Tony Ojo of Reston lost a split decision to a world-class welterweight and former world middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo edged one more step along his comeback road last night in the 10-round boxing cofeatures at the Washington Convention Center.
A crowd of 2,200 watched Tommy Ayers of Cincinnati take a first-round battering, including a knockdown, by Ojo, but come back to earn a split decision. Ayers (28-1, 23 knockouts), ranked No. 1 challenger by the International Boxing Federation, No. 2 by the World Boxing Association and No. 5 by the World Boxing Council, was favored on two judges' cards, 97-94 and 99-97. One scorer had Ojo ahead, 97-94.
It was Ojo's fifth loss against 15 victories, but the bout left Ayers so exhausted he was removed from ringside by stretcher. Ayers' hand-lers later explained he had been butted several times and suffered a severe cut above his right eye.
Antuofermo, of New York City, worked 10 rounds against Larry McCall of Cincinnati and earned a unanimous decision, 100-80, 100-84 and 100-81.
It was not a pretty fight, but neither fighter has been known for finesse. Each took turns slugging the other in the head, but it was the 159-pound Antuofermo's body shots that wore out McCall (15-16).
Antuofermo (50-6-2, 20 knockouts) has earned a reputation as a bleeder, but save for a cut he received in practice that was reopened in the early rounds, Antuofermo's face stayed dry.
"I'm glad I went 10 rounds," said Antuofermo, who once preserved his world title by fighting future champion Marvin Hagler to a draw, then took 3 1/2 years off after a bloody loss to Hagler. "He (McCall) was very awkward. I couldn't catch him because he kept leaning to the right . . . But I hurt him in the body.
"It was a good workout. I knocked out the first three guys on the comeback trail. This is the first time I have gone 10 rounds in a while. Now we're looking for a contender like (Wilfredo) Benitez or (Roberto) Duran."
In an eight-round bout, Washington lightweight Al Martino fought a draw with Jocko King, to whom he lost in Atlantic City four months ago. Had he not been penalized a point for holding in the seventh round, Martino (13-3-2) would have outpointed Philadelphia's King (14-4-3).
"Even with the point taken off, I think I still won the fight," said Martino, who weighed 134 pounds to King's 136 1/2. "But the draw was better than a loss."
In the opening fight, welterweight George Leach (6-0) of Washington spoiled the professional debut of Earl Holman of Norfolk with a knockout 2:32 into the first of a scheduled four rounds.
In a six-round lightweight match, John McQueen Toliaferro (9-8) of Philadelphia outpointed William Reed of Baltimore.