Former lightweight champion Spadafora collects victory in W.Va.
CHESTER, W. Va. — Paul Spadafora knew he had a formidable foe, one whose awkward approach may not suit his style.
Spadafora scored a unanimous decision anyway, beating Solomon Egberime on Saturday night during the main event of a pro card at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort's The Harv in Chester, W.Va.
Spadafora (47-0-1, 19 KOs) won decisively on all three scorecards as judges Vince Guerra, Rex Agin and Jim Frio scored the fight in his favor.
“He was a tough guy — really crafty and really dirty,” Spadafora said of Egberime. “He knows how to use his head. It was a real good test. All my life, I've had trouble with guys like that, but I adjusted and won the fight.”
Spadafora entered the ring to a self-titled rap song and video montage, wearing his hair in cornrows and a black robe with “A Phoenix Rising” on the back. He wore black trunks with his nickname, “Spaddy,” in gold on the waistband.
Egberime (22-3-1, 11 KOs), a Nigerian who fights out of Australia, is a former Olympian and WBO Oriental champion ranked No. 14 by the WBO.
Egberime represented Spadafora's highest-ranked foe since his eighth and final defense of the IBF lightweight belt, a unification bout with former WBA champion Leonard Dorin in May 2003 that ended in a draw.
It was Spadafora's second fight at The Harv this year after a 22-month layoff. He scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Humberto Toledo of Quito, Ecuador, in August. Spadafora had since climbed to a No. 11 world ranking by the WBA and No. 17 by the WBC. A victory could land him a fight against a top-10 opponent.
The fight started slowly, but by the third round Spadafora was alternating jabs to the head with body blows. Egberime landed a hard right but later walked into a sharp right hand.
Spadafora continued to attack the body in the fourth but found himself susceptible to Egberime's style. Egberime was willing to take a punch to land one and sometimes took two for the sake of hitting his moving target with a hard right.
Egberime controlled the fifth round and the first half of the sixth before Spadafora was re-energized after landing a couple of lefts.
An Egberime shot after the bell in the seventh seemed to light a spark under Spadafora. After spending much of the first seven rounds as a counterpuncher, Spadafora reversed roles and walked down Egberime in the eighth, glaring at his opponent when the round ended.
Egberime opened a cut at the corner of Spadafora's right eye in the ninth. As blood trickled down his face, Spadafora turned cautious.
With cornerman Tom Yankello telling him to “stay slick,” Spadafora stayed out of harm's way in the 10th and final round.
The co-feature was a rematch of the July 14 super featherweight match between Rankin's Monty Meza-Clay and Emmanuel Lucero of Mexico City, a pair of 5-foot-2 brawlers. Meza-Clay had predicted a knockout but settled for a unanimous decision to improve to 34-3. Lucero dropped to 26-13-1.
On the undercard, a junior welterweight bout featuring Youngstown's Jake Giuriceo (16-2-1) was stopped after an accidental headbutt at the fifth-round bell opened a cut above his right eye. It went to the scorecards, and Kenyan Peter Oluoch (12-6-2) won by split decision.
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7812.