Gilbert wins by knockout
All Joey Gilbert needed was two big right hands for his sixth straight knockout. Gilbert scored a knockout at two minutes, one second of the first round against Thomas Haines on Saturday at Caesar’s Tahoe.
Gilbert, fighting as a super middleweight, was featured on the card billed as the second edition of the Everlast Heavyweight Heroes: The Search for the Next Great Heavyweight.
Of the two co-main events, one lived up to the billing while the other didn’t. In a crowd-pleasing bout, Clifford Atienne of Baton Rouge, La., fought Gilbert Martinez of Sacramento, Calif., to a majority draw. In the other main event, Anthony “Tony the Tiger” Thompson earned a unanimous decision win over Yamplier Azcuy of Las Vegas via Cuba in a lackluster fight.
Gilbert, a three-time national champion at the University of Nevada, improved his mark to 6-0 and has won all his fights by knockout.
“My fight strategy was to move left to right,” Gilbert said. “I listened to my corner. We’ve been training for three to four hours a day in the gym. I’ve been running up Mt. Charleston with a 25-pound pack.
“I gave him a little opening to the body so he could go low, so I could set him up. I got him in close so I could catch him over the top.”
Gilbert’s next scheduled fight is April 24 at the Reno Hilton. “I was nervous as hell for the fight after watching the Nevada game,” said Gilbert referring to the Nevada men’s basketball team’s 72-67 loss to Georgia Tech on Friday in the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals. “I thought I redeemed the boys. “I was focused and was determined as the stakes keep getting higher.”
Gilbert said his goal is to run his record to 20-0 and then “go fight somebody big. This isn’t a hobby or a joke for me. It’s real.”
Martinez was able to hurt Etienne early, but then the fight went back and forth, ending in a draw.
Azcuy was a replacement for Thompson, taking the fight on 12 hours notice. Azcuy’s awkward style made for a fight that drew boos from the crowd. Azcuy was penalized a point for holding in the fifth and sixth rounds of the eight-round bout. Thompson improved to 22-1 while Azcuy fell to 9-1.
In one other heavyweight bout, Michael Simms of Sacramento knocked out Marcelino Novaez of Las Vegas via Brazil at 1:47 of the sixth round. Simms, 204 pounds, who gave away 19 pounds to the 223-pound Novaez, used a 22-punch barrage to finish off Novaez.