Photos by Mike McGuigan
The 2007 Philly boxing season kicked off on a national stage as world renowned promoter Bob Arum and his Top Rank Boxing outfit came to our city for a special edition of “Thursday Fight Night” at the New Alhambra in South Philadelphia. The show was televised around the country on the Versus network and was promoted in association with Peltz Boxing Promotions.
The TV main event featured fringe contender Almazbek Raiymkulov, better known as Kid Diamond, taking on journeyman Emmanuel Augustus (34-27-6), who was taking the bout on less than 48-hours notice, filling in for Antonio Pitalua.
The 29-year-old Diamond (23-1-1, 14 ko’s) of Osh, Kyrgyzstan currently holds the NABF lightweight title and seems to be on the verge of cracking the top 10, but he has yet to add a recognizable name to his resume. His first title defense was originally supposed to be Philly native Zahir Raheem. Then there was a change to fight the hard punching Antonio Pitalua.
At the zero hour, we enter Augustus, showboating yet the long in tooth veteran who has given the sport many great fights during his prime days. The “Drunken Master” has a resume that include giving a tough night to Floyd Mayweather and the 2001 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year with Mickey Ward. Unfortunately many feel that Augustus’ best days are behind him, but it was the best Top Rank could do on such short notice. You never really know with the 32-year-old Chicago native. This fight was reduced to non-title and 10 rounds.
Click here to read my interview Augustus at the Hampton Inn on 13th & Race a couple of days before the fight.
The evening’s co-feature showcased local Jr. Middleweight Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson (22-1, 16 KOs) who was scheduled to fight once upon a time world title challenger Robert “Push Up” Frazier (37-7-4, 1 ND, 15 KOs) of Rochester, NY in a 10 round bout.
Thompson, a long time member of the Top Rank stable, seems to be on the verge of finally fulfilling the promise shown as a top flight amateur. This marked the 25-year-old’s second appearance on the Versus network.
The under card was highlighted by a tough Philly vs. Philly battle pitting Omar Pittman and Dhafir Smith against each other in a 6 Super Middleweight bout. Pittman entered the fight on a nice winning streak but Dhafir Smith showed his is no Lemon street chump despite his 15 – 14 record.
West Philly prospect Eric “Outlaw” Hunter (5-0, 3 ko’s) had a prime opportunity on this show, fighting in front of a major league promoter in the swing bout that made the TV airwaves. His assignment was the always upset minded Carlos Vinan of North Jersey via Ecuador.
Hunter had a strong showing in his rookie year of 2005. But then he fell off the radar as this fight marked his first bout in over a full calendar year.
To cap off the show, the fans were treated to a little Joe Christy action. The bar room brawler was set to face Vance Garvey of Indiana.
To open the show, former amateur star Teon Kennedy was set to make his pro debut. Many local insiders feel that the young bantamweight could have a long career ahead of him. One even went as far as to compare him to all-time great “Joltin'” Jeff Chandler.
Continue reading Top Rank brings TV to Philly where “The Messenger” gives notice to the 154 pound division, Eric Hunter handed his first career loss, Teon Kennedy wins his pro debut 01-11-07