Travis Kauffman Stays Unbeaten in Reading
By Ken Hissner at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 16, 2008)  
Travis “GW Hope” Kauffman 13-0 (10) thrilled his hometown fans at the Riveredge Hotel and Restaurant, in Reading, Pennsylvania Saturday night by scoring a stunning 1st round knockout over Joshua “Griz” Gutcher 18-10 (13) of Albia, Iowa in 2:43.

King’s Promotions had a packed room that featured their heavyweight prospect whom did not disappoint the fans. Kauffman seemed to be measuring the aggressive Gutcher from the start. Gutcher
fighting out of a crouch was able to land punches only when he forced Kauffman to the ropes. It was a good fight while it lasted as Kauffman nailed Gutcher with a straight right hand near his opponent’s corner. As Gutcher started to fall into the ropes, referee Gary Rosato stepped in to save him from any further damage.

“I felt it in my arm and I jumped right on him. I don’t get paid for overtime” said the winning Kauffman. A former PAL champion and rated #1 by the USA before turning pro, Kauffman stays sharp by sparring with former WBC champion Hasim Rahman, with both being trained by Kauffman’s father Marshall. “I got hurt by that right hand and was hoping to just get through the round. I have no problem with the stoppage”, said a disappointed Gutcher.

The semi-final bout ended at just 0:59 of the 1st round leaving the fans shaking their heads in disbelief. Unbeaten local cruiserweight Julio Cesa Matthews 5-0 (4) stalked Pittsburgh’s Chris Stallworth 9-2 (3) who was in a defensive mode from the start. Suddenly a power jab from the southpaw Matthews put Stallworth on the seat of his pants. As referee Rosato counted Stallworth took the entire ten count looking up with his hands toward the referee as if to seek assistance in getting back up. “I was hurt by that punch and unable to beat the count” said Stallworth afterwards. Matthews went over afterwards to current IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham who was attending the fight. Matthews had recently been sparring in Philly with the champion who made the trip for a bout that was much shorter than expected.

The show opened with the best fight of the night when Pottstown’s popular super featherweight Travis Thompson 3-3-1 (2) battled the counter punching Esteban Rodriguez 3-1-1 (1) of Puerto Rico, now fighting out of nearby Lebanon. The aggressive Thompson made the fight as the countering Rodriguez landed well. It what seemed like an even fight after 4 rounds the judges were split on their decision. Robert Grasso had it 38-37 for Thompson, while Rich Hopkins, Jr. had it 39-37 for Rodriguez with Bernard Bruni somehow coming up with a 40-36 for the winner Rodriguez. A draw would have been fair while both fighters started the show off with a bang.

Local favorite Lucian Gonzalez 7-4-1 (1) finally had an easy fight easily stopping Darryl Watson 1-2 (1) of Columbia, South Carolina with a left hook to the head and finishing it with vicious body shots dropping his opponent for the second time before referee Art Baylis had seen enough at 2:21 of the 1st round.

Reading’s Keenan Collins 12-4-2 (8) returned to action fighting to a 6 round draw with Clarence “Sonny Bono” Taylor 13-17-3 (6), from Wilmington Delaware in a junior middleweight six. Bono easily won the first two rounds as the defensive minded Collins seemed hesitant to throwing any punches. Collins got into his groove in the next couple of rounds until an accidental head butt by Bono put a slice on Collins forehead that was controlled well by his corner. With the fight seemingly up for grabs in the last round neither fighter did enough to sway the judges. Bruni had it 58-55 Collins while judges Hopkins and Grasso had it like this writer did 57-57.

Former local outstanding boxer Jim Ruoff did the announcing. He currently has his own gym in Exeter called “Joltin Jim’s” while serving the public with his insurance business.

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