Punjabi, Ajax pride as Singh earns dramatic knockout for IBF title at Toronto casino


Published March 4, 2024 at 8:02 am

Referee Mark Simmons raises the hand of Sukhdeep Singh of Ajax Saturday night in Toronto. Singh won the IBF International Super Lightweight belt over Gino Godoy of Argentina. Photo Glenn Hendry

Before last December’s 14-second demolition of German middleweight Yaser Yuksel, Sukhdeep Singh – the pride of Chakar in India’s Punjab region and Ajax in Durham Region – had gone the distance in four of his five previous fights.

Following an explosive fourth-round knockout of veteran Argentine boxer Gino Godoy at a United Promotions boxing card at Woodbine Casino Saturday night, with a jubilant team celebrating around him in his dressing room, ‘Chakria’ said that strategy was all by design.

“After every fight we work hard in the ring, we watch tape and my team looks for ways to win,” he said. “This was a hard fight but it’s something we’ve been working ten years for.”

Singh, now 18-0, was dominant from the outset against Godoy (30-4), who until his split decision defeat against United fighter Brandon Cook last spring in Pickering had not lost in 12 years.

Both boxers were busy in the opening round and Singh started to control the fight in the second with a highly effective jab – one of which opened a cut on Godoy’s nose – and used a big overhand right to hurt the Argentine fighter in the fourth, followed by a furious rally that ended when another powerful right hand put Godoy on the canvas with 13 second left in the round.

When asked if was happy with his performance in front of a packed house at the brand-new Theatre at the Great Canadian Toronto Casino, which earned the Mississauga-trained fighter the IBF International Super Welterweight title, Singh just smiled. “Yes sir.”

For Godoy, who turned 36 in the ring Saturday and is a bit of a legend in Argentina, the fight was his last as a professional.

The co-main event, however, did not go the way of the local favourite when Englishman Billy Allington – a former British Super Lightweight champion – won a unanimous 10-round decision against Barrie’s ‘Marvelous’ Mark Smither for the IBO Super Lightweight crown.

Surrey (England) man Billy Allington was all smiles after winning the IBO International Super Lightweight title over Barrie’s Mark Smither Saturday night at Great Canadian Casino Resort in Toronto. Photo Glenn Hendry

Allington, now 12-3-4, was the more elusive fighter who employed a strong jab and effective use of multiple clinches during the bout. He also landed more damaging blows during a mostly entertaining fight as both boxers showed off loads of endurance.

This was the first loss for Smither (now 12-1) as a professional.

Ricardo ‘Big 12’ Brown, a former Jamaican Olympian who also trains at the Dewith Frazer gym in Mississauga, looked like he was going to be severely tested for the first time in his heavyweight career against Rafael Sanchez (8-3) as the Mexican fighter survived three knockdowns (all ruled slips) before a solid left from the unbeaten Brown (11-0) with four seconds remaining in the first round ended the match.

Brown, who now lives in Brantford (and at 6’7” is the only boxer to step over – and not under – the ropes when entering the ring) has never gone past the third round in his pro career. Seven of his 12 pro wins have ended in the opening three minutes.

The second fight on the evening’s card was a cruiserweight bout between former pro soccer player Milad Zareian (now 2-0) and Mexico’s Edgar ‘Jaguar’ Gonzalez (1-3-1). Zareian, who carries the Iranian flag into the ring and now lives in Sunderland, north of Oshawa, used his reach advantage to control the fight while Sanchez swung wildly, looking for the knockout.

Sanchez showed a strong chin in refusing to go down until a furious barrage by Zareian in the fourth forced the Mexican’s corner to throw in the towel with one second remaining in the round and Sanchez still on his feet.

The opening bout was a rematch between Toronto’s Mike Cabatuan and Mexico’s Jorge Diaz in a highly entertaining six-round featherweight fight.

Their first meeting from last April at the Pickering Casino ended in a somewhat controversial majority draw but ‘Machine Gun Cabato’ (5-0-1) left little doubt this time, overcoming the 19-year-old Mexican’s reach advantage to land enough solid shots to earn a unanimous victory.

Both fighters gave the fans a show with a furious rally to end the fight.

Toronto’s Michael Cabatuan (yellow trunks) won a unanimous decision in a featherweight fight against Mexican Jorge Diaz. Photo Glenn Hendry

A scheduled fight for Cambridge middleweight Natasha “Nightmare” Spence was also on the card but was cancelled for lack of an opponent.

Next up for United Promotions is the debut of United Fight Night on April 13 in Pickering, which will feature rising boxers from Durham Region.

The event will be headlined by Melinda Watpool, a former Canadian amateur champion and already the #3 WBO middleweight contender after just five pro fights, against Adriana Araujo of Brazil (6-1) and Oshawa’s Thad Buntsma (4-1-1) versus veteran boxer Luis Guiterrez (24-10) of Mexico.


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