Joseph Adorno was at a make-or-break point in his young career, and the 23-year-old didn’t break.
“Blessed Hands” earned his biggest win to date, outpointing the previously unbeaten Hugo Alberto Roldan by the narrowest of margins, 95-94 on all three cards, on Friday night in the main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation card from Bally’s Event Center in Atlantic City, N.J.
Adorno (17-1-2, 14 knockouts) jumped out to an early lead and held on to outpoint the aggressive Argentinian Roldan (21-1-1, 7 KOs) over the ten-round distance, with a second round knockdown off a counter left hook being the difference in the bout.
The victory was a much-needed boost for Adorno of Allentown, Pa., who was stepping back up in competition following two easy rehab wins that helped him rebuild following a three-bout stretch between 2020 and this past March that saw him draw with Hector Garcia and Jamaine Ortiz before taking his first defeat to Michel Rivera by unanimous decision.
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Roldan, 29, was fighting for the first time in the United States and made a strong accounting of himself, outpunching Adorno for significant portions of the later rounds. Adorno’s advantage in technical skill and hand speed was the difference between winning a close decision and being upset by a hungry, yet unknown visitor.
Frency Fortunato Saya (14-1, 10 KOs) rode an early lead and a fourth round knockdown to edge Bernard Angelo Torres by split decision in the second bout of the broadcast. Both fighters won a scorecard by a 95-94 margin, while a third judge turned in an indefensible 97-92 scorecard for Fortunato of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Saya, 24, dropped the Norway-based Filipino Torres (16-1, 7 KOs) with a straight right hand in the fourth, but faded late as the 26-year-old southpaw pressed the action in the featherweight bout.
Punch stat numbers showed Torres with a 125 to 98 edge in punches landed, and Fortunato throwing more punches, 545 to 433.
Fortunato has now won four straight since his lone defeat, a close unanimous decision against Alberto Ezequiel Melian in March of 2021.
The broadcast kicked off with a welterweight crossroads bout between Janelson Figueroa Bocachica and Roiman Villa. Villa (25-1, 24 KOs) of Rosario, Venezuela scored a second round knockdown to win a one-sided unanimous decision over Bocachica (17-1-1, 11 KOs) by the scores of 79-72 on two cards and 78-73 on the third.
The 29-year-old Villa was fighting for the first time in the United States after building his record mostly in South America.
An overhand right hurt Bocachica of Detroit, Mich. in round two before a left hook from Villa put him down. Bocachica was also deducted a point after he spit out his mouthpiece three times following the knockdown. Bocachica showed toughness throughout to fight his way back into the fight, but Villa had him hurt towards the end of the final round as he sought a knockout. Villa is represented by international adviser Sampson Lewkowicz.
Bocachica, 23, was fighting for the first time since a controversial draw against Shinard Bunch in July of 2021 which many felt Bunch deserved to win.
On the undercard, local New Jersey talents picked up wins in untelevised bouts.
Unbeaten heavyweight Norman Neely (13-0, 8 KOs) of Paterson, N.J. won his third decision in a row, shutting out Terrell Jamal Woods (28-53-9, 20 KOs) over the six round distance by the scores of 60-54 on all three cards. Neely, who stands 6’3” and weighed in at 241 pounds, had been a top amateur as a kid, winning the 2006 USA Junior Olympic National Championships, and is now 32 years old.
Neely’s stablemate Dwyke Flemmings Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) remained unbeaten with a quick first round blowout of Assuan Jones Chatman (0-3). The junior middleweight prospect Flemmings Jr. is just 18 years old and had approximately 80 amateur fights.
Both Flemmings and Neely are trained by Dwyke Flemmings Sr.
Nicky “The Bull” Vitone (9-1-1, 7 KOs) of Pine Brook, N.J. won his fifth fight in a row, stopping Ariel Vasquez (15-37-3, 9 KOs) in the fifth round of a scheduled six-round junior welterweight bout.