By Dylan Butler
He had passed a series of quizzes to this point, but Wednesday at Yonkers Raceway, Bayside heavyweight Vinny Maddalone faced his first true test in the form of Craig Tomlinson, a 220-pound bruiser from Reading, Pa. who has twice as many professional bouts under his belt. The result, a fourth round technical knockout in a scheduled six-round bout, was a smashing successful for Maddalone.
“For the fight overall, I'd give myself about a B, maybe a B-plus,” said Maddalone, who improved to 13-0 with eight knockouts. “It wasn't an A, but I'm pretty happy with my performance.”
As was Maddalone's trainer, Bob Jackson, who said he was most pleased with the 27-year-old's ability to punch to the body as well as the head.
“We've been working on that,” he said. “Vinny used to be known as a head hunter. His combination of punches beat [Tomlinson] up pretty good.”
Maddalone, who was the co-main event of a six-fight card staged by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing, worked the combinations right from the opening bell, as he chased Tomlinson into the corners several times during the first round.
Tomlinson rallied in the second, winning the round on two of the three judges' scorecards – the only round he would win – with a nice left to the body and followed with a strong right to the head as he bounced off the ropes.
“I get hit,” said the 6-foot-2 Maddalone, who weighed in at 231 pounds. “But I'll take a couple of punches to get my shots off.”
And he got plenty of shots off in the third round. A hard left hook stunned Tomlinson (22-7-1), who resorted to trying to hold Maddalone. Both fighters actually tumbled to the canvas following one tangle session. With a large partisan crowd behind him, Maddalone, who defeated former Golden Gloves champion Erol Sadiskovski by unanimous decision in his last bout May 17, finished the round strong as he wobbled Tomlinson's knees with another hard left before the bell saved Tomlinson, who walked to his corner dazed and with a bloody nose.
“The left hook busted him up a little bit and I tried to stay on him in the corner,” Maddalone said. “I think I'm a pretty good finisher. If I see the guy is hurt, I'm going to give it everything I got.”
Jackson said he also saw Tomlinson, who has a pretty strong chin, in trouble and instructed his fighter to finish him as soon as possible.
“He was just hanging on, the referee should have called [the fight] in the third round. You can see he was ready to go,” Jackson said. “[Tomlinson] was tough, but we started to take his resolve away and I knew it was time to finish him.”
A stinging array of combinations to the body and the head finally wore down Tomlinson, who slumped in the corner as referee Mike Ortega stopped the bout at: 45 seconds of the fourth round.
“The biggest thing for me in this fight is I went to the body and the head,” said Maddalone, who expects to return to the ring in late November or early December at Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan. “The last couple of fights I had I didn't work the body. I got some good words from [Queens heavyweight contender and sparring partner] Monte Barrett who told me to dig to the body because that's where you hurt people.”
In the other main event, light heavyweight contender David Telesco rallied to knock out Faustino Gonzalez in the seventh round to improve to 25-3 with 20 KOs.
On the undercard, Gary Carriero from nearby Port Chester defeated Franklin Betances from Miami by unanimous decision in a six-round super middleweight bout. Brown Mills, N.J. native Kevin Carey also won by unanimous decision in his professional debut in an extremely entertaining four-round junior welterweight bout over Eduardo Torres from Puerto Rico. Anaudi Santos from Hempstead, L.I. also made his professional debut, winning by a unanimous decision in a four-round light heavyweight bout against James Harris from the Bronx and Brooklyn's Eric Simmons made short work of Miguel Gutierrez from the Bronx as he improved to 3-0 with a knockout at 1:52 of the first round in a four-round middleweight bout.