Griego controversially stops Aquino » February 6, 2023

GriegovinsFrom David Finger on the ring

For boxing fans in Duke City, Saturday night should be the long-awaited opportunity to find out if their undefeated local prospect, Matthew “Diamond Boy” Griego, was actually the real deal. Griego displayed brilliant flashes in his career, but he had also made some rookie mistakes in 12 fights that boxing insiders feared he might struggle if he stepped up. We were supposed to find out how Griego’s career would unfold on February 4th when he entered the next stage of his career in the main event of the Wrecking Crew Promotion event “Rumble at the Revel” at the Revel Event Center in Albuquerque.

Unfortunately for Griego and boxing fans, that question seems somewhat left unanswered, although it’s no fault of Griego or Wrecking Crew Promotions. Griego, 112.8, took on Bryan Aquino, 113, of Puerto Rico. But for three rounds Bryan Aquino did almost nothing in the ring except dance and brace against the aggressive Griego before local prospects scored a controversial stoppage in the first minute of round four.

The fight started with a lack of action in round one as neither fighter dished out a punch in the first minute of round one. But in the second half of the first lap, Griego started to increase the pressure slightly after realizing that the sensing on his side was basically over. But the defensive-minded Puerto Rican wasn’t interested in exchanging punches just yet, and by the end of the round neither fighter had landed anything substantial. But while Griego was the fighter who moved forward and had at least a dozen or so shots thrown, Aquino had a stat line that read like a pinch hitter’s box score in a newspaper: 0-1.

Round two saw more of the same, with Aquino appearing to be looking for the perfect counter-attack while Griego decided to win the round by simply outplaying his over-cautious opponent. Aquino kept moving away from trouble when Griego was close to pinning him, but by lap three it seemed like Greigo was closing the gap. However, this only prompted Aquino to add the clinch to his rather limited arsenal. Early in the fourth round, it was realized that the Puerto Rican was in danger of digging a hole he couldn’t get out of in an eight-round bout against a fighter from his hometown. And maybe that’s why he only stood still for a short time in the first minute of the fourth round. But what happened next would be a deeply unsatisfactory and controversial end to what had already been an unsatisfactory struggle. When Matthew Greigo launched a right hand that appeared to hit Aquino in the jaw, the two fighters butted heads, sending the Puerto Rican to the canvas clutching his left eye. Referee Rocky Burke missed the headbutt, but in his defense almost everyone seated on the north side of the ring (including this reporter) did. As Burke counted, Aquino rose on shaky legs and protested loudly as he clutched his eye, prompting Burke to stop the fight at 0:55 of round four. But although many ringsiders also missed the headbutt, a video replay clearly showed that the two fighters actually butted heads just before Aquino hit the canvas.

“I hit him with my right hand,” Griego said after the fight, “but honestly, it was a headbutt.”

New Mexico Athletic Commission executive director Richard Espinoza confirmed that if a formal complaint is filed, the commission can review the result, which could result in the fight being declared a no-contest. Obviously not the result anyone was looking for, especially “Diamond Boy” who despite this rather poor performance from his opponent still ended in a TKO over a respectable young contestant. The win should propel Griego into a discussion of a regional title fight like a NABF or NABO, but the controversial ending could rob him of that if the result is actually overturned. Nonetheless, Griego was in good spirits (especially after he and his fiancée made an in-ring reveal announcement about their child’s upcoming gender). Realizing that defeating Aquino was not without controversy, he offered Aquino an opportunity for a rematch in Albuquerque later that year. Although Aquino never really tested Griego, the fight showed a polished Griego who didn’t seem to suffer from ring rust, although it’s hard to tell how much he’s improved against a fighter who dished out so few punches. With the win, Griego improves to 13-0, 9 KOs. Aquino sees his record drop to 12-3, 6 KOs.

Griego ComainIn a six-round co-main event, popular local welterweight Josh “Pitbull” Torres, 148.8, had a much tougher task against sturdy journeyman Todd Manuel, 149. Manuel entered with a less-than-impressive record of 21-21- 1, 7 KOs. But for boxing insiders, it was realized that despite his record, Manuel was a very dangerous opponent, especially after a over seven-month layoff for Torres. Manuel was best remembered for dropping former world champion Victor Ortiz en route to a decision loss in May of last year, and he had shown he could box effectively and use his reach to his advantage. It was clearly a dangerous fight for Torres, who was set to face an undefeated fighter in less than three weeks at Rio Rancho. And after six rounds, many ringsiders were concerned that Torres might have just stepped on a landmine just as his career was heading back in the right direction. It started competitively in round one when Josh Torres attempted to box with the taller man. Although it wasn’t the style Torres preferred, he did have some success with the right upper hand. But when Josh tried to box the boxer, Manuel started tagging the local fighter with his own right hand. In the second round, Torres attempted to force Manuel to use a fighting style more suited to the New Mexican, but when he stepped back to bring Manuel in, the veteran didn’t want to take the bait and actually challenged Torres, “come on !“ and move forward yourself. By round three Torres seemed to recognize his opponent, landed a few more shots and had more success with his offensive attack, but by round four Manuel was able to nip any change in momentum. Eventually, Manuel landed a sizzling two-punch combination on top of Torres, but as he stepped back to admire his work, Torres fired back on top with his own two-punch combination. Although on round five the crowd shouted “Pitbull! Pitbull!” It would prove to be one of Manuel’s better rounds as he boxed well behind the jab. The last lap was hard fought but it seemed Torres made it through. But for some ringsiders there were concerns that it was too little, too late, as there was no question Todd Manuel had given Josh Torres all he could handle. Nonetheless, Torres would get the benefit of the doubt in the tight rounds, winning a lopsided decision 60-54 (Mark Sanchez) and twice 59-55 (by Alan Dominguez and Anthony Romero).® scored the fight 58-58. With the win, Torres improves to 25-7-2, 14 KOs.

“I could have fought a bum tonight,” Torres admitted after the fight, “but I took on a warrior. We knew that was coming in.”

In a four-round affair, undefeated prospect Maximus Moya, 131.8, went the distance for the first time against rugged veteran Jazzma Houge, 134. Though few predicted Houge would turn the apple cart upside down, it was recognized that the veteran was a solid opponent for a 2-0 fighter. Houge came into the fight with a 4-10-1 record but had gone the distance with such notable fighters as Carlos Castro, Christopher Diaz and former world champion Isaac Dogboe. And his strategy was clear early on: suffocate the larger Moya and simply outwit him in the phone booth. It was a veteran fickle trick that could have frustrated many young fighters. But Moya handled it well and timed Houge several times. There were no losses in four rounds and although Moya was the clear winner, the fight was still competitive enough that at least one judge (Alan Dominguez) scored it 38-38. Judge Mark Sanchez scored the fight 39-37 and Judge Anthony Romero 40-36 for Moya, who improved to 3-0, 2 KOs. With the loss, Houge falls to 4-11-1, 0 KOs, with only two of those losses coming by knockout.

In the opening bout of the night, Albuquerque native Steve Trujeque, 117.2, nearly saw his career derailed in less than 30 seconds when he was dropped from a perfectly timed right counterattack against Albuquerque native Jose Vialpando, 118. Trujeque was visibly shaken but stood up and took control of the round with solid pressure and an effective strategy of mixing his offense from above on the body. In the second round, Trujeque was in control as Vialpando’s offense came to a complete halt. Trujeque effectively landed on top and by the second half of the second round there was no question referee David Rios was about to wave the fight off. The end would actually come at 2:40 of the second round. With the defeat, Vialpando’s record drops to 0-2.

For promoter Wrecking Crew Promotions, there was no question that February 4th was a knockout. With a nearly sold-out crowd and four enjoyable bouts to keep fans satisfied, there’s no question we should expect more from the fledgling promotional outfit and the Revel Entertainment Center, which has proven to be an excellent venue for boxing events.

Wilson wants the result changed to no contest

WBA #1 Akui shuts out WBC #16 Vayson


Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button