Ernesto Garza III Returns After Year Layoff; Impressive In TKO1 Victory

Saginaw, MI Super Bantamweight Ernesto Garza III convincingly overpowered Jeno Tonte for a first round TKO after a 13-month break

On Saturday evening, February 23 in Dearborn, Michigan a pair of Mitten State natives returned to the ring after early-2018 losses followed by lengthy layoffs. Super Bantamweight Ernesto Garza III, of Saginaw, and 28-year old Detroit Bantamweight James “O.G.” Smith co-headlined Second 2 None Promotions’ The Best of Tomorrow VI event, held at Dearborn’s Performance Arts Center, after being inactive for 13- and 11-month breaks, respectively.

Garza (10-3, 6 KOs) closed the show in emphatic fashion, as he attacked Jeno Tonte (9-6, 8 KOs) from the outset of their featured bout. The action quickly circled around as Garza’s pressure backed Tonte up into in Garza’s corner where a straight left hand split through Tonte’s guard, snapping the Hungarian’s head back into the turnbuckle. Tonte weathered the early rush from the Saginaw-based southpaw, and flashed some power of his own, as if to send a message to Garza that he intended to be around for the duration of the scheduled six-rounder.

As the fight moved to center-ring, proceeding the fire-fight in Garza’s corner, and the action gradually moved over to Tonte’s corner, Garza added in some body work that visibly began to trouble Tonte. After connecting with a couple of solid shots, moments earlier, both the power and sharpness of Tonte’s punches dropped off noticeably. On cue Garza’s pressure increased, the action started to move over to a neutral corner and the hometown fighter connected with a devastating left hook over the top of a lethargic right hook of Tonte. After the punch traveled its full arc, Tonte found himself on the seat of his trunks with his back against the ring post.

The Garza corner erupted, as well as the rest of the packed house, at the one-punch knockdown and Tonte initially looked as if he might not fight to get up and continue. Once he did get to his feet, Garza quickly moved in to close the show before the taller fighter could regain his bearing. The southpaw connected with a few more punches during a heavy flurry of shots, and the referee stepped in to stop the fight with roughly a minute to go.

The execution and determination displayed in the one-sided action looked like Garza was sending a message that his questionable 10-round split-decision loss on ShoBox: The New Generation last January to Jesse Angel Hernandez was firmly in his past. After the fight Garza’s father, and trainer, said the next step for his son was hopefully competing on one or two more local club shows before aiming for a return to Showtime’s popular prospect-driven series.

In the co-main event Smith battled through six hard-fought rounds with Mexico’s durable veteran Johnathan Lecona Ramos. Last March, Smith ventured over to Philadelphia, PA and lost an eight-round unanimous decision to Christian Carto in the backyard of the then undefeated rising prospect.

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Smith captured his 13th victory with cards of 58-56, 59-55 and 58-56. He landed the bigger shots over the course of the fight, the thudding blows entertained his hometown fans, but he unexpectedly had to go the distance with an opponent, in Lecona (18-24-4, 6 KOs), whose resume includes noteworthy names like Antonio Russell (TKO5 loss), current WBO Bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (TKO4 loss), and a 2012 eight-round split-decision loss to former world champion Juan Francisco Estrada.

In the night’s other fights:

Undefeated Super Lightweight Robert O’Quinn defeated Charles Johnson (0-2-3) for his fourth win. During the break after round three Johnson’s corner advised the referee their fighter could not continue due to a bad cut sustained earlier in the round. Johnson did his best to elude O’Quinn’s onslaught, in an effort to finish the fight after the injury, but blood steadily streamed from Johnson’s left temple to quickly cover a large part of left shoulder and chest. O’Quinn last fought in May 2016.

Kansas City-based Super Bantamweight Misael Reyes excitedly exited the ring with his first victory, to go along with two losses, as he outpointed Ohio’s Juan Nobles (2-1, 2 KOs). Nobles opened the bout landing with jabs to the body, and looking to counter Reyes. With his back against the ropes, he caught Reyes flush with a solid counter right the Kansas City native walked into amid a collision that Reyes walked away with a cut the referee ruled as caused by accidental head butt. The action was choppy the rest of the four rounds as the two wrestled a great deal, smothering most of the work either man attempted to accomplish. Reyes’ best shot of the fight, a left hook early in the fourth round, may have been enough as all three judges scored the bout 39-37.

Featherweights Basil Ali Nasser, of Dearborn Heights, and Missouri’s 19-year old road warrior Donnie Reeves engaged in an action-packed four-rounder. In the first round southpaw Nasser connected with a left hand that drove Reeves a few steps back and through the ropes, and appeared the hometown fighter would ride the energy of his supporters to a convincing win. Reeves responded with a big left hook inside in the second round, but Nasser’s flurries over the balance of the round, as well as the in the third left Reeves’ nose bloodied. In the final round Nasser walked into a stiff jab by Reeves, along with an uppercut, that triggered some trash talking between the two, but it was all for naught as the judges scored the bout 40-36 in Nasser’s favor for his third win against zero defeats.

Unfortunately, a few of the evening’s scheduled fights were scrapped and standout Super Featherweight Alycia Baumgardner only entered the ring to briefly address her supporters who traveled from Ohio to see her back in action since losing her first contest back in July. Hall of Famer Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns enjoyed the fight from ringside, and recently crowned WBC Super Welterweight champion Tony “Super Bad” Harrison also entered the ring to be acknowledged for his unanimous-decision upset of Jermell Charlo back on December 22 in Brooklyn, New York.

Featured image courtesy of Jeffery Finney/Catch ‘N Shoot Media

Slideshow photos by R.L. Woodson 

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