Category Archives: Mario Mina

Derek Ennis is the USBA Champ! Victor Vasquez turns in his best performance yet

Before we talk about the local boxing happenings of today, October 16, 2009, take a walk with me I take a flash back to Philadelphia, circa 1999. It was a year of change for this great city with many tall tasks and lots of uncertainty ahead. One of the all time Philly greats, Ed Rendell, was stepping down from his big office at room 215 in City Hall wrapping up one of the most successful runs in the history of the country as mayor of a big city.

The people chose a 19 year veteran of City Council, John Street to lead the charge into the new millennium. The big building across from the street from the clothespin hasn’t been the same since. It was also a new day in Eagles country as 1999 marked the beginning of the Andy Reid- Donovan McNabb era whose goal was to give a fresh breath of life into a franchise that hit the bottom of the barrel. Say what you want about Big Red and his adopted son’s reign but five NFC Championship games later, the Birds as a well-respected and very lucrative franchise.

The Phillies were still light years away from becoming World F. Champions and Overbrook’s Will Smith was just putting down the mic to hit Hollywood for a career that saw him become one of the highest grossing actors of all-time.

Flying below the radar was Greg Robinson, a young ex-boxer with ambitions to stay in the game he loved. With family roots that ran deep into the heart of Philly boxing, he gave birth to his Power Productions promotional outfit in late 1999. In the one sport that is truly here today, gone tomorrow, Robinson has survived and even thrived in this landscape where only the strong, smart and crazy survive.

Ten years later, Power Productions has become a Philly boxing club show main stay, producing some of the best action fights this town has seen in the 21st century. For that I tip my cap to the man. Like Greg said at the press conference, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that make this a very tough business at times, but this is the sport we choose. For that we continue on doing what we love.

To celebrate 10 years behind the scenes, Robinson and Power Productions returned to the place where it all started – The Legendary Blue Horizon on North Broad Street with a seven fight card featuring some of the young and hungry fighters that help make this city the number one fight town on earth.

On top of the bill was a young Philly fighter currently taking the proper steps in a quest to become recognized as World F. Champion. One who has many tools but also few questions, which regularly lead to, heated discussions about if he can truly compete and succeed at the top-level of boxing.

The fighter is Derek “Pooh” Ennis, a 28-year-old Junior Middleweight from the Germantown section of Philly. Ennis, a six-year pro, also comes from a family with deep roots in the Philly boxing scene. Ennis father and trainer Bozy was competed as a pro during this city’s golden era of the 70’s. Derek’s brother Farah is an undefeated rising Super Middleweight who is worth keeping an eye on.

Ennis has been well-regarded for some time now but his career has been on the roller coaster at times. His skills and undeniable as he is one of the most well-rounded boxers living in this town. He has put on masterful performances against good competition but also has lost to opponents he should have easily handled.

He has missed out on opportunities due to freak occurrences such as opponents getting into car accidents before the fight and has also shot himself in the toe by not making weight for significant fights.

For a while, it seemed like he was getting by on talent alone without putting in the work of a true professional. But potential is an amazing thing and through out it all his management team of Moz Gonzalez, Eddie Woods and Mike Fingerman have stuck by his side, continuing to push for a break to come along.

Finally, after all the highs and lows, Ennis was to the opportunity of a lifetime on this card. In this evening’s main event, Pooh signed to fight a 12 round bout against two-time Olympian from Nigeria Eromosele Albert for the vacant USBA title. Though the USBA is not a world-recognized crown, but it will get your foot in the door as the title holder automatically receives a top 15 rating in the world and with a successful defense, become a mandatory challenger to the world champ.

Albert has faced world-class competition and has name value as he turned in many good performances on the ESPN Friday Night Fights Series over the past few years. In a nutshell, it was do or die for Pooh who has been itching for a chance to take on the big names and big money.

The co-feature also had significance, this time it was in true Power Productions fashion. This bout pitted the promoters nephew, Tyric “Too Sweet” Robinson against the boxing barber from North Philly Victor Vasquez for a scheduled 8 rounder. Robinson at one time ranked as high as number five on my Philly local top 10 pound for pound fighter list but since then has lost two in a row and was searching to get back the glory of when he was turning in fight of the year candidates.

Vasquez is the Arturo Gatti of our local scene. Win or lose, he is always in the fight of the night. Caution goes to the wind and defense goes out the window leading to two-way action brawls.

Robinson was the natural Junior Welterweight but Vasquez brings the heat, it was the fight that could possibly steal the show. These two matches plus the return of Tommie “Big Poppa” Speller and more. Scroll down to see how it all went down at The Blue on Greg Robinson’s 10th anniversary card!

Overall the show was a winner as the main event turned out to be one of the years most competitive two-way fights. Derek “Pooh” Ennis boxed and countered the extremely aggressive Eromosele Albert over 12 rounds to win a close but clear unanimous decision to become the 154 lb USBA champion.

It was a see-saw battle that had a lot of tight rounds with Albert winning most of the rounds early with his pressure and brute strength but Ennis was able to turn the tide mid way through as he consistently fought his way out of trouble with multiple flurries in the middle of the ring and swift movement when pressed into a corner.

Take nothing away from Albert, he was in Ennis face all night and fought desperately to win, he just didn’t have enough down the stretch as Ennis came in tip-top shape (151.5 lbs) and had plenty of gas left in the championship rounds. It went to the scorecards which read 116 – 112 & 115 – 113 x 2 for Ennis who stamps his ticket into the top 15 of the IBF ratings. I also had it scored 115 – 113 for Ennis

In the co-feature “The Boxing Barber” Victor Vasquez put together the most complete performance of his young career scoring two hard knockdowns en route to a unanimous decision win over Tyric “Too Sweet” Robinson in their 6 round Jr. Welterweight bout. As always the case with Vasquez, it was high intensity from the start, but this time it wasn’t balls to the wall.

He showed patience, poise and actually slipped a few punches! Robinson, to his credit got off the floor and continued to fight hard after going down early in the 2nd and late in the 6th from big right hands. Very good fight as is usually the case when two Philly guys meet in the ring.

Super Middleweights Mario Mina and Tommie “Big Poppa” Speller were put together in an impromptu matchup after both had opponents fall out at the last second. Poppa vowed “to send his ass back to Ecuador” at the weigh in. Mina fought like it was personal in the 1st, hammering Poppa early who was more than willing to stand and trade.

The 2nd round was close then out of nowhere Speller almost delivered on his pre-fight promise early in the 3rd round after a good body took all of the steam out of Mina. Speller followed up with a hard right that jellied Mina’s legs. If Speller had more gas it might have been curtains. But this was not the case and Mina was able to survive the round.

The fight slowed a bit in the final round as both seemed to tire in their first fight in over a year. It went to the card which somehow read 40 – 36 for Mina. Maybe I need new contacts, but I saw it a draw.

South Philly Heavyweight John Mercurio did it Passyunk Ave. style as he mauled, tossed and battered James North for a little over :90 seconds before finishing the job with a huge right that flattened his out gunned opponent.

Nice turn out in the crowd for the big heavyweight as there were a good number of black Team Mercurio T-Shirts scattered across the arena. Expect to see him again soon.

Super Middleweight Derek Webster wasted little time dispatching a severely overmatched guy from West Virigina. At 6’4″, Webster could become a problem for fighters at this weight.

Super Featherweight Coy Evans turned in a very solid 4 round performance winning a unanimous decision over grizzled veteran Carlos Diaz. Evans showed good speed and surprising ring generalship against a 31 fight vet.

He doesn’t knock down walls but his pop is not to be under estimated either. Good, fan friendly fight as both were willing to sit in the pocket and exchange shots at time. In other spots Evans would box and create openings on his slower foe.

In woman’s action Rachel Clark was clearly the better fighter in her 4 rounder. Out of her southpaw stance, she landed a lot of straight lefts upstairs. After 2 rounds, her opponent made the right choice not to answer the bell.

www.phillykeith.com for the latest on the Philly Boxing Scene.  Email me keith@phillykeith.com

2008 Philly Fights of the Year

Philly boxing 2008… overall it was another good year but in the same breath it has to mentioned that there was a significant drop off in the amount of action as only 17 professionally sanctioned cards happened in this year. Most nights were solid though we did have a few duds and also a few memorable barn burners. Through my eyes, there was no clear cut fight of the year winner in 2008 so I will not designate one particular match. Instead, I will highlight some of the best performances of the year. As always, it is open to discussion, feel free to comment if you agree, disagree, omissions etc. At some point in 2009, www.phillyboxinghistory.com will give out the Briscoe Awards which will recognize one fight as the best of ’08. Visit the site and cast a vote there if you wish.

Without further ado, I give you the Philly Keith Sports 2008 nominees for Fight of the Year!

Local Philly Fighters

Rasheem Brown vs. Jameel Wilson – 4/18/08 @ The National Guard Armory

This 10 round Super Middleweight fight capped off the most action packed boxing card in Philly for the year 2008. The state title was on the line and the then newly signed Rasheem Brown was thought to be put in prime position for a career push after recently returning from a lengthy layoff. Wilson on the other hand did not come to lay down. Brown started strong and it looked to be an easy night but Wilson came alive taking the middle rounds and both men went toe to toe down the stretch to cap off a non stop action bout. The only disappointment in this one came outside of the ring, as 3 blind judges scored only one round for Wilson on the offical cards while everyone in press row agreed that this fight was even money that could have gone either way. Regardless of the outcome, this fight proved once again that when you match two Philly fighters against each other, the fans are always in for a treat!


Ryan Belasco vs. Victor Vasquez 5/11/08 @ The New Alhambra

Coming into this fight, Delaware’s Ryan Belasco was looking to erase the stink of three consecutive sub par performances and Philly’s Victor Vasquez was taking his first real test against an area known fighter with a record above .500. While most thought it was a solid fight when it was announced, few expected to be treated to such an action packed rumble. It was give and take with Belasco carrying a slight lead as he was able to effectively box the non stop Vasquez. Belasco’s non stop jabbing caused Vasquez left eye to swell like a ballon, leaving the referee no option but to stop the fight and the commission no choice but to order a 6 month medical suspension. Vasquez is back, medically cleared to fight and wants a rematch “sooner, rather than later”. I have a feeling that Russell Peltz will be putting this together very soon.


Gee Cullmer vs. Jameel Wilson @ The Legendary Blue Horizon 9/16/08

When this one was signed, you just knew it would be a close fight. At the time, Gee recently pulled out a few tight majority decision wins while Wilson was on the wrong end of a quite a few razor thin decisions. In this one, Gee put on a boxing clinic early, Wilson showed his grit in the middle and final rounds were tooth and nail. Fittingly, this fight could have gone either way and ended in a majority decision for Cullmer who after the fight earned the designation of PA’s #1 Super Middleweight contender slot by the state athletic commission. Click the link to watch this fight in its entirety on Go Fight Live.


Mario Mina vs. Pedro Calla @ The Legendary Blue Horizon 4/11/08


Two fighters who learned their craft half a world away came to Philadelphia to make their pro debut and in the process put on a 4 round Blue Horizon classic. Mina of Ecquador was said to be a former amateur star and Peru’s Pedro Calla was no slouch either. This was a wild, two way leatherfest that ended with Calla splattered across the canvas mid way through the final round, much to the delight of the fans, who gave both men a standing ovation when the dust finally settled. Watch this fight in its entirety on Go Fight Live

National TV Philly Fighters
Steve “USS” Cunningham vs. Tomasz Adamek

On a national level, recognition goes to Steve “USS” Cunningham, who may have lost his IBF Cruiserweight title, but in the same breath won over millions of fight fans for his show of heart against Tomasz Adamek live on Versus. Cunningham won a lions share of the rounds but was also knocked down 3 times in this non stop slug fest between two of the worlds best. A rematch just has to be in order. The TV demand and money will be there you can be assured of that. The only liability here is if Adamek decided to hide.

Bernard Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik

Last but certainly not least, recognition has to be given to Philly’s main representative in the sport of boxing, Bernard Hopkins for his one sided spanking of Kelly Pavlik over 12 rounds in a fight where next to no one was giving him a shot in hell to win. Once again, people were saying he was too old or he was slowing down just as they did before his fight against Antonio Tarver and even before that in his fight against Felix Trinidad. On this night, B-Hop reminded the world that it is a terrible mistake to under estimate the Germantown native.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can email Philly Keith at keith@phillykeith.com

Go to www.phillykeith.com for up to the minute info on the Philly boxing scene

Joey Abell was handed a box of Tampons at the press conference, delivers payback in the ring

photo by Mike “Teek” McGuigan

April 11, 2008 – Philadelphia, PA

There was a bit of an international flavor at The Legendary Blue Horizon on this evening as fighters from Ecuador, Peru, Sweden, Haiti and the USA laced them up to take part in a 9 bout fight card on North Broad Street.

The Main Event turned into a bad blood match earlier in the week when Maurice Wheeler gave his foe a box of tampons and called him derogatory female names at the press conference. Abell went on the record to say that was extra motivating and responding by scoring a  KO of the Year candidate.

Gee Culmer made it 9 wins in a row after narrowly escaping the upset specialist Mustapha Johnson, winning a close majority decision that many felt could have gone either way.

Mario Mina traveled all the way from his native Ecuador to fulfill a dream of boxing on American soil. He took on Pedro Calla of Peru who was making his professional debut. A fight that entered the night with no fan fare turned out to be the battle of the evening.

“Showtime” Steve Chambers battered his foe and showed he should be in again with much better opposition while young prospect Gerald Smith showed he might be a guy to keep an eye on.
Heavyweight Division

Joey Abell……..vs……..Maurice Wheeler
19-1, 18ko’s…………….10-11-1, 1ko
Coon Rapids, MN………….Philly, PA

A few days before the fight, there was a press conference held at The Legendary Blue Horizon to meet the fighters and talk about the upcoming event. Maurice Wheeler & Simon Carr thought it would be a good idea to try getting into Joey Abell’s head, gain a psychological advantage over the man who had been leaving behind lots of carnage in the ring.

So on they went with a stunt where Wheeler handed Abell a box of Tampax Tampons and went on to insult his opponent calling him just about every name in the book. Let’s cut to the chase – they were calling him a punk right to his face.

This turned out to be a very bad move.

Joey Abell vs Maurice Wheeler 2008 (1)

The 6″4′ former defensive end kept his cool but did admit that he took it personally, vowing to get some payback once they stepped into the ring.

Joey Abell vs Maurice Wheeler 2008 (2)

The beginning of this fight was pretty slow, then midway through the second round Abell kicked it into high gear, punishing Wheeler with thunderous left hands. The final left hand of the evening came at the end of the round and this one sent an unconscious Wheeler through the ropes, laying on the ring apron for a good 5 minutes. Abell raised his arms in victory and the crowd chanted “Joey, Joey, Joey”.

Joey Abell vs Maurice Wheeler 2008

After the fight, Gerald “The Jedi” Nobels grabbed the house microphone and said he wants next. Abell replied with “you can get it too if you really want”. Hook it up Elbaum!

Winner – Joey Abell who improves to 20 – 1, 19ko’s

Joey Abell vs Maurice Wheeler 2008 (3)

Middleweight Division

Gee Culmer….vs…..Mustapha Johnson
Philly, PA…………Indianapolis, IN
13-1, 4ko’s………..5-2-1, 2ko’s

This was an interesting fight between two middleweights that we have become familiar with in recent times. Gee Culmer has worked his way into co-feature status at The Legendary Blue Horizon by winning 8 in a row while Mustapha Johnson has done most of his work on the other side of town, going on a nice run of upsets over some of the middleweights who fight out of the New Alhambra.

Gee Cullmer vs Mustapha Johnson 2008

It looked good on paper but in the ring it wasn’t as exciting. Call it a clash of styles. To their credit, both fighters tried to work through it all and both threw a lot of punches.

Gee usually found a home for his right hand upstairs, Johnson was at his best when throwing combo’s inside.

Gee Cullmer vs Mustapha Johnson 2008 (1)

Most of the rounds were really close and in the end the scoring went

57 – 57 followed by 58 – 56 twice in favor of Gee Culmer giving him the majority decision win.

Winner – Gee Culmer who improves to 14 – 1, 3ko’s


Middleweight Division

Mario Mina………….vs…….Pedro Calla
Brooklyn, NY via Ecuador……..Peru
pro debut………..pro debut

The battle of highly decorated amateurs making their pro debut stole the show early in the night as these two went toe to toe and blow for blow until Mina rocked Calla with an overhand right leaving him flat on his back. Calla might have gotten KO’d but he gave it his all, fighting with cuts over his head and blood on his face.

Mario Mina vs Pedro Calla 2008 (1)

Mina looks like he could make some real noise in the future, for now watch all of the promoters hide their young middleweights from him.

Mario Mina vs Pedro Calla 2008 (2)

Winner – Mario Mina 1-0, 1ko

Mario Mina vs Pedro Calla 2008 (3) Mario Mina vs Pedro Calla 2008

Jr. Welterweight Division

Steve Chambers….vs….Jean Petit Homme
Phila, PA……………Haiti
15-1, 4ko’s………….2 – 14, 2ko’s

Steve Chambers is way too talented for a fight like this. STOP HOLDING SHOWTIME STEVE BACK!!!! How does his management put him in a fight like this AGAIN???? How Greg Sirb allows a 15 win fighter to take on a 2 win fighter is beyond me. The young man holds 2 wins over Lenny DeVictoria, he should be close to main event status at The Blue, not on mop up duty, wasting his time and career with guys like this. A big boo to whoever was responsible for finding this opponent.

With that all being said, Steve Chambers shook off a little rust then knocked this guy all over the ring. The remaining fans in the building approved and the ladies were screaming “Showtiiiiiime” In the end the final scorecards read 40 – 36 & 39- 37 twice all in favor of Showtime Steve.

Winner – “Showtime” Steve Chambers who improves to 16 – 1,  4ko’s

Lightweight Division

Gerald Smith……vs…..Jose Guerrido
Philly, PA……………Brooklyn, NY
1-0………………….0-1

Gerald Smith looked good for the second time in two fights at The Blue and could be a guy to keep an eye on as he climbs the ladder.

Gerald Smith vs Jose Guerrido 2008 (1)

He battered his opponent around the ring until Guerrido’s corner wisely threw in the towel at 2:16 of the 2nd round.

Gerald Smith vs Jose Guerrido 2008

Winner – Gerald Smith who improves to 2-0, 1ko


Gerald Smith vs Jose Guerrido 2008 (2)

Heavyweight Division

Anders Holmberg….vs….Archie Hopkins
Sweden……………….Fargo, ND
pro debut…………….0-2

It smelled like fish at The Blue when Archie Hopkins “did the job” and didn’t make it look very good either in “falling” to Anders Holmberg, a Swedish promoter with strong ties to matchmaker Don Elbaum.

Anders Holmberg vs Archie Hopkins 2008

Holmberg, who was making his pro debut at the 38 year old is described as not only a promoter but also a politician / cancer survivor / highly accomplished amateur boxer / and future ordained saint. The first round was a little rough, getting dropped with a short right hand but ended up winning by 2nd round KO.

Anders Holmberg vs Archie Hopkins 2008 (1)

Cheers to Holmberg for fulfilling what he said was a dream to have one pro fight but it is a damn shame when there is a row full of hungry young fighters sitting in the crowd, itching for some work. At times I swear they will do anything for a buck at The Blue.

Winner – Anders Holmberg who goes to 1-0, 1ko

Anders Holmberg vs Archie Hopkins 2008 (2)

In other action,

Simon “One Punch” Carr’s fight fell out and instead, participated in an exhibition with Tommie “Big Poppa” Speller in a prelude to what would be an excellent fight.

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Brooklyn’s Osvaldo Rivera earned his first win as a pro, taking a unanimous decision over Julias Edmonds of Philly by scores of 39 – 37 across the board.

Atlantic City’s Joel De La Paz won a unanimous decision over Philly’s Greg Hackett by scores of 40 – 36 in what was the pro debut for both fighters.

Greg Hackett vs Joel De La Paz 2008 (1) Greg Hackett vs Joel De La Paz 2008 (2) Greg Hackett vs Joel De La Paz 2008 (3) Greg Hackett vs Joel De La Paz 2008
In the opener, Calvin Goldwire of Philly won a split decision over Ishmir Ra of Detroit by scores of 39 – 37 x 2 for Goldwire and a third seeing it 39 – 37 for Ra.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can email Philly Keith at keith@phillykeith.com

Go to www.phillykeith.com for up to the minute info on the Philly boxing scene

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