MONTICELLO — Bryant Costello attended the first Catskills Clash boxing card at Resorts World Catskills three months ago, dreaming it could be him in the ring. He made sure to drop word he was available with the promoters, and they, in turn, cashed in on the local tie-in the next time around.
Costello hardly had a track record to rely on — three amateur fights, and a no-decision and a loss in his only two pro bouts — but what better way to jump-start the casino’s second pro card than with a Liberty product ringing in the first of five bouts Saturday night?
Costello brought an entourage of friends and family, notably his 2-year-old son, Elliott. He didn’t let a late-week replacement faze him, either, as Costello dominated two rounds of the super welterweight bout and put away overmatched opponent Anthony Everett 42 seconds into the third round for his first pro win, at the ripe age of 32.
“It feels great, a feeling I can’t even explain," Costello said after being examined by doctors.
The audience was not packed like the June bouts but it was vociferous in its support of Costello, who wore pink trunks and a robe.
“It means everything to me," he said. “These people have seen me at my worst and now they have seen me at my best. I am just so happy that they see my change and see that anything is possible."
Trainer Jose Toledo said his boxer did a much better job this time following instructions, and that allowed him to seize control of the fight from the outset.
“I knew we had to use Bryant’s God-given talents, which was his reach," Toledo said. “We worked off the jab. We went back to the jab. We executed the body and came back up to the head and went right back to the jab. We stayed in the middle of the ring and we controlled the fight. It was establishing his distance, putting his punches together."
Costello lost his last bout by two points, the boxer said, because he didn’t do a good job of staying off the ropes. This time around, Costello controlled the middle of the ring and often backed Everett into the ropes. Costello dominated the first two rounds.
“I was just waiting for him to make a few more mistakes," Costello said of Everett. “He wasn’t throwing as much, he wasn’t busy a lot. Once he got on the ropes I saw an opportunity to go to the body. It weakened him a bit and took away a little strength from his legs."
Everett came out swinging to start the third but Costello, with superior height and reach, seized control. Everett backed himself into side ropes and that proved his undoing. Costello hit him with a right to the body and left to the head. Another left grazed the head and a thundering right uppercut snapped back Everett’s head as his body bent over the top rope. The referee was already stepping in but not before another quick left caught Everett’s nose and a right cross caught his head.
“I hit him with a good uppercut, he staggered and held on," Costello said. “I fought on the inside a bit, got him back on the ropes with my jab. It was history after that. Once you are on the ropes he ain’t got nowhere to go ... it’s like a spider web sometimes."
Once the fight was waved off at 42 seconds, Costello jumped up onto the second turnbuckle, bounded to the appreciation of the hometown crowd and thumped his chest three times before jumping off. A host of friends and family congratulated him along the rope line headed back to the exam room.
Toledo was not shocked the fight was waved off.
“Once we started applying the body shots, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time," Toledo said. “He (Everett) took about seven, eight clean punches. At the end of the day it’s about safety."
Everett, who won his only pro bout more than four years ago, fell to 1-8.
Costello, too, was grateful for the match to be called off when it was.
“My whole thing from the beginning was I wanted to hurry up and get this thing over with," he said. “I didn’t want to hurt anybody. This is a hurt business but you don’t want to hurt nobody to the point where they can die."
Costello got a late start, taking up the sport at the age of 25. With a growing family of three children, Costello’s dedication to training was often sidetracked by the need to work as a health aide. He’s not giving up his job but he hopes this win can lead to a five-fight contract. Boxer and trainer expect Costello to be back in action in six to eight weeks.
“I want everybody around my age (and) older people to never give up on their dreams," Costello said. “I want them to keep on grinding."