Unbeaten Travis “GW Hope” Kauffman stops Livin Castillo in Reading!
By Ken Hissner at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (June 1, 2009) Photo © Jeff Jullian  
Local favorite Travis “GW Hope” Kauffman, 17-0 (14), 220, looked like he was in for a wake-up call as the fight started when Atlantic City’s southpaw Livin Castillo, 14-7 (9), 210, rocked him with two straight left hands. “I couldn’t move my legs, and I knew I had to make a fast adjustment,” said Kauffman. That he did. He turned southpaw and it helped confuse the transplanted Ecuadorian. It got Kauffman through the round.

In the 2nd round Kauffman came out looking to take Castillo out. “I told my father (trainer Marshall Kauffman) that Castillo was done and I want to be the first one to take him out inside of 3 rounds,” said Kauffman. Castillo has only lost to good fighters like former world champions Oleg Maskaev (3 rds), Bruce Seldon (5 rds), Jean Mormeck (3 rds) and Jorge Castro (4 rds) along with contenders Alexander Povetkin (4 rds) and “Fast” Eddie Chambers (5rds). He took it to Castillo with hard right hook body shots but didn’t escape the round himself without a bloody nose. The fans were eating it up. Especially since it was a night of boxing and MMA combined. And you know how blood thirsty the latter crowd is.

Castillo survived the 2nd round but in the 3rd round Kauffman was rocking him almost off his feet with body to head shots until a right hook to the body while Castillo was against the ropes felled him. Referee Gary Rosado had seen enough at 1:26 of the round. Castillo did not complain about the stopping. It was the 7th straight knockout for the young 23 year old former PAL amateur champion.

While being introduced in the ring Kauffman had top WBC contender Chris Arreola, of Riverside, California, with him. He had served as a sparring partner for Arreola who is awaiting a title bout with Vitali Klitschko per his trainer Henry Ramirez. “It should be in Los Angeles where Klitschko now lives. If not in September on HBO then he will have another opponent until Klitschko and Maskaev settle up,” he added.

“My Uncle Rich (Ormsbee) was at ringside for the first time as a pro and that really made me happy,” said Kauffman. Ormsbee well known for his corner work in Reading has settled to become one of the area’s top bowlers (234 ave.) but you could see that old time feeling coming back in his eyes as this writer was sitting next to him.

The co-feature was a twice postponed match-up between southpaw cruiserweights Julio Cesar Matthews, 8-0 (5), of Reading, and Upper Darby’s Kamarah Pasley, 4-4 (2), who had won 4 straight.

Matthew’s was outworking Pasley and hit him on the break that almost dropped the latter. Pasley, came storming back in anger but no match for the stronger Matthews. In the 2nd round of this 6, Pasley went down along the ropes, which seemed from the extra strand (5) due to the MMA event to follow. “It was definitely the rope that I tripped on,” said Pasley. In the 3rd round a right hook dropped Pasley. After rising he was hurt with a lead left but managed to get through the round. In the 4th round round what looked like a straight left hand from Pasley was later called an accidental head butt by referee Rosado. No matter what, Matthew’s right eye was closing fast. “I don’t know what caused the eye to close,” said Matthews. “He is a very good boxer and I was afraid they might stop it due to my eye being closed,” he added. “I knew I should have gone to his left with the eye closed but it was just too difficult for me as a southpaw. I thought I got hit on the back of the head a couple of times but he was a good puncher,” said Pasley. “I had never been knocked down before,” he added.

After taking the 5th round Matthews was getting outboxed by Pasley in the 6th and final round. It seemed he finally found his rhythm too little, too late. All judges gave it to Matthew’s by scores of 58-54 (Dave Greer), 59-53 (Bernard Bruni) and 59-52 (Rich Hopkins). This writer agreed with the 58-54 giving the questionable first knockdown round a 10-8. Both fighters are very likeable and you hated to see a loser in this one.

The show opened up with a 4 round rematch with Esteban Rodriguez, 5-1 (1), now out of Lebanon under John Myers, winning his 3rd straight since coming to the US, with what seemed like an even match again defeating Pottstown’s Travis Thompson, 3-6 (2) in a junior lightweight bout. Thompson looks like a natural for the MMA that followed, being a former wrestler. Rodriguez counter punched as the always aggressive Thompson was on the attack. He didn’t have his corner of Marty and David Feldman last time, but it didn’t seem to help in the judges eyes. Scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37 went to Rodriguez. Rosado was the referee. Several of us at ringside thought it was a draw.

Reading’s 42 year old Craig “CT” Tomlinson, 24-15-1 (13), 229, returned to the ring after a 5 year absence to the delight of the fans in taking the first 3 rounds from Stafford, Virginia’s Jonathan Felton, 6-15 (5), 229, in a 4 round bout. In the 4th round Felton finally got aggressive and had an abrasion under the right eye of Tomlinson but it was not enough on the judge’s scorecards of 40-36 twice, and 39-37. The latter seemed correct.

Tomlinson’s last bout in Reading was 2002 losing in a state title bout with “Smokin” Bert Cooper who is on a comeback and has challenged Tomlinson to a rematch. Tomlinson’s new trainer, former boxer, “Joltin” Jim Rufoff said, “a couple of fights down the line.”

The bout before the main event was short but very exciting as Norman Allen, 6-2 (3), of Laurel, Maryland, started well against Bethlehem’s Ronald Cruz, 5-0 (3) in this 4 round welterweight match. Suddenly halfway through the round Cruz came back with some offense of his own digging to the body and following up with some head shots after turning southpaw. It was down hill for Allen as he was defenseless at the bell while against the ropes as referee Rosado stepped in to stop the bout at the same time the bell rang ending it at the 3:00 mark of the 1st round. Allen complained but he was no match for the unbeaten Cruz whose previous wins were all in Philadelphia.

All in all Marshall Kauffman of King’s Promotions put on not only a good boxing show but all the fans seemed to stay for the MMA bouts. Even this writer got through most of them before leaving. Though these were amateurs it was brutal and they said boxing should be banned? This is just the start in the state of Pennsylvania of MMA and if it helps bringing out the fans for both boxing and MMA I guess it’s a good idea.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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