Canada closes gap in Con­tender Se­ries

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Leroy Brown/Gleaner Writer

RICARDO ‘MAGIC Man’ Salas, who is Canada’s No. 1 choice in the Wray and Nephew Con­tender se­ries, was true to form on Wed­nes­day night at the Chi­nese Benev­o­lent As­so­ci­a­tion au­di­to­rium when he scored an im­pres­sive fourthround tech­ni­cal knock­out vic­tory over Ja­maica’s Scean­tonie “Scrappy” Johnson.

Salas’ win closed the gap be­tween the two coun­tries. Canada now has three vic­to­ries out of seven in the eight-fight pre­lim­i­nary round of the se­ries. Canada will have the op­por­tu­nity to make it 4-4 next week when their No. 3 seeded boxer, Jeff Tabrizi, takes on Ja­maica’s Fabian Tucker.

The 19-year old Salas, who now has an 8-1 record, with seven of his vic­to­ries com­ing in­side the dis­tance, put his punch­ing power on dis­play early as he was ob­vi­ously try­ing for a knock­out vic­tory over Johnson, who, at age 41, was mak­ing his pro­fes­sional de­but. Johnson tried to keep his dis­tance with his jabs, but Salas was able to get in­side to throw his com­bi­na­tions and put Johnson down twice. The sec­ond knock-down came in the last 10 sec­onds of the round, and this saved Johnson, as he was able to beat the count.

Salas went on the at­tack again in the sec­ond round, but Johnson’s de­fen­sive skills took him safely through it.

HUNT FOR KNOCK­OUT

The hunt for the knock­out by Salas con­tin­ued in the third, and he told The Gleaner af­ter the fight that he “wanted to end it in the first round and used up a lot of en­ergy”. Johnson nav­i­gated the third round safely with good de­fen­sive work, but Salas opened up again in the fourth stanza, and as he poured on the pres­sure against a now de­fence­less Johnson, ref­eree Eion Jar­dine stepped in at the 50-sec­onds mark and called it off.

The Mex­i­can, who now lives in Canada, said af­ter­wards through an in­ter­preter, that he “felt great” and was “con­fi­dent that he can get to the fi­nals”.

Johnson said that he was ‘dis­ap­pointed at the loss’, as he ‘wanted to make a suc­cess­ful de­but’. He added that his “ab­sence from the ring for over a year” be­cause he “could not get any fights” did not help his cause.

In the two am­a­teur bouts Rey­naldo Beck­ford from Ora­cabessa gym de­feated Wayna Reid from Florida by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion in a mid­dleweight con­test, and wel­ter­weight Kevonne Wil­lis, from the Ja­maica De­fence Force, de­feated Marvin Shirley from Ora­cabessa, also on points. In an act of poor sports­man­ship, Reid re­fused his sil­ver medal but later re­turned to the ring an apol­o­gised for his be­hav­iour.

SALAS

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