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Comebacking Christian Carto Gives Credit to Bozy and Boots

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  • Comebacking Christian Carto Gives Credit to Bozy and Boots

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Christian.PNG Views:	0 Size:	555.3 KB ID:	21278

    By Bernard Fernandez

    The shooting star that lit up the Philadelphia boxing scene might seem to have flamed out following a vicious, one-punch knockout loss three years ago, but the time off just might have served to make a reconstructed Christian Carto a better version of who and what he had been prior to his sudden and unexpected fall from grace.

    Not much visual evidence to the improvements Carto claims to have benefited from in working with trainer Derek “Bozy” Ennis could be detected in the 151 elapsed seconds it took for him to put away Argentina’s Ernesto Sebastian Franzolini in Friday night’s scheduled eight-round main event at Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena. Carto (19-1, 13 KOs) went after Franzolini (14-13-2, 1 KO) as a famished lion might in attacking a stricken wildebeest, quickly flooring him in the first round and following up with a barrage along the ropes until referee Eric Dali stepped in at the 2:31 mark. Franzolini raised his arms in protest to what he apparently perceived as a too-quick stoppage, but his argument for being allowed to continue appeared as flimsy as his efforts at resistance had been to that point.

    “I feel like I’m way better than I was before,” Carto, a 25-year-old bantamweight, said after his second one-round quickie victory on the comeback trail. “I’m learning so much and getting so much better now.”

    As his absence from the ring dragged on month after month, some might have presumed that Carto would never fight again due to the physical and perhaps psychological damage he incurred against Mexican southpaw Victor Ruiz on Feb. 8, 2019, also in the 2300 Arena. It wouldn’t be the first time a boxer had retired following just such a devastating defeat. After getting nailed with an overhand left from a onetime world title challenger that landed flush in the second round, Carto was unconscious before he went down, his head bouncing off the canvas. His neck had to be immobilized and after a delay of several minutes had to be taken from the ring on a gurney for transport to nearby Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

    “Well, COVID happened,” Carto said of one of the reasons why he has fought only twice since his emphatic exit from the ranks of the undefeated, his only previous ring appearance since then a one-round knockout of Colombia’s Yeison Vargas on Sept. 10 of 2021. But even a global pandemic only partially explains the lengthy layoff for which he now says he intends to make up for lost time.

    “That bad fight for me (against Ruiz) was almost like a blessing in disguise because I wasn’t with Bozy then,” said Carto, who replaced previous trainer Billy Briscoe with the highly regarded father of welterweight sensation Jaron “Boots” Ennis. “If it wasn’t for Bozy and (fellow cornerman Lawrence Small), I don’t know if I’d still be boxing now. I wasn’t having fun then, but I’m having fun every day with them now. I’m learning so much and getting so much better, and it’s because of them.”

    It also doesn’t hurt that Carto trains alongside Boots Ennis, whom more than a few observers of the fight scene believe is not only as good as longtime division kingpins Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, but maybe better. Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs) attempts to further enhance his burgeoning reputation when he takes on Custio Clayton (19-0-1, 12 KOs) on May 14 in Carson, Calif.

    “Christian’s always been a nice fighter, but he made the change by going with us,” Boots said in Carto’s dressing room. “He’s been working on his defense and it shows. He’s ready, man. He will fight for a title before too long. I can’t wait to see him really shine.”

    Bozy Ennis also said much of the fine-tuning he has done with Carto involves defense, although some of his and Small’s handiwork in that area might need more investigation given their new charge’s pair of one-round routs that mostly showcased his offense.

    “We changed him,” the elder Ennis said. “Christian isn’t fighting the same since he came with us. We really rearranged him. He moves different now, and he’s confident. He’s got a nice tight defense now. Before, he just went out and boom, boom, boom. Now he slides in and moves at different angles. That’s the stuff that we work on. It’s hard to touch him now.

    “A couple more fights and he’ll be right there for a title in that weight division. All he got to do is keep doing what he’s doing. The sky’s the limit for him.”

    For once, the most enthusiastic noise in an arena headlined by a Carto bout wasn’t for the 5-foot-5 local favorite (Carto, who lives in Deptford, N.J., but prefers to be introduced as being from South Philly), was fighting in Philadelphia for the 16th time in 20 pro bouts). Heavyweight Kristian Prenga (11-1, 11 KOs), an Albanian who now resides in Niagara Falls, Canada, had a large and very boisterous following cheering him on for his second-round knockout of DeShon Webster (12-5-3, 6 KOs), of Lenexa, Kan., who is affiliated with women’s boxing legend Christy Martin, who was in the audience.

    The best fight of the night during the six-bout card, at least from a competitive standout, was a dandy six-rounder pitting Julian Gonzalez (6-0-1, 6 KOs), of Reading, Pa., against Ivan Jimenez (7-1-2, 4 KOs), of Marco Island, Fla., by way of his native Cuba. Jimenez led 58-56 on one judge’s scorecard, but the other two saw it as a 57-57 standoff, resulting in a majority draw.

    In other bouts, junior welterweight Quadir Albright (6-0, 6 KOs) of Philadelphia knocked out Argentina’s Jorge Martin Garcia (13-9-1, 3 KOs) in two rounds; featherweight Jeremy Adorno of Allentown, Pa., stopped Jason Vera of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in three rounds and welterweight Thanjhae Teasley (2-0, 2 KOs) of Bethlehem, Pa., registered a third-round TKO of Dearon Alexander of Baltimore, an active member of the U.S. Air Force who was making his pro debut.

    A scheduled eight-rounder pitting Philly welterweight Paul Kroll (9-0-1, 6 KOs), a former U.S. Olympic Trials champ, and Marklin Bailey (7-7, 4 KOs), of Durham, N.C., was canceled when Kroll failed to make weight.
    Last edited by AcidArne; 04-30-2022, 08:14 AM.