The streets of Philly were soggy on November 14th, but that didn’t stop the fight fans from once again packing into the New Alhambra for a J. Russell Peltz / Top Rank boxing collaboration which was carried live by the soon to be defunct Solo Boxeo series.
The main event pitted two undefeated outsiders who traveled east for their big chance in a division where the well of opportunity is bone dry.
The co-feature gave us a glimpse of a prospect on the rebound and the under card showcased the skills of quite a few young hopefuls from our area who are making their way through the local ranks. Some are still in the early stages of their career while others or on the cusp on making the leap to the next level.
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.
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.
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”.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Winner – Mario Mina 1-0, 1ko
Jr. Welterweight Division
Steve Chambers….vs….Jean Petit Homme
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
Gerald Smith……vs…..Jose Guerrido
Philly, PA……………Brooklyn, NY
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.
He battered his opponent around the ring until Guerrido’s corner wisely threw in the towel at 2:16 of the 2nd round.
Winner – Gerald Smith who improves to 2-0, 1ko
Anders Holmberg….vs….Archie Hopkins
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Many “experts” in the boxing game will say that being consistent is one of the primary ingredients to a successful career. Funny thing is, sometimes the guy who stays on his job is usually the one who is overlooked. When you come from a city as deep in talent as ours, it is very easy to have your name lost in the shuffle if you don’t sell a ton of tickets or pile up the knockouts.
Philly middleweight Gee Culmer is a fighter who brings his hard hat to the ring and gives an honest effort every time out. He isn’t a KO artist, and doesn’t get sucked into wild brawls. Instead he comes clocks in, executes his plan and piles up the wins. After his most recent victory, Gee now stands at 13 – 1 with 3ko’s and quietly has put his name into the mix of the best middleweights boxing in our region.
The road hasn’t always been easy for Culmer. He has been through the struggle but continues to grind away in hopes of getting that one opportunity that every fighter dreams of. After an early career loss, a stretch on the boxing back burner and the death of the man who molded his boxing style, he could have easily called it a career.
Instead, the Shulers Gym mainstay stayed focused and rebounded to win his last 8 outings as he became a regular contributor to the cards at The Legendary Blue Horizon. Though his recent success is noteworthy, Gee knows the mission hasn’t yet been accomplished.
In this spot, Mike “Teek” McGuigan puts down the high res Nikon and picks up the pen for an exclusive interview with the man we like to call “The Thoroughbred” .
Mike McGuigan: Alright Gee , First off I want to congratulate you on your recent win (UD6 vs. John Michael Terry @ The Blue Horizon). Can you tell me a little bit more about the fight ?
Gee Culmer: Well the fight was a very good fight. The guy that I fought he had a very deceptive record. I didn’t even understand how he had the record that he had because he’s a very, very good fighter and I had bronchitis about a week before the fight. I was on antibiotics. I had to try to mask how I was really feeling because my trainer wanted to pull me out of the fight and I didn’t want him to because I was originally scheduled to fight Joe Christy.
The fights returned the The Wachovia Spectrum as Power Productions collaborated with Damon Feldman for a 6 fight card in the South Philly landmark. The primary attraction was a showdown between two local heavyweights and Mark “Oaktree” Brown and Dave Brunelli squared off over 6 rounds of action.
In the main event, Light Heavy’s Richard Stewart and Jameel “Black Gold” Wilson went to war over 8 rounds of back and forth slugging. There were a few more heavyweights on the bill as undefeated Gurchuran Singh from India took on “Millionaire” Mike Miller in a 6 rounder and Grant Cudjoe of Brooklyn went in against upstate PA’s Jason Bergman.
In Welterweight Action, Raymond “Tito” Serrano was making his pro debut against Tierre King. Dan “Bada Bing” Biddle opened the show and looked to make it two in a row as a professional.
Mark “Oaktree” Brown….vs….Dave Brunelli New Jersey……………………………………Philly 9-1…………………………………………………..8-2
It was a battle of two tough local heavyweights which was surrounded by a lot of hoopla and media attention. Once it got into the ring, it wasn’t the greatest of fights but nothing competes with two locals fighting each other.
Overall, this one went at steady paced fight where both fighters had some good moments though neither was seriously hurt at any point.
On the strength of a dynamite card in February, fans flocked to the Blue Horizon in hopes of another action packed night at the fights. The line outside of the building backed all the way up to Master Street, filled with men, women and children from all walks of life. Some were die-hard Philly fight loyalists; others were young socialite spenders who mistakenly identified the side building mural of Joe Frazier for Evander Holyfield, but heard that The Blue is the place to be.
Asses were in the seats and interest in Philly boxing was at a height we haven’t seen since back in the day when my old man and uncle would ditch the wife and kids for an afternoon at the Spectrum for some Willie “The Worm” Monroe, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts & company.
While the game has changed since the stars of yesteryear packed 10,000 into the building on a Saturday afternoon, we were promised that tonight’s card would be a display of a crop being hailed as the next generation of great Philly fighters. It was “The Night of the Undefeated” at the Legendary Blue Horizon with heavyweight prospect Chazz Witherspoon as the headliner.
At the prefight press conference and later in a one on one interview, matchmaker Don Elbaum was saying this night would be better than the last. While lightening didn’t strike twice, overall it was a solid card that gave us three knockouts and showed that the Philly crowd wants every cent of their money worth when they cough up between $35 – $60 for a ticket.
“If Bernard Hopkins and De La Hoya can do it, then so can I” proclaimed Simon “One Punch” Carr during his press conference at the Marion Anderson Recreation Center on 17th & Catharine in South Philadelphia while formally announcing the new union between Team One Punch and Lion Heart Boxing Promotions.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but a source close to the team says that the pack includes a minimum of 6 fights per year with options that could bump that stat up to as many as 12. Time will tell if this is true.
This deal which will not only bring One Punch back into the ring, it also allows Simon the opportunity to flex his business muscle as co-promoter where he will have the responsibility to promoting events and putting asses in the seats, a situation he is no stranger to. Carr is now believed to be the youngest active boxing promoter in the United States.
Back in the early 1990’s, Simon wandered into the Marion Anderson Rec as a 12 year old boy not knowing what was behind those doors. He quickly realized he loved boxing and before long he was an up and coming amateur fighter with over 40 wins and Olympic dreams.
Unfortunately, his aspiring career was put on hold when in 1998, Carr was sentenced to 7 ½ – 15 years in state prison on a third degree murder charge. This was just before his professional career was set to begin.
While he was locked down, Simon used that time to earn an Associates Degree is Sports Management and gain his barber’s license. 18 months ago Simon was released from a state correctional facility finishing a tough 8 year prison stretch. Since coming home, Simon has gone on to become a fixture on the boxing scene and an active member of the community . He constantly volunteers his time speaking to kids, helping the homeless and more. There is also a movie in production called “Redemption…A Man Reborn” which is a documentary of his life.
Today was a long day in the making for the South Philly slugger. It was a nice scene at Marion Anderson where local media, business associates and friends gathered in support of Team One Punch. The panel consisted of Sporty Smith, Simon Carr, Ed Mendy CEO of Lion Heart Boxing, James Williams who is the strength and conditioning coach and former NCAA & PAC coach of the year in track and field, and Simon Carr.
Among the supporters in attendance were Light Heavyweight contender Prince Badi Ajamu, former WBA Cruiserweight Champion Nate Miller and Karl “I got U” Heinz of My Garage on 25th & Passyunk.
The hour long conference was filled with moments of Team Lion Heart exchanging thank you’s and the sharing of ideas and plans for the future. The newly formed team promised to bring excitement back to Philly boxing, give opportunities to pro and amateur boxers alike, and spoke about how they plan to take it to the next level.
Simon might have been down, but he sure as hell is not out. This goes to show that if you stay motivated and stay focused, anything can happen. Best of luck One Punch!
If there was one guy on the Philly fight circuit who had bona fide celebrity status, hands down it would be Simon Carr. While it is true you can find him hanging out with AI, in New York with Diddy, riding in stretch limos or dressed razor sharp in for a photo shoot, there is much more to Simon than just a powerful right hand and a shiny pair of shoes.
Recently, big news regarding Simon was announced in that he has been signed by Lion Heart Boxing not only as a fighter but also as a co-promoter making him one of the youngest in the business. Anyone who knows Simon can say that he is a natural born salesman.
Becoming a promoter seemed to be natural progression for the South Philly slugger although no one could have expected it to come this early. Some like to focus on the past of Simon Carr, we here at Philly Keith Sports like to talk about his future and the big things that are to come for the man known simply as “One Punch”.
One Punch recently spoke with Philly’s top boxing photog Mike “Teek” McGuigan to speak on the new deal, his new status as the Bo Jackson of boxing and how he plans to take Lion Heart Boxing to the next level.
Mike McGuigan: Now that you signed this deal with Lionheart does this mean we will see you in the ring again soon?
Simon Carr: Absolutely, I will be back in there hopefully by the end of this month to make a powerful, strong statement for the world to see. This deal also makes me a promoter, I am not only a young promoter but also a prospect and a product and I am looking to be brand name.
MM: How many fights is the contract worth?
SC: It could be worth 12 to 24 fights hopefully depending on how fast I move. I would say about 8 fights a year which is pretty good.
MM: What can we expect to see from you this year?
SC: Aw man so many exciting things. Just the fact of me stepping into a whole new arena, putting on a different hat I think this was a long time coming because I always have the ingenuity being a fighter and also a businessman.
The world will get to see me demonstrate the two.
MM: Anyone in particular you looking to fight?
SC: I want to fight the best out there. There are a couple fights out there but we need to keep the lid on that right now. Right now my priority and main focus is to get busy and get back into the active mode as the most talked about fighter not only here on the East coast but all over to make it global.
MM: It has been a little while since you got into the ring, have you been keeping an eye on your division?
SC: Absolutely but I am also geared right now towards coming down in weight. I fought at Cruiser and Light heavy, I didn’t see the difference but I keep my eye open I see a lot of these prospects are big. Now the goal is to move down while still keeping my punching power and eventually fight at 168 or between 170 – 172.
MM: Would you want a rematch with Andre Hemphill to set the record straight?
SC: Absolutely, I wanted to fight him right out of the gate but he said no man you are too strong for me. That just really showed me not only my punching power but also my skills are respected. I’ll take my hat off to him cause he is a real good, game fighter, he is the only guy I know that put down Chucky Cavallo. If he would have stayed and put the pressure on he would have beat Cavallo that night. I take my hat off to Cavallo as well for getting back up and finishing him off. Andre’s only claim to fame is beating Simon Carr, I made him some money, that was the highest paid purse he ever received.
MM: We know you have a lot of supports and love, who is helping out with your new venture?
SC: I don’t want to get into the financials but every time I come out I got support. My cousins Rasual Butler of the New Orleans Hornets and Donnie Carr (both Roman Catholic grads) of course Allen Iverson who is a good friend of mine and I love him to death. Bernard Hopkins, Beanie Siegel and State Property, there is more but I am just blessed to have good friendship and good rapport with these people and they respect good people.
MM: Now you are a key member of Lion Heart Boxing, anyone you are looking to bring in what do you want to make happen?
SC: Now being a co-promoter I want to bring back the days were guys like Roy Jones was smoking and had that fan support. I want to bring that back. I’d like to do business with Max Alexander, I hope they bring him into the fold and support him, Saaed Hawkins, Victor Vasquez and other young potential fighters who want to come along and be a part of this thing. I have the star power to bring them in and the know how and ingenuity to take them to the next level and make the superstars.
I thank Lion Heart for giving me that chance and they also know this is a good business move on their part because they always haven’t had the best in terms of representation so to speak. Now they are saying we support young fighters and step forward to give a young fighter an opportunity to promote which is huge. It is ground breaking, history so I want to give them a shout out.
MM: Has there been any talks with the fighters you mentioned?
SC: There have been talks; I want to form an allegiance with the fighters on a local level. You see the promoters together but never really see the fighters with the promoters. I have to give Oscar and Bernard credit for being businessmen and sitting with the fighters. I have reached out to Anthony Thompson and Zahir Raheem and they support me and hopefully they can come in to fight on my card.
I have so many powerful things in the making; you are going to see the greatest show on earth. You talk about Ringling brothers and Barnum and Bailey, we are gonna bring that here on a boxing level. You are going to see why they gave me this deal and see why I am one of the most talked about fighters in Philadelphia. I’m gonna demonstrate and display. Not gonna complain during the campaign and show I can be the best damn promoter out there.
MM: What about some guys who haven’t yet turned pro, are they going to get an opportunity too?
SC: Aw man there is so much talent here that love and respect me they deserve a chance. I just had the chance to check out a few amateur tournaments and I’ll be on hand at the Golden Gloves. I want to give the up and comers an avenue to showcase their talent like never before. This is the fight Mecca, here are Detroit and I feel like we somehow lost that.
I want to bring that back and I will bring that back here, give me some time and some of the greatest untapped talent will be displayed. I miss when Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor and the ’84 team how they blow up and stuck together.
MM: Are any of your guys going to fight each other? There are a lot of good signs signed up but also there are other ones looking for fights.
SC: No, everyone is going to grow together. Philadelphia had some of the greatest fighters in the world but was prematurely destroyed because they fought one another. Everyone had heart and talent. The Benny Briscoe’s, the Cyclone Harts the Kitten Haywards, the Boogaloo Watts was destroyed before their time. Anywhere else they were feared and great men but they fought each other and hurt each other.
My fighters are going to be learned on an international level. There is no way I should have lost in my home town to a journeyman like Andre Hemphill but again I give him credit, he is a game fighter. We are going to display why we are Lionheart.
MM: So you are saying you wouldn’t like to see fights like Max Alexander vs. Chucky Cavallo or say Chazz Witherspoon vs. Joey Abell?
SC: I think they are good fights but why spoil them right now? There is nothing on the table. At the end of the day they won’t be getting paid for their labor. Look at guys like Jose Medina, Miguel Figueroa. These guys were real good prospect fighters but now they are shot fighters because they fought each other and the Chucky T’s & Ivan Robinson’s etc. and never got the chance to make it to the second tier.
It’s not wonder why when they step up on HBO they get destroyed because of all the Philadelphia wars. 4 – 6 years ago if you took Miguel Figueroa and stepped him up on HBO he would have destroyed anyone out there but now he is just an opponent fighter. No disrespect to Rockin’ Rodney Moore or Charles Brewer and them but I don’t want to be known as the king of the Blue Horizon or New Alhambra.
These guys fought everybody in their own backyard and never got paid for their labor. This is a new day and new era. Somewhere you gotta draw the line and I have a whole new approach.
MM: In ending this interview anything you want to add?
SC: I am gonna display a whole new era in boxing, headed to uncharted territory. I sold out the Wachovia Spectrum without me even fighting. I can sell around 500 – 1,000 tickets just alone on the computer. Imagine what the word of mouth will do.
You are gonna see the most talked about fighter in the ring as a businessman. I want to thank ya’ll guys at Philly Keith Sports for the support and I hope you go with me as well. You guy support me and I support you right back. What you guys do is why I do what I do. We together are changing the face of boxing, changing the face of journalism, making sure that the young guys and young entrepreneurs do deserve a chance and a voice and a plateau.
We are changing the face and place of sports. It is important for you to do your thing. The older journalists like Bernard Fernandez won’t be around forever, we need new people who understand the mind state and politics of the sport but also to help it grow and become more diverse.
Thanks Simon, we got love for you back here at Philly Keith Sports! Best of luck to you.
In this segment, Philly’s top boxing photographer Mike “Teek” McGuigan comes from behind the camera to catch up with former World Heavyweight Champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon of South Philadelphia.
In this exclusive interview Tim talks a bit about his past, his desire to get back into the ring and how he wants to be remembered in the sport of boxing. While there is a lot more to come, right now we want to let the fans know that we just might be seeing the return of the Terrible One to a ring near you.
Mike McGuigan: Is it true that you are making a comeback?
Terrible Tim Witherspoon: Yes it is.
MM: What kind of things are you planning for this year?
TW: Well I’m currently training fighters and have stock in promotional companies. I tried the thing with Fingerman but it didn’t work out. Now i’m trying to do the Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan thing doing both the promoting thing and fighting. It will keep me feeling young and healthy if I stay active. By helping out the fighters out training them, I am helping myself too.
On January 20, 2007, boxing returned to the Fernwood Resorts in Bushkill, PA. The temperatures were well below freezing in the PA Pocono Mountains and despite rumors of the show falling apart – the final product produced by Promoter Mike Fingerman, Bob Rossi & matchmaker Sonny Mistretta turned in some very good in-ring fights.
Fighters seemed to be falling off the card at record speed for various reasons. When the smoke cleared, it was St. Pete native Mario Hayes who was bumped up to headliner going in tough against knockout artist Julio Dejesus. They aren’t household names but I’ll give credit where it is due, these two put on a very good performance.
In the supporting bouts, Long Island native Tommy “Razor” Rainone hoped to give local fighter Jerry Kelly “The Outsiders Edge” and score the win.
The 0 had to go when Cameron Bright took on Heath Harris in a battle of winless warriors. The fight was dead even coming down the stretch in the 4th until one of these guys landed a straight right to score the knockout and break the goose egg.
Kevin Boswell was making his pro debut against Rafael Jastrezbski and Raffy wasted no time digging into the fresh meat. In the opener Philly’s Darrell Crenshaw boxed marvelously but after the scorecards were read, he was left with the look of a pizza man who just had his car stolen.