Locals take eight of 12 bouts in Youngstown vs. Italy fight card

By Greg Gulas



The Youngstown boxing contingent held the upper hand against their Italian counterparts Thursday night at the Covelli Centre.

Despite a less than expected turnout, those attending the 12-bout “Youngstown versus Italy” amateur card were treated to an International flavor ordinarily not witnessed locally.

“I appreciate the people that came out tonight because they were enthusiastic, boisterous and passionate. That’s all you can ask for as you plant the seed for future endeavors like this,” former WBA lightweight world champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini said. “I really want to thank Mike Divin of the Hibernian Celtic Athletic Fund for his efforts in making this happen. We want to do this again and make this a yearly thing.”

In the opening fight of the evening, Kaleb Waggoner of Toronto needed just 61 seconds before sending Italy’s Antimo Lombardi to the canvas for a first-round TKO at 125 pounds.

The win gave Youngstown the early advantage over the Italians and the Americans made it two straight in a 132-pound fight when Steve Cunningham of Pittsburgh scored a majority decision over Andrea Piccolo.

Overall, the Youngstown team won eight of the 12 bouts with the two locals, Brian Simms and Bryan Colon, late scratches from the card

Sylvio Cercone of McKees Rocks then won on points over Luca De Chiara at 135 pounds.

Cercone, who is of Hawaiian heritage, said it was special to represent the Youngstown boxing group and to have Mancini’s sponsorship on his shirt.

“I went on vacation with ‘Boom Boom’ last year when he joined us for our trip to Cuba to face their boxing team. He’s always been one of my favorite boxers and I’ve learned a lot from him in the short time that I have known him,” Cercone said. “My strategy was very simple and that was just box. He wanted to come forward, so I was playing defense first and then countering with my offense.”

In the first of four female bouts, Pittsburgh’s Mary Casamassa earned a unanimous decision over Daniele Buonanno at 152 pounds to move her overall record to 5-1.

Casamassa, who is part Italian, said the bout wasn’t exactly her best effort.

“My coaches told me to work my skills, but I felt kind of sloppy tonight. It really wasn’t me out there,” she stated. “I felt tired in the third round and was probably too nervous about this fight. That zapped me of my energy.”

The evening’s second female bout yielded the Italian team’s first victory when Jessica Palmieri scored a unanimous decision over Collen Davis at 132 pounds.

Palmieri forced a standing eight count of Davis in the second round.

The third female pairing had Cleveland’s Morelle McCane post a unanimous decision over Maura Scalervio at 150 pounds while the final female bout, a 152 pound match-up, had Maria Antunez also winning for the second time in five days with a unanimous decision over Roberta Mustrada

Paul Palumbo, who earned a unanimous decision over Cameron Doherty during last Saturday’s Lights Out Management amateur card at Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Center, made it two victories in five days with another unanimous decision. This time over Daniele Pucciarelli at 165 pounds..

Unlike Palumbo, Charlie Clouston of Ellwood City fell for the second time over that span when Italy’s Gianmarco Pinci produced a unanimous at 141 pounds.

It was also the second win for the Italian team.

Italy’s third win came at 154 pounds when Vincenzo Arecchia won by points over Pittsburgh’s C.C. Clark while Ronnie Hines of Cleveland won a unanimous decision over Michaelangelo Lusi at 195.

The final fight on the card had Italy’s Ricccardo Valentino a winner on points over Kiante Irving of Pittsburgh at 175 pounds.

The Italian team — Gruppo Sportivo Fiamme Oro or the Golden Flames — was coached by Italy’s highly decorated Olympic champion Roberto Cammerelle.

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