Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Canada closes gap in Contender Series

Published:Friday | May 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMLeroy 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 fourth- round 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.