Undefeated Puerto Rican lightweight Reynaldo Ojeda (16-0, 9 KOs) impressively introduced himself to American boxing fans in tonight’s ESPN Friday Night Fights main event, presented by 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, in association with Universal Promotions, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
The 26-year-old Ojeda took advantage of his decisive height and reach advantage in his U.S. pro debut, out-boxing the diminutive (5′ 2″), all-action Meza-Clay throughout a very entertaining fight. Meza-Clay continually walked down Ojeda, who used his quickness, superior movement and boxing ability to register a convincing victory by 12-round unanimous decision.
“I’m a top prospect at 135 now; I’m going to be giving them all grades now,” commented Ojeda, a teacher in Puerto Rico. “The plan was to box Monty because he’s such an aggressive fighter.”
Meza-Clay was hampered in the later rounds by a serious cut over his right eye. Ojeda wisely attacked the wound, pumping a series of stiff jabs and left hooks. “I got confident when his cut opened up,” Ojeda admitted. “What’s next for me is up to my promoter and manager, but I’m available to fight any 135-pounder in the world.”
Connecticut favorite Luis “KO King” Rosa (20-0, 10 KOs), of New Haven, made a statement in the co-feature against Colombian featherweight Jonathan “Popeye” Perez (33-11, 27 KOs). Rosa was the aggressor from the opening bell through the end of the fight against a dangerous opponent, firing an array of effective combinations to the head and body, often switching from an orthodox stance to southpaw.
Rosa was penalized a point in the fourth round for hitting his downed opponent. From that point on, though, he never let up. He pounded Perez, caught him on the ropes, and unleashed an unanswered barrage of punches until referee Michael Ortega ended the fight in the fifth round.
Rosa is world ranked by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC), respectively, at No. 15 and No. 16.
“I said it was going to be explosive and we made it that way,” Rosa said after the fight. “I made a statement that I’m coming after all of the top 122-pounders. I’m a future champ in the making.”
In the ESPN2 opening fight, 5-time Ukraine National amateur champion Ivan “The Volk” Golub, fighting out of Brooklyn, improved to 13-0 with his eighth career knockout coming against late replacement Henry Beckford (2-2, 1 KO). Class prevailed as rising middleweight star Golub worked fellow southpaw Beckford’s body, dropped him in the fifth with a body shot, and referee Ortega moved in to call off the fight.
The Foster brothers from New Haven were both victorious. Light heavyweight Charles Foster (8-0, 4 KOs) remained undefeated with a sensational knockout of Joe Gardner (11-8-1, 1 KO) only 62-seconds into the first round, while his younger brother, junior lightweight William Foster (2-0, 1 KO) stopped Gilvan Santos (0-2) in the opening round.
Bronx middleweight Chris “Golden” Galeano (8-0) remained unbeaten, boxing his way to a unanimous sixth-round decision over Yosmani Abreau (4-9-2), of Las Vegas.
Decorated Kazakh amateur boxer Dauren Yeleussinov (2-0, 2 KOs), now fighting out of Brooklyn, wore down Louisiana super middleweight Jay “JD” Williams (3-7), winning by way of a sixth-round technical knockout as referee Danny Sciavone halted the action.
Waterbury, CT junior welterweight Jair Ramos (3-2-2, 2 KOs) and Harlem’s Curtis Morton (3-5-2) fought to a four-round majority draw.
In the walk-out bout, Puerto Rican lightweight Alberto Candeleria (5-2-1, 4 KOs) was too much for Brooklyn’s Ian James (3-12-1, 1 KO), as referee Ortega waved off the fight in the first round for a technical knockout.