SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- A nationally televised bout between top unbeaten boxing prospects didn't go Nick Casal's way Friday night in the DeSoto Civic Center.
Casal left the boxing ring as a loser for the first time in 17 professional fights as the 21-year-old from Niagara Falls dropped a unanimous decision in eight rounds to another 136-pounder, Jose Antonio Izquierdo. The judges ruled 77-74, 78-74 and 78-73.
Both junior welterweights are promoted by Gary Shaw. Shaw's production company and Round One Entertainment co-promoted the Showtime network's "ShoBox: The New Generation" card showcasing the sport's rising stars.
Izquierdo improved to 16-0-1, while Casal's record dropped to 15-1-1. Both boxers turned pro in 2004, Izquierdo on Feb. 27 and Casal on June 5.
"It was one of those kinds of fights where you learn from," said Casal's trainer and father Ray. "This loss won't hurt him. . . . He fought like a warrior and represented our area well. He took a chance taking a fight like this early in his career. We're not devastated by [the loss]. . . . His career is far from over."
Casal knocked down the 29-year-old Izquierdo in the first round, but the former Cuban amateur standout recovered and took control of the fight near the mid-point of the match. Casal tried to land some haymakers in an attempt to win via knockout, but the KO didn't happen.
Casal had cuts over both eyes and was bleeding from his nose and mouth afterwards.
"He was a really, really strong guy," Casal said. "I am disappointed but there are no excuses."