Nicolai Firtha Stops Tony Grano
By Stephen Tobey at ringside (June 27, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing  
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Nicolai Firtha’s first fight in New England was one he’ll never forget. The Akron, Ohio resident stopped Tony Grano of Hartford, Conn. in the second round of a scheduled ten to win the vacant North American Boxing Organization USA heavyweight title Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Firtha, 18-7-1 (8), dropped Grano twice. Firtha dropped Grano in the final minute of the first round with two overhand rights.

In the second round, Grano landed a right hand. Firtha responded with a right of his own, forcing Grano to hold. Another right hand sent Grano to the canvas again. Grano stumbled a little after getting up and when the action resumed, Firtha unloaded four right hands with Grano on the ropes. Referee Dick Flaherty forced his way between the fighters to stop the fight at 2:15.

“I wanted to fight conservatively,” said Firtha, who weighed 254½ pounds to Grano’s 218½. “I knew I would get to him but I didn’t think it would be that early.”

Grano dropped to 17-2-1 (13).

Super bantamweight Mike Oliver of Hartford, Conn. picked up a disqualification victory over former International Boxing Federation light flyweight title holder Mauricio Pastrana of Miami in the final round of a scheduled eight. Referee Michael Ortega disqualified Pastrana 43 seconds into the eighth after Pastrana tackled Oliver.

In the sixth round, Ortega deducted a point from Pastrana for hitting on the break. In the seventh, Oliver complained that Pastrana twisted his left arm in a clinch.

Oliver, 24-2 (8), was in control for most of the fight, pressuring Pastrana and landing hard straight left hands and right hooks.

Pastrana dropped to 35-14-2 (23).

Edwin Soto and Bryan Abraham fought to a four-round majority draw at super lightweight. The scores were 38-38 (twice) and 39-37 for Abraham, of Schenectady, N.Y. Soto is 4-0-1 (2); Abraham is 2-3-2 (2).

Light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. of Long Island, N.Y. stopped Walter Foster Jr. of Berkeley, Mo. in the second round of a scheduled four. Referee Dick Flaherty stopped the fight at 1:39 of the second. Smith is now 5-0 (5); Foster is 4-3-1 (4).

Rick Dawson of New Haven, Conn., brother of world light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, out-pointed Jeremiah Jones of Toledo, Ohio over four rounds at super middleweight. The scores were 39-37 (twice) and 40-36. Dawson is 2-0 (1); Jones is 1-4-1 (0).

Frankie Trader of Philadelphia won a four-round unanimous decision against Noel Garcia of Springfield, Mass. at super lightweight. All three judges scored it 40-36. Trader is now 7-0 (2); Garcia is 2-4-1 (1).

Featherweight Luis Rosa of New Haven, Conn. stopped debuting John Passantino of Seldon, N.Y. at 1:15 of the fourth round of a scheduled four. Rosa is now 3-0 (2).

Debuting Jonathan Vasquez of Fall River, Mass. knocked out Carlos Hernandez of Bridgeport, Conn. in the first round of a scheduled four at super lightweight. Vasquez dropped Hernandez, 0-2, twice before Michael Ortega waved off the count at 2:18.

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