Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2013, 7:07 pm

East Moline's Venegas remains on local boxing throne

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By Jeff Reiners, Special to sports

Photo: Submitted
East Moline's Gilbert Venegas Sr. headlines a local card of professional boxing this weekend at Davenport's Danceland Ballroom. The veteran faces Muscatine's up- and-coming Lance Williams in a battle for local bragging rights. Venegas improved to 6-0 in local fights by beating fellow Davenport veteran Leonard Overstreet in November at Danceland.
"The King of the Quad" retained his crown in stunning fashion late Saturday night.

East Moline's Gilbert Venegas kept that mythical title with a third-round knockout in the main event of "The Civil War" pro boxing card at Davenport's historic Danceland Ballroom.

Muscatine up-and-comer Lance Williams was the victim of an overhand right by Venegas, who dropped the first two rounds on the scorecards of the ringside judges.

Venegas, who turns 36 next month and fought for the WBC's Continental America's welterweight championship in 2007, improved to 12-8-3 (8 KOs) in a 14-year pro career.

Venegas also remained unbeaten in seven local fights, hence his unofficial title.

"I walked him down, made him spend more energy than he was used to," Venegas said. "I touched him to the body, set him up for the right hand."

The knockout was a crushing blow for Williams, who suffered his first loss in five pro fights.

The 27-year-old recently was invited to train in Las Vegas by no less than world title trainer Roger Mayweather after winning his first four pro bouts by knockout.

Williams beat Venegas to the punch most of the first two rounds before Venegas proved his pre-fight point, that the East Moline pro was the bigger and stronger man.

Williams was forced to a knee in the third round after absorbing punches along the ropes. After a prolonged evaluation, referee Pete Henkels waived the bout over.

"I know I'm a slow starter, but he paid the price," Venegas said. "My hard shots were the difference."

In the co-feature, Galesburg middleweight George Carter Jr. continued his rising career, defeating Nebraska journeyman Sean Rawley Wilson with a second-round knockout.

A right hook was the winning punch for Carter, who improved to 9-0 with five knockouts.

Wilson (5-13-1) was a late replacement for former Davenporter Antwun Echols. The 3-time world title contender withdrew from his first hometown bout in 13 years because of a contract dispute, knocking the bout out of the main-event spotlight.

In the highlight of the undercard, Moline's Limberth Ponce (3-0, 1 KO) stayed undefeated as a pro, winning a decision over Wisconsin's Eli Smith.

Ponce, who last spring became the area's first Chicago Golden Gloves champion in a decade, was humbled by the performance and spoke of continued improvement under veteran trainer Jeff Perez.

"I just know I can do much better," Ponce said. "The knockouts will come."

Moline's Vic Martinez also made a successful pro debut with a second-round TKO of Florida lightweight Ricky Thompson (1-8)

Davenport was well represented on the undercard with Travis Thomas, Donovan Dennis, Fred Thomas and Alex Rozman all winning.

Thomas (2-0) nearly stole the show with a devastating knockout over eager Daurice Starr in the Missourian's pro debut.

Stablemate Dennis also was impressive in his second-round stoppage of Missouri's Dakota Talbott (0-6).

The sculpted Rozman (1-0) staggered heavyweight opponent Brandon Segura before stopping his fellow debuting Davenporter by TKO in round two.

The veteran Thomas (1-10-2) scored his first professional win, defeating Clinton native Kenneth Taylor-Schmitz (2-7) by decision.

Bettendorf's Jake Klemme (2-0) also scored a majority decision over nearby Ottumwa's Jeremy Martz (8-14) in a spirited middleweight rematch of sorts. The victory was Klemme's second in the last month over Martz, with the previous bout coming in Mixed Martial Arts.