Live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, it seemed like local favorite Amir “Hardcore” Mansour was finally about to break through to the next level of a crowded-yet-open Heavyweight division in front of a large national audience.
Fighting as the co-feature for the Danny Garcia vs. Robert Guerrero, Premier Boxing Champions main event on FOX Sports, Mansour dropped sledge hammers on his opponent Dominic Breazeale for four long rounds in a bout that was scheduled for ten.
To the shock of everyone tuned in – this two-way war concluded with Breazeale getting off the canvas to snatch a 5th round stoppage win as Mansour could not answer the bell for round 6. Breazeale was well behind on all score cards at the time of stoppage.
There was plenty of tough talk in the lead up to this fight which led to lot of drama inside of the ropes. Coming into the fight, Breazele was looked at by some as a bit of a fraudulent prospect despite his qualification as an Olympic boxer in 2012. Mansour was touted by his cheerleaders as a fighter avoided by the upper end of the division. The narrative was playing out in front of an estimated 2.5 million viewers across the globe.
The 43-year-old Mansour of Penns Grove, New Jersey fought out of his customary southpaw stance and offered a fiercely balanced head-and-body battering. The best shot of the night was a right handed bomb in the fourth round which put Breazeale flat on his back. The former college football QB who turned to boxing late in life was unquestionably stunned, but to his credit, he barely beat the 10-count, survived the round, and then put on a effort that will live in the memory of Philly Boxing fans forever.
Late last week, Amir “Hardcore” Mansour traveled a shade under 3,000 miles to pursue an opportunity to snatch the spotlight from an undefeated prospect who was riding the easy road through the contender ranks.
Fighting in front of a sparse crowd at the Little Creek Casino Resort in the remote town of Shelton, Washington – he came within a hair (and a competent judges scorecard) of pulling off the mission against Gerald Washington, a former USC Trojan defensive lineman turned professional fighter who is being groomed under the banner of boxing’s most powerful organization.
In typical theme for a local fighter taking his talents on the road – the 43-year-old puncher was forced to settle for a hard luck draw in a fight where many viewers felt he was the better man.
It’s been a tumultuous week for the reputation of the Philly boxing brand. The out of the ring actions have put the entire local scene under the national microscope, and the once sacred name is taking a beating in the process. The chatter is ranging from gyms across the country to cyberspace with a handful of people going as far as to say “all Philly fighters are considered suspect until further notice”.
Of course that last statement is foolish, but it goes to show how fast the stock has fallen in the public eye.
Tonight, in a remote section of Pacific Northwest, local Heavyweight Amir “Hardcore” Mansour (22-1-0, 16 ko’s) gets first crack at restoring some of that lost luster when he faces Al Haymon backed prospect Gerald Washington (16-0, 11 ko’s) in the 10 round main event of Premier Boxing Champions latest paid telecast on Fox Sports 1.
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.
Tonight, live on ESPN Friday Night Fights from the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, the long-awaited fight between Amir “Harcore” Mansour (21-1, 16 ko’s) or Joey “The Tank” DaWejko (14-3-2, 7 ko’s) finally happens. For eight weeks, the public has been fed an endless stream of hyperbole to build up this local showdown. Most are saying this is going to be a very good fight. I am saying that this needs be a very good fight! The 2300 Arena is nearly sold out and many around the world will tune in via ESPN. The eyes are watching and the people are talkin’. The time for chatter is over. It is put up or shut up in its highest form. We finally get to find out who is the better local fighter.
On paper this bout has the makings of a one of those all-Philly classic showdowns that are hard to come by in today’s local boxing landscape. It is the tale of two fallen prospects who brushed the dirt off their shoulder, got back in line and punched their way to the cusp of contender status. Around town both fighters are known name, but their long-term destinies are unclear. This fight will likely give a clue if either fighter is truly a “next-level” heavyweight. This one fight may not provide all of the answers but it will give some insight as both men will be faced with the type of skill sets they have yet to defeat as professionals.
This is easily the most anticipated local showdown since Derek “Pooh” Ennis narrowly edged “King” Gabriel Rosado in the same building five years ago. That particular bout turned out to be a 12 round Philly Junior Middleweight classic and run away local Fight of the Year winner. This one has the locals buzzing with predictions all across the board. Most think a knockout is in order. Some have already ordained it the 2015 Fight of the Year.
Philadelphia, PA—Amir “Hard Core” Mansour, of Wilmington, DE, and Joey “The Tank” Dawejko, of Philadelphia, will collide in the most anticipated local showdown in years when they battle over 10 rounds—or less—for the vacant Pennsylvania State Heavyweight Title on Friday evening, May 8, at the 2300 Arena.
The Mansour-Dawejko contest, which will be televised live by ESPN 2, tops a seven-bout card that begins at 7 p.m. The ESPN 2-televised portion of the program begins at 9 p.m.
Mansour (above right), a powerful southpaw, is one of the most feared heavyweights in the world and constantly has been avoided by the big names in the division. At 42, and with time running out, he makes his ESPN debut after piling up a record of 21-1, 16 K0s.
A former USBA heavyweight champion, Mansour lost that belt to Steve Cunningham, who survived a pair of fifth-round knockdowns last year to earn a 10-round decision in Philadelphia.
Because of his inability to get the big- name contenders to fight him, Mansour is rated no higher than No. 24 by the WBC, which most boxing fans consider an insult to Mansour’s record and to his ability.
In his last fight Nov. 8 at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (PA), Mansour scored what Sports Illustrated claimed was the Knockout of the Year when he flattened Fred Kassi, of New Orleans, LA, with a single right hand in the seventh round of their scheduled 10-rounder.
Mansour believes a win over Dawejko will get him back into the world rankings
“I’m gonna smash this kid,” Mansour said. “He doesn’t have the power or the skill level or the warrior’s mentality to go the full 10 rounds with me. I’m not going to leave it in the hands of the judges; I’m going to leave it in the hands of the paramedics.”
Dawejko (above left), 24, comes into this fight riding a six-fight winning streak, including a stretch of four consecutive first-round knockouts.
A pro since 2009, Dawejko is 14-3-2, 7 K0s, but he survived the first four and one-half years of his career by managing and promoting himself, accepting fights on short notice when he was out of shape.
Now, under new management (Club 57), Dawejko is finally living up to the promise he showed as a world-class amateur.
He opened 2015 with an eight-round decision victory over fringe contender Derric Rossy, of Medford, NY, then followed by beating former amateur rival Mark Rideout, of Philadelphia. His four first-round knockout victims may not have been world-beaters—David Williams, Philadelphia; Yohan Banks, Redwood City, CA; Rayford Johnson, Longview, TX; Enobong Umohette, Milwaukee, WI—but Dawejko needed less than six minutes combined to demolish all four of them.
“I can’t wait to step into the ring May 8 in my national TV debut,” Dawejko said. “It’s going to be an explosive night. I’m going to steamroll Mansour ‘cause I’m the tank.”
About May 8
The Mansour-Dawejko contest headlines a seven-bout card at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Doors open at 6 pm; first fight is 7pm. The card will be televised live by ESPN 2 at 9 pm. Tickets are $55 and $80 and can be purchased by calling Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922) and Wanamaker’s Tickets (215-568-2400). Tickets also can be purchased online at www.peltzboxing.com and www.wanatix.com. The May 8 card is promoted by Peltz Boxing, Joe Hand Promotions and BAM Boxing.
Well that was quick! Going into the fight no one was giving Nigeria’s Enobong Umohette a chance to beat Joey DaWeko in Joey’s backyard. The experts were correct, he didn’t last half a minute into the fight as a quick Dewejko left hook ended the bout :27 seconds after the opening bell sounded.
The victory marks “The Tank’s” 6th consecutive win and 4th consecutive 1st round knockout. The fight was held at thje 2300 Arena and promoted by Peltz Boxing, Joe Hand Promotions & BAM Boxing.
The end result sets up a local showdown between Joey D and Amir Mansour. I’m not sure why Enobong Umohette stood in between this fight in the first place – but now that is out of the way we can see an interesting bout between two fighters who feel that they belong in the next level. No more free rides – this one should be very competitive…. while it lasts!
This contest is expected to take place at the 2300 Arena in South Philly on May 8, 2015 live on ESPN Friday Night Fights.