Thursday, September 21, 2023  |


NJ prospect John Leonardo cruises to decision win over Dominique Griffin in first promotion

Photo by David Algranati/The Fight Photos
Fighters Network

MANALAPAN, N.J. — John Leonardo made sure he wouldn’t be accused of false advertisement in his first fight as a promoter.

The junior featherweight prospect turned promoter lived up to his company’s Body Shot Promotions name, targeting the midsection of Dominique Griffin relentlessly en route to an eight-round unanimous decision win on Saturday, August 19 at Sportika in his hometown of Manalapan, N.J. Two judges scored the fight 79-73 while the third had it 78-74 in favor of Leonardo (10-1-1, 4 KOs), who stretched his winning streak to three straight.

Leonardo, 23, looked on his way to a stoppage as early as the third round as he landed body punches with both hands that left Griffin (5-4-2, 2 KOs) on the verge of wilting. Griffin never stopped trying, walking through all of Leonardo’s punches to make it to the final bell.

“I knew he was gonna be tough like that. I knew I was gonna hit him with shots and he was going to be able to deal with them,” said Leonardo, who is trained by his father Donnie Leonardo. “The only way to move up is to fight tough guys like him.”

The win, which was Leonardo’s first scheduled eight-rounder, was a homecoming of sorts. Leonardo, whose pro career was largely built in cities like Philadelphia or Atlantic City, was getting to fight in front of his hometown fans at an indoor sports venue where he used to play soccer and basketball.

Leonardo says the plan is to stage the next Body Shot Promotions event in January.

“I’m going to stay at 122. I didn’t have a hard time making 122. I actually stepped in lighter than Griffin, I think him and his team were shocked. I stepped in 121 even, no struggle, I hydrated back up. No struggle, I felt good,” said Leonardo.

Terry, Salloum get easy stoppages

Fresh off his first nationally televised fight, Robert Terry wasted no time in getting back into the win column.

Photo by David Algranati/The Fight Photos

“The Tiger” Terry blasted out the overmatched Heivinson Herrera (28-23-1, 22 KOs) in the first round with his first volley of punches. The official time of the knockout was 39 seconds – including a full ten count – as Terry (10-0-1, 4 KOs) handled business early.

Terry, 30, of Jersey City, N.J. had a much more motivated opponent in his last outing in April, fighting to a split decision draw against fellow unbeaten Raul Garcia on a ShoBox broadcast. Terry, a four-time N.J. Golden gloves champion and 2017 National Golden Gloves runner-up, is trained by Bobby Rooney.

Nadim Salloum kept busy with his tenth straight victory, stopping Roger Guerrero after the second round in their eight-round super middleweight bout. The fight was jus beginning to heat up as Guerrero (17-6-1, 10 KOs) was able to land some hard southpaw shots on Salloum (12-1, 6 KOs), a Lebanon native who now makes his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. Salloum, 29, listened to his corner’s advice to focus on the body, which likely led to the finish of the bout.

After the second round, Guerrero informed the referee that he was feeling like vomiting and retired on his stool. The loss is the fifth straight for Guerrero, 26, of Quito, Ecuador. Salloum is a five-time national champion in his native country and represented his country in international competitions. He is now trained by Jose Luis Guzman and managed by Adam Glenn.

Gabriel Gerena (4-0, 3 knockouts) looked dominant in his four-round lightweight bout, battering Anthony Smith (1-6, 1 KO) to a third round stoppage. Smith’s corner threw in the towel early in the third round as Gerena, 21, of Piscataway, N.J. battered him to the head and body with nonstop pressure.

In the upset of the night, Lemir Isom Riley (3-1, 1 KO) of New Cumberland, Pa. outhustled Derek Starling (6-2, 4 KOs) of Philadelphia to win a majority decision in their six-round heavyweight bout. One judge had it even at 57-57 while the other two scored it 58-56.

Riley, who was 26 pounds lighter than his opponent at 248 pounds, kept the pressure on Starling from the opening bell, landing hard body shots in close as Starling looked to hold and smother. Riley also did good work with his right hand, landing straight rights and uppercuts in close. Starling had his best success with his southpaw right jab but couldn’t put anything behind it to hold off Riley.

The win was a much needed boost to the career of Riley, 27, who was knocked out in two rounds by Devon Young in his previous bout in March, for which he weighed 31 pounds lighter. The 34-year-old Starling, a five-time N.J. Golden Gloves champion, suffers his first defeat since 2021, when he had to bow out of a fight with Darryl Clark due to a shoulder injury.

Featherweight boxer/New York City high school teacher Chiara Dituri got one last win in before the school year begins, outfighting Julie Metzner to a four-round unanimous decision win. Two judges scored it 40-36 while the third had it 39-37, all for Dituri (7-0, 3 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y. Dituri, 29, looked to be closing in on the knockout in the fourth round, using slick pivots in close to land hard left hooks and right hands, but the fight went the distance.

Metzner (1-5) fought hard throughout but the speed of “Speedy” Dituri was too much to overcome.

The 29-year-old Dituri, who teaches physical education at John Dewey High School in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, is trained by Don Saxby at Gleason’s Gym.

Light heavyweight prospect Kevin Coleman may have been out of the ring for seven years, but he didn’t have to wait very long to register the victory in his pro debut. The Edison, N.J. resident dropped Dennis Maldonado (0-3) four times – or each time he made contact – to score the stoppage in their scheduled four rounder.

There was one moral victory for Moldonado, who lasted 1:32 into the first round before being stopped. The fight was the longest he had lasted in his two previous bouts, outpacing his pro debut effort by 26 seconds.