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Gilbert defends his title

Appeal Staff Report

Northern Nevada boxers won three out of four bouts on a six-fight card promoted by Reno’s Joey Gilbert on Friday at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa.

The 30-year-old Gilbert, who also headlined the card, successfully defended his North American Boxing Organization middleweight championship with a unanimous 12-round decision over Michi Munoz, of Topeka, Kan. via Guanajuato, Mexico.

Gilbert, who weighed 159 pounds and is now 14-1 with 10 knockouts, won by scores of 119-109 (twice) and 120-108.

Munoz, now 17-1 (12) may be nicknamed the “Mexican Sensation,” but it was Gilbert who looked sensational against the 160-pound Munoz, peppering him with left jabs throughout the fight.

Although Munoz pressed the action, Gilbert got the better of it and dictated the tempo of the fight with his incessant jab and occasionally mixed in some hard body shots.

“This is one of the best fights I’ve ever had and one of the best fighters I’ve ever faced,” said Gilbert, who hid his swollen face behind a pair of sunglasses. “Munoz was coming in with lefts every time I threw a right to the body.”

Gilbert, a licensed attorney, pointed to the right side of his face and offered some evidence of the relatively unmarked Munoz’s efforts.

“Every time he scored a left, Exhibit A is what happened,” Gilbert said with a chuckle. “In the 12th round I just wanted to be sure I closed the show. I knew I wasn’t going to knock this guy out. (Trainer) Dan Birmingham said at one point when I came back to the corner, ‘Damn, this guy has a head like a block.'”

The MontBleu Showroom, where the card was held, seats 1,500 and ushers tried to find chairs to seat more people.

“It was awesome to see everyone come out,” Gilbert said of his promotional debut. “I was hearing nothing but compliments.”

McDermitt’s Derek Hinkey, 165, 1-0, had a successful pro debut against Patrick Sierra, 161, knocking down his opponent three times and going on to score a TKO at 2:49 of the first round.

After entering the ring wearing the wrong-sized gloves – he came in with 8-ouncers – Hinkey was refitted with the requisite 10-ouncers and put them to destructive use.

“I was lining him up because I knew he was coming in with a looping right hand and I was just powering up,” Hinkey said. “I didn’t want to pitter-patter nobody. I wanted to get the job done.”

And he did that with style. Hinkey, a Native American, entered the ring wearing a red Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap with two eagle feathers sticking out.

“Red, I believe, is kind of like representing war paint,” Hinkey said. “Before I go to war, I put on war paint. Red is something that runs through my heart.”

Sierra fell to 0-2.

Carson City’s Mike Peralta came up on the wrong end of a four-round decision to Luis Lozano, of Las Vegas, who was making his professional debut.

It was the second consecutive loss for Peralta, who fell to 1-2. Lozano is now 1-0.

Lozano won 39-37 on all three scorecards.

In the second round Peralta, 133, was warned for rabbit punching, which he said caused him to change his strategy.

“I just stood there and fought with him…tried to fight with him,” said a frustrated Peralta. “I should’ve been using my jab and moving away, try to spin out from him or try to do something.”

The 135-pound Lozano appeared to be ducking the back of his head into Peralta’s punches.

“I was making sure I didn’t hit him in the (back of) the head, so I was trying to lean back and hit him in the face,” Peralta said. “I know I can’t hit him in the head. I’m not a dirty fighter.”

Mike’s father and trainer, Francisco Peralta, didn’t like what he saw in the ring.

“They were holding and letting punches go and (Mike) got a little careless,” Francisco said. “It wasn’t a good fight. He hit Michael with two (low) blows. (Mike) tried to let the referee know. You can’t do that. You have to deal with that and move.”

Francisco said Mike might fight again on Gilbert’s next card, scheduled for May 12, in Reno.

Reno’s Jaime Rodriguez made it 3-1 on the night for Northern Nevadans, scoring a knockdown and a knockout at 2:46 of the third round over a bloody Pernell Jackson.

Rodriguez, 139, improved to 2-1 (1), while Jackson, 135, of Washington, D.C., fell to 1-2-1 (1).

In other bouts:

• Lenroy Thomas, 6-1 (5), of St. Petersburg, Fla. via Jamaica, scored a second-round KO over Wayne Hampton, 5-4 (3), of Capital Heights, Md., in a heavyweight bout. Thomas attacked Hampton to the body before flooring him with a fight-ending left to the head at the 2:36 mark.

• Kermit “Bazooka” Gonzalez, 130, St. Petersburg, improved to 5-0-1 (3), taking a unanimous decision over Cesar Olmedo, 129, 3-6 (1), of Salt Lake City, Utah. Gonzalez won 39-37 on all three judges’ cards.