 118-109, 117-110 and 117-110.

The 6-foot 9-inch heavyweight from Kissimmee, Florida, via Rudniy, Kazakhstan, Ivan Dychko (7-0, 6 KOs) scored a highlight-reel first-round, one-punch knockout over Miami Beach's formerly undefeated Stephan Kirnon (2-1, 2 KOs).

Kirnon, admirably, came out aggressive against the giant, but quickly ran into a shot that propelled him violently into the floor. The fight was immediately waved off at :38. Dychko, a two-time Olympic Super Heavyweight Bronze medallist, could not have been more impressive.

In a 10-round battle for the NABA-USA Featherweight Championship Miami via Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan bomber Mussa "Warrior" Tursyngaliyev (8-0, 7 KOs) clubbed away at brave, but outgunned Luis "Barcelo" Hinojosa (31-14, 18 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, until stopping him at the end of round three.

Tursyngaliyev is very strong and accurate, and he had things all his way throughout. He scored a knockdown in the second and finished it a round later. Hinojosa elected to stay on his stool, probably wisely.

Miami super welterweight JD "Pretty Boy" Martinez (9-0, 7 KOs) managed to squeak out a questionable majority six-round decision over fellow Floridian Jose "Colombian Necktie" Cortes (3-2, 1 KO) of West Palm Beach.

Cortes chased Martinez around the ring, seemingly with the harder punches and a more aggressive demeanor, but it was not enough to please the judges. They scored it 57-57 draw against 58-56 and 58-56 for Martinez.

Popular Miami welterweight Harold Calderon (15-0, 9 KOs) took a round or two to settle in against Barranquilla, Colombia's Ronald "Salvaje" Montes (18-8, 16 KOs), but, once he got his rhythm, it was all over.

The powerful undefeated southpaw lobbed enough accurate bombs to convince his Colombian foe to pack it in at the end of third round of their scheduled six. The official result is TKO 3 at 2:59. Calderon is ready for deeper water.

In an entertaining all-Florida super bantamweight bout, Miami's popular Jessy "Beast Boy" Cruz (12-7-1, 5 KOs) and Palm Bay's Sam Rodriquez (5-2, 3 KOs) slugged it out over six exciting rounds.

In the end, Rodriquez took a razor-thin unanimous decision (58-55, 57-56 and 57-56) on the strength of a fourth-round knockdown.

Fighting out of the southpaw stance, the heavily muscled Cruz got out to an early lead and rocked the smaller Rodriquez with his thudding left hand. But Rodriquez hung tough and clawed back into it by round three.

The pair went back and forth the entire fight and it could have gone either way.

Former WBO Asia Pacific Light Heavyweight Champion Steve "The Ambassador" Geffrard (17-2, 12 KOs) of Boca Raton stopped Budapest, Hungary's Zoltan Sera (38-16-1, 20 KOs) in the fourth of a scheduled six.

For the first three rounds, Geffrard, who lost his first two fights and hasn't lost since, shook off the rust and kept his composure against the awkward offerings of his European foe. He finally broke through in the fourth, scoring two knockdowns and prompting Referee Sam Burgos to wave it off at :39.

Miami's Jorge De Jesus Romero (5-0, 4 KOs) put on a bodyshot clinic in his abbreviated six-round super bantamweight battle against Hungarian veteran Szilveszter Ajtai (12-10-1, 2 KOs).

In the first, Romero came forward like an aggressive buzzsaw against the circling Ajtai. In the second, he lowered the boom, scoring three consecutive bodyshot knockdowns, and necessitating a stoppage at 2:01. Impressive showing for the Florida prospect.

The son of a legend, Robert Duran Jr. of Fort Lauderdale made his impressive professional welterweight debut by stopping Orlando's also debuting Miguel Morales in the fourth round.

Morales was no pushover, but Duran, looking like he already has some seasoning, put educated combinations together and waited for his opening. It came in the final stanza, as he scored his first knockdown of Morales with a right to the body left uppercut combo, and then finished things off with a thudding right hand that produced a second knockdown.

Referee James Warring waved it off without a count at 2:21.