Stoneham’s Greg Vendetti thrills home crowd in first sports event at Encore Boston Harbor
Friday night’s bout went pretty much the way Greg Vendetti and his fans were hoping it would be, with the Stoneham native defeating Michael Anderson of Newark by unanimous decision to capture the vacant International Boxing Association junior middleweight title in the first sporting event at Encore Boston Harbor.
All three judges had Vendetti (22-3-1) winning each of the 12 rounds.
After finishing the first round strong, Vendetti, 29, held Anderson against the ropes for much of the second round, working his taller opponent with punishing body shots. He would continue that trend through the middle rounds. In the sixth round, the action moved to the center of the ring, with Vendetti continuing to get the better of Anderson, at one point buckling his legs after one particularly potent flurry.
“I just hit that kid with bombs, and I couldn’t put him away,” said Vendetti.
Anderson showed some spark at the beginning of the ninth round, briefly turning the tables and pressuring Vendetti against the ropes, but Vendetti was able to work his way back to the middle of the ring.
It was a nice return to the spotlight for Vendetti, who lost to Michel Soro in December, getting knocked out in the second round.
The night had a little bit of everything. A sellout crowd of 2,300 packed the Picasso Ballroom for a boxing card loaded with local fighters.
There was a nice nod to the past, as legendary boxing promoter Al Valenti presented Massachusett boxing icons Tony DeMarco and Micky Ward with plaques commemorating their induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Boston Bruins national anthem singer Todd Angilly reprised his role for the final bout of the night.
In the penultimate fight, Venezuela’s Luis Arcon Diaz continued his ascent in the welterweight division with a third-round knockout of Argentina’s Mario Lozano to improve to 8-0, all by knockout. Lozano dropped to 18-4-1.
Middleweight Larry Fryers took the award for best entrance, as the Ireland native who fights out of New York was preceded into the ring by seven bagpipers. He would also take best comeback, as he was knocked down twice in the first round by Bryan Abraham, but managed to turn the tables in the second round, staggering Abraham with a flurry before the fight was stopped. Fryers improved to 11-1.
The first four fights on the card were welterweights. In one of the more entertaining matchups of the night, Holbrook’s Mike Ohan Jr. (9-1) suffered his first loss, by majority decision, to Carlos Hernandez of Bridgeport, Conn.
Ohan, 25, wobbled Hernandez with a left hook to the temple late in the third round, but Hernandez, 34, remained on his feet. When the signal for the end of the fifth round sounded, Ohan avoided disaster as he turned his back and headed to his corner, apparently thinking the round was over, but Hernandez did not capitalize. Heading into the sixth and final round, blood trickled from Ohan’s left ear, while Hernandez had considerable swelling under his left eye.
It looked as if the third fight of the night would be a short one when Mansfield’s James Perella dropped Bryan Goldsby with a straight right to the left side of Goldsby’s head in the second round.
But the Macon, Ga., native got back to his feet and managed to last all four rounds. Perella, 26, took the decision to improve to 4-0.
South Boston’s Joe Farina, 28, went all four of the scheduled rounds in the second match of the night, defeating Jose Angel Ortiz of Springfield by a unanimous decision to improve to 7-1.
The first fight of the night had an international flavor, with Antoine Vanackere of taking on Francisco Medel of Sonora, Mexico.
Vanackere, 24, enjoyed a decided reach advantage, which Medel was able to fend off for the first round, but in the second round, he had no answer for Vanackere’s left hook. Vanackere kept it up in the third round, and started to land a right jab as well. One final left hook sent Medel to the canvas, and the fight was stopped at 2:14 in the third round. Vanackere improved to 11-1 with 6 KOs; Medel, 31, dropped to 13-20.