INSIDE RINGSIDE with Frank Bartolini


INSIDE
RINGSIDE

  • with FRANK BARTOLINI

 

 

INSIDE Ringside around and about the United States

Two days worth of Philly’s slugfests!

Story by Frank Bartolini

Back to back evenings of super middleweight main events highlighted the Philly fight scene. Friday night in South Philadelphia and Saturday night in the beautifully antiquated Bristol, Pennsylvania, talented regional favorites showcased their wares.

May 12 – SugarHouse Casino – Philadelphia, PA.SugarHouse Casino has become Philly’s sizzling venue to present pugilism. Kings Promotions had Christopher Brooker, of Philadelphia, PA, headlining the festivities. The rugged Brooker, mugged, pushed and belted Oscar Riojas, of Monterrey, Mexico, en route to an eight-round unanimous decision.

Returning to action after two straight defeats, Brooker, 168 1/4, started slowly and the southpaw Riojas, 169, gained early momentum in his favor. During the third, Brooker began imposing his personal style of roughing things up. Squashing the distance between himself and his adversary, the Philly fighter limited Riojas’offensive effort.

Christopher Brooker.

Falling hard, Riojas’back hit the strands after Brooker delivered a thudding left in the waning seconds of the eighth. Hurt and buzzed, Oscar was fortunate it was not ruled a knockdown as the strings kept him afloat. Battling for victory until the end, Riojas came up short. Ultimately, Brooker’s strength enabled him to brawl his way to triumph.

All three judges had it in Christopher’s favor at 78-74. Back on the winning track, Brooker is 12-3 (5 KO’s). Always matched against tough competition, Riojas’mark stands at 14-8-1 (4 KO’s).

Derrick Webster

Onerous matchmaking insured each participant earned their purses. Residents of housing in nearby neighborhoods, the practicing prizefighters were not fed cream puffs on this night.  

House favorite Jerome Conquest, of Philadelphia, PA, won a six-round unanimous decision over Daniel Perales, of Saltillo, Mexico, in a lightweight battle. Not a big banger, Conquest, 133.6, worked hard to win five of the scheduled six rounds. Perales, 137.2, had enough bite on his punches to keep the proceedings combative. Conquest is now 7-2-1 (1 KO) and Perales slides to 10-10-1 (5 KO’s).

 Bombs away for two young junior welterweights in a scheduled four-rounder as Kashon Hutchinson, of Reading PA, uncorked his full blitz and landed his bombs on Jeffrey Torres, of Dingmans Ferry, PA. Although Hutchinson, 142.2, absorbed the fusillade of leather that Jeffrey Torres threw at him, Torres, 139.5, was still able to capture the unanimous decision. Staying undefeated, Torres improved to 3-0 (1 KO).  Hutchinson now has more losses than wins as he dropped to 2-3 (1 KO).

Another sold out crowd of over twelve hundred attendees packed into the SugarHouse conference room.

Next night at the Grundy Arena in Bristol, PA, Derrick Webster, of Glassboro, NJ, captured his fourth straight win by knocking out Frankie Fillippone, of Norfolk, VA, in round seven of a scheduled ten. Webster, 167, took advantage of his half-foot skeletal superiority and repeatedly shot his right jab into the face of Fillippone in this battle of southpaws.

Winning six in a row entering the ring, Fillippone 166.5, hoped a victory would move him a couple rungs up the ladder. Six hundreds fans were all there to root for Webster in Mis Downing Promotion’s inaugural promotional boxing event. Even all-time great Roy Jones Jr. worked Webster’s corner.

Never giving Fillippone a chance, Webster kept a quick pace. Hurt, stunned and rocked, Frankie hit the deck a few times throughout.  After digesting Webster’s jolting combinations early round seven, the fallen pugilist stayed on his knee and took the count of ten. Time of the stoppage was thirty-two seconds. Webster seems to be patient about taking on bigger prey as he improved to 23-1 (12 KO’s). Club fighter Fillippopne dropped a notch to 22-6-1 (7 KO’s).

Junior lightweight contender Tevin Farmer earns hard-fought decision over Arturo Santos Reyes

Story by Frank Bartolini

April 29 – Philadelphia, PA. At Temple University’s Liacouras Center, the Urban League of Philadelphia had Hard Hitting Promotions put on a five-fight card to support their night of Celebrity Boxing.

Tevin Farmer (L) slams Arturo Santos ReyesR)

On loan from DiBella Entertainment was world-ranked junior lightweight Tevin Farmer, of Philadelphia, PA, who fought one armed for the last eight rounds to outpoint Arturo Santos Reyes, of Sonora Mexico, in a scheduled ten.

Chugging forward, Reyes, 129, pressured southpaw Farmer, 132, into a corner and landed well to the body. Surprisingly, Reyes snuck a few punches past Farmer’s high guard. During the second stanza, Tevin suffered what turned out to be a pulled right bicep muscle. Adjusting immediately, Farmer turned orthodox and jabbed away at his foe. Once the Philly fighter became comfortable literally combating with only one loaded gun, he planted his feet and slugged away.
Tevin Farmer vs. Arturo Santos Reyes poster.

Tevin Farmer vs. Arturo Santos Reyes poster.

In an attempt to pull off an upset, Reyes trapped his adversary against the strands and occasionally scored solidly.

Finishing in full control, Farmer won a unanimous decision by tallies of 97-93, 98-94 and 96-94. Hoping to lasso a ranked marquee foe, Tevin stays active battling tough, but non-descript adversaries. Not losing since 2012, Farmer has won eighteen straight, raising his resume to 25-4-1 (5 KO’s). Following his gutsy effort, Reyes tumbled to 19-8 (5 KO’s).

Warming things up, one of Philadelphia’s hottest young prospects, 20 year-old Christian Carto, punched out a resistant Samuel Gutierrez, of Saltillo, Mexico in a six-round affair. Never ceasing his game effort, Gutierrez, 117.75, did not come out for the final round. “The City of Brotherly Love” new fan favorite Carto, 118, remained a perfect 9-0 9 (9 KO’s). Tough guy Gutierrez falls to 14-19-5 (5 KO’s).

Just over a thousand fans were in attendance.

Edner Cherry wins controversial decision over Omar Douglas at Bethlehem, PA fight card

Story by Frank Bartolini

Photos courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

April 4 – Bethlehem, PA – Sands Casino Resort A questionable decision over Omar Douglas, of Wilmington, Delaware, has extended Edner Cherry’s of the Bahamas, but now residing in Wauchula, FL, usefulness in the 130-pound ranks. Having failed in both his attempts at snatching a piece of a super featherweight/junior lightweight world title, Edner, 34, kept his hopes alive for that one last chance. Calculate the digits, seventeen years in the pro ranks, seven losses on his ledger, still Cherry can be optimistic. Give Cherry’s perseverance credit.

Edner Cherry (L) catches Omar Douglas (R) with a left to the jaw.

 Early on the resolute Cherry, 129.5, kept up a steady attack of left hooks and right hands to Douglas’ head. Fighting back, Omar poked with his jab trying to generate a substantial offense. Both swapped blows during the early phase.

Advancing towards fight’s end Douglas, 129.3, restricted Edner’s assailment. Hard left hooks by Omar were landing repeatedly off Cherry’s cranium. Scoring sweet combinations, Douglas won the second half of match. Unable to keep his guard up, Edner seemed winded over the last six minutes.

Edner Cherry (R) lands a body shot to Omar Douglas (L).

Catcalls greeted the verdict as all three judges had Cherry victorious by tallies of 98-92 and 96-94 twice. The USA Boxing News saw it 96-94 for Douglas.  Dropping two straight, Douglas falls to 17-2 (12 KO’s). Losing only one time since 2008, and that was for a shot at the IBF Super featherweight crown in October of 2015, Cherry lifted his mark to 36-7-2 (19 KO’s).

Edner Cherry vs. Omar Douglas

Two respected young prospects, willing to put in on the line made for a wonderfully contested super featherweight eight-rounder. Tenacious Frank DeAlba, of Bethlehem, PA, refused to lose and constantly sustained an offensive in winning a unanimous eight-round decision over Ryan Kielczweski, of Quincy, MA.

Both combatants tipped the scales at 130.2 pounds, although Kielczweski looked physically bigger.  Sedulous punching gave DeAlba the edge. Rigidly fought throughout the contest, neither combatant felt they were defeated. Two of the judges confirmed the closeness – tabulating digits 77-75, but the third was way off 80-72.

Edner Cherry stabs a jab at Omar douglas

The winner DeAlba improved to 22-2-2 (9 KO’s). Begrudgingly, Kielczweski tumbled to 26-3 (8 KO’s).

Kings Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions  promoted the event that aired nationally on Fox Sports 1  television network.

Super Brawls 3  excites crowd at Syland’s Events Center in Randolph, New Jersey

3/23/17 Skylands Event Center. Randolph, NJ – Out in the mountains in the Garden State where six inches of snow still covered the terrain, Greg Cohen Promotions partnering with Rising Star Promotions put on a five bout card titled, “Super Brawls 3” this past Thursday night.  The Skyland’s Event Center is an elegant venue situated at the end of a winding, wooded driveway that began  at the red brick columned  gated entrance.  Exquisite, sizable chandeliers hung above the very small ring inside the conference hall.

GCP boxer Skender Halili, 153.5, Bronx, NY,  went the distance on the winning end for the first time when he was extended the full six heats while earning a unanimous decision over  Eduardo Flores Quito, Ecuador.  Prior to tonight, all of Halili’s thirteen victories were via kayo.

Flores, Quito, 155, has been around these parts for awhile, lately getting knuckled up by the likes of  promising Anthony Young, contender Thomas LaManna and former world champ Kermit Cintron. Truly a physical marvel Flores does not budge when belted, nor does he  suffer swelling or get lumps.

Nothing different during this engagement, Kosovo native Halili, detonated unlimited explosives upon Flores. Possessing a kevlar chin Flores slipped some blows, but the bombs that landed did not matter.

Losing by unanimous decision scores of 60-54 on all three judges scorecards Flores is now 25-26-3 (15 KO’s). Halili’s mark lifs to 14-1 (13 ko’s)

Gifted with a hometown decision Ian Green, of Paterson, NJ,  was fortunate to get a six round majority decision against Andy Mejias, Utica, NY.

Unable to hold off Mejias, 160,  by jabbing, the stronger and just as talented Mejias moved forward and went to work.  During the second, Mejias got through with several overhand rights to Green’s crown. One such strike stunned Green. Round three was Ian’s last stand and barely pulled out the stanza by moving about behind his left jab. From that point Majias aggression aided him in imposing his muscle. By the fifth Mejias moved and punch Green, 161, from corner to corner. Though not overwhelmingly,  it sure appeared Mejias deserved the nod. Two of the three judges did not see that scoring in Greens favor 58-56 and one saw it even 57-57.

Green rises to 12-1 (10 ko’s). Suffering his first defeat Mejias is now 15-1 (6 ko’s)

Halili’s younger brother, Enver Halili, Bronx, NY won by tko versus Ariel Vasquez, Managua, Nicaragua. Deciding not to answer the bell for the fifth after getting slap around for twelve minutes Vasquez, 147, did not need an excuse for sitting out in this scheduled six. Beleaguered by inactivity Halili, 149, swore to be more active in the future. Maintaining a pristine record Halili record stands at 9-0 (3 ko’s). Always on the short end  Vasquez resume reads  13-17-2 (9 ko’s).

Starting on time the evening ran smoothly without any delays,  A crowd of about five hundred were in attendance and a good portion of them were Kosovo natives, there to root on their country man Halili.

Brooklyn Spotlights Boxing at the Barclay as Keith Thurman unifies WBC and WBA wleter tiitles

3/4/17 Brooklyn NY, The Barclay Center WBA Welter King Keith Thurman, Clearwater, Florida took the safe route and got the win and WBC  Welterweight Belt from Philly native Danny Garcia, via a stale twelve round split decision.

Keith Thurman (R) attacks Danny Garcia’s body (L)

“This is my dream come true..I knew today would be the day I accomplished my dreams.”

Did Thurman’s dream include the outcome  being booed.  Most of the second half of the contest, cat calls were heard from the record setting audience of 16,553  for a boxing event at The Barclays. By choosing a less harmful strategy of staying away from Garcia and jabbing and moving Thurman earned no fans and may have lost some. 

Garcia came to engage in fisticuffs and was cheered loudly by a large contingent of Puerto Rican fans there to support their heritage, when he made his way up the aisle to climb into the ring.  “I fight to win and that’s what it is all about.” Garcia said beforehand

Initiating a brouhaha to begin matters, a pumped up Thurman, 146.2, came out winging left hooks and right hands in round one.  Buckled and stunned after eating a overhand right to the head Garcia,146.5, held grabbed and ducked to finish the first three minutes as Thurman bombed away.

In the second session, twinkle toes Thurman decided not to partake in hand to hand combat, choosing to showcase, as he said , his “superior boxing skills” and that’s when this battle started to lose it’s luster.  Trying to jab to the body Garcia had difficulty closing the divide. During the next couple of sessions Garcia was able to get inside by slipping and ducking incoming fire. This enabled Garcia to hit Thurman’s hip with right hands and dig left hooks into his gut.

Neither seemed willing to forsake personal injury, nor to simply turn it up a notch and bore in at the other.  Following the sixth, the fans realized that by Thurman choosing to make this a display of the sweet science, instead of a free-for-all, the house began to exclaim there displeasure and jeers  began to be heard.

Refusing to improvise on his successful strategy  of jitterbugging and jabbing and choosing when to deliver combinations, Thurman did manage to score well with both mitts to the body and left hooks upstairs. During the ninth a big right uppercut by Thurman snapped Garcia’s head back.

Keith Thurman (R) trades shots with Danny Garcia (R) in their unification bout.

By now nothing Thurman did  stirred  the fans and he was being booed heavily. During these sessions Garcia kept up a constant offensive on Thurman’s torso. Cheering  “Danny! Danny! Danny!” in unison the crowd voiced their support for the Philadelphian. Thurman admitted following the match he thought he was a sure winner explaining why he took no chances the last nine minutes saying, “I was not giving the fight away, I felt we had a nice lead. We could cool down. I felt like we were controlling. My defense was effective-he wasn’t hitting me.” Prescribing to this mind set almost cost Thurman the unified straps. Garcia swept the last nine minutes by continuing to focus on his body assault.  Pressing the action behind left jabs to Thurman’s head, momentum had, not surprisingly,  swung  Garcia’s way. Still with things possibly slipping away Thurman was so confident that his early success was enough that he continued to run to the fans displeasure and in Brooklyn the ”Bronx Cheers” blared. As the gong tolled introducing the last round neither totally went for it. Garcia wanted to engage, but did not know how to accomplish this  against the fleeing Thurman. As the finals seconds ticked off the throngs realized the lit fuse was not going to ignite the TNT.

Boos  sounded when the split decision in Thurman’s favor was announced by scores Judges John McKaie 116-112 Joe Pasquale  115-113 Thurman The USA Boxing News scorecard agreed with and had it scores the same as Kevin Morgan 115-113 Garcia.

“I’m happy to be in this moment with all these people here. I’ve had this dream since I was a little boy, to become a great champion. Danny is a smart fighter. We’re both prideful fighters.” Thurman said. Explaining away his choice of coasting to the finish line Thurman said, “I was not giving the fight away. I felt we had a nice lead and we could cool down.  I felt we were controlling. My defense was effective he wasn’t hitting me. I  knew today would be the day.” he then added, “I accomplished all my dreams. I fought my way up the amateurs. I demonstrated my skills tonight. I made my team proud. I was controlling the fight from the outside. There were some rounds that I was dominating. We felt like we earned the victory. I thought it was a clear victory. I knew it had to go to me.”

The USA Boxing News agreed with  Garcia when he said, “I thought I won the fight . It was close. It was a tough fight. I thought I came back strong. It was close, but I thought I did enough to win. It is what it is. I can’t cry over anything. I’ll come back strong like a true champion.” Concerning a possible return match, Garcia replied, “I would love to have a rematch to get my titles back.  I came up short tonight. I thought I was the aggressor. I thought I pushed the pace.I fight to win and that’s what it’s all about.  I thought I won.”

Ultimately after the official decision there were no winners. Deciding solely to get the “W” instead of impressing fans on hand and  millions on prime time television, Thurmond,  blew his chance at a mega fight. Who wants to plunk down their hard earned bucks on a Thurmond pay per view, when there is a good chance Thurmond’s protective style will produce a dud.. 

With no one clamouring for mega fight involving Thurmond, he  stays perfect at 28-0 (22 ko’s). Garcia suffers his first stain and sports a 33-1 (19 ko’s).

The bout was another hugely anticipated and popular show at a big time arena delivered by Premeir Boxing Champions and DIBella Entertainment.

Further details on WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s marvelous win over Gerald Washington along with quotes and photos of the fighters, along with the undercard warriors

Photos by Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

Reported by Frank Bartolini – The U.S.A. Boxing News

Caleb Plant stands in neutral corner as referee counts over Thomas Awimbono

BIRMINGHAM, AL. (February 25, 2017) – Undefeated heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (38-0, 37 KO’s) knocked out Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (18-1-1, 12 KO’s) in the fifth round of the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL.

Tugstogt Nyambayer (L) getting tagged by Jhon Geminio (R)

In front of a crowd of 12,346 fans, Wilder was able to give his home state crowd another scintillating victory. Although Washington stole some of the early rounds, Wilder’s patience paid off as he was able to find his pace and finish Washington in the fifth frame.

In the blistering televised opener, Dominic Breazeale (18-1, 16 KO’s) stopped previously unbeaten Izuagbe Ugonoh (17-1, 14 KO’s). Ugonoh controlled the fight early landing heavy blows to both Breazeale’s body and head, but Breazeale was able to compose himself and stormed back to knock out Ugonoh in impressive fashion.

Deontay Wilder at weigh-in

The co-main event featured Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) knocking out Tony Harrison (24-2, 20 KOs) in the ninth round of their contest.

Here is what the fighters had to say following their bouts:

DEONTAY WILDER

 “I knew he was going to come in excited to fight for a world title. I just kept calm and found my rhythm. I really knew he was going to tire out, and when he did I took advantage.  “It was all about timing. I’m very smart when it comes to using different tactics in the ring.”

WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder after his big win.

“Fighting here in Alabama is a blessing. The people here show up to support me and I love them for it. I’m always going to support and be here for my Alabama family. To see the crowd’s response tonight meant a lot to me.”

“As I’ve been saying, I’m looking to unify the division. I think it’s critical to have one fighter and one champion, and that’s Deontay Wilder. Let’s hope Joseph Parker is ready for me because I’m definitely ready for him.”

 

Caleb Plant (L) striking Thomas Awimbono (R) with hard left.

GERALD WASHINGTON

“I just got a little impatient. I was trying to go for it. It was an even boxing match. I could have kept it like that and kept it boring. I don’t know why I fell asleep there. I guess I lost a little focus.”

Wilder (L) and Washington (R) exchanging shots to the other.

“I caught him with one shot when he was coming in. But instead of me keeping that play going and keep pushing him back and keep him in control by keeping him in the center of the ring, I tried to get on him. I was trying to play a little counter punch role and catch him coming in. He just caught me.”

“It’s just an experience. You have to follow the game plan and stay focused, stay patient. You may not get all the shots you want in the beginning, but you have to play the game all the way out and then things will start to happen.”

JARRETT HURD

“We wanted to take our time with him because Harrison can box and move. But every time he fights he wears down toward the end.”

Tony Harris vs. Jarrett Hurd

 “During the sixth round, he caught me with a good shot inside my left eye. But I managed to fight through it and get the win.”

“It feels great to be a champion. I’ve never had a feeling this great before. It’s pure Accokeek power. I can finally pull my pants up now. My pants were falling down, but I finally got my belt.”

DOMINIC BREAZEALE

“It took a little time for me to find my pace, but eventually I found my Rhythm. Izu came in in great shape and with guns blazing. He came at me with some stuff that I wasn’t expecting. Him being the lighter guy I wasn’t really expecting the power he possessed.”

“I was able to connect some big shots tonight, especially with my right hand. You see what happens when I put him down and he never really recovered.”

“Coming off the loss to Joshua, this win puts me right back in there. This is what I’ve always asked for. My team does an incredible job of getting me any fight I ask for, and I wanted to fight an undefeated guy like Izu. He’s a big, strong, athletic guy.”

 “Tonight, the story was about me having the heart of a lion, getting knocked down, but getting right back up to finish this fight.”

IZUAGBE UGONOH

 “I expected that I was going to knock him out. I believed I would accomplish that, but he didn’t surprise me with anything. I was landing some good shots to both his body and his face.”

Izu Ugano (L) and Dominic Breazeale (R) exchanging blows.

“Breazeale showed a lot of heart though, and I think that his experience really helped him. I think a fight like Anthony Joshua really helped him realize that he could take anything and win the fight. He did that tonight.”

“Honestly, I just got tired. I gave him what I had and then I got tired. When he came back at me I wasn’t able to keep up and finish through on my game plan.”

“The plan was to really use my double jab, and I’m not making any excuses. This is the fight game. This was a great opportunity for me, a big step up, and I was hoping to get it done. I didn’t, but that is part of sports. I’m not used to losing, but that time came today. I’m still a dangerous man to fight.”

The card was promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with TGB Promotions and Bruno Event Team.

Great Boxing Looms Large at the Maryland’s Rosecraft Raceway

2/11/17  Fort Washington, Maryland, Rosecroft Raceway : With a  weekends itinerary snowed out. Original  travel plans would have  placed me in  Toledo, Ohio to attend Robert Easter’s first defense of his IBF Lightweight Title. Scratched due to “Mother Nature” , I hit America’s highway for the three and a half hour jaunt   to southern Maryland. What I found there was a standardbred racetrack that housed a very large parimutuel batting parlor. Over eight hundred fans gathered upstairs in the banquet/conference hall to view  Marshall Kaufman’s Kings Promotions host a outstanding club show..

Undefeated Mykal Fox of Forestville, MD, took on rugged Tresean Wiggins of Newburgh, NY, in a  eight round duel of southpaw participants. Using his Long and lean physical stature Fox,141.4, tries to keep his foes at the end of his jab. Wiggins,142.4, likes to land the big kahuna.

A quintessential  feeling out process took place during the first three minutes. Next session saw Wiggins moving forward scoring with right hooks. Finding his range after that, Fox, got on his toes, tapping Wiggins with his  elongated right jab.  Following up behind that jab Fox unleashed combinations but his lack of starch on his blows prevented him from taking complete charge.  By being able to absorb Fox’s strikes Wiggins was able to keep it close even stunning Fox during the fourth. Staying on course Fox remained patient out boxing Wiggins without inflicting much damage. By jabbing and getting out of the way and following up with one-two’s during the seventh Wiggins put himself back in the mix. Tenacious and vigorous Fox continuously punch the final three minutes. By being this aggressive Fox sealed the triumph.  Capturing a  majority decision by scores of 76-76, 77-75, 78-74 Fox ascends to 13-0, 4 ko’s.

Perceiving they were robbed, cheated and victimized by a hometown decision Wiggins camp noisily protested.  Wiggins slate slides to 7-3 6 ko’s. The USA Boxing News scored it 77-76 for Fox

Explosive thirty eight year old cruiserweight Luther Smith of Bowie, MD, scored the fifth first round stoppage of his career, icing Darnell Pierce of Austin, Texas at 1:59.  These rivals introduced themselves by whacking each other upside the cranium.  Getting the better of the belligerent activity Pierce, ,193.8, beamed with certainty of victory. Abruptly that changed after Pierce’s chin was mashed by a Smith,198.8, right. Gravity took control upon impact as Pierce fell straight back.  The back of Pierce’s head would have slammed off the mat but was rescued by the bottom strand. That was it for this six rounder Pierce was able to stand by the count of nine but the wise referee concluded the action at 1:59. Smith is now 7-1 6 KO’s. Pierce moves on at 5-1  (1 KO).

Justin Hurd of Accokeek, MD, belted Dawond Pickney . Hot Springs, AK around for two rounds before the ringside physician would not it to continue after round two of this slated four, Hurd, 153, a decorated amatuer   is the younger brother of top rated super welterweight Jarret Hurd..Earning his pay Pierce,155.4,  hung in there until the referee did not let him continue after round two.  Traveling down a glistening path to a bright future Hurd is 2-0 2 ko’s. Pickney adds a loss to his dismal record and is now 1-4-1.

Like my favorite haunt Philadelphia, Washington DC has it’s own fight scene. DC as the locals  call it, always has area  boxing luminaries in attendance. , in the venue this evening were Jarrett Hurd, Dusty Hernandez Harrison, Lamont Peterson. Then there is a crew of stalwarts announcer Discombobulating Jones,  boxing glove gut Juice Gatlin, plus Digital Williams doing live audio  broadcasting. DC boxing  is cool place and thrives under the radar but that does not stop it from being in the same class as other  more notable regions.

“The New” Ray Robinson pummels Edwin Palacio at Philly’s Sugar House Casino

The new “Sugar” Ray Robinson

 February 3 – Philadelphia, PA – Sugar House Casino. Since Sugar House hosted its inaugural show back in August 2016, they have always had a packed house filled with fans.  With this being their fourth event, they filled the seats once more. All of the fight shows have been promoted by Hard Hitting Promotions. By this time the pundits were hoping for a higher level of quality engagements. That was not the case, outside of a six-round decision, the other six matches lasted a total of eighteen minutes and 12 seconds!

“The New” Ray Robinson, of Philadelphia, PA, annihilated hapless Edwin Palacio, of Leon, Nicaragua. Just prior to the gong to conclude round one, southpaw Robinson, 150.5,  scored a straight to the cranium that hurt and floored Palacio, 150.3.

Decked two more times in the second, first by another straight left upstairs, Palacio bravely beat the count and continued until Robinson’s ensuing onslaught, punctuated by a left uppercut to the chin, had the Nicaraguan dining on resin dust. Unable to beat the count, Palacio was cooked at 2:39 of the stanza.

No one took Robinson seriously when he called out fellow Philadelphian WBC Welterweight king Danny Garcia. Until Robinson triumphs over some world class 147-pounders, his shouts for Garcia will not be answered.

Robinson resume now reads at 22-2 (11 KO’s).  Not as good as his record, Palacio will next fool the bout sheet readers, holding a ledger of 12-5-1 (8 KO’s).

As far as the undercard…no comment!

Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna returns to the ring and soundly beats Eduardo Flores as he tops exciting bill at the Claridge Hotel and Casino

January 28 –  Claridge Hotel Atlantic City, NJ LaManna family’s Rising Star Promotions has kept Atlantic City boxing’s heart pumping by regularly promoting shows at this venue since December of 2015. Topping the bill, Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna, of Millville, NJ, shellacked Eduardo Flores, of Salcedo, Ecuador in a scheduled eight rounder. At the top of the show, Rising Star Promotion’s franchise boxer “Cornflake” was bouncing back from his close, and some say disputed, decision loss against Dusty Hernandez back in September for the vacant USBA Welterweight Championship.

 As usual, the joint was packed to the gills with about 700 folks in attendance to witness LaManna. What they received in addition was a night of matches filled with a bunch of local clubbers squaring up against a slew of opponents that came to win. This formula made for some good duals. 

Eduardo Flores, 154, may not have much skill, hand speed or anything else that makes a pugilist good, but what he surely has is a granite jaw.  At 154, LaManna looks strong, well-conditioned, fit and comfortable. Getting right back on his horse, Thomas looks to have refined an already well-schooled left glove by unleashing left hooks and left uppercuts to the head and body. “Cornflake” followed those with stinging straight rights to the head and right uppercuts to the body.  Flores never quit and took his punishment like a gritty warrior too proud to stop trying. 

All three judges saw Flores absorption of punishment at the hands of LaManna the same way by scoring it a shutout at 80-72 for the New Jersey native. With the loss, Flores fell to 25-25-3 (15 KO’s).

Never one to sit around waiting for a money fight against a name opponent is what makes LaManna special.  This activity keeps his name on fans’ lips. As the rumor mill churns about possible upcoming opponents, or LaManna being inked by some big time promoter, his won/loss total lifts to 22-2 (9 KO’s).

Lamanna (R) slams Flores (L)

Garden State educators earn a better than average salary, receive  quality health benefits and a pension when they retire. Then why would  thirty-seven year-old public school guidance counselor Chuck Mussachio, of Wildwood, NJ, want to trade blows with anyone? At the pre-fight press conference light heavyweight, Mussachio explained by using Michael Corleone dialogue from the movie The Godfather 3,  “Every time I get out. I get pulled back in.”

Billed as the “Rising Star Promotions Light Heavyweight Championship” and scheduled for six, Mussachio was pitted against Michael Mitchell, of Paterson, NJ. Supposedly a safe opponent, Mitchell was anything but. Haymakers abound was Mitchell’s strategy. Rocked by a booming right to the chin, Chuck staggered back, clearly hurt and his legs were like wet noodles in  the second. Mitchell took advantage of his weakened foe and chased him around the squared circle, hammering Mussachio with jolting shots.

This pattern continued in all six rounds.  Still in possession of sharp skills, in the stanzas Mussachio was able to stay away and box, he did quite well. In search of one big smackaroo, Mitchell loaded and when he landed Mussachio wobbled badly.

After six heats of kicking up dust, one judge saw it a draw at 57-57, while two had it for Mitchell 60-53 and 59-56.

Going back to his Guidance Office at Lower Cape May High School, Mushaccio will have his fedora hat, but nothing to display on his office wall and a record standing at 19-4-2 (5 KO’s). Meanwhile, Mitchell, who improved to 4-7-2 (1 KO), has a brand new belt buckle holding up his pants.

 Climbing back into the ring since suffering his first career loss back in July, southpaw Gabriel Pham, of Atlantic City, NJ, crushed Jose Valderrama, of Manati, Puerto Rico. Pham, 167 ¼, cornered Valderamma in round two and connected with a thudding  left to his adversary’s jaw. Jose was unable to beat the count and Pham was declared the winner at the 2:50 mark. Pham rose to 7-1 (5 KO’s) and Valderamma dropped down to 5-18 (3 KO’s).

Former champion Zab Judah returns to the ring to demolish Jorge Luis Munguia

January 21 – Sun National Bank Arena – Trenton, NJ. Boss Lady Promotions brought  prizefighting back to the State Capitol with the second installment of Bridge Wars.

Former two-weight division world champ Zab Judah, of Brooklyn, NY, was impressive in his first fight in four years.  Scheduled for ten rounds Judah showed little rust, if any at all. Still in possession of quick and sharp fists Judah, 143, whooped Jorge Luis Munguia, of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Zab Judah

The totally outclassed Jorge Luis could do little, but accept his fate. A low blow put Munguia on a knee and surprisingly the referee began a count. Regardless, Judah was giving Luis’ face a shoe polishing. Give Munguia, 142, credit for sticking it out the first three minutes and answering the bell for round two. Southpaw Judah still moves well and uncorked a beautiful combo that crashed landed on his rival. No bother for a count, referee wisely ended it at 1:27.  With the win, Judah climbs to 43-9 (30 KO’s). Jorge Luis Munguia slides to 13-8 (4 KO’s) with the defeat. At the pre-fight press conference, Judah indicated he will campaign at junior welterweight. 

 Warming up for the main event, southpaw Derrick Webster, of Paulsboro, NJ, outfoxed Thomas Awinbono, of Accra, Ghana, over ten rounds to capture the vacant IBO/USBO Super Middleweight title belt.  Possessing super skills, Webster kept on his toes scoring well by sticking Awinbono with a right jab to the face.

Sweeping the first six rounds without sustaining any damage to himself, Webster would firmly plant his feet and release lightning combos that pounded into his foe’s head and body, and then he would swiftly move out of the harm’s way. Trying to make an attempt to get himself back into the contest, Awinbono charged forward and swung overhand rights, but to no avail.

Both weighed in right on the mark at 168 pounds.  No doubt about the decision as two judges saw it 98-92 and the third had it a clean sweep 100-90 all for Webster. On a three-fight winning streak, the new champ Webster forges ahead at 22-1 (11 KO’s).

 In the unofficial main event, the last exchanges of leather paired cruiserweight State Capitol resident Mike Hilton versus Niagara Falls, NY, pugilist Eric George. A National Golden Glove champ as an amateur, Hilton has fists of thunder. Looking considerably smaller, George, 199, made a valiant effort in this entertaining blowout.

 Hilton, 200, fired pile driving shots that broke down George. During the fourth, head snapping uppercuts saw Eric lose his mouthpiece for the third time and a point was deducted.

 After two trips to the floor by George in the fifth, it was over without a count. Time of stoppage was 1:27.  George falls to 4-14 (0) KO’s). Local fans filled the seats for the beloved Hilton, who stays perfect at 5-0 (5 KO’s).

 Close to a thousand spectators saw the second installment of Bridge Wars. Boss Lady promotions CEO Renee Aikens indicated that her company will return to the banks of the Delaware River in April. A full plate was served this evening with an appetizer of a half dozen  amateur contests and a dinner of seven pro bouts.

In conclusion, Judah looked very good, Hilton shows promise, and Webster now owns a shiny strap.

January 13Michael’s Eighth Avenue – Glen Burnie, Maryland.   Promoter Jake Smith served an eight-bout PRO/AM held at Michael’s Eighth Avenue. Four amatuer bouts kicked things off. Three of the tiffs were matched with skilled amateurs. The fun to watch amatuer finale was more a tough man contest than a display of skills. Four pro fights were topped off by popular local super middleweight Jessie Nicklow, of nearby Brooklyn, Maryland, battling Chauncey Fields, of Lynchburg VA. Lacking the experience of his adversary, Fields, 163.6, arrived in shape and ready. The light punching Nicklow, 164, had not fought in over a year since being kayoed over twelve months ago by Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Jessie utilized his slugger’s style of crouching, bobbing and weaving, moving forward scored well to the body and head. Absorbing the assault with ease, Chauncey swung punches to defend himself. Obviously lacking any starch on his blows, Nicklow maintained control, but still had to continue a strong pace. Jessie usually wins his bouts by overwhelming his foes with a large punch output, which is what he accomplished tonight.

Tough guy Fields’ highlight came during round four when a soft right scored on an off balanced Nicklow, sending him to the canvas.  Things continued the same way and finished with a spirited last stanza. Winning a unanimous eight-round decision, Nicklow improved to 26-8-3 (8 KO’s), while Fields dropped to 4-1 (2 KO’s).

Local bragging rights were on the line in a six-round super middleweight affair where Donald Wallace, of Baltimore, Maryland, won a close unanimous nod against Tahir Thomas, of Salisbury, Maryland.

Neither man gave a inch in this battle royale as Wallace, 166,  went down hard on all fours during the fourth from a two-fisted barrage by Thomas. Head snapping, bone jarring punches hit off of both warriors and when the dust cleared Wallace raised his record 2-0 (1 KO) by winning a close unanimous decision by scores of 57-56 twice and a bit off base 59-55. Thomas, 167, fell to 4-2-1 (3 KO’s). These small club shows are the pulse of boxing and the overjoyed, and probably a bit buzzed (alcohol was flowing), crowd of just over five hundred were satisfied they got a good bang for their buck.

December 16 – Sugar House Casino – Philadelphia PA. For the third time in as many shows, Hard Hitting Promotions produced a sell-out audience as Christmas came early for most the local scrappers on the agenda. Outcomes of all the contests were predictable, but matchmaker Reyes did not bring soft touches, though they were tough competitors with losing records that kept things interesting for as long as they lasted.

Luis Lebron, of San Juan, Puerto Rico won a hard fought, yet one-sided match over a game and willing to fight Roberto Corea, of Rivas, Nicaragua, in the eight-round show topper. Toughness and strength kept Corea, 125.75, pressing forward. Handling his foe’s strategy with ease, the more skillful Puerto Rican boxer kept out of harm’s way. One sided yet entertaining, Lebron received a unanimous victory, raising his mark to 7-0 (3 KO’s). It looks like Corea will never even be a .500 fighter as he stepped down to 9-12-4 (4 KO’s).

Philly’s two hottest prospects scored kayo’s on the undercard. Matinee Idol Christian Carto, of Philadelphia, PA, steamrolled over Alex Reyes, of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, in two heats. Both weighed 117.75.

 A barrage of blows punctuated by a left hook to midsection floored Reyes, who went down, but never got up to beat the count. The time of the knockout was at 1:55 of round two.

Turning pro in July of 2016, an active power punching Carto remained undefeated at 6-0 (6 KO’s). Reyes tumbled to 2-6 (O KO’s).

 Since entering the paid ranks in April of 2016, Jarron Ennis, of Philadelphia, PA, has compiled an 8-0 record with 7 KO’s. Victim number eight, Marcus Beckford, of Lafayette, LA, withstood a trouncing as the southpaw Ennis, 146.6, showed no mercy and Beckford, 149, had too much pride. Wisely, the referee did not let it go the distance, halting the assault at fifty-five seconds of the sixth and final round.

Beckford sunk to 3-5 (0 KO’s) with the loss.

Continued success is forecasted for both these future stars in 2017. Ennis is 19 years-old and Carto just turned 20, so there is no hurry to develop these young talented athletes. Look for Ennis to step up in class and make a move at year’s end. It appears as if Carto’s team will take a more patient approach. These young prizefighters are two are big time ticket sellers and already have a huge fan base.

December 2 – 2300 Arena – Philadelphia, PA.   Peltz Promotions/ Bam Promotions in conjunction with DiBella Entertainment put on a show with a bunch of locals on the undercard highlighted by classy Tevin Farmer showcasing his world class skills. Farmer, of Philadelphia, PA, easily obtained a ten-round unanimous verdict over Kosovo native, Dardan Zenunaj 128.9.

Demond Brock vs. Reynaldo Blanco Fight Poster.

Rated number three in the world at junior lightweight by the WBC, Farmer 129, was in full control. Hardly a glove released by his adversary scored on Farmer. So elusive, it seems like ages that a significant blow broke through Farmer’s defense.  In all reality, Tevin hardly digested a solid shot in all four of scraps in 2016. Referred to as a reincarnated primed Pernell Whitaker, it is hard to envision Farmer losing too soon as his record rose to 24-3-1 (5 KO’s).

Hard to judge how qualified of a boxer Zenunaj is since he was in way over his head. Maybe with a bit more nurturing Zanunaj can improve his 12-3 (9 KO’s) ledger.  Promoted by Lou DiBella, Farmer’s team should secure him a world title shot in 2017.  If Farmer could square off with a top-ten opponent, before long look for him to join his friend WBA Super Featherweight king Jason Sosa as a world title strap owner.

Stylin’ Garret Wilson, of Philadelphia,  PA, trumped Lamont Capers, of Hawley, PA,  taking a six-round majority decision.  Listed at  five-foot-eight inches tall, Wilson, 200.4, packs bulging muscles in his frame.  Across the way, Capers was long and lean. Typical of a match with such contrasting statures, Capers moved around the ring, jabbed, countered and stood his ground in heated exchanges. Wilson only used one gear and that was forward movement winging bombs.

As the proverbial dust cleared, Wilson 17-11-1 (9 KO’s) won by scores 58-56 twice and 57-57. Matched tough from early in his career, the very sound pugilist Capers is now 7-9-2, with no knockouts.

November 18 – Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. On the eve of the one of the biggest fights of the year, Kovalev vs. Ward, Roy Jones Jr. Promotions put on a competitive seven-bout affair. 

With all the times I’ve been to Sin City, this was the first time I visited downtown in over thirty years. At that time, Freemont Street  was dusty and old and filled with locals consisting of cowboys, harlots, pickpockets, flim-flam men and Native Americans. That look is a thing of the past as today Freemont Street is paved with glossy cobblestones and motor vehicles are not permitted. It is not just Freemont Street anymore, it is now billed as “The Freemont Street Experience” where a “SlotZilla” zip line the runs twelve stories above ground with people zipping by faster than forty miles per hour as a rider is strapped in the Superman flying position. For the less adventurous thrill, one can soar through the air just under the “Man of Steel” wannabes in a sitting position. Several stages are set up on Freemont Street and all sorts of characters roam amongst the tourists.  One of these stages was used for the weigh-in the evening before the contests. A sizable crowd gathered in front of the stage, not as much to see the combatants hit the scale, but to get a glimpse of the all-time great former champion Roy Jones.

Promoter Roy Jones Jr. and Demond Brock.

Tough guy Demond Brock, of New Orleans, LA,  eked  out a close verdict over versatile champion Reynaldo Blanco, of Mantancita, Dominican Republic, for his WBA/NABA USA Lightweight belt.

Kicking things off, Brock, 135, answered the opening bell aggressively, bullying Blanco by crashing bombs on his anatomy. He was in so much control during the first stanza that it appeared Brock was on his way to an early stoppage win. Not so as Blanco 133.8,  asserted his jab with wise foot movement, putting momentum on his side. Not considered a big bomber, Brock hurt Blanco a few times. A determined Blanco kept coming back every time in the thrilling seesaw battle.

Tevin Farmer wallops Dardan Zenunaj with a left hand.

A left jab followed by an overhand to the noggin’ was working well for Brock in round four. Taking advantage of his foe’s slower pace, Blanco threw bolo shots to the body, uppercuts, and straight rights upstairs with much success. 

Going into the last three minutes, Blanco looked worse for wear with both eyes swollen and a cut left eye and the two pugilists fought as if they needed the stanza for a successful verdict.   Mixed reception from the crowd of eight hundred greeted the split decision of 96-94 twice for Brock and 97-93 Blanco.  Brock improved to 13-3 (4 KO’s). Blanco’s mark now stands at 13-3 (7 KO’s).

A boxer to keep an eye on is junior lightweight Randy Moreno, of Las Vegas, NV,  as he improved 7-0 (6 KO’s) by finishing off Daniel Perales, of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  Perales, 131, withstood a shellacking from Moreno, 129.6. Perales heads “South of the Border” with a mark of 7-6-1 (4 KO’s).

Exiting the arena speaking with HBO boxing judge Harold Lederman, we walked down Fremont Street.  During our stroll I watched a cast of men and women in absurd outfits dancing to live music and the waif of wacky weed billowing.  It then occurred to me that Brock, a native of New Orleans, was a fitting main event, because nowadays Fremont Street was 24/7, 365 days a year of Mardi Gras!

The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame 2016 Induction Ceremony

 

November 3 – Garfield, NJ – Venetian Banquet Hall. The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame held its Forrty-Seventh annual induction and award ceremony. President Henry Hascup always does a great job and this year was no different. Notable inductees included Pat Lynch, who has managed a number of boxers throughout his career, the most famous being the late Arturo Gatti. Professional Judge Debra Barnes joined this year’s class. New Jersey State Athletic commissioner Larry Hazzard was courteous as usual posing for photographs and shaking hands with a good deal of the sold-out crowd of 550 fans in attendance. 

Chuck Wepner (R) and Muhammad Ali (L) square off in their World heavyweight championship fight on March 24, 1975 at the Richfield coliseum in Richfield, Ohio. Ali won by TKO at 2:41 of Round 15.

 Of course the real life “Rocky” – “The Bayonne Brawler” Chuck Wepner mingled amidst the diners. Who else could be picked other than 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson as the Amatuer Boxer of The Year? Unfortunately, the fighter was unable to attend and  Shakur’s dad was on hand with the Silver Medal to accept his son’s award. Stevenson just signed a managerial agreement to handle his pro career with Light Heavyweight World Champ Andre Ward, James Price and Josh Dubin. Price manages Andre Ward.

2016 Olympic Silver medalist Shakur Stevenson as the Amatuer Boxer of The Year.

Drove up and dined with great guy Vinnny LaManna . Vinny’s the dad of promising welterweight/junior middleweight,  Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna. LaManna family Rising Star Promotions kept Atlantic City Boxing alive in 2016.

Wepner knocks down Ali in round 9.

The annual New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame belts are designed by SARTONK – the originator of the modern boxing championship belts.

Boxing Erupts in Philadelphia

 November 11 – Philadelphia, PA -2300 Arena. GH3 Promotions combined with Victory Boxing Promotions to deliver ten solid fights to seven hundred fans on this night. Carlos Valcarcel,  of Miami, FL, arrived in shape and ready, but that was nearly not enough to overcome odds on favorite Adam Lopez, of San Antonio, Texas, in the main event.Possessing too much talent Lopez, 124, easily outhustled Valcarel,, 124 ½.  Scheduled for eight, Lopez pounded Carlos round after round. Lopez looked quite impressive as he hurt opponent throught the bruising contest. Suddenly, a crushing left to the body dropped Valcarcel. Rolling on the ground in pain, Carlos was counted out at 1:47 of the last frame. Moving forward, Lopez is 16-0-1 (8 KO’s). On his way to a .500 record, Valcarel drops down to 14-9-4 (5 KO’s).

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Chazz Witherspoon (L) punishes Mike Marrone (R)

Brawl of the evening pitted so-called opponent Teanal Goyco, 169 ½, versus prospect Jerry Odom, 167 ½, in a super middleweight contest scheduled for eight rounds. Things played out to script when Odom stunned Goyco in the first. As Jerry unloaded a arsenal of bombs, it appeared a staggered Goyco was going to make an early exit. Nothing changed in the second, but by the third it was obvious that Jerry emptied his tank trying to finish his adversary. Now it was Goyco’s turn and the Philly native began getting the better of the spirited exchanges. 

Round five was all Goyco as he staggered, stunned and battered Odom from pillar to post, who lacked the strength to defend himself. After a fall to the floor that was ruled a slip, Odom slowly returned his stool at the bell. Not getting out of his seat for the sixth, Odom handed Goyco the upset victory. Upset yes, a surprise ending, definitely not for those who have seen Goyco in action before.

After picking up a couple of solid wins this year Goyco evens his mark at 9-9-1 (4 KO’s). Still unable to get his career completely off the ground, Odom goes from prospect to question mark, dropping to  14-3-1 (13 KO’s).

After a twelve-month spell of inactivity, super middleweight Derrick Webste, of Glassboro, NJ,  looked sharp in his second bout since July. Hungarian,  Zoltan Sera, 167, entered this six rounder thinking win. What Sera got was a severe beating and was stopped at 1:28 of the fifth. Never in doubt, southpaw Webster,170, dropped Sera with a right hook to jaw in the fourth.  No arguments when the ref halted the action.

It is time for the capable Webster, 20-1 (11 KO’s) to step up on his game. It will be interesting to see how he is matched up next year. Sera will go home to the land of goulash with a 26-11 (17 KO’s) record.

October 28 – Philadelphia, PA – Sugar House Casino. Hard Hitting Promotions scored with a another sold-out crowd in its second promotion hosted by Sugar House Casino. A couple of late scratches scaled the show down to six contests. Topping things off  was “The New” Ray Robinson, of Philadelphia, PA,  who issued a severe beating to Santos Benavidez, of Cohntales, Nicaragua. Late in round one, Benavides, 150 ½, had to pick his butt off the canvas that placed him there from a Robinson left-right combo to the chin. Showing no rust Robinson, 151 ½, looked sharp creating scoring opportunities with footwork that allowed him to land punishing shots frequently.

To his credit, Benavidez kept trying, but his valiant effort achieved little. No one complained when the ringside physician did not let Benavidez out for the fifth – giving Robinson a win by TKO 4. A ten-year veteran, inactivity has been Robinson’s greatest foe. Ranked fifth in the world by the WBC and living in the same city as the organization’s Welterweight King Danny Garcia, the road to the title is still very long for Ray. For his own sake Robinson enters the ring again soon as his record now stands at 21-2 (10 KO’s). Losing on a regular basis nowadays, Benavides heads south with a 25-11-2 (19 KO’s) slate.

Fan favorite, ticket seller and matinee idol Christian Carto, of Philadelphia PA, won by technical knockout at 1:42 of round two over Angel Carvajal, of Chicago, Il. Carto,117 ½, turned professional in July and has been impressive in all his outings. Carto stays perfect at 4-0 4 (4 KO’s). Weighing in at 115 ¾, Angel Carvajal sunk to 2-4 (0 KO’s).

A efficient run night of action had this writer back home in the swamps of Jersey in time to watch The Honeymooners. Bang zoom to the moon!fb-october-14-philly-fight-poster

October 14 – Philadelphia, PA – 2300 Arena. Say  the name of promoter Russell Peltz in Philly and tickets begin selling regardless of what the featured bout is. Popular and talented Tevin Farmer, of Philadelphia, PA, easily cruised  to an eight-round decision victory over Orlando Rizo, of Managua, Nicaragua. Quick and sharp, Farmer tapped jabs off of Rizo’s face. On his way to his sixteenth straight win, Farmer, who must now be considered a world class fighter, had no difficulty against the clubber facing him. Scoring a lucky punch was a very long shot for Rizo, 131.4, as Farmer, 132.6, chose to play it safe and pick his foe apart. A point was deducted from Tevin in the fourth and final heat for low blows. Even with the penalty points it was never in doubt as Farmer won a unanimous decision by scores of 78-72 twice and  77-73 on the third scorecard. Farmer is now 23-4-1 (5 KO’s). The tough journeyman  Rizo fell to 19-8 (11 KO’s) with the defeat.

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Tevin Farmer attacks Orlando Rizo

In what looked as if there could be some real fireworks, Tyrone Brunson, of Philadelphia, PA, and Ismael Garcia, of Vineland, NJ, both showed up in great condition trying  to make a name for themselves, but had to settle for a eight-round majority draw. At times Garcia, 154, pressed the action, but Brunson, 155, kept him in check by issuing the stiffer shots.Nothing much as far as sustained action occurred until the last stanza when Brunson began to unload thudding rights that cut and swelled up Garcia’s left eye. The judges were mixed as one saw it 78-74 for Garcia and another one saw it for Brunson by the same score. Meanwhile, there was no tie break as the third judge saw it 76-76. Remaining undefeated, Garcia is 11-0-2 (4 KO’s) and Brunson is now 23-6-2 (22 KO’s).

ray-robinson-left-batters-santos-benavidez

Ray Robinson (left) batters Santos Benavidez (right)

Farmer’s stablemate lightweight Steve Ortiz, of Philadelphia PA, was impressive in stopping Daniel Tran, of Oklahoma City, OK, at 2:20 of round two in a scheduled six. Tran, 136.6, had his head snapped back violently from a left hook by Ortiz, 135.3, that prompted the referee stoppage. A young talent to keep a eye on, Ortiz, 23, is now 5-0 (1 KO). Losing his sixth straight, Tran sinks to 4-6-1 (1 KO).

Close to 1,200 seats were filled for the night promoted Peltz Promotions Bam Boxing Promotions.

August 5 – Philadelphia – PA 2300 Arena. Philly fight fans are as good as any fanatic in sports. Over five hundred hometown spectators were on hand this Friday night to cheer what they love most, which is a prizefighter from The City of Brotherly Love. The undercard littered with locals had everyone out of their seats from the onset when debuting Jeffrey Torres, of Philadelphia, PA, thrashed fellow debutant Mariano Rolon, of Reading, PA. Mariano, 136, did not last long before falling from a well placed left hook to the body by Torres, 136. Two more trips to the floor by Mariano had referee Eric Dahle waving things off 2:23 into the affair.

Stoking the fire of a night of brawls, a classic Philly slugger performance saw Tyrone Brunson, of Philadelphia, PA, in his fourth-round stoppage of Carlos Garcia, of Aguada, Puerto Rico. Scheduled for eight, this bout almost did not leave the first frame when Garcia was canvassed by a stinging right hand off the chin. Table turning second saw Brunson taking a seat on the apron two times. Back to the barn for round three as both loaded up haymakers. Tyrone, 157,  dug a left hook into Garcia’s liver that folded his adversary in half and eating resin dust while taking the full ten-count  25 seconds into the fourth. Back on the winning track after losing four straight, Brunson improved to 23-6-1 (22 KO’s). Tougher than his record indicates, Garcia fell to10-17-1 (8 KO’s).

With less than twenty-four hours notice, Naim Nelson, of Philadelphia, PA, gave a game effort, but could not overcome world rated Alejandro Luna, of Bellflower, CA. Fighting ten pounds above his natural weight did not deter Nelson, who tipped the scales at 143 ½. Setting a quick pace Luna,144, was getting the better of the action. A slashing body assault was maintained throughout by Alejandro, although the resilient Nelson held his ground and chose to slug it out. Dominant as he was, Luna did not go unscathed, having considerable swelling around his left eye. In the end all three judges had Luna winning by a large margin 97-93, 98-92, 99-91. Luna rose to 21-0 (15 KO’s).  “It wasn’t my natural size. I knew I was taking a shot at a ranked guy, but I was in the gym and in shape. It was a chance to step up and be on national TV,” said Luna.

Taking the short cab ride home, Nelson is now 13-2 (1 KO).

What is a stepping stone? When is a boxer classified as one? One thing is certain, no pugilist likes to be referred to as one. At the very least a step stoner is given a shot to win by the pundits. In the present time period Denis “Momma’s Boy” Doughlin, of Marlboro, NJ, has become a building block. Warming up across from Doughlin, 168.8, was hot prospect David Benavidez, of Phoenix, AZ. Trained by his mother, “Momma’s Boy” had a good game plan of jabbing his way inside and mixing things up in close. Dictating the tempo Denis did well early, however,  he was buzzed by his opponent’s lefts to the body, followed by straight rights to the face.

After seven heats the nod was still up for grabs. “I was in this fight. I was in great shape,” remarked Doughlin.

A searing left hook to the liver creased Doughlin in half during the eighth frame. Taking complete charge the next session Benavides, 167, floored Doughlin with a left off his adversary’s chin.  Hardly given a chance to get off his stool, a trapped Doughlin was bushwhacked in his own corner. Benavidez’s storm finally concluded when referee Rosato halted matters forty-five seconds into the tenth stanza.

Now 16-0 (15 KO’s), Benavidez said, “This is a good victory for me. It shows everybody that I am just as strong in the late rounds as I am early on.” Doughlin improved to 20-5 (13 KO’s). Roughly five hundred people were on hand for Marshall Kaufman’s Kings Promotions in conjunction Premier Boxing Champions Promoted event.

August 6 – Grundy Arena – Bristol, PA. Record padders and set-ups were brought in to beef up a bunch of prospects victory totals, as very good heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon, of Paulsboro, NJ, headlined the show. Witherspoon 235, finished off Mike Marrone at 1:31 of the second. A ten-year veteran, Marrone, of Vero Beach, FL, picks up one paycheck a year entering the squared circle as fodder. Eleven months earlier Marrone got stopped in two by Shannon Briggs. With no real ambition to furthering his career, Marrone’s record stands at 21-6 (15 KO’s). See you next year Marrone!

On the other hand, Witherspoon has the tools to continue to build his career and ups his mark to 35-3 (26 KO’s).

The bout was promoted by Doc Nowicki and David Price, D and D Promotions and billed as the Rumble at the Rink 2. None of the battles were evenly matched, but the out of town second raters gave it all they had before succumbing to their fate. Refusing to back down and rising after being felled, Matt Murphy, of  St, Louis MO, absorbed a horrific beat down from Jarron Ennis, 144, of Philadelphia, PA, who is one of The City of Brotherly Love’s  hottest rising stars. After Ennis nailed Murphy with a drilling right to the body, Matt crumbled and the fight was stopped at 2:57 of round two. By going out on his shield and falling to 1-3 (1 KO), Murphy can go home with his swollen head held high. Not to be taken lightly Ennis 5-0 (5 KO’s) has polished off his first five opponents before the final bell.  He is certainly one young boxer to keep an eye on.

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Last fall, after a twenty some odd year hiatus, I was ready to bring my  notebook and pen  back to ringside, once again. Fortunately, “The Boxing Twins”were kind enough to oblige me . My first  assignment was a small club show in Beach Haven, N.J. As I picked up my media credential, I asked “Where’s Obermayer?” If anyone was going to show up at this  thriving summer beach resort in late September , when it is a Ghost Town, it was Jack. And, there he sat, my friend from days gone by, when the Blue Horizon and  Atlantic City Casino’s alone,  kept us and other companions  together ringside,  close to  fifty fight cards per year.  After pulling up a chair next to him we picked up right where we left off.   As if we had not seen each other for just a couple of days.   By the way, this was new town #400 for “KOJO”. Shortly thereafter, before the first bell  chimed,  “I’m calling Jowett Boy,” Jack said. Putting the phone to his ear, “Hey Jowett Boy, guess who’s here – Frank Bartolini, you remember, Butt Crack!” Everything seemed back to normal.  Who knew  by the early part of the following summer, myself  and the boxing world would be mourning Jack’s death. Thank God for giving me the last few months with him.  Rest In Peace Jack “KOJO”Obermayer.  You will be missed and loved forever.

Starting June off, made my way to the Grundy Arena  in vintage Bristol, PA for a pre-fight public workout. Promoters Doc Nowicki and David Price of D and D promotions set up a ring in the parking lot and made every boxer available to the press for questioning. A very cordial Derrick Webster sat and spoke with us and announced he would be getting married in the fall.  Following the press event, the gracious promoters took us to a local Tavern for appetizers, where the popular Philadelphia ring announcer Nino Del Buono introduced the fighters to the patrons.

A couple days later  on June 3, I traveled to my birthplace Queens, NY for a night of boxing promoted by Dibella Entertainment at Resorts World Casino. It was the first time  I witnessed a  sanctioned female battle. 153 lb. Alicia Napoleon, of Lindenhurst , NY, 6-0 (5 KO’s) brought a large fan base with her. They all went home happy after Napoleon trounced Latasha Burton, 162, of Houma, LA  4-7 (O KO’s), stopping her in the eighth and final round.

June 3 – “I shook up the world. I’m a bad man. I am the greatest of all time”– not just the boxing community, not just the United States, not just the world, but the entire universe mourned Muhammad Ali’s passing.

Joe Frazier, George foreman and Muhammad Ali

Joe Frazier, George foreman and Muhammad Ali

June 4- Grundy Arena for a PRO-AM .  Writer Jeff Jowett was there judging the amateur fights before returning to press row for the pro action. Very impressed with the punching power of former National Golden Glove champ Mike “The Beast”Hilton, 199, of Trenton, NJ. Hilton beat the stuffing  out of  Dave Valeyko, of Neptune, NJ, dropping his foe a couple times before ring physician Dr. James P. Quinn stepped in between rounds two and three to stop the action. Hilton is now 2-0 (2 KO’s). In need of finding a new profession, after his eighth straight loss, Valeyko,198, slides to 4-8 (0 KO’s). Sadly, this night of fights would be the last one, Jack “KOJO”Obermayer would ever attend. RIP Jack!

Arrived on Thursday June 9 for the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. Met up with the gang at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. I went over to the parking lot of Graziano World Famous Restaurant and Hotel, which is across the street from the IBHOF. There I met with the big time players of the Boxing Memorabilia world, unbelievable some of the pieces these men acquired. Holding a ticket  in my hands for the last bare knuckle World Heavyweight Championship match between John L Sullivan vs. Jake Kilrain made my imagination wander back to that field in Richburg, Mississippi  July 9, 1889 (see Bare Knuckle Hall of Fame section on website).

June 10 – Muhammad Ali is laid to rest.  He now joins such former foes as Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, Cleveland Williams, Zora Folley, Ron Lyle, and sadly many others.

Saturday night – June 11 -Turning Stone Casino – the main event saw John Molina win UD 12 Rulan Provodnikov, also Demetrius Andrade KO 12 Willie Nelson (both reports on website). All the seats were filled for a interesting undercard  as WBC #1-ranked DeJan Ziaticanin, 134, became the first world champion from the country of Montenegro when he stopped last-minute substitute WBC #5-ranked Franklin Mamani, 133.5,  of La Paz, Bolivia, at 0:54  of Round 3 for the vacant WBC Lightweight World title. Afterwards, Ziaticanin said, “I came to win for all my countrymen. I knew I’d knock him out. I am one hundred percent here to knock him out.” Dejan who is now 17-0 (11 KO’s), went on to declare, “I am a world champion now. I’ll fight anyone any day any time. I want to be one of the best.”Mamani boarded his plane back home 21-3-1 (12 KO’s).

June 12 – Started the day by attending the IBHOF parade that runs down Main Street in Canastota. Next came the induction ceremonies,  being enshrined this year was, Hector “Macho”Camacho, posthumously.  His son Hector Camacho Jr, accepted the award. Others included Mexico’s Lupe Pintor, Panama’s Hilario Zapata, Judge HaroldLederman, Newark Star Ledger sports writer Jerry Izenberg , former Nevada State Athletic Commishioner Marc Ratner, and broadcaster Colonel Bob Sheridan.

No one on the main stage was happier for Zapata, than the legendary Roberto Duran. Unable to stay in his seat, Duran stood with Zapata when he received his plaque and draped the two weight class world champ in the Panamanian flag. From Ray Leonard to Chuck Walker, the entire 1976 USA Olympic boxing team was there celebrating the fortieth anniversary of dominating the Montreal Olympics. Val Barker Trophy winner Howard Davis Jr., who died this past December, was eulogized by Ray Leonard.

JACK-OBERMAYER-788x1024

JACK OBERMAYER

June 25 –  Jack “KOJO” Obermayer took the ten-count and ringside will never be the same. After fifty years  espousing his love for of our great sport, the internet and social media  lit up with obits, memorials, but most of all anecdotes of Jacks life. Man – Jack was loved by everyone from promoters, matchmakers, managers, trainers, world champions, four-round pugs, and most of all fans and his fellow scribes.  I  love and miss you Jack, Rest in Peace, until we meet again! 

Kings Promotions staged three nights of fights in a eleven-day period for The Premier Boxing Championsseries. Not a easy feat, but still all shows ran smoothly.

First one took place  on June 28 at Sands Bethlehem. My son Joe was the photographer. It was the first boxing matches he has ever been to.

Top of the card had capable veteran Edner Cherry, of Wauchula, FL,  facing off against Lydell Rhodes, of Las Vegas, Nevada. Kicking things off, both combatant came out at the opening bell looking for a fight with Rhodes,132.9,  landing a few heavy overhands rights and Cherry, 131.7, scoring nice combos. That all ended in the second round after  Lydell was hurt with a left hook to the noggin’. After that it was ugly and one-sided in Cherry’s favor. Edner tried to make a fight of it, but all Rhodes did was hold and grapple. As early as round six Cherry gave referee Gary Rosato a befuddled look and commented on Rhodes’tactics and said, “Damn!”

Without intervention, Rosato let it happen all night. At the end all three judges unanimously gave Cherry the nod. Getting back on track since losing his last outing in a failed attempt for the IBF World Super Featherweight last October, Cherry is now 35-7-1 (19 KO’s) as Rhodes dropped to 23-2-1.

Most impressive performance came from Omar Douglas, of  Wilmington Delaware, 128, stopping Alexei

Collado, 128.5, of  Miami, FL. Douglas forced his will on his foe landing an asortment of shots. Meanwhile,  Collado kept him honest by landing hard blows to the head. During the fifth round, Douglas’investment to the mid section began paying dividends as Collado slowed down. Taking charge, a well placed left hook to Collado‘s liver during the sixth by Douglas nearly ended the action. In such bad pain, Collado walk away. Taking advantage, Douglas scored a perfect left-right-left to the head that staggered Collado at the bell.

Knowing victory was soon on his doorstep, Douglas slapped Collado around in the seventh. A stinging jab right hand to Collado’s head was the beginning of the end. A left uppercut followed by a right to Collado’s skull ended matters. Crumpled on the canvas and unable to beat the count, it was curtains for Collado at the 2:56 mark of Round 7 in the scheduled ten-rounder.  Collado  tumbled to 19-2 (4 KO’s) as Douglas improved to 17-0 (12 KO’s). No doubt Douglas can handle even better competition and look for him to start making a move on ranked opponents in the featherweight division. 

July 2 – Santander Arena – Reading, PA. Marshall  Kaufman’s best card was on display for the promoter’s hometown.   2012 Olympian and former  two-time Iraqi tour Marine veteran Jamel Herring, of Cincinatti , OH, took a step up facing Denis Shafikov, of Miass, Russia.  Coming off a failed attempt at winning the vacant IBF Lightweight strap in December, Shafikov may have seemed ripe for picking by Herring’s brass. Nothing was more untrue. Better at all aspects of the game, Shafikov, 134.5, commanded the action of the battle of southpaws. As early as round two, it was evident the Russian buzz saw was the stronger of the two when a a right hook to the noggin’planted Herring backside on the apron. That did not, however, stop Herring from going full tilt punch for punch and holding his own. Unfazed by Herring’s blows, Shafikov, 134.5, began charging in and unloading. Too tough for his own good, Herring absorbed more than he should have. After getting pounded in the seventh, no one would have blamed Herring’s corner if they did not let him out for the eighth. With a huge heart, Herring continued to absorb punishment. Finally at the 0:36 mark of the tenth and final round, a bloodied Herring absorbed a couple lefts off the head and his corner wisely threw in the towel. For precautionary measures Herring went to the hospital to get checked out. 

The semi wind up saw young Patryk Szymanski, Konin, Poland, easily outclass former IBF super welterweight world title challenger Wilky Campfort, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, earning the unanimous nod by large margins in a ten-round tilt. With a well schooled left hand that was delivered by jabs and hooks Szamanski, 153.5, set up straight rights to the basement and upstairs. Coming off a failed world title challenge, Compfort could not match skills with his Polish foe. Shut out the first three rounds and staggered in the fourth stanza, Compfort ,153.5, came back hard in the fifth and sixth, pumping rights off of Patryk’s cranium. Not slowing down and maintaining a high punch rate, Syzmanski outfought Compfort at every turn to the finish line. It seemed as if Szymamski took Round 9 off, because in the final stanza he rocked Compfort several times. Only a low blow by the Polish fighter saved Compfort from being stopped, when Ref Benji Esteves halted the action to allow  recovery. Two judges  saw the fight at 99-91 and the third scored 98-92 for the winner.  Syzamski remains undefeated 16-0 (9 KO’s). Compfort  dropped to 21-3 (12 KO’s). If  Szymanski continues to progress at this rate he should be able to take on top-rated opponents in a eighteen months to two years. 

Former IBF World Welterweight king Kermit Cintron,152, easily scored a eight-round decision over journeyman Carlos Garcia,154.5, Tijuana, MX. Although slowed down by inactivity and age, Cintron a Reading, PA, native still has enough in his tank to over take a less skilled fighter like Garcia. In great shape Citron breezily went the eight frames. Cintron upped his record to 37-5-2  (28 KO’s) as Garcia fell to 10-16-1 (8 KO’s).

Keep a eye on bantamweight Christian Carto of Philadelphia, PA, who made his pro debut by knocking out Rahkeam Parker, of Laurel, Mississippi, who dropped to 0-3.

July 3 – 12:10 am –  My pilgrimage begins on a quest to Belfast, New York, where the barn that William Muldoon trained and restored a physically dilapidated John L Sullivan for his match versus Jake Kilrian  still stands as the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame. A nearly five-hour drive  and I was to  meet Scott Burt at twelve that day . In seven days, our publication was going to be enshrined  and I was delivering a display that featured  a “Time Tunnel”piece on the John L Sullivan’s scrap with Jake Kilrain, that was first published twenty-five years ago. “London Prize Ring Rules”last tilt for the heavyweight strap.

The USA Boxing News exhibit at the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in Belfast, New York.

The USA Boxing News exhibit at the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in Belfast, New York.

Determined to arrive on time and concerned about over sleeping, I planned on traveling until I physically ran out of steam before I conked out. At 2:35 AM,  I pulled into a Holiday Inn Express in who knows where, where I stayed until 7 AM. I never made it to check in, parked and fell asleep in my vehicle!

John L. Sullivan statue at the Bare Knuckle Hall of Fame.

John L. Sullivan statue at the Bare Knuckle Hall of Fame.

Rubbed my eyes, got my bearings and realized I did not have to spring for a hotel and moved onto the desolate highway that separates Pennsylvania mountains from New York wilderness. At this point I believe it quite possible not many men in the history of mankind ever took the excursion from Reading, PA to Belfast, NY!  After a few stops for coffee and petrol, I  pulled  over roadside coordinate checks as my GPS would lose satellite contact. Truly the middle of nowhere, at 10:45 AM, I arrived in Belfast, NY, for a moment it felt as if H.G. Well’s “Time Machine”brought me here. A proverbial one horse, no traffic light town.

John L. Sullivan vs. Jake Kilrain bare knuckle battle.

John L. Sullivan (R) vs. Jake Kilrain (L) bare knuckle battle.

Nothing’s changed since the turn of the 20th century. A left turn off Main Street and there it was the “Vatican”of bare knuckle fighting. A white picket fence surrounded the old white barn. Two life-sized carved marble statues stood in front,  one of the John “The Boston Strong Boy” Sullivan, and the other of his trainer and champion wrestler William Muldoon.  I killed time absorbing in the environment of quiet peace, fresh air and birds singing,  and drove to the waterway where Sullivan took his daily swim.  Came back to the barn just when Mr. Burt pulled up in his pick up truck. Scott was not only there to meet me, but to prepare the training barn for the over one hundred visitors coming the following week. Unlocked and opened, I entered into a time capsule which had a aura about it. Imagine, three weeks earlier I had held a ticket to the Sullivan-Kilrain bare knuckle superfight in an era long extinct. Now, I am walking freely through these hallow beginnings of the evolution of modern fitness training. If you did not know Muldoon invented the medicine ball and a regimented systematic training that employed running, walking weight training, swimming, bag work and sparring at a time when training primarily meant staying off the sauce.  

The Bare Knuckle Hall of Fame.

The Bare Knuckle Hall of Fame.

Strutting through the building, my soles touching the same floor boards as Muldoon and Sullivan had over one hundred twenty five years ago, I had hundreds of questions, which Mr. Burt answered, and unloaded the display.  It was now time to head back home to Jersey, where people are everywhere and grade school classes outnumber Belfast High School 2016 graduating class of 17 seniors!  Leaving this oasis, I thought of Muldoon’s description of his hometown,  “This is the healthiest place in the country and one of the most difficult to reach.” Those words resonate to this day. One more thing, I will be attending next year’s induction ceremony. Trying to get my cohorts to come with me. 

John L. Sullivan's trainer and wrestling champion William Muldoon's statue in front of The Bare Knuckle Hall of Fame.

John L. Sullivan’s trainer and wrestling champion William Muldoon’s statue in front of The Bare Knuckle Hall of Fame.

July 9 – New Jersey’s state capitol Trenton Sun National Bank Center hosted  the last of King’s Promotions three-fight tour. A snoozer of a main event saw Mario Barrios, of San Antonio, TX,  score a twelve-round unanimous decision over Devis Boschiero, of  Veneto, Italy in a IBF Super featherweight eliminator. Boring beyond belief, Boschiero did not throw a punch the first three minutes and less than a hundred throughout the fling. On a bicycle without breaks, Boschiero, 130,  circled the ring the entire thirty-six minutes. A weak effort was put forth by Barrios in trying to chase down his foe. Boos filled the arena.  As the final belled  chimed, a sigh of relief was released  from all attendees. Boschiero fell to 39-5-1 (21 KO’s) and future world title challenger Barrios improved to 16-0  (8 KO’s).  Not much to report on this evening occurrences, but it was nice to watch  Philly super middleweight prospect Christopher Brooker  throw punches at Atlantic City’s very own undefeated prospect Grabriel Pham, 168. With a bit more seasoning and much more strength, Brooker outgunned Pham over eight rounds.  Muscling his way through, Brooker bloodied the somewhat over matched Pham’s nose and controlled the outcome – winning on all three judges cards by scores of 78-74 and 79-73 on the other two. Brooker is now 10-1 (5 KO’s). Suffering the first stain on his record Pham’s mark stands now at 6-1 (2 KO’s).

All three King Promotions shows drew between six hundred to a thousand fans.

July 22 – Atlantic City, NJ – The Claridge Hotel hosted yet another night of fights promoted by Atlantic City’s new first family of boxing, LaManna’s Rising Promotions. Match ups are improving with each event promoted by Rising Star as a entertaining undercard accompanied a dubious main go that saw Anthony Young, 149, of Atlantic City, NJ  win an easy unanimous six-rounder against overused loser Eduardo Flores, 151, of  Ecuador. Young moved to 13-2  (5 KO’s) as Flores dropped to 23-21-3 (15 KO’s).

It does not matter if Thomas “Corn Flake “LaManna, of Millville, NJ, was not billed as the showcase attraction, the mastermind of Rising Promotions is the boxer that fills the seats. Feeding himself a cream puff in preparation for his showdown with Dusty Hernandez Harrison in mid September, “Corn Flake” swallowed and finished off Engelberto Velenzuela, of Sonora, Mexico. Velenzuela, 151, hardly got off his stool before LaManna, 155, began whooping his rear end. Two minutes and seventeen seconds is all it took for LaManna to end this scheduled sixer. Showing more pop on his blows LaManna is ready to step into the squared circle across the way from high caliber opponents. On paper, Harrison vs LaManna looks to be a humdinger.

Harrison’s promoter Roc Nation brought in their two former Chinese Olympians. Roc Nation’s matchmaker Eric Bottjer chose tough opponents to help these stablemates improve their skills. These two bouts went a long way in strengthening the preliminaries.  First off, the 2008 Olympian Heavyweight Silver Medalist Zhang Zhilei, of Zhouko, China, fought off a gritty Rodney Hernandez, of Modesto, CA, picking up a unanimous six-round decision. Southpaw Zhilei, 255 ½,  scored easily and busted up Hernandez’s facial features.   Blood  gushing from a cut above Hernandez’s right eye and a bloody nose and mouth, did not discourage the Californian from attempting to win until the final ding. Zhilel never slowed his onslaught and battled  Hernandez’s wild charges. Continuously moving forward  six-foot five-inch Zhilei’s  strength and firepower was overwhelming Hernandez, 249. Never surrendering, Hernandez was a bloody mess winging haymakers to no avail. One-sided, yet entertaining, two judges had it scored 60-53, and one 59-55. Zhilei remained unbeaten at 11-0 (7 KO’s) as Hernandez sunk to 10-5-1 (2 KO’s).

Most impressive was Zhilel fellow countryman and Olympian light heavyweight Fanlong Meng, of Chifeng, China, who was paired against Daniel Judah, of Brooklyn, NY. A season gritty veteran with thirty seven fights, Judah was a very tough match for Meng on paper. Owning a heavy snapping straight left Meng, 178,  proved himself to be better than one would expect from a fighter with just seven ring engagements. Early in Round 1, Meng was scoring with straight lefts and right hook to Judah’s head. Even as the wily Judah closed the gap between the two, Meng was in full control of the action, drawing first blood from the Brooklynite’s nose in the second. Still on unsteady legs from getting rock at the end third, Judah, 177,  was ripe for the picking in the fourth. Issuing a methodical butt whooping, Meng cut off the ring and was landing a well schooled left uppercut-right hook to Judah’s chin. Never missing a opportunity to attack the body, Meng had Judah all but done from the complete beating. A Meng right hook to Judah’s chin moved toward the affair’s conclusion early the fifth. Hopping all over a stunned Judah, Meng finished his cornered rival with a precise left uppercut right hook combination to the jaw. The effects had a senseless Judah out cold sitting on the second strand of the ropes when referee Ricky Gonzalez smartly jumped in the end matters at 2:08 0f the stanza. This was Judah’s second fight this year prior to that he had not fought since 2012. Judah fell to 24-11-3 (11 KO’s) as the undefeated Meng went to 8-0 (6 KO’s).

LaManna will be squaring off against Dusty Hernandez Harrison on September 15th  at the 2300 Arena in Philly for the vacant USBA welterweight title.  

Picked up a book titled “Ten and Out”in a used book store in rural Clarksburg, NJ. Written by Alexander Johnston, it is a history of boxing dating back to Englishman James Figg. Originally released in 1927 and had seven printings until 1947, each one updated to it’s current period. During World War 2, the U.S. military bought a few hundred thousand issues to send to military bases throughout the world from 1943 to 1946. With boxing’s popularity booming post World War 2, the final printing hit the book stores in 1947. My guess is veterans and the friends they told about this book wanted a copy of their own.  Researching the author, all I could find was that he was born 1879 and that he wrote no other books. A very good and informative read, I recommend to any fan of the Sweet Scienceand its colorful history. My copy only cost me ten smackaroos. 

Until the next time – Keep Punching!!!!!