I remember the moment ever so clear. On a random day about eight weeks ago, I was taking a lunch break downtown at Liberty Place. The plan was simple, hit Chic-fil-A, chill out for a bit then get back to business. As I was finishing off my waffle fries, I started mindless browsing through Facebook. Out of nowhere, I came across one of those rare posts that make a news feed glow.
The timeline was telling me that Russell Peltz and Brittany Rogers worked a little back room magic and struck a deal that called for local Heavyweights Amir Mansour and Joey DaWejko to fight each other. 10 rounds, ESPN2 fight with the Pennsylvania State Heavyweight title on the line. No financial terms were disclosed – but what else is new. Either way, WOW! Who would have thought – two Philly guys with good records agreeing to knock the other off in order to advance their career.
Two Philly guys fighting each other is a rare scenario in this day and age. Some love the idea, many others hate it. No one denies that they make for the best fights. That is the type of drama that piques my interest. This little piece of noon-time gold was one of the few occasions where I have been inspired to attend a local boxing show in the past five years.
According to Rick Sharmberg of Fight News, journeyman Dean White performed a home invasion at Dover Downs this past Friday as he went into Ryan Belasco’s backyard and won a majority decision over the popular ticket seller to win the WBF something-or-other Jr. Welterweight title by scores of 76-76, 80-72 & 79-73. There were 6 fights on the night total, check the link below to get the Fight News recap.
Boxing returns to the First State this Friday night as Capital City Promotions brings the ring to Dover Downs Casino for a fight card which will feature rising Jr. Welterweight Ryan Belasco (11-2-3, 3ko’s) of Wilmington, DE against West Virginia journeyman Dean White (14-10-1, 7ko’s) in an 8 rounder main event. After an uneven start to his career, Belasco has improved mightily over the past 18 months and has reeled off 6 consecutive wins in that time, quite a few of those W’s coming against known names in this area. Belasco gets a bit of a breather in his hometown on this night, though it will be interesting to see how he fares in his first 8 rounder shall it go that far since the gas tank has been an issue in the past. His opponent White is a 38 year old seen-it-all veteran who made his living in the role of underdog. White turned pro back when I was in 8th grade and his last win came in 2006 when he decisioned Dorian Spivey, the fighter who ironically pinned the first career loss on Belasco’s boxing idol Mike “No Joke” Stewart. Since that day, White has lost 5 in a row and Belasco on this night will be looking to even the score for the Delaware boys. Belasco should win but many say White doesn’t just come for a pay check so it could get interesting. With that said, my money will be on Belasco winning inside of 5. After this one, there should be some good local possibilities for Belasco, who usually gives the crowd their money worth.
The undercard is still being worked out but word is that Delaware natives Sonny Bono, Mike Tiberi, Mike Denby, Oscar Vasquez & Anthony Smith will be the A-side in their respective fights.
I was unable to attend the Xtreme Productions fights at the Arena this past Friday so I can’t give my hit on the actual fights since there is no footage available but “The Wolf” Kurt Wolfheimer of FightNews steps up to the plate to give his always reliable account of how the matches went down.
In the main event it is reported that Ryan Belasco and Jesus Barbosa traded throughout on the inside in a bout that could have been fought in a phone booth. Belasco got the nod on the official scorecards by a score of 58 – 56 across the board but The Wolf’s unofficial tab had the fight 58-56 in favor of Barbosa. The forum is buzzing a bit on this fight as well with opinion scattered across the board on who the true winner was. I can think of a good way to settle it once and for all….REMATCH!
It is also reported that North East Philly’s Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante scored a 5th round KO over Chris Archer in a fight that the local Light Heavyweight won convincingly. It looks like Ferrante passed a good test against a solid opponent here.
I am now hearing whispers of a wanted match against Wildwood’s Chuckie Mussachio are surfacing from the Ferrante camp for the BAM belt… Shine it & sign it up Joey Eye!
Wahid Raheem and Gabriel Diaz did battle in a give and take fight that see-sawed back and forth throughout with Raheem getting the majority decision.
This was billed as the potential show stopper by the insiders and The Wolf thinks both of these fighters can make some noise in the near future.
Ronald Cruz of Bethlehem stays undefeated with a one punch KO over the debuting Russell Cloak. Keep an eye out for Cruz who has looked good every time out.
Kamarah Pasely continued his improvement and hits the .500 mark as he out boxed the debuting John Burgos over 4 rounds of Cruiserweight action. The Wolf says Burgos couldn’t find an answer for Pasley’s movement and combination’s.
Give Pasley his credit as he continued to work hard after a tumultuous start in the boxing world. Let’s see who he fights next?
Last but not least, in women’s action Jackie Davis, a protegé of all time Philly great “Mighty” Ivan Robinson, scored a 3rd round TKO over Ohio’s Natoya Ervin in a fight The Wolf called a “near perfect performance”.
For the first time in 2009, it was fight night in Philly. After almost 6 weeks of inactivity in this town, it was finally time to watch the pros throw down. The venue was the fabled fight hall on the corner of Swanson & Ritner, the one and only New Alhambra. But this particular event had a mysterious air about it for weeks. On a typical fight night here, fans would come to see a card by the Fairmount Hall of Fame boxing promoter, J. Russell Peltz. This time around, I knew that I wouldn’t be greeted by a smiley lady with the cool hat or a witty comment contradicting a statement made on this site. That was a given.
On this night, it was Greg Robinson and his newly formed Xtreme Productions running the show. That’s cool, he is a known promoter in these parts, but people were asking, why him? why here? why now? Those were the burning questions asked by those who cough up their hard earned cash to pay the steep ticket fees. Something was up but nobody was talking. Omerta…Philly boxing style… Gotta love it.
After a long wait in the frigid wind, I finally made it to the box office window. I made my acquaintance with two new pleasant ladies handing out the media bracelets. So far, so good and was sent inside. After a being on the wrong end of an extensive security search that would have snagged a jailhouse balloon runner red-handed, I was eventually granted full access and free to roam my longtime favorite venue.
Immediately I noticed the naked walls. The life sized banners displaying images of yester-years Philly boxing fight icons were nowhere to be seen. Instead of Bennie Briscoe and Joey Giardello, all that remained were a few flags carrying on the legacies of former ECW Arena icons like Terry Funk and “Flyboy” Rocco Rock. Once I found my seat in press row, word around the ring was that the gym is the back was just about empty. Then it all came together in one fell swoop. It was announced that Xtreme Production (formerly known as Power Productions) is moving in for good.
No more Oaks, no more Armory, this is home and they plan on being here to stay…exclusively. The plot thickens and the saga continues so stay tuned. It is bound to get deeper.
Overall it was a solid kick off to a new year as promoter Greg Robinson and matchmaker Ty McNeil collaborated for a 5 fight card in their new home.
Main Event Jr. Middleweight Division (non-title bout)
Derek “Pooh” Ennis…vs…Clarence “Sonny Bono” Taylor Philadelphia, PA…………..Wilmington, DE 16-2, 12ko’s……………………12-19, 6ko’s The housewarming party was highlighted by PA State & USBA regional Jr. middleweight title holder Derek Ennis (17-2, 12ko’s) who continued his resurrection towards national Jr. Middleweight status with a clear cut 8 round unanimous decision over late replacement journeyman Clarence “Sonny Bono” Taylor (12-20, 6ko’s) in the main event.
Before the fight some were saying that if Bono didn’t give a good showing, it was a strong possibility that State Athletic Director Greg Sirb might pull his boxing card. Ennis won every round from the 3rd on but Bono lives to fight another day as he kept it competitive through out as he kept his promise to fight for the memory of his trainer who was tragically murdered just last week .
The determination was there and he was an aggressive initiator, it wasn’t enough to handle the speed and slickness of Ennis who consistently used Bono’s awkwardness against him, setting up traps along the ropes, counter punching effectively and using the ring to his advantage. Bono did have his moments and occasionally landed some good punches, in particular the 6th when he got Ennis attention with a hard right hook.
Overall, Ennis skill set was too tall a task to overcome. The fight eventually went the distance and the scorecards read 79 – 73 & 78 – 74 x 2. Look for Ennis to step it up significantly soon.
Co-Feature Jr. Welterweight Division
Lenny DeVictoria…vs…Ryan Belasco Philadelphia, PA…………Wilmington, DE 11-12-1, 3KO’s……………8-2-3, 3KO’s
The co-feature was thought it be a nice piece of competitive match making. Instead it turned out to be the last hurrah of a proven Philly ring warrior as Delaware’s Ryan Belasco (9-2-3, 3ko’s) saw little resistance in his fight against Lenny DeVictoria (11-13-1, 3ko’s), ending things midway through the second round with a few body shots followed by a single right hand which surprisingly kept his opponent on a knee for the full 10 count.
Some say it was a very good right hand, some say it was a long list of ring wars catching up. Soon after the bout, it was announced that this was to be the last time Lenny will lace up the gloves as his team noticed a steady decline in performance over the past few fights.
One chapter of Lenny’s life closes and another opens as he plans on getting his CDL license for a new career in the trucking industry. Congrats and thanks for Lenny for making the right move and giving us so many good fights.
Also, Congrats to Belasco on a very good win. Speculation of an 8 – 10 round Belasco – Tyric Robinson fight were swarming soon after. That could arguably be a state title fight…..
Lou Rodriguez…vs…Ray Ellis Philadelphia, PA……Philadelphia, PA PRO DEBUT…………PRO DEBUT
Philly Rumbler Lou Rodriguez (1-0) grinded out a majority decision win in his pro debut against a fellow ring rookie Ray Ellis (0-1) in a very entertaining 4 round welterweight contest. Rodriguez sported an ankle bracelet, a fast set of hands a pretty good chin. Ellis, an aspiring chef and student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, showed a big heart and applied a lot of pressure as these two went at it for all four rounds.
Rodriguez was in control early, winning the first two rounds with a nice blend of combinations to the head and ability to avoid trouble as Ellis pressed forward. The tide changed in the 3rd as Ellis consistent pressure allowed him to storm back in the fight, having a big round as he found a way to break through Rodriguez defense and land some good punches of his own upstairs.
It was anyone’s fight down the stretch and both fought for the win in a 4th round that saw good moments for both fighters as Ellis fought through a leaking mouth and Rodriguez overcoming early fight jitters.
It went to the cards which read 39 – 37 x 2 for Rodriguez with the final judge saying it was even at 38-38. Let’s see both of these guys again against different foes!
Ronald Cruz……….vs………Joel Rios Phoenixville,PA…………….Philly via Puerto Rico pro debut……………………..1-4
Jimmy DeOria’s latest charge Ronald Cruz (1-0) showed some spark in his 4 rounder against a tough Joel Rios (1-5) in a 4 round welterweight battle. Cruz looked very sharp when he fought on the outside, putting strings of combos together. Rios did leave some marks too, especially when they fought in the inside. Activity was the difference here as Cruz was the one who threw most and overall was the sharper of the two.
If any young fighter is looking for a test early in their career, give Rios a call, he showed he can last under heavy fire and keep on coming. But, at 32 years old, his team feels it may be in his best interest to leave this sport to the young guys.
On the other hand, Cruz, if he calms down a bit a lets the fight start coming to him, he could be a guy to watch out for in the future.
In Cruiserweight action, Kamarah Pasley (1-3, 1ko) got that elusive first win with a second round knockout over Cullen Rogers (9-23-2, 5ko’s) . Pasley was able to land good leather and dig deep hooks into the awkward Rogers all night. Pasley dropped Rogers with a left early in round 2, then continued the assault when his opponent got up. Rogers didn’t go back down but offered nothing in return leaving referee Shawn Clark no option but to stop it.
Congrats to Pasley, a guy who never gave up on his dream of getting that W! Keep your eyes open because word is that Pasley is signed up to fight again on January 31st against Pedro Martinez at South Philly high school! Can he make it 2 in a row? We will see!
Power Productions kicks off the 2009 Philly fight year on January 16th at The New Alhambra in South Philly. The undercard is still unsettled but the main event and co-feature are etched in stone. I have all four contestants giving their side of the story. In the main event, PA State Jr. Middleweight champ Derek “Pooh” Ennis (16-2, 12ko’s) is scheduled to take on local veteran tough guy Clarence “Sonny Bono” Taylor (12-19, 6ko’s) of Delaware for a scheduled 8 rounder. Things looked shaky at the start of the week as Bono’s longtime trainer, Derrick Hoey, was tragically shot and killed over the weekend which could understandably call for Bono to reconsider taking this fight. But Bono told me personally that he plans to fight on despite the personal tragedy. It is official so the breakdown goes like this. In 2008 Ennis rebounded from a bad end in ’07, where he was unexpectedly KO’d, to the tune of a 4-0 record and putting himself back in striking distance of a significant televised fight on the national level. Ennis last outing was icing on the cake as it was his most complete performance as a pro, boxing a 10 round masterpiece over the 20 win vet Troy Browning to claim the state title and a portion of the USBA title. It was a big step forward. While few will doubt his offensive skills, some still wonder if he has the beard to make it to the big time. His last loss came in this very building in the summer of ’07 in a fight he was highly favored to win. If he can avoid the big punch, he has the skills to make a nice run in this sport. His opponent Bono on the other hand has lost 8 of his last 10 fights since winning a portion of the WBC title early in 2007. With that being said, Bono’s bar room tough guy record only tells a part of the story. He will give you an honest effort and usually makes his opponent fight hard for the duration. Let’s not get it twisted, Ennis is a HUGE favorite here, but this is Philly boxing and strange things always seem to happen. But hey, I only speak from the ring apron, click below to hear it from the guys who will be in there getting it on!
In a nice piece of matchmaking, the co-feature is said to have Delaware’s Ryan Belasco (8-2-3, 2ko’s) taking on Philly’s Lenny DeVictoria (11-12-1, 3ko’s) in a 6 rounder. Both fighters, at times, have been outstanding in the ring. There have also been a few occasions where both fighters have come in unprepared and laid a couple of duds. DeVictoria’s record is a misleading as he has taken on some of the best young, undefeated prospects this sport has to offer. Most memorably, he knocked off the then highly regardless Elad Shmouel in Philly’s 2007 fight of the year. Most recently, he fought to a draw against the rather ordinary Ricardo Media. Belasco on the other hand is cut from the cloth of his fellow Delaware fighters. Tough, has good fundamentals, and is willing to fight but no special skill that jumps out at you. Early in his career, problems of running out of gas attributed to draws and losses in fights he very well could have won. It looks like he has found a cure as he has gone deep into fights lately and looked fresh near the end, particularly against the boxing barber Victor Vasquez in one of the best of 2008. Both men had ample time to prepare for this fight so there should be no excuses. This is definitely an interesting contest, as these are two of the top guys locally fighting at 140 lbs. Expect some sparks to fly in this one as both men are usually happy to trade leather with an opponent.
Junior Welterweight Tyric “Too Sweet” Robinson (9-3, 3ko’s) returns to the ring looking to erase memories of his latest outing against Jason Cintron which ended in a one sided loss. No opponent has been announced. Once Too Sweet ranked in the top 5 of the Philly Keith pound for pound list. Lets hope the real Too Sweet shows up for this one instead of the guy we saw last time.
Philly lightweight Ronald Cruz will make his pro debut against Joel Rios (1-4, 1ko) of Puerto Rico.
Heavyweights Kamarah Pasley (0-3)and John Carlisle (0-1) , both of Philly, will battle it out as both seek their first wins as a pro.
Lou Rodriguez of The Philly Rumblers Boxing Club is scheduled to make his awaited pro debut after a false start back in October when his opponent fell out last minute. He will take on Ray Ellis who is also making his pro debut.
A light welterweight scrap between two fighters with their only win coming by way of the dirt nap face off as Allentown’s Eluid Torres (1-0-1, 1ko) takes on the challenge of Pleasantville, NJ’s Omar Brito (1-0, 1ko) over 4 rounds of promising action.
Cleveland lightweight Miguel Gonzalez (1-0, 1ko) is not on the card due to being unable to find an opponent.
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!
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
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.
It was a rainy night on the street of Philly this Friday but promoter J. Russell Peltz still managed to pack the fans in and send them out as satisfied customers with this entertaining 8 fight card at The New Alhambra. On top of the bill for this evening was the local scenes hottest name, Mike “Machine Gun” Jones who returned home after receiving his first taste of main stream TV exposure a few months back in a win over Germaine Sanders of Chicago.
In this assignment, Jones was set to face Gilbert Venegas, a low-risk journeyman who has fought – and lost to – some of the worlds best fighters in the welterweight division. His win-loss record will not impress but the scouting report says that he is a known tough guy with a mahogany head and solid right hand.
Jones was a heavy favorite with the only real question being “can he knock Venegas out?”
The co-feature had the Philadelphia return of “King” Gabriel Rosado, a hard hitting 22-year-old who is looking to cement his name as one of the areas best . He was scheduled for a rematch against spoiler Mustapha Johnson. The two first met in 2006 with Rosado pulling out a close 4-round majority decision win.
Two years later, they meet again under different circumstances. Rosado is now a promotion free agent and shopping his services to the highest bidder. Peltz Boxing seems to have an interest in retaining his services over the long haul – but the young King would have to impress in this fight.
This isn’t the best opponent to look good against as Johnson has recently given a list of local Middleweights all they could handle in recent bouts. Since the first fight with Rosado, the Indiana native has earned wins over Jose “Macho” Medina and Joe Christy, received a draw against Martinus Clay and dropped a disputed majority decision to the 13 – 1 Gee Culmer.
The under card was highlighted by a dream card special – pitting the boxing barber Victor Vasquez against Delaware’s Ryan Belasco in a 6 rounder. This one came as advertised and both men gave it their all.
Larry Robinson was in for a tune up against William Bailey to prep up for his proposed fight with Simon “One Punch” Carr. This one got interesting really quick.
The trifecta of Dennis Hasson, Anthony Flores and Pedro Martinez looked to follow up succesful pro debuts, but it wasn’t mean to be for all three. Pottstown’s Travis Thompson has been winning over fans with his recent performances and looked to make it 3 in a row against Connecticut’s Tommy Garcia in a lightweight battle.
There were quite a few really good fights and finally some good ring girls to boot which went along with an acknowledgment to Charles “The Hatchet” Brewer and Curtis Parker recently being inducted to the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame. Scroll down to get the ringside report.
MIKE JONES….vs……GILBERT VENEGAS
146 pounds….WEIGHT…147 pounds
Chicago, IL…………North Philadelphia
10-5-3, 7 K0s……….13-0, 12 K0s
It was a fight designed to give rising prospect Mike “Machine Gun” Jones rounds against a fighter who has faced world class competition. Originally scheduled for early March, this one was postponed because of Venegas going AWOL during training. It probably would have been in his best interest to stay truant because for 8 rounds, Mike Jones battered and bruised the Chicago tough guy en route to a very impressive and one sided unanimous decision win.
After a slow opening round, Jones picked up the pace in the second, used his size and speed advantage, circling Venegas and painting him with quick fire jabs that found its mark. Working behind this jab for the majority of the contest, Jones was able to find openings for the straight right, some well place three and four punch combination and quite a few hard hooks to the body.
There were no knockdowns in the fight but there were a few occasions where Venegas was stunned, particularly in the 8th when Jones landed an uppercut that almost sent his whole head into the 5th row. Miraculously (or maybe foolishly) Venegas was still standing but the song remained the same. It went the 8 round distance in what must have seemed to be an eternity for Venegas.
To no ones surprise, all three judges scored it 80-72 in favor of Mike Jones.
Venegas, to his credit, took a good old fashioned licking but his will was never broken. After taking a variety of shots that would have left most men down and out, he kept coming forward and throwing right hand in an attempt to steal the win. While victory would elude him, he did show that he would prove a major test for any up and comer in the welterweight division who thinks they have what it takes to be a contender.
Though it was a decision win, this is the most complete performance to date of Mike Jones career. He fought smart, his punches were accurate and took some good punches very well. He used his size and speed like never before. The knockout machine is evolving into a true boxer. Up next is a possible August date on Telefutura against an opponent TBD.
RYAN BELASCO….vs….VICTOR VASQUEZ
137.5 pounds…WEIGHT…136 pounds
Wilmington, DE……….North Philadelphia
6-2-3, 1 K0………….7-1, 4 K0s
In a great piece of matchmaking, we had a fight between two men with many similarities. Both are familiar faces around this circuit and bring a crowd to the arena, both have never lost when fighting at The New Alhambra, both have spent small fortunes at the tattoo parlor and both waste no time getting into a fight when the bell sounds. This one delivered the fireworks promised when it was first signed.
Belasco had the better in ring experience coming into this fight, taking on a decent mix of journeyman and prospects in his time as a pro. The knock on him was that he was notorious for fading out after a few hard rounds. Vasquez, who has a crowd friendly style, was getting his first crack at a fighter with a winning record.
After three rounds of good, hard exchanges, Vasquez has the misfortune of a swollen left eye that would eventually grow to the size of a walnut. Vasquez was at the disadvantage of fighting with one eye but continued to bring the fight right to his opponent. Belasco took it as well as he gave it and used this swelling as a target, repeatedly popping jabs and straight right to the face.
By the 5th round, the medical personnel became concerned, stopping the action to take a look. Vasquez made it to the bell but the ring doctor saw enough, order the fight be stopped before the 6th round began. At the time of the stoppage, Belasco was ahead 48-47, 48-47, 49-46.
On this night Ryan Belasco secured his best win as a pro. After the way this one ended, I am sure Victor Vasquez will want some revenge, let’s hope that the eye heals fast and we are all treated to the rematch soon.
This was an interesting match up between a set of familiar faces on the Philly fight scene. “King” Gabriel Rosado, though only 22 years old, has seen his share of controversy during his time as a pro. Now a promotional free agent, “Gaby” was returning home after settling some unfinished business avenging a prior loss when he knocked out Joshua Onyango in 2 rounds last month in New York.
He returned to Philly to face Mustapha Johnson who was also looking to avenge a prior loss received at the hands of Rosado almost two years ago. Since that fight, Johnson has improved drastically and has given some of the areas better middleweights a tough night and is more than capable of pulling out the win.
Rosado is best known for his knockout power but Johnson is the type of fighter who refuses to let you look your best against him.
A lot of the rounds here were very similar. Rosado would start out circling, throwing some jabs and mixing in a few rights. Johnson would work his way inside,land a few in return them hold on. In every round, it seemed that Rosado would pick up the pace and fire off hard combinations.
Johnson has an under rated chin. He took some solid rights and kept on fighting. Overall, Rosado was too strong and down the stretch was able to break out of clinches and put his heavy right hand to use. It went to the scorecards with the judges seeing it 59-55, 59-55, 60-54 in favor of Rosado.
LARRY ROBINSON….vs….WILLIAM BAILEY
193.5 pounds…..WEIGHT…193.75 pounds
South Philly………….Chesapeake, VA
8-3, 6 K0s……………8-13-2, 5 K0s
This fight was signed as a tune-up for a Larry Robinson vs Simon Carr showdown in July, but Robinson was the one who almost got tuned up as William Bailey came out blazing in the first. About :20 into the round, Bailey landed a hard right and followed up with two more that put Robinson down. Robinson beat the count and was able to withstand and big barrage as Bailey looked to close the show.
Things didn’t look much better to start the 2nd as Bailey tried to seal the deal but instead got caught with booming right hand that put him on his seat. Bailey beat the count but was still dazed and Robinson finished the job soon after with another hard right which left the referee no option but to call an end to the contest at 2:33 of the round.
After the fight, Simon “One Punch” Carr went on record to say he accepts the proposed fight against Robinson.
ANTHONY FLORES….vs….DARRELL MARTIN
130 pounds……WEIGHT…130 pounds
North Philly………….Baltimore, MD
1-0, 1 K0…………….2-2
“Flawless” Anthony Flores made it two in a row when took a unanimous decision win over a capable Darrell Martin in a match up of two accomplished amateur champions.
Early in the fight, Martin made the mistake of trying to out box Flores and was taken to school. Flores would move in, throw two and three punch combos and get out before the fire returned. He also threw some good, hard hooks to the body which took some wind out of Martin’s sails.
Going into the third, Martin looked finished in the corner but he dug deep and had his best round of the fight. Instead of boxing, he came moved forward and landed some clean left hooks to the head. It probably wasn’t enough to win the round but he did make it competitive. Martin had the jab working early in the 4th but Flores stepped on the gas and became more active, throwing hooks to the body and uppercuts on the chin as Martin looked to get a knockout late in the fight. It went to the score cards and all three judges saw it 40- 36 in favor of Flores
CHARLES KIRBY….vs….DENNIS HASSON
167 pounds……WEIGHT..166 pounds
This one was short but pretty sweet, Dennis Hasson made a successful pro debut back in March but Charles Kirby showed right away that he wasn’t going to lay down in this one.
It didn’t take long for these fighters to start throwing the leather. After a scuffle on the ropes, Kirby got Hasson’s attention with a hard right that landed flush but Hasson returned the favor with a two piece combo that wobbled Kirby.
After a few more big rights and lefts. Kirby was in serious trouble and holding on for dear life. Just as he was about to go, the bell sounded. Between rounds, referee Shawn Clark saw enough and stopped the bout which earned The Assassin Hasson his first win as a pro.
TOMMY GARCIA….VS….TRAVIS THOMPSON
131 pounds….WEIGHT…133 pounds
Hartford, CT………..Pottstown, PA
1-1, 1 K0…………..2-1, 2 K0s
Two fighters who compete in a growing lightweight division faced off against each other in hopes of putting their name in the mix. Travis Thompson has the look of a throwback fighter with his gritty, let’s have a fight style.
Tommy Garcia was back in town after splitting a series last year with Felix Arroyo. Garcia was taller and had a bigger build but Thompson is quicker and seemed to be the more active of the two. Both fighters tried to put their advantages to use, Thompson on many occasions tried to initiate the action but seemed to mistime a variety of jump jabs, hooks and overhand rights.
When the fight went inside, Garcia was able to withstand the charge and landed a few hard hooks of his own which would at least temporarily stop any rally that Thompson would build.
No knockdowns or serious trouble for either man and it went the four round distance. Two judges scored it 40 – 36 in favor of Garcia while a third judge saw it 38 – 38.
AHMED SAMIR….vs….PEDRO MARTINEZ
195 pounds………..191.5 pounds/24 years/5’11”
NYC, NY……………North Philadelphia
1-0 ……………….1-0, 1 K0
Ahmed Samir once again came in as the hand picked opponent for a promotionally carried ticket seller and once again he leaves a winner. It almost ended really early as Samir scored two knockdowns in the 1st round.
Martinez was able to survive the early scare and in the 3rd, looked like he was going to return the favor. Samir showed a lot of grit by withstanding this attack and coming back to look strong in the 4th and final round. At times it looked more like a street fight than it did a boxing match but overall it was pretty entertaining. The fight went to the cards with the judges seeing it 38-36, 39-35, 39-35 in favor of Samir who was showered with boo’s upon his exit.
The First State brought the fights outdoors to Delaware Park along the race track and and Dave Tiberi of TNT Productions turned in a card filled with competitive fights, accurate scoring as advertised and a huge upset. There was a light mist in the air to go along with the perfect temperature and while causing a bit of a damp canvas, it was a great experience. Boxing outdoors, you just gotta love it!
The majority of the crowd came to see local fighters Larry “Laser” Marks, Ryan Belasco and Richard Stewart. When it was all said and done, a couple of thoroughbreds pulled up lame on the track and it was the experienced war horses Dhafir Smith, Damon Antoine & Shannon Miller who ended up stealing the show.
Prior to the fights, there were tributes to members of Delawares boxing past, all branches of the US Military and also a $10,000 donation to the Delaware Police Athletic League. If you are the type who likes to do a little gambling on the slots, horses or just looking to do some golfing check out Delaware Park. It looks like it could be a nice surprise.
In the Main Event, “The Italian Assassin” Chucky Cavallo came in for what was thought to be a tune up to prepare for his PA State Title fight against Richard Stewart.
His opponent for the night Shannon “Trouble” Miller should now go the the nickname of the “Bad Mechanic” because this fight went terribly wrong. Miller scored 3 knockdowns in the first, all with two punch combinations upstairs as Cavallo did not use his far superior reach. In between knockdowns Cavallo did manage to land a good straight right which Miller shook off and went back to business.
New cornerman “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon was screaming at ringside for Cavallo to at first get his hands up and then later in the roundto tie up Miller and buy himself some time. Cavallo was foggy but heeded the last bit of advice and managed to survive the round. Not even the great Teddy Atlas could said anything between rounds to delay the eventual outcome.
Miller just seemed to have his number on this night and wasted no time finishing the job :23 into the second round. The Cavallo team was shocked. In what was supposed to be easy work against an opponent with 37 losses turns out to be a disaster.
Now, the big money title fight against Richard Stewart along with his undefeated record are gone. Will the 21 year old Italian Assassin bounce back from his first career loss? Time will tell, stay tuned.
Give props to Shannon Miller too for knowing he was up against an up and coming prospect and not backing down one bit. This was a true boxing surprise.
Richard Stewart…vs….Jake Rodriguez Delaware…………….North Philly
In the co-feature, Richard Stewart, also getting ready for the title fight against Cavallo, got a good nights work and won a unanimous decision over a game Jake Rodriguez.
It was a little slow in the beginning but soon broke down into a steady, bang it out kind of fight with Stewart always seeming to do a little more in the trenches. That’s no knock on Rodriguez who would sit in the pocket, take Stewarts best punch and yell at him to “come on!” before delivering some blows of his own. It was a tough, slippery affair as both guys threw some heavy bombs.
In the first, Jake the Snake moved around the ring and Stewart tried to stalk him down where both guys seemed to feel each other out. The Snake tied to open it up in the second throwing hard right hands but missing the mark. Stewart happily obliged and threw hard rights of his own, landing a little more.
Things started to get busy in the third when the mist got heavy. Rodriquez trainer Billy Briscoe was spirited in the red corner screaming for “The Stick” & “The Sleeper”. The fight soon ended up in the corner where they fought it out highlighted by an excellent straight left that intercepted a Stewart bomb and knocking him off balance.
Things stayed the same in the 4th & 5th where Stewart seemed to land the cleaner punches as both fighters stayed in close. In the final round, things went from a tough boxing match to a good tussle though both fighters kept it clean and no fouls were called. It went to the cards and all 3 judges saw it in favor of Stewart 60 – 54 x2 and 58 – 56. I also agree with the 58 – 56 judge.
Dhafir Smith…..vs….Larry Marks Upper Darby…………Delaware 18-16-5, 4ko’s………29-9-1, 16ko’s
This one was a nice battle of two experienced pros as the WBF Super Middleweight champ Dhafir “No Fear” Smith took on former world title contender Larry “Laser” Marks in the Laser’s own backyard. The early portion of the fight was a jab fest with the first three rounds being ones which could go either way.
Dhafir showed a good, straight jab while Marks was doubling it lightly and throwing it from a lot of different angels. The jabs got harder come the 3rd round and in the 4th, both men started putting some steam behind it. That is when the mouthpieces started to fly out and noses started to drip blood.
Dhafir scored a knockdown with a quick left hook in the 4th but Marks didn’t seem too hurt by it. Marks bounced back to win the 5th as he stayed busy and finished the round with three hard straight rights.
The 6th was a slow one butNo Fear started off the 6th strong with a crisp right that landed right on the button. Marks was hurt and the wily veteran knew it would be in his best interest to take a knee. This move paid even more dividends as Dhafir’s aggression got the best of him because he kept punching after the kneel down, thus causing referee Steve Smoger to deduct a point from Smith.
This extra lumping might have hurt Marks momentarily but in the scope of things, it actually saved him from taking a loss in the fight as the point proved to be pivitol in the final score. After taking a thumping early in the round, Marks regrouped and actually started to take back control towards the end.
It was close down the stretch and both guys went head hunting to try to finish it to no avail. Overall it was a good, solid back and forth fight which went to the cards and they read 76 – 73 Dhafir, 77-73 Marks and 75-75 for the draw. I saw it 75 -74 for Dhafir. Ryan Belasco….vs….Damon Antoine Delaware…………..Akron, Ohio
“The Mailman” Damon Antoine has appeared in our area plenty of times in the past, usually taking the job against an up and comer with a promotional backing. On this night, he had an in ring metamorphosis and fought with a fire under his ass after Ryan Belasco gave his eye a good swelling in the first round.
Belasco looked to be en route to an easy win after one, but once Antoine realized the severity of the injury, The Mailman manned up and fought like a true warrior for the remainder to get a very impressive win. This turned out to be the fight of the night as both fighters were willing to exchange but Antoine gave out the better leather.
I hope to see Antone fight like this more often when he is matched up against another prospect with a flossy record. Belasco also seems to have the potential to make some exciting fights if the gas tank is fueled up beforehand.
Darrell Martin….vs…..Elias Castillo Baltimore,MD………….Brooklyn, NY PRO DEBUT…………….0-1
Former Eastern Regional amateur champion Darrell Martin was successful in his pro debut taking a unanimous decision over a willing Elias Castillo.
Martin started out throwing some very wide punches early as Castillo hung around inside and threw bombs that barely missed their mark. Late in the 1st, Martin caught Castillo with a short left which sent Castillo on his backside.
Around the third round, Martin began to settle down, straightened out his punches and used the ring put his punches together much better than he was earlier in the fight.
Congrats to Darrell Martin on getting that first win by scores of 40 – 35, 39 – 36 x2
Manuel Guzman….vs….Gerald Jordan Lancaster, PA……….New York 3-4, 2ko’s………….3-1. 3ko’s
In a solid four rounder to open the night, Manuel Guzman and Gerald Jordan fought to a majority draw. Jordan was on top of things early as he slipped a lot of Guzman’s punches ala his trainer Pernell Whitaker did back in the day. In the second, it was evident Sweat Pea hasn’t shown him all the moves yet because Guzman was able to bare down and put the pressure on Jordan, landing some of his trademark big right hands.
Guzman had a strong third round as well and Jordan looked like he might be wearing out. The fight hung in the balance in the 4th and Guzman’s trainer Terry Nye told his guy “it is time to go be a man, go out there and get the win”. Sweat Pea was heard in the opposite corner screaming “It’s our time, you take control of this fight!” In the end it was a close round that could have gone either way.
The cards read 39 – 37 Jordan but the other two judges over ruled with scores of 38 – 38 for the majority draw.