LINCOLN --- After a 14-month odyssey that saw him venture through five different states outside of New England and earn seven wins along the way, Toka Kahn-Clary was more than delighted to come home to Rhode Island this past weekend and fight in front of his family and friends.
Fighting in the co-feature of Classic Entertainment & Sports’ aptly-named “Home Sweet Home” card at the Twin River Event Center, Kahn-Clary gave his gathering of fans a surge of excitement by knocking out Miami’s Carlos Fulgencio 1:10 into the second round of their featherweight fight.
“I really wanted to have a good fight in front of my friends and family,” said Kahn-Clary as he was all smiles afterwards, receiving hugs and well-wishes from some of his fans. “It’s too bad I can’t fight here more often, but I was happy to be able to come here and perform the way I did.”
After dominating Fulgencio (19-13-1, 12 KOs) in the opening round, Kahn-Clary (10-0, 7 KOs) turned up the volume in the second, and thanks to some quick, powerful body shots, dropped his opponent to the canvas three times in a 70-second span.
The first knockdown came just 32 seconds into the round near Fulgencio’s corner, and after Fulgenico returned to his feet, Kahn-Clary quickly landed two body shots in the middle of the ring that dropped Fulgencio to one knee.
Again, Fulgencio got back up, and again, Kahn-Clary sent him reeling to the mat, this time with a right hook that nearly sent Fulgencio under the ropes and out of the ring and forced referee Ricky Gonzalez to mercifully stop the fight.
“My trainer (Peter Manfredo Sr.) and I have been working on them,” the Top Rank Boxing prospect said of the body shots. “We were happy with the way everything went, and we did what we had to do.”
Kahn-Clary also reported afterwards that he will be fighting again on March 29 at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. against an opponent to be announced.
Another Pawtucket fighter captured a victory with a dominant performance, but middleweight Thomas Falowo, who was on the verge of knocking out his opponent, Jaison Palomeque of Cartegena, Colombia, had to settle for a ‘W’ via disqualification.
After dropping Palomeque into his own corner of the ring with a right hook in the final seconds of the second round, Falowo (11-2, 7 KOs) battered his opponent against the ropes in the third and appeared to be well on his way to an impressive knockout.
But Palomeque (14-9-1, 9 KOs) retaliated by throwing a kick at Falowo’s inner thigh, and when referee Joey Lupino saw the kick, he quickly stopped the fight at 1:57 and disqualified Palomeque.
“That threw me off,” Falowo added of the kick. “It didn’t register at first. I couldn’t believe he did that. I wanted to keep fighting and I wanted to finish him.”
Falowo, who was fighting for the first time since an eight-round, unanimous-decision loss to Chris Chatman six months ago at Twin River, dearly wanted to put forth an impressive showing, but Palomeque didn’t seem as interested as Falowo was in bringing out his best boxing.
“It was frustrating,” Falowo noted. “I felt like he was on his way out and he was looking for a way out. He wouldn’t let go of the ropes, he hit me after the break, and once I hit him with a couple of good shots, he just ran away.”
The main event saw another Pawtucket fighter in action, 42-year-old light heavyweight Jaime Velazquez, who made his return to the ring after an absence of nearly 15 years, and another 40-something in 45-year-old, former two-time world champion Glen Johnson.
Velazquez (11-6-2, 6 KOs) gave Johnson a good fight for three rounds and landed some solid shots, but Johnson, who was the 2004 BWAA Fighter of the Year, turned back the clock with a dominant fourth round that resulted in a TKO at 1:59.
Johnson (54-18-2, 37 KOs) came out firing and threw a barrage of punches that clearly stunned Velazquez, but to Velazquez’s credit, he didn’t hit the canvas, although he nearly ducked through the ropes a little over a minute into the round.
Johnson eventually put away Velazquez with a punishing right in the center of the ring that staggered Velazquez. Sensing enough was enough, Roland Estrada, Velazquez’s trainer, quickly jumped up and waved off the bout.
The only other fight on the card that involved a R.I. fighter was former East Providence High football standout Kevin Harrison-Lombardi, who won his super middleweight fight with Antonio Chaves-Fernandez of Brockton via unanimous decision.
Harrison-Lombardi, who improved to 5-0-1, won his four-round battle with Chaves-Fernandez (4-15-2) via scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24