If you weren't holding on to the disappointment from seeing the Teofimo Lopez lightweight title defense against George Kambosos swirl down the drain, and your expectations were properly adjusted, then you probably enjoyed the four-bout Triller card which unspooled at Barclays Center on Saturday, October 16. More so if you dig boxing and appreciate the musicianship of Wyclef Jean and/or Super Cat, then you got more bang for the buck at the first pro boxing event held at the Brooklyn venue since March 12, 2020.
For sure, it was a long and strange trip to get to this Triller event, even for boxing, which is no stranger to behavior and situations which activate the puzzlement two-fer, the eyebrows raise/jaw drop combo. But wiping the slate clean-ish is a must when covering the fight game, because the sports' construct encourages changes, in venues, fighters, all of it.
I actually wasn't sure I was going to attend, as it felt to me like media were not being encouraged to cover the show. It was my birthday, did I want to go to a party for which I had to scramble to get an invite? I mulled it, but said fuck it… and was glad I sent.
It wasn't a “stacked” card, there were only four matches, after a light heavyweight battle got scratched, leaving four junior welterweight tussles to play out for the viewing pleasure of a modest crowd. All four had ebbs and flows and should confer some appreciation for the matchmakers.
Cletus Seldin is an entertaining character and boxer, he cracked me up by coming to the ring for his fight against William Silva to the Rick Derringer-penned theme song for “rock n wrestling” era Hulk Hogan, “Real American.”
Cletus has a knack for promoting himself and his fights and he's just a crackup. He's got a receding hairline going with a touch of a mullet, which adds to his allure, I think.
Ok, yeah, if you want to quibble, you have a point, in that having “The Hebrew Hammer” top the card which shared space with a reggae-themed concert didn't scream “syncopation”…but that's a marketing matter, and anyway, we get it, boxing is still affected by COVID, and that makes it harder to put together a show, period.
Seldin won the weekend in the mind of promoter Joe DeGuardia, ostensibly sharing duties with Lou DiBella, who must have been ensconced in a luxury box, because I never did lay eyes on him.
Seldin has to be on the doorstep of a pretty high stakes face-off in his next outing, which will come in the first quarter of 2022, after his conclusive KO of Silva in round seven on the Triller slate.
And apart from the commendable showing by boxing's No. 1 rated Funko collector, it's interesting, in that a few guys got wins in a way that boosts their standing measurably.
Top of that class for me? Cesar “Rain Man” Francis, a 31 year old Panama native who resides in Brooklyn. His effort against 11-0 Jose Roman, a 27 year old Puerto Rican prospect, stayed with me. Francis' ring generalship, his mastery of distance, his calmness, his unwavering focus on the Triller presentation…yeah, he's on my watch list now.
Francis rose to 9-0, with six kayoes.
As of right now, Cesar would be able to hang with plenty of more heralded 140s.
Also, Petros Ananyan (now 16-2-2) should get more looks for gigs after his majority decision win over Danny Gonzalez (20-3-1).
And Will Madera, age 30, should get more calls for his services after he upped his mark to 17-1-3 with a win over Jamshidbek Najmitdinov, also 30, from Uzbekistan, who slid to 17-2. Madera knew what to do against a lefty with some thump, and Albany, NY, his home turf, can be proud.
Here is a release sent out by the promotion after the fights concluded:
Brooklyn, NY (October 17, 2021)–Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Cletus ‘The Hebrew Hammer’ Seldin (26-1, 22 KOs), electrified his hometown crowd with a spectacular seventh round (0:24) knockout of William ‘Baby Face’ Silva, (28-4, 16 KOs), of Sao Paolo, Brazil in the scheduled ten-round junior welterweight main event at TrillerVerz III.
Presented by Triller Fight Club and VERZUZ, Seldin vs. Silva headlined an outstanding boxing card that preceded the Premiere of the New VERZUZ Iconz series headlined by a concert featuring music legends WYCLEF JEAN and SUPER CAT. The entire evening was broadcast and can be replayed on FITE.TV.
A VERZUZ battle between BIG DADDY KANE and KRS-ONE took place at Barclays Center Oct. 17 and screened on FITE.TV.
Defending his NABA Super Lightweight Title on the Triller program, Seldin and Silva fought evenly throughout the first three rounds before the Brooklyn native started to take control with an assortment of heavy-handed body shots. Opening up the seventh with his typical fierce power, Seldin dropped Silva to the canvas with two battering shots to the head as referee Benjy Estevez called an immediate halt to the action.
Said a euphoric Seldin after the victory, “This was the hardest training in my life. Just a year ago I was sleeping on the floor, after three cancellations of a fight. I am 100% giving myself an A+ on this, for all the hard work and determination I had to get here.”
“We always went for body, head, body, head, and coming up with the right hand. If you go back and look at what my trainer said for that round, he said, ‘two jabs and throw a short overhand right.' He wasn’t getting up after I landed those two big right hands.”
“The distance was close and I was able to land them,” he said after the Triller win. “I went for the home run on that right-hand combination and got the knockout.”
Co-featured in a spirited, crowd pleasing, ten-round super lightweight battle on the Triller card, Brooklyn’s Petros Ananyan, (16-2-2, 7 KOs), won a majority decision over Daniel ‘El Gallo Gonzalez, (20-3-1, 7 KOs), of Woodhaven, NY in an entertaining, back and forth clash. Scores were 95-95 and 96-94 twice for Ananyan.
Although the valiant Gonzalez did have his moments throughout the contest, the stronger Ananyan’s punches did more damage. Sensing the fight hung in the balance over the final two rounds, Gonzalez fended off as best he could the consistent onslaught from Ananyan displaying extraordinary will in not hitting the canvas. With the victory, Ananyan earned the previously vacant WBA Continental Americas Super Lightweight Title.
“This was a tough fight but I’m very happy with my performance. I’m ready now for better competition and look forward to bigger fights in the near future,” said Ananyan after the victory in the Triller support bout.
In a scheduled eight-round super lightweight fight, Will Madera, (17-1-3, 10 KOs), of Albany, NY was declared the winner via TKO over U.S. debuting Jamshidbek Najmitdinov, (17-2, 14 KOs), of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Madera was quicker to the punch throughout the fight, scoring at will. Najmitdinov’s corner called a halt to the action after the fifth stanza following an apparent shoulder injury.
“This was a tough fight against a strong guy,” said Madera. “I knew I was hurting him, he was shaking his head no but that usually means yet. He was getting tired from my body shots and I could hear him grunting after each one.”
Opening the Triller card in an eight-round super welterweight bout, Cesar ‘The Rain Man’ Francis, (9-0, 6 KOs), of Brooklyn, NY won an eight-round unanimous decision over Bayamon, Puerto Rico’s Jose ‘Cheito’ Roman, (11-1, 5 KOs). Scores were 78-73, 78-73 and 79-72. Displaying superior boxing skills combined with a relentless pace, Francis controlled the action throughout dropping Roman in the fourth round to cement the victory.
Said Francis after the victory, “I dominated the eight rounds. There were moments where I could have stopped him but I didn’t want to get too aggressive. I wanted to work on jabs and putting more body shots together. I knew I had him hurt a couple times especially after the knockout but I didn’t want to get reckless.”