Cletus Seldin snags KO on Triller card, warms crowd up nice for Wyclef at Barclays Center
Music served as the draw more than the boxing Saturday night at Barclays Center, as Triller served up a combo platter, in the first appearance for the sweet science at the Brooklyn venue since March 12, 2020.
There would have been more patrons in the joint if the Teofimo Lopez v George Kambosos fight occurred as had been planned, but you know what is said about the best laid plans…
The plan changed, and Cletus Seldin ended up being the A-side draw for this Triller Fight Club event, and he gave the assembled a pleasing climax in the fighting portion of this “TrillerVerz” outing.
More people inside the joint bought a ticket to come see Super Cat, and Wyclef, and the music which kicked off after Seldin downed William Silva, delivering a filthy combo in round seven which had Silva being no threat to get to his feet.
24 seconds into the seventh, the junior welterweight Seldin secured a win, and to be fair, the fights overall gave watchers solid bang for the buck. Sometimes it goes that way, plans are made, and go off the rails, but the tweaked plan comes out OK.
Seldin spoke to Cynthia Conte after and his fans dug his call-out to the “Hammer Heads.” He said yes, he felt some rust, and he was surprised by Silva’s movement. “I’m one hundred percent giving myself an A plus,” he said. The 35 year old came over to media row after the win and told us a bit more about how the win came to be. He gave credit to promoter Joe DeGuardia, saying he spoke to the NY-area promotional fixture on Friday night, and DeGuardia gave him smart tips on how to deal with a clever vet.
Seldin (from Long Island, living in Brooklyn, NY;139.4; 25-1) got a point for coming to the ring to “Real American,” a theme song used by Hulk Hogan in his WWF heyday. Silva (from Brazil; 139; 28-3 entering) owned underdog status, arguably, as he’d been stopped out by Teofimo Lopez in 2018 and Arnold Barboza in 2019.
In the first, Seldin showed a patient streak, and Silva a penchant for movement. In the second, Seldin stayed in the same mode, he edged forward, feinted some, mixed it up, not simply looking to head hunt. Seldin, who had fought just once since June 2019 and had contemplated retiring after dealing with another shoulder surgery, got busier/meaner in the fourth after a tepid third round. He’s a banger, so you might think he just wings power shots, but no, he tried to set things up with jabs, and pace switching hooks. The crowd buzzed hard a few times as Cletus’ power shots landed more cleanly than before. He closed the distance and Silva felt that, he tensed up more and understood better Seldins’ power.
In the fifth, we saw Silva try to time a bomb, a right as Seldin barged at him. The New Yorker saw it coming. Seldin kept banging away, yes, this fight heated up, as they worked in close quarters. A right cross after a bevy of smacks to the body got the crowd jazzed.
To the sixth, we saw Silva hanging tough, he wasn’t being bullied so much that he looked to be in danger of getting accordion-d. Then, the anvil dropped. A right cross-hook-right cross combo put Silva to sleep, no melatonin needed.
Seldin admitted after that he dealt with rust, and Silva’s movement messed with him, but he knows he did well to stay patient, and let the moment come to him. He did provide a nice segue to Wyclef Jean, who came on the stage 15 minutes after the fighting ended. That tested my concentration as I typed this story, but as I told publicist Bernie Bahrmasel, I’m used to working at home, with kids, and dogs and all that, I’m good.
Ananyan Pulls It Out Late
Danny Gonzalez (from Woodhaven, Queens, NY; 138.6; 20-2-1 entering) scrapped with Petros Ananyan (from Armenia, lived in Brooklyn, living in CA;139.4) in a super lightweight battle, set for ten or fewer rounds, in the chief support clash. It went the distance, after Gonzalez pulled away in the middle to late rounds, but had to defend against a furious assault in round ten. Gonzalez’ chin and legs held up, so the judges had final say. A WBC Continental Americas title, vacant, was there for the victor.
And what do you know, Ananyan had his hand raised. One judge saw it even, 95-95, but that draw tally got over-ruled 96-94, 96-94, so El Gallo’s slow start cooked him.
Petros’ mad dash in the tenth got him the win, and yeah, I think Gonzalez looks at this one and kicks himself for not coming out of the gate quicker and also not pacing himself to rebut Ananyan’s late assault.
In round one, Ananyan, 2-2 in his last four, looked relaxed, and “El Gallo” started out patient. It was a feel-out round. In the second, DG landed a long right, but it looped, and lacked velocity. He was maybe getting his legs, he didn’t fight at all in 2020 and once in 2021, in April, against journeyman Evincii Dixon.
To the third—the patrons waited for some action to present itself. Both waited a bunch, so I heard an amateur analyst yell, “Be first, be first,” maybe at both of them. Petros scored with a left hook to the body, and went lefty late in the round. Petros went righty to start the fourth, a round in which Gonzalez acted like he knew he needed to perk up. We saw blood from a gash in between the eyes of DG, but he kept coming forward, with more urgency than before.
In the fifth, DG stepped up the volume even more. Petros stayed upright, poked with a jab, and lost the round. DG backed him into a corner and flurried, and told the judges he wanted the round more. To the sixth, we saw DG up his ante more, he put more mustard on his shots and the patrons reacted, because Petros had to fight back, or risk being chewed up. He complied, a counter right knocked Danny’s head back, and yes, it was official, the fight was ON.
Petros tried to land a nasty uppercut, and Danny’s stamina got tested. In the seventh, Danny moved more, he slid right, and picked his spots. This round started sort of slow but the action picked up, and Gonzalez’ jab stood out for its effectiveness. Gonzalez looked to be the busier man, and since neither man is a power hitter, that probably earned him the round. More jabbing and volume from Gonzalez in the eighth, as Petros got forced to back up more than he’d have liked. In the ninth, DG acted even more in control, he hustled at Petros, put together fluid combos, nothing that nasty, but scoring all the same. Petros in the last third sought to land a game changer, his speedy left hook had bad intentions on it, but didn’t connect.
In the tenth, a right cross landed clean on DG, and the Danny fans in the audience got a bit worried. Petros wanted to pull of a last-inning climax, and he made DG stumble. His pressure went to level 10, and he scored repeatedly. But Gonzalez made it to the final bell. We’d go to the card after a bout which started slow, but came through in the action department.
Madera Gets The Nod As Uzbek Najmitdinov’s Corner Halts Bout
Will Madera (from Albany, NY; 139.4; 16-1-3 coming in) took on Jamshidbek Najmitdinov (from Uzbekistan; 139.8; entering at 17-1) in the second scrap on the night.
Madera is still getting momentum back after being stopped by Felix Verdejo in round one of their July 2020 battle. Jam isn’t one of the Eastern Euros who jump right into title bouts, he’s still edging his way up, gaining experience.
The ref halted the contest after the fifth, and raised the hand of Madera. We didn’t hear specifics on what was what, exactly why Jam didn’t continue, as this was set for a max of eight rounds. It turns out he hurt his shoulder in round three and it really bothered him, so his corner pulled him.
Jam, co-promoted by Ronson Frank’s Uprising and Art Pelullo’s Banner, started strong, he loaded up on shots right away. And he unloaded one at the gonads, but Madera shrugged it off quick. Jam kept whacking away, the lefty acted as the aggressor, into rounds two and three. Then, Jam worked off that back foot, and countered more, but was he getting a bit tired, as he held more?
Madera picked it up in the third, the fans inside responded to his body strafing. He upped his feistiness and felt a confidence boost, because he was now the stalker. In the fourth, the doc looked at Jam’s face, making sure a slice wasn’t too bad. Madera ramped it up, at the sight of the blood, and Jam did too, it woke him up some.
In round five, Jam ran, according to the guy near me who took offense and made sure to let ‘im know. But he also stood his ground and fired combos. Both men hugged more, fatigue became more of a factor. Madera kept targeting the body, and Jam felt it, but tried to hide it. I expected a nasty tussle down the stretch.
Madera said this after the W: “Tough fight, strong guy, he fought me good and I got into being a macho man trying to walk him down. When he was shaking his head no, that usually means yes. I think he was trying to throw me off but he was getting tired and he was grunting when I hit him with the body shots.”
Rain Man Shines On Triller Card
Jose Roman (from Bayamon, Puerto Rico; 145.4; 11-0 entering) met Cesar Francis (living in Brooklyn; 144.4; 8-0 pre-fight) in the kickoff bout. The Puerto Rican Roman, under the DiBella Entertainment tent, started out solid. The action went back and forth, then the fight took a turn in the fourth, as body work from Francis took it out of Roman, who hit the deck, and did well to finish the round. Roman looked a bit gun-shy in the fifth, he was moving, but it looked like he was moving to stay safe. He wasn’t punching through, because he respected the Francis counters. Francis looked in control, he was being patient and not reckless. His targeting of the body really worked for him.
In the sixth, Roman came on, but then he felt the Francis power, and receded. In the seventh, Roman stayed in a zone of indecision. He waited too much and didn’t commit fully when he threw. In the eighth, Francis’ counter right landed clean and the crowd reacted. Roman didn’t have answers, beyond trying to minimize the potential damage from incoming. We’d go to the cards. Francis got the judge love, 78-73, 78-73, 79-72.
Francis said this after the triumph: “I dominated the eight rounds. I had moments where I could have stopped him but I didn’t want to get too aggressive, I wanted to work on jab and putting more body shots together.”
Landing a harsh body shot didn’t spur him to be over aggressive, he said. “But I didn’t want to go in too hot or too fast.”
A Frederic Julan (from Paris, France; 12-0) versus Brian Holstein (from Ohio; 13-8-1) light heavy scrap got scratched, as Holstein had a medical issue which presented itself after the weigh in.
SPEEDBAG We saw the direction things are going in, from a media standpoint, at this show. Press sat behind ten rows of good seats. Media isn’t as important when everyone has a printing press.
Also, social media centered coverage will probably overtake print in the near future. I sat in press row near an “influencer” type who took pics and Tweeted, there was not deadline coverage in the “old school” vein being hammered out. And that is what it is, “progress” is often disruptive and painful to the old guard.
—Some of the “new” tweaks get points for trying. Fighters being interviewed right before they walk to the ring hasn’t been a thing up to now, but producers are wanting to update the staid presentation that has been the norm. It will work with some guys and gals better than others, as many fighters are already “in a zone” right before the fight, and are not into taking questions about their home life and such before the battle commences.
—We also heard snippets of the on-the-air show, so Ray Torres would inform the live crowd about various elements periodically. Not a bad idea, I don’t think, to introduce that feature into the live show. He worked with Gabe Rosado and CrimeFace.
—Good to see matchmaking vet Eric Botjer in the house. He’s plying his trade for Team Triller.