Category Archives: The Legendary Blue Horizon

#TBT to Dennis Hasson & Garrett Wilson – Philly vs. Philly at The Blue Horizon in 2009

Today we throw it back to March 7, 2009 at the Legendary Blue Horizon. At this point in time it was the beginning of the end of the famous fight hall on Broad & Thompson Streets in North Philly. Little did we know that one of the worlds most famous boxing venues only had a handful of shows left in its existence.

On this evening Peltz Boxing Promotions was returning to The Blue after an eight year absence. His prized fighter Mike Jones was headlining the show and would go on to clobber Dario Eslas, a KO that caused the fans to go crazy in the stands.

Mike Jones vs Dario Eslas winner
photos by Chris Sembrot

The focus of this article is not about the main event but rather a unhyped six round Super Middleweight bout in the middle of the show. At the time of signing no one really gave it a second though when it was announced that Dennis Hasson would fight Garrett Wilson in a warm-up to the featured attraction. But funny things happen when two Philly fighters face off in the ring.  Long after the final bell sounded, the story of this fight became more interesting as time went on.

There were many distinct differences between the two fighters and their career positions in 2009. One was a polished amateur with the backing of those putting on the event. The other was raw and hungry, not quite sure how far he could take it in this blood sport.

Now in 2016 – the loser of this bout went on to outperform many of his peers in the local industry while the winner continued to move up the ladder before the business end of things and other distractions put his career on ice. More on that in a minute…

Continue reading #TBT to Dennis Hasson & Garrett Wilson – Philly vs. Philly at The Blue Horizon in 2009

#TBT – Gee Culmer vs. Jameel Wilson, Philly’s 2008 Fight of the Year

It was seven years ago this week when The Legendary Blue Horizon​ hosted a match that was arguably the last great, two-way action fight in the history of the famed building.

The September 12, 2008 card at The Blue was built to feature up and comers Steven Upsher​ and Ran Nakash​, but it was the mid-card 8 round Middleweight contest between local Philly fighters Gee Culmer​ and Jameel “Black Gold” Wilson​ that stole the show. A fight that was expected to be an appetizer to the evenings featured attractions ended up in the local history books as the city’s 2008 Fight of the Year.

Continue reading #TBT – Gee Culmer vs. Jameel Wilson, Philly’s 2008 Fight of the Year

Seats from the Blue Horizon for sale at $350 a pair

Ms. Vernoca Michael has announced on Facebook that seats from the Legendary Blue Horizon are now for sale. The price is starting at $350 for a pair of seats. Archer Seating will handle the orders and removal process. The Blue has been closed since 2010 and has been approved to begin renovations that will completely change the interior of the building.

If interested in owning a set of seats, call 856-692-0242 or check this link for more info.

Historical Commission unanimously votes in favor of demolition to the inside of the Blue Horizon.

It’s “Hasta la vista, baby” for the inside of The Legendary Blue Horizon as we know it. This morning the Historical Commission unanimously voted in favor of the motion to allow demolition to the inside of the Blue Horizon. The outside of the building will the preserved. The overall feel was that the inside of the building was damaged beyond reasonable repair to continue in its previous capacity.

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia Director of Advocacy Ben Leech gave a good argument, noting that over 400 people have signed the petition to save the building and highlighting the direct correlation between boxing and Philadelphia. Building owner Vernoca Michael, who came with a strong backing of advocates, countered by stating that “if the building was so significant, why did so many  others in the boxing business leave while it was still open?”

Other points were made, but at the end of the day those behind the renovation project had a much bigger showing. Local community leaders spoke to how a hotel will bring jobs to the neighborhood. Attorneys spoke about how boxing has come and gone in this city. Developers spoke about how their money is being handcuffed with this motion. Ms. Vernoca Michael spoke about her old learning center being the biggest accomplishment in the history of the building. Most were calling “The Blue” a crumbling eye sore.

Myself along with John DiSanto and Zac Pomillo spoke out the impression the Blue made on us as fans, advocates and employees of the sport.

At the end of the session that ran over one hour long, “the ayes” had the vote of allowing construction to take place inside of the once famed fight hall. Plans to convert into a hotel will move forward granted the funding is still in place.

It’s a sad day for Philly boxing. But maybe it is time to turn the page on the chapter of Philly boxing that the Blue Horizon represented. Remember the history, but move forward with building something new of our own.

If a hotel kickstarts a revitalization of North Broad Street, then maybe in the grand scheme of things this isn’t such a bad thing.

Time will tell…

The final vote on the Blue Horizon’s future will take place this Friday, March 13th

Judgement Day has arrived for The Legendary Blue Horizon. The final vote on the buildings future will take place this Friday, March 13th, 9:00 am at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor. Developers want to convert the shuttered building into a high end hotel. The local boxing community wants the building reopened to host fights again.

The Blue’s hopes took a massive blow two weeks ago when the Philadelphia Historic Society recommended to only preserve the building exterior – paving the way for the inside of the building, including auditorium, to be gutted. It seems like the developers are ready to remodel. The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia website states “Supporters of saving the Blue Horizon are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting and voice support for designating both the auditorium and the exterior facades to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.”

It’s now-or-never for the famed fight hall. The money men have already counted the Philadelphia Boxing Community out. Five days left to sign the petition. If you have already signed, be sure to check the names on the list. Share and spread the word. http://www.preservationalliance.com/place-to-save/blue-horizon/

Follow the Facebook conversations about the potential demolition of the Blue Horizon:

http://tinyurl.com/lezfssq  (25+ likes, 6 shares & 26 comments) posted 3/9/15

http://tinyurl.com/qjpk59e (28 likes, 14 shares, 28 comments) posted 1/29/15

http://tinyurl.com/po8k9ze (53 likes, 40 shares, 71 comments) posted 11/14/14 

 

Coy Evans & Farah Ennis in showcase bouts, Darrell Jones has a tough assignment at the Blue Horizon June 4, 2009

Local boxing returns to “Mother’s House” on June 4, 2009 – a night when Blue Horizon owner and chief executive Ms. Vernoca Michael  will collaborate with SAM Promotions for a card that features rising local talent. On this evening Ms. Michael will celebrate her 65th birthday with the boxing fans of Philadelphia.

The top end of the card is now set – here are the specifics….

The Main Event will showcase undefeated Featherweight prospect Coy Evans (8-0-1, 2ko’s) of the Germantown section going against Chicago via Mexico journeyman Barbaro Zepada (9-21, 2ko’s) in a scheduled 6 rounder.

Evans has opened some eyes in the gym recently, and in the ring he has knocked his last two opponents out. Zepada’s record is terrible but it is worth noting that he has only been stopped once in his career. Expect to see a boxing exhibition from Evans in this one.

The co-feature will put rising undefeated Super Middleweight Farah Ennis (13-0, 7ko’s), also from Germantown, against Steve Walker (24-24, 16ko’s) of Missouri.

Walker’s record shows that he has a little pop but it should also be noted that he has been stopped an astounding twenty times in his career. Who sanctioned this one? Expect Ennis to steamroll right through this challenger.

After they scrape Walker off of the canvas, look forward to a July 30th boxing card where Ennis & Dennis Hasson will compete in separate bouts on the same card. Maybe the day will come when Farah and Hasson fight each other – it is the best 168 pound match out there by a mile.

Both Evans and Ennis are trained by Bozy Ennis at the Muhammad Ali Gym – aka Bozy’s Dungeon – in Germantown.

Leading the under card is South Philly junior middleweight prospect “Dangerous” Darrell Jones (3-0, 1ko), who on paper has the toughest test of the evening. He is scheduled to take on Marcus Hall (3-1, 2 KO’s) of Rochester, NY in a four rounder. Jones will make his fourth consecutive start at The Blue and is starting to generate some buzz.

Keep an eye on this one, could be the fight of the night.

In a four round Ladies Jr. Middleweight bout, Olivia “The Great” Fonseca (3-2-2, 2 KO’s) is scheduled to take on undefeated Akima Stocks (3-0, 3 KO’s) of Newark, NJ.

Fonseca always brings fire with her into the ring, usually putting in one of the best fights of the night.

In a four round Super Featherweight bout, Keenan Smith (1-0) of Philadelphia will take on Alex Monte, 1-0. Smith was a touted amateur and has the potential to develop into a solid professional if he avoids distraction and stays focused on his craft.

In a four round Jr. Middleweight bout, Ismael Garcia (1-0) of Milville, NJ takes on debuting Tyrone Rivera of Allentown, PA.

Marshall Kaufmann’s newest study Van Oscar Penovaroff (5-0, 4 KO’s) of Kailua Kona, Hawaii will take on tougher than advertised Gustavo Dailey (4-8, 1 KO) of Philadelphia in a four round Lightweight bout.

IBF #7 ranked Light Heavyweight Yusaf Mack is off this card. Look for a July return.

Tickets are scaled at $45, $55, $65, $125, and $200 and are available at The Legendary Blue Horizon (215) 763 0500 and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Gym (267) 979 2163.

Derek Ennis wins a classic at The Blue Horizon!

April 2, 2010 – It’s been an interesting week in the City that Loves you Back.  Nationally, Philly was put on the hot seat – again. This time the city was in focus due to internet phenomenon branded as a “flash mob”. In a nut shell, a flash mob is when a group of people get together, usually kids planning through social media, and wild out in public. A couple days ago a bunch of kids blew through South Street like a batch of wild turkeys, knocking people over, disrupting stores and such. No one was seriously hurt, probably because I wasn’t there. If someone would knocked into me they would have gotten hit with a Nikita Koloff style Russian sickle! There were also more peaceful, but still as odd, flash mobs at 30th street station. This one involved a bunch of random people joining together to stand still for a whole three minutes, kind of acting as if time were frozen. All of this was taped and posted on YouTube – people from all spectrums of the arena couldn’t wait to chime in on what they thought were the possible reasons behind these pointless acts.

Locally, Mayor Nutter and city technology head Allan Frank officially entered the city into the running as a potential testing grounds for Google’s upcoming high-speed gigabit network project.  In an attempt to lure the internet giant to our turf – Philly has been temporarily rebranded as “The City of Googley Love”.  If selected, Philadelphia would take on a unique project that intended to offer unheard of bandwidth capabilities that in theory could make Philly the Silicon valley of the east coast. This would attract businesses, create jobs, improve schools and give unprecedented internet access to anyone with a laptop.

Derek Ennis vs Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez 2010 (20)Under the radar of mainstream media, Germantown native Derek “Pooh” Ennis (21-2-1, 13ko’s) turned in another Fight of the Year candidate at The Legendary Blue Horizon.  Coming into the night, just about everyone in the know thought that the he reigning 154 lb USBA Jr. Middleweight champion would be involved in a “stay busy” fight – one that would keep him fresh until his first official defense of the title that he won in this same building in November of last year.

Friday nights main event was originally scheduled to be the night of this first defense. But USBA rules state that a certified opponent must be ranked within that organizations top 15 fighters. While the Blue Horizon has a legendary reputation – it is no secret that the fighters purses are usually small change in the grand scope of things. With no TV exposure,  little money to offer and other top 15 fighters already locked into to previous engagements – no quality opponent worthy of a USBA approval could be found for this evening.

So with about 72 hours until bell time, Ennis managerial team of Moz Gonzalez & Eddie Woods found the unheralded Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez (13-7, 11ko’s) of Kansas to fill in a late sub instead of cancelling the fight. This would be a non-title fight but would be scheduled for 10 rounds of action. The die-hard fans and industry business know-it-alls were very disappointed in this turn of events, believing that it would be a uncompetitve night for a fighter who should be ready to test himself against the best in the world.
Even during the pre-fight entrances  – it had all the makings of a blow out. Ennis was escorted to the ring with an entourage of around 10 people. His stable mates were in front holding up his local and regional title belts. His promoter Mike Fingerman and other associates were not far behind. It was a flash mob of its own right on Broad and Thompson!

In the other corner, Jose Gonzalez had the look of a grizzled journeyman loner. Shipped in on short notice – his corner consisted of one person from his camp and a local cut-man for hire who probably earned something in the neighborhood of $10 per round.

Derek Ennis vs Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez 2010 (11)But like the wise man once said ” that’s why they fight the fights!” Instead of a lopsided blowout – the fans were pleasantly surprised by a very game late replacement as Jose Gonzalez came out of his corner like a man on fire in the early going – bringing the fight right to the local favorite – in his own ring – in his hometown – in front of all his fans!

While the Kansas filled in admirably – Ennis responded in part and willingly waged a 10 round war where both fighters gave it everything they had. The slick moving Ennis I know was nowhere to be found on this night – this one was a grittier version. The two men fought like they were locked in a freezer, huddled closely together on the inside to trade short and effective rights and lefts to every organ of the body.

Derek Ennis vs Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez 2010 (12)Notable moments from the fight include Ennis looked to be buzzed by a solid Gonzalez early in the 2nd round – only to shake it off and fire back with a three punch combo upstairs. Pooh suffered a cut over the left eye somewhere around round 5 – a cut that was kept reasonably under control but did leak from time to time. Ennis became more authoritative as the match wore on – not budging an inch as Gonzalez tried to bully his way forward. Pooh would usually take a good shot to land a three or four punch combo. The crowd was extremely vocal for this one – usually on their feet cheer at the end of every round in a building where they won;t think twice about booing you out the front door.

Derek Ennis vs Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez 2010 (5)In the end – conditioning proved to be the deciding factor as Ennis kept his fast pace down the stretch while Gonzalez was getting by on pure heart. It went to the scorecards which read 98 – 92 x2 with a third judge seeing it a draw at 95-95, giving the majority decision win to Ennis.

Derek Ennis vs Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez 2010 (6)Good win for Ennis – but in typical Pooh fashion this fight leaves some question remaining to be answered. Some were left wondering why he was in a life-or-death war with an anonymous journeyman? After the fight his manager Moz Gonzalez was impressed – stating that “this fight showed me that Pooh has the cojones to be world champion”. Some were concerned that Ennis weighed in at 157 lbs (the contracted weight was a limit of 156 1/2 lbs, in turn costing his purse to be docked a few bucks for being over). Others were saying that they are very interested to see how Ennis performs in a fight out-of-town and away from the pressures of having to please his local fan base with war after war.  After a few false starts in his career, one thing is for certain – Derek “Pooh” Ennis has earned the rite to complete against the best 154 lb fighters in the world.

In a division loaded with mid level prospects but short on championship caliber material – Ennis has a very good shot of making some noise and ending up on a prime TV broadcast in the near future.

Farah Ennis vs Frankie Santos 2010 (3)In the co-feature, Pooh’s brother – rising Super Middleweight prospect Farah Ennis (13-0, 7ko’s) put a 2 round pounding on Puerto Rico’s Frankie Santos (17-9-4, 8ko’s). Originally, Santos was scheduled to take on Derek in the main event but weight issues and inability to find an opponent led Santos to taking this match two weight classes higher.

Big mistake on his part. From the first punch of the opening bell it was evident that Farah’s punching power would be way too much. The first solid jab of the night pushed the veteran a quarter of the way across the ring.

Ennis probably could have ended things :30 into the fight but instead he opted to be patient with the old veteran, taking his time with hard three and four punch combos before sealing the deal with a vicious upper cut at the very end of round 2.

A Philly vs Camden Junior Welterweight bout between two newbies to the pro ranks turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  Clement Bethea (2-0) grinded out a clear decision win over Jason Sia (0-2) in a four round preliminary. Sia had a very good first round and put Bethea down to the canvas with a three punch body combo. Bethea got up, eventually returned the favor with a straight right hand upstairs and simply applied non stop pressure to Sia. Both men fought to win but in the end all three judges scored it 38-36 for Bethea.
Bryant Jennings vs Jon Boldin 2010 (5)North Philly Heavyweight Bryant Jennings (2-0, 1ko) chalk lined John Boldin (1-1, 1ko) at the end of round 3 with a thunderous upper cut. Jennings is a work in progress but he did a nice job of figuring out his opponent and turning the tide – going from boxer / mover to all out aggressor before putting his foe away. Boldin was on the canvas for close to five-minute until being able to leave under his own power.

 

Jose Ortiz vs Luis Esquillen 2010In the opener – Jersey City’s Jose Ortiz (2-2) won a unanimous decision over Luis “Smurf” Esquillan (1-3). The fight had some good moments which riled up the crowd early on. Ortiz pressure seemed to dictate the direction of the fight and Smurf was a little too slick for his own good. There were times where both hung on the inside to trade flurries. There were times where Ortiz called for Smurf to stay inside and fight. There were times where Smurf was able to spin Ortiz around in circles. In the end it went to the cards which read 40 – 36×2 & 39 – 37 for Ortiz.

 

Philly Keith & Hank Lundy 2010

Fights Return to The Blue Horizon April 2, 2010…

Boxing returns to the Legendary Blue Horizon this Friday night but I must say – this card was very poorly constructed. Step it up Elbaum – these tickets are expensive!

In the main event – Philly’s lone headliner Derek “Pooh” Ennis (20-2-1, 13ko’s) will face last minute sub Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez (13-6-1, 11ko’s) of Garden City, Kansas in a 10 round non-title bout. Ennis is the USBA 154 lb champ and many are anxiously awaiting for him to defend the title. Manager Moz Gonzales says that multiple attempts were made to attract a USBA top 15 opponent but were unsuccessful due to issues with purse request, IBF approval or previous obligation.

Team Ennis hopes to get back at it in about 6 weeks after this match. Gonzales has pulled off some last minute trouble in the past. Two years ago he stepped in on short notice to give the then undefeated Jason LeHoullier fits. For his effort he received a draw in a match everyone said he won.

In the co-feature, undefeated Light Heavyweight Farah Ennis (12-0, 6ko’s) will take on Frankie Santos (17-8-4, 8ko’s) of Puerto Rico for an 8 rounder. Santos was originally scheduled to box Derek Ennis but will now jump up two weight classes to face the rising prospect.

Bryant Jennings takes on John Bolden in a four rounder Heavyweight contest.

A lot of fall outs, a lot of changes on this card. Then again – these are the times when you get surprised with s good card so who knows what to expect…

Derek Ennis Highlights a Night of Knockouts at The Blue!

On February 5 2010 – The Philly fight faithful snubbed their nose at certified blizzard to witness a classic night at The Legendary Blue on Friday. In the main event Derek “Pooh” Ennis sharpened up to the tune of a 5th round TKO over game journeyman Edwin Vasquez. Pooh pounded his head to no avail, but once he began to hit the body, the rock crumbled as Vasquez took two knees at the end, knowing it would take a miracle from Jesus to get a W.

In other action, it took Joey DaWejko longer to put on his socks than it did to dispatch his opponent, scoring a KO :47 intp the 1st round of his homecoming fight.

Ronald Cruz made a big statement when he bombed out Martinus Clay midway through the 3rd round of their scheduled 6 rounder.

Eric “Outlaw” Hunter and Andres Gustafson both scored some nice early KO wins.

Jackie Davis again pumps out the fight of the night in a 4 round rumble that had the crowd on their feet throughout.

Clement Bethea and Henry Northam fought like they were competing for a spot in Maximus Roman empire.

 

Joey DaWejko and Brian McGinley interview

Tacony’s Joey DaWejko and trainer Brian McGinley speak on their future as Joey prepares to make his Philadelphia Debut (as a pro) at The Legendary Blue Horizon 2-5-10

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