Niagara Gazette

February 27, 2014

Ventry loses pro debut; Casal camp weighs options

BY MICHAEL MROZIAK
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — NIAGARA FALLS — Already dealing with the disappointment of hometown native Nick Casal no longer headlining Fight on the Falls, the Thursday night card at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center took another disappointing turn when fellow Niagara Falls native Jake Ventry lost in his professional debut.

The night ended, however, with a Buffalo boxer rallying to score a second-round technical knockout in the new main event.

Ventry, an 18-year-old featherweight with only a dozen amateur bouts to his record, was knocked out 1:43 into the first round by Jesus Gonzalez in the evening's second bout.

Within the first minute of the fight, Gonzalez delivered a blow that stunned Ventry. There was then a moment of confusion as to whether the referee would give Ventry a standing eight-count. After some hesitation, realizing there was no such count coming, Gonzalez unleashed more shots, finally dealing the bout-ending blow shortly after.

Gonzalez improved his pro record to 2-4-0. His more plentiful ring experience showed. What upset the young Ventry after the fight was what he felt was an inappropriate mismatch from the start. He put the blame on his promoters, Pretty Girl Promotions, the company that organized the evening's fight card.

"This guy, they didn't research him. He had over 300 amateur bouts and then has his professional fights," said Ventry. "They're supposed to be looking out for me, the hometown guy... They're supposed to be looking out for me and didn't do their research."

Though disappointed by the loss, the young boxer was not discouraged. Ventry, who trains out of his father's gym, Thunder Boxing and Fitness Club in North Tonawanda, vowed to be back but hinted he'd like a change in direction for his management.

"I'm still 18, so I haven't had a long career," he said. "But I don't know if I could work with these people again."

Up until late Wednesday afternoon, Casal was scheduled to be fighting in the main event against Shakha Moore. The fight was called off when Moore's 2013 LASIK eye surgery raised concerns with the New York State Athletic Commission, who ultimately denied him the license to box. 

Casal, who still awaits his first fight since his 2012 assault, made an in-ring appearance during the intermission, receiving applause from the crowd and praise from in-ring announcer Henry Jones. 

He otherwise enjoyed a night off though his trainer and father, Ray Casal, served in the corner for one of the other fighters on the card, Mike Bissett, who lost by technical knockout to Serbian native and now Buffalo-based Milos Pantelic.

Before helping out in Bissett's corner, Ray Casal discussed the latest options for his son, who remains hungry for that first bout since his long hiatus. Among the options, said the elder Casal, was a possibility of becoming a sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather, who is scheduled to fight Marcos Maidana on May 3.

"We're working on trying to get him, if it works out right," said Casal. "Mayweather would be nice sparring, because he's got a similar style to Maidana, the guy (Mayweather) is fighting. He's worked with him before, so it would be nice.

"But in the meantime, I'm looking for a fight for him right now. We'll have to travel. He's got options. It won't be an easy fight but he wants to fight and he's ready."

The local boxer whose fight became the main event was Buffalo cruiserweight Greg "Juice" Brady, who had the crowd clearly in his favor from the introductions. He also gave the fans their money's worth, making up for Casal's canceled fight by putting on an incredible comeback in the second round. After suffering a knockdown within the first minute of the second round, Brady recovered to deliver a TKO of Brooklyn's Joel Shojgreen at the 2:25 mark of the round.

Opening the fight card was a women's featherweight match, with Michelle Cook (1-0-1) of Massena, NY defeating Ivana Coleman (0-5-0) of New Orleans, LA winning by unanimous decision.    

Welterweight Emanuel Colon (4-0-0, 3 KO) won by unanimous decision over Andre Byrd (2-1-0).