CHESTER - East Liverpool's Joey Holt didn't look like a boxing rookie.
Holt made his professional boxing debut on Saturday during a fight card full of local talent at Mountaineer Racetrack Casino & Resort.
Holt scored a first round knockout in what was the first of six pro bouts at The Harv.
East Liverpool’s Joey Holt (left) lands a punch on Alan Moore on Saturday during a boxing card at Mountaineer Racetrack Casino & Resort. (Photo courtesy of 12roundsorless.com)
The lineup, which also featured one amateur bout, was heavy with area fighters including Steubenville's Angelo Magnone, Youngstown's Jake Giuriceo and six boxers from Pittsburgh highlighted by Paul Spadafora and Monty Meza-Clay.
All of the locals prevailed except for Giuriceo in an event put on by Roy Jones Jr. in association with TNT Promotions.
Holt, a 2004 East Liverpool graduate, was matched up against Alan Moore, a 20-fight veteran from Indianapolis.
NOTES: Included in the packed house of fans on Saturday was Youngstown boxer Kelly Pavlik, who will be fighting for the super middleweight world title on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles against Andre Ward. Also in attendance was Pittsburgh Steelers' great L.C. Greenwood.
While this was Holt's first foray into pro boxing, he is no stranger to fighting. An experienced cage fighter, Holt compiled an 8-3 amateur MMA record before turning pro where he has won his first three matches.
"The transition was easy," Holt said of the switch from MMA to boxing. "Working with Tom Yankello, he was able to help me with my boxing tools. The mindset is a little different, but you're still ready for war. You just don't have to worry about takedowns or anything."
The ease of transition showed as Holt dominated the action in the 154-pound fight from the opening bell.
Moore hit the canvas for the first time just 10 seconds into the bout. A hard right hand from Holt sent Moore down again thirty seconds later.
Then after two more knockdowns, the referee mercifully called a halt to the action at 2:05 of the first round sending Holt out in style in his debut.
Holt, who has an MMA fight scheduled for Jan. 19 in Cleveland, said after the fight that he plans to pursue both sports in the future.
"That's the plan," he said. "Keep it moving and make history. I want to do both. I'd like to be able to line up two or three boxing matches then two or three cage fights and just see where it takes me."
Holt said the win was made more special due to Mountaineer's proximity to his hometown.
"It felt so good to fight close to home," he said. "In East Liverpool right now, there's not a whole lot of people making good. I wanted to get this one for them. I love East Liverpool."
Prior to Holt's victory, the night began with the lone amateur bout on the card. Magnone, a former Big Red football standout, improved his record to 5-0 with a decision win against Mike Shook, of Pittsburgh.
Shook, who stands 6-foot-7 and has fought 36 times as an amateur, couldn't handle the power and pressure from the 6-2, 230-pound Magnone who lettered four years at Bowling Green after his standout prep career at Steubenville.
"The guy came out and fought hard," Magnone said of his opponent. "He was really experienced so it was a good fight for me."
Magnone, who trains at Board's Boxing in Knoxville Twp., said he wasn't sure where his boxing career would go from here. For now, though, he's staying busy with another fight scheduled for this Saturday in Youngstown.
"I'm just having fun right now," he said. "We'll see what happens."
In the evening's main event, Spadafora, who is known as "The Pittsburgh Kid," kept his record perfect (47-0-1, 19 KO) with a unanimous decision victory over Solomon Egberime (22-4-1, 11 KO) in a 10-round junior welterweight (140) fight.
Spadafora won by scores of 100-90, 98-91 and 97-94. The Review had the bout scored 98-92 in favor of Spadafora.
"He was a tough guy, real crafty," Spadafora said after the fight. "It was a real good test. All my life, I've had trouble with guys like that, but I was able to make adjustments."
At 37, Spadafora said he is looking for another shot at a world title in his comeback and was willing to fight any of the top guys in the division.
"Whoever it is, Paulie Malignaggi, (Danny) Garcia, any of them," he said.
In a highly anticipated rematch, Meza-Clay once again defeated Emmanuel Lucero in an 8-round super featherweight (130) fight. Meza-Clay won his sixth straight bout improving to 34-3 by unanimous decision. Two judges had the fight scored 77-75, while the other had it 80-72. The Review had the bout scored 77-74 in favor of Meza-Clay.
"Styles make fights," Meza-Clay said. "He kept coming and he's tough as nails."
The lone loss for local combatants came when Giuriceo was outpointed by Peter Oluoch, of Kenya.
As the bell sounded to end the fifth round of the junior welterweight fight, the two fighters clashed heads resulting in a severe cut on the head of Giuriceo.
After going to his corner, the fight was eventually stopped due to the cut sending the decision to the scorecards.
Two judges had the bout scored for Oluoch (49-46 and 48-47), while the other had Giuriceo up, 48-47. The Review had Oluoch leading, 48-47.
"In the corner, I was asking them to give me one more round," Giuriceo said. "But, it didn't bother me that they stopped it because I felt like I was ahead. I was comfortable going to the cards.
"Apparently, the judges saw it differently. I was definitely disappointed."
The loss is the second straight for Giuriceo who started his pro career at 16-0-1.
"Honestly, I thought I was winning the fight," he said. "I feel like I'm my best critic when I'm not performing, but I thought I was winning rounds."
Despite back to back losses, Giuriceo said he will push on.
"Naturally, it will slow me down a little," he said. "It will probably be harder for me to get the fights we want, but it doesn't discourage me. I wasn't seriously hurt or injured in either of my last two fights."
In other action, Pittsburgh's Billy Hutchinson improved to 5-1-2 with a second round knockout of Jose Caraballo (5-5) in a junior middleweight bout.
Another Pittsburgh fighter, Morgan Fitch, remained unbeaten at 8-0 with a first round knockout against Cameron Allen (4-12-2) in a super middleweight fight.