Category Archives: Najee Murray

Abell takes out Warner at the Blue 09-07-07

photos by Mike McGuigan

It was another shirt drencher at The Blue Horizon this weekend which was the home of an 8 fight card which can be best described as competitively mismatched.

On a card that had its ups and downs, the fans were treated to a couple of chin checking knockouts and saw some young fighters who have potential to climb the ladder in the future.

In the Main Event, Joey Abell returned to his home away from home to take on West Philly’s Levon Warner in what was supposed to be an 8 round fight. Brick City upstart Alex Perez made the trip down I-95 to put his undefeated record on the line against cagey ring veteran Darien Ford. Jules Blackwell looked to make a pound for pound list statement in his fight against Joe Rosa of the Bronx.

Gee Culmer stayed busy against James North in 6 round middleweight bout. SSG Sam Brown returned to The Blue to prepare for a 3rd tour of duty against undefeated heavyweight Ran Nakash.

Two young Philly kids got it on when Paul Fernandez and Jonathan Ocassio stepped into the ring for a scheduled four rounder. Steve Chambers returned to the ring after 9 months off to take on Jason Jordan who has lost to some of our best in the past.

Naji Murray looked to start his career 2 – 0 against Jeremy Lester of Ohio. In between fights, Steve “USS” Cunningham was honored for recently winning the IBF Cruiserweight title.

The fights were brought to you by Promoter Vernoca L. Michael and matchmaker Don Elbaum and can be seen on Comcast Sports Net in October.

Heavyweight Division
Joey Abell…vs…Levon Warner
Minnesota………West Philly
16 – 1, 16ko’s….6-4-1, 1ko

On paper, it was Minnesota Ice against the West Philly bad boy, southpaw against southpaw, the youngbuck against the veteran. In the ring it was completely one sided ironing as Abell smoked Warner out of there at 2:53 in the 1st round. Warner stormed out of the gate and tried to bring the fight right to the Minnesota lumberjack. This won him, oh, the first 20 seconds of the fight. After the inital rush, Abell settled in and used a jab for once which set up a traumatizing left hook that knocked Warner down very hard. To Warner’s credit he got back to his feet but was visibly dazed. Abell finished it off with a sizzling 3 punch combo seconds later. Miraculously, Warner was able to walk out on his own after the fight ended.

It was an exciting win no doubt, but is he ever going to avenge that loss to Arron Lyons?

Winner by TKO – Joey Abell who improves to 17 – 1, 17ko’s

Joey Abell vs LeVon Warner 2007

Heavyweight Division
Alex Perez…vs…Darien Ford
Newark, NJ……..New Oreleans
8-0, 6ko’s……..11-14, 4ko

In the co-feature, “The Brick City Bullet” Alex Perez and Darien Ford played really rough for the better part of two rounds until a hip toss which was somehow ruled an accidental foul left Ford on the canvas unable to continue resulting in a No Contest. This seemed to be a little bit of payback because Ford gave Perez two bad cuts early in the fight. Hopefully there will be a rematch, Ford was definitely showing that he is much better than his 11 – 14 record and ready to give Perez a stiff test.

Alex Perez 2007

Heavyweight Division
Naji Murray…vs…Jeremy Lester
Philly………….Akron, Ohio
1-0…………….1-1-1, 1ko

Naji Murray made Jeremy “Big Gun” Lester look like a tiny water pistol by scoring a huge knockout win early in the 1st round. In this 58 second fight, Murray scored his first knockdown with a big left hook to the ear. Lester got up but didn;t learn his lesson as he got clubbed with about 6 more big left hooks to the ear, the last of which polished Lester off and left him down for much longer than the needed 10 count.

With the win, Naji Murray climbs to 2 – 0.

Naji Murray 2007
Featherweight Division
Jules Blackwell…vs…Joe Rosa
Phoenixville, PA…….Bronx, NY
4-0, 2KO’S………….1-0-1,

Jules Blackwell started off a little slow but came on nicely down the stretch taking a unanimous decision win over Joe Rosa by scores of 40 – 36 across the board. After the second, Jules was 2 steps ahead of Rosa working upstairs and downstairs, mixing in good footwork to avoid being hit by anything Rosa threw.

With the win, Jules Blackwell raises his record to 5 – 0.

Jules Blackwell vs Joe Rosa 2007 Jules Blackwell vs Joe Rosa 2007 (1) Jules Blackwell vs Joe Rosa 2007 (2)
Middleweight Division
Gee Culmer…vs…James North
Phiadelphia…….Weston, WV
10 – 1, 3ko’s…..8-17-2, 3ko’s

Gee Culmer won in typicial Gee Culmer fashion, and he was in James North’s chest like a heart surgeon. “The Thoroughbred” worked hard to the body and mixed in uppercuts at short range for just about every minute of the fight. North hung in there for the duration but he output was about 1/4th of what Gee gave him.

With the win, Gee Culmer climbs to 11 – 1.

Gee Culmer vs James North 2007
Heavyweight Division
Ran Nakash…vs…Sam Brown
Haifa, Israel…..Ft CamPbell,KY
8-0, 5ko’s……..4-2, 2ko

Ran Nakash took a unanimous decision win over SSG Sam Brown by scores of 40 – 36 x2 and 39 – 37. SSG Brown gave good work to Nakash early showing off some technical ability, catching Nakash with jabs and moving out of range before fire could be returned.

The fight started to break down in the second with both fighters staying on the inside trading short rights and lefts. Ran came alive in the third and forth landing solid straight rights and uppercuts upstairs as Brown started to wear down.

With the win Nakash moves to 9 – 0. Now does he fight the winner of Brunelli vs Oaktree?

With the win, Ran Nakash is now 9 -0.

Ran Nakash vs Sam SSG Brown 2007 (1) Ran Nakash vs Sam SSG Brown 2007
Heavyweight Division
Paul Fernandez…vs…Jonathan Ocassio
Philly…………….Philly
1-0-1, 1ko…………pro debut

This fight opened the show but Paul Fernandez should be moved higher up the card after this one because he showed signs of developing into an exciting fighter who the crowd will get behind. This one started off nicely as both fighters traded punches but after a while it looked like the stage fright sunk in on Ocassio and that combined with the body work of Fernandez seemed to take its toll. There were no knockdowns but at 1:52 in the 3rd trainer Billy Briscoe saw enough and stopped the fight to save his man from further punishment.

With the win, Paul Fernandez is now 2 – 0 – 1.

Jr. Welterweight Division
Steve Chambers…vs…Jason Jordan
Philly…………….Mexico?
14 – 1, 4ko’s………4-12

If you like power punching and toe to toe exchanges, this was the fight to go step outside and have a smoke. If you like guys who move around the ring and score with punches, this was the fight for you. The fight was the same from the beginning with Steve using the entire ring and throwing light flurries, usually to the ear and Jordan would occasionally step forward and throw a 2 punch combo. When it was all said and done, “Showtime” Steve Chambers won a unanimous decision by scores of 60 – 54 x 2 and 59 – 55.

With the win, Steve Chambers is now 15 – 1.

Steve Upshur Chambers vs Jason Jordan 2007 (1) Steve Upshur Chambers vs Jason Jordan 2007 (2) Steve Upshur Chambers vs Jason Jordan 2007

 

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

Dean Rubenstein & Bernard Hopkins 2007

Brunelli tames Lyons, Yorgey and Ennis both look sharp

photos by Mike McGuigan

It was one of those nights where just about every adjective used to describe the Blue Horizon came into play. It was absurdly hot, the place was crowded, the fights were tough, fans were yelling, people ringside were covered with sweat and getting splattered with blood. The only thing missing were thick clouds of cigar smoke and a couple of air conditioners. Only the strong were going to survive this 9 fight card that was brought to you in part by promoter Vernoca L. Michael and Don Elbaum.

We were sweatin’ like roofers but that didn’t stop a good night of action as we have all come to expect from the Legendary ballroom on North Broad Street, all of which can be watched on Comcast Sports Net on June 14th at 8 pm brought to you by the guys at Fighting City. Scroll down to read the recap and see pictures of the fights.

The Main Event
8 rounds of Junior Middleweight Action

Harry Joe Yorgey ..vs… Edson Aguirre
18 – 0 – 1 9ko’s ………..12 – 6 – 1 2ko’s

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Harry Yorgey is one of the most entertaining fighters in our area. As he progresses through the ranks, it is getting harder for Team Yorgey to find a formidable opponent nearby to sign their name on the dotted line for a fight. So for this night, matchmaker extraordinaire Don Elbaum used his long reach and work the deal to bring Edson Aguirre of North Carolina via Mexico to the Blue to do what he does best. That is pack his bags and go on the road to do battle against the top young names in junior middleweight division.

While Aguirre has some good credentials in his own right, the pride of Bridgeport was looking to use Aguirre as a springboard to launch himself into a high profile showdown against one of the upper echelon in junior middleweight ranks. Yorgey handled his business over 8 rounds against the steel chinned Mexican who ate bomb after bomb to hang in there and keep Yorgey on his toes until the end.

The opening round was a bit of a feel out with Yorgey doing the majority of the work, popping his jab and slowly working him the left hook. In the 2nd, Yorgey sped up the pace and was rocking Aguirre upstairs and downstairs.

He continued with the left for remainder of the round and landed at a high rate and finished the round with a perfectly placed left hook to the body that sent Aguirre into the corner as the bell sounded.

Yorgey slowed it down a bit to start the third staying on the outside and boxing with Aguiree but he soon found an opening and landed a left – right – left three piece that made Mr. Yorgey scream “oooooooooooooooh”. Yorgey continued to pepper Aguirre with straight rights upstairs and downstairs but Aguirre refused to go down.

Aguirre went on the offensive in the middle rounds taking on the strategy of pressing Yorgey into the ropes and corner and letting off combinations. With my birds eye view in press row, you could see that not many of the head shots were landing as Yorgey dipped and dodged as the leather flew by his head. Aguirre seemed to have some success when he went to the body. This success was short lived as Yorgey began to circle and keep Aguirre at bey with the jab.

I had Yorgey ahead pretty comfortably going into the 7th although but you just knew that Aguirre was aiming for the win. He very aggressive in the 7th trying to catch Yorgey who was circling and popping off the jab. Aguirre was able to get inside on a few occasions and landed a nice right upper cut at one point but besides that didn’t land much. Yorgey finished the round strong with a couple of straight rights to finish the round.

Don Elbaum was screaming that Yorgey needed to win the 8th and Harry did just that emphatically. Yorgey started landing single rights but soon after picked it up and leveled Aguirre with a left uppercut that made trainer John Mulvenna say “man this guy really has a chin!” Yorgey kept at it, firing away and landing just about everything he threw.

Aguirre who showed a granite chin earlier was now looking hurt. To his credit, he was still game and elected to fight it out which led to a very good exchange to finish the fight. He was unsuccessful on this night but did show that he is more than capable of getting the W over a lesser foe.

It went to the cards and they read 80 – 72, 79 – 73 and 78 – 74 all in favor of Yorgey who improves to 19 – 0 – 1 9ko’s

The co-feature
6 rounds of junior middleweight action

Derek Ennis…….vs………Mike McGuire
11 – 1 – 1 8ko’s…………5 – 16 – 2 2ko’s

While Harry Yorgey most likely will be leaving the Philly circuit to fry bigger fish, The co-feature showcased another highly regarded young Jr. Middleweight in Derek Ennis who has returned home and hopefully will stick around for a little while to fill the void because this is another guy who has big league potential.

His return bout was last month at the National Guard Armory and he impressed by making his opponent quit on the stool after 3. Tonight was supposed to be a tougher match but after about 5 opponents falling out, this contest ended up being against Mike McGuire who was brought in at the zero hour.

Ennis quickly showed that McGuire didn’t belong in the same ring as he dispatched the man from Kansas 2:03 in the first round. Ennis was on him from the beginning and scored three quick knock downs, the last was a hook to the liver that left referee Shawn Clarke no option but to wave it off.

With the win, Derek Ennis improves to 12 – 1 – 1 with 9ko’s

Heavyweight Action
6 rounds

Dave Brunelli …..vs….Arron Lyons
6 – 2 3ko’s ……………….5 – 0 4ko’s

Leading up to the main events, there was a heavyweight showdown and the Mayfair slugger Dave Brunelli manned up and changed Arron Lyons status from hot name into a one hit wonder. When this one was signed, it was immediately a very interesting match up. Arron Lyons came to Philly and shocked the world by coming out of nowhere to score a knockout win over the unmovable force known as Joey Abell.

Brunelli was coming off of a close but sluggish loss to Levon Warner at the Armory but prior to that was successful at the Blue and also scored some big knockouts. Many were predicting that Lyons would steamroll over the Mayfair power house but manager Mike Murphy called it from day 1, Team Brunelli was working hard and coming to expose the man from Mississippi.

When it came down to it, he was true to his word and Brunelli picked Lyons apart over one sided 6 rounds.

When the fight started, the crew from McNoodle’s made their presence known immediately. When Lyons name was announced, he was booed like JD Drew. Quotes like “Fuck him up DJ!” and “Knock his big ass out” rained down from all over the building.

Lyons looked to quiet the crowd immediately and came right out throwing bombs. Team Brunelli trainer Chris Rotella quickly gave the instructions to use the jab and his fighter obliged. As Lyons would try to force in, Brunelli stuck out the left and intercepted him just about every time.

It didn’t take long for Brunelli to stick in a straight right when the opening was there. And that is pretty much how the rest of the fight went. Lyons swinging wildly, Brunelli picking him off with the jab, being patient and sliding in a hard right hand when it was available. Lyons was obviously frustrated and tried to load up punches but that didn’t work. He best work came when he wrestled Brunelli into a corner and throw a few more bombs. A few landed but Brunelli was able to shake them off.

After that it was Brunelli throwing more jabs, side stepping and then coming back with a strong right. One of those hard rights really rung Lyons bell very late in the 4th and Lyons was obviously shaken. Luckily for him, the bell sounded. Brunelli has a big 5th round where a worn out Lyons made the mistake of backing into a corner. Brunelli fired away and Lyons looked like he was ready to go but wisely held on for dear life.

Knowing he was well ahead on the cards Brunelli picked his spots in the 6th as a gassed out Lyons desperately tried for the knockout. It broke down into a bit of a wrestling match near the end but that isn’t a bad tactic either when you are in with a guy who ko’d Joey Abell.

The fight went to the cards and while I thought it was a shut out, the 3 official judges scored it 59 – 55 x2 and 58 – 56 all in favor of Brunelli.

With the win, Dave Brunelli improves to 7 – 2 with 3ko’s

6 more rounds of Heavyweight Action

Faruq Saleem……vs…..Wallace McDaniel
35 – 0 31 ko’s ……….something bad

We also had a chance to see Faruq Saleem, a North Jersey based fighter sporting a 35 – 0 with 31ko’s who was tabbed by Daily News boxing columnist Bernard Fernandez as “possibly the most protected heavyweight in the history of boxing”.

After looking at his resume of UPS drivers & bellhops, its statement that I concur with but he did show that his right hand bursts with the force of an M-80. Faruq Saleem must have had a parking meter ready to expire because he rocked Wallace McDaniel with his first big punch of the night that put the journeyman down for the count. Saleem’s opponents have been suspect, but man, he can punch.

with the win, Saleem inproves to 36 – 0 32ko’s

4 Rounds in the Lightweight Division

Hammerin’ Hank Lundy ….vs….. Reggie Sanders
5 – 0 4ko’s …………………….……..12 – 39 – 4 2ko’s

At first glance this was one of those fights were most said “man this Sanders guy is gonna get crushed”. But if you dig into that bad record you will see that Sanders is a fighter who has lasted the distance with world class names such as Floyd Mayweather Jr, Orande Dawley and Edner Cherry to name a few. Last time Sanders was at the Blue he pulled a big time upset over Chucky T back in ’02.

Tonight he was in against one of Philly’s top young prospects in Hammerin’ Hank Lundy, the former standout running back turned pro boxer who was riding a 3 fight knockout streak. In reality, this was one of those fights where Lundy would definitely gain some experience against an older vet but one he also one he must win to be taken seriously.

When both men enter the ring you could tell right away who was old school player and who was the new school fool by the foot ware alone. Sanders ring shoes were ragidity, grey and looked liked they have traveled thousands of miles while Lundy came in with a fresh pair of sparkling white Adidas.

When the names were announced by Larry Tornambe, the fans cheered loudly for Lundy and whacked Sanders with a burst of boos. Lundy, feeling the love, looked to be trying for the early knockout to please his fan base but the old vet let it be known he wasn’t going all that easily. He moved around and jabbed at the oncoming Lundy avoiding trouble at all costs. Sanders was ahead early in the first, winning the round with his experience alone until Lundy switched to southpaw.

Lundy then slowed down his pace, popped the jab and started to land a hard straight left. Sanders was taking them and also returning fire with some lefts of his own. The 2nd round was a very entertaining round as both men decided they wanted to do some fighting. Sanders best punch again was the straight left but Lundy’s hand speed won him the round as he popped off combo after combo.

Lundy kept at it in the 3rd and at one point had Sanders on the ropes firing off rights and lefts. When Lundy throws, he is looking to hurt someone. Lundy landed a 6 piece to the head and had Sanders in trouble. Sanders wisely took a knee as he ate this leather hoagie knowing he was on the verge of being knocked out. He beat the 10 count and almost didn’t survive as Lundy went on the attack again until the bell sounded.

In the 4th, Lundy attacked the body and was throwing punches with deadly intentions. Sanders definitely felt these shots. Lundy would go in for the kill but like a true vet, Sanders would clinch every time he got in close. He continued to do this for the remainder of the round which obviously frustrated Lundy who was itching for the TKO win.

Although the knockout was slipping away, Lundy managed to please the crowd when he landed a behind the back right hook on Sanders face as the old vet tried to go in for a clinch. It was perfect.

The final bell sounded and it went to the cards which all read 40 – 35 x 3 in favor of Hank Lundy. When the win was announced, he looked towards the sky and gave a shout to the late Wil Boggs.

With the win, Hammerin’ Hank improves to 6 – 0 with 4ko’s

4 rounds of Light Heavyweight Action

Jake Rodriguez ….vs……Juergen Hartenstein
7 – 16 5ko’s………..……..11 – 11 – 1 2ko’s

The team of Jake “The Snake” Rodriguez and trainer Billy Briscoe are looking pretty sharp together these days as Rodriguez is now 2 – 0 since returning to the ring after a 2 year layoff. His opponent tonight was Juergan Hartenstein of Germany who has been fighting on our circuit for the past year. This one had the makings of a good ol’ fashion Blue Horizon fight.

The fight started off pretty fast as Juergan come straight ahead but found himself being side stepped and getting hit with a good amount of right hands. After that, Briscoe yelled from the corner phrases like “double off the stick!” and “hit em with the icepick!” and that is exactly what he threw.

In the second round, Briscoe called for “the cutoff” and that was successful too because it opened Juergan up for more rights. In the middle of the round, Jake rocked Juergan with 2 hard overhand rights followed by a hook to the body that got the crowd on their feet chanting “USA, USA”.

Juergan was taking some punishment but to his credit kept right on fighting. Towards the end of the second, Jake opened a gash on top of Juergan’s head which caused blood to run down the German fighters face. Give Juergan credit, he did not give the slightest hint of wanting to stop.

While Juergan showed he had a big heart, Rodriguez wasn’t showing any mercy. Briscoe started to spit instructions in Spanish this round and Rodriguez executed the “double gonjo”.

Briscoe called for “the sleeper” but that one didn’t go as planned because as that was called, Juergan landed a flush left hook upstairs which was his best punch of the night. Juergan continued to come forward and Jake tried backing him off with a jab and other times stayed right in there and banged it out.

In the 4th, Juergan’s head was a bloody mess but once again, he came out of the corner and fought to win. A good exchange went down in the middle of the ring to start the final round with both men landing clean punches to the face. Briscoe yelled “Double it up! Fight Hard! No tomorrow!” and that Jake did, not giving even the slightest chance to lose this victory that he worked hard for.

Juergan was bombing away hoping to score a late knockout but the ref saw too much blood and decided to stop the fight. Hartenstein raised his arms in disbelief and was winning to fight until the very end.

It went to the cards and they all read 40 – 36 in favor of Jake “The Snake” by technical decision.

With the win, Jake Rodriguez improves to 8 – 16 5ko’s

4 rounds of Female Welterweights

Michelle Garland ….vs….Akima Stocks
Pro debut…………………………1 – 0 1ko

The female action in Philly has been very good lately and this one was shaping up to be a good one as well after a back and forth first 2 rounds where both ladies had moments when they were in control but this fight was stopped due to a cut over Garland’s eye caused by an accidental head butt.

The fight was ruled a no contest.

4 rounds of lightweight action

Bryheim Douglas……vs.…..Mondre Pope
1 – 0 – 1 ………………………pro debut

This battle of young lightweights had some exciting moments and they got down to business right away. Pope, a southpaw from Virginia was aggressive in the early going and brought the fight to Douglas, hitting him with a steady diet of combos. Bryheim, not to be outdone showed was he had in the middle of the round firing off and landing consecutive punches to the head and body and continued to fire away until the round came to a close.

The fight slowed down in the second as Pope switched to an orthodox stance and both fighters began poking punches at one another from a distance. There were a few short spurts from both fighters along the ropes but besides that, not much else happened. Bryheim became the bully in the 3rd and started to bang around the less powerful Pope. He was able to muscle Pope into a corner but preferred to throw single punches instead of banging away.

In the 4th Pope felt that the fight was hanging in the balance so he switched back to his natural southpaw stance and focused on the body. As Pope went downstairs, Douglas was able to get in a couple of straight rights. A mini brawl ensued towards the end with Pope landing the cleaner punches.

The fight went to the cards and it ended in majority draw with one judge seeing it 39 – 37 for Douglas and the other 2 having it 38 – 38.

4 rounds of Middleweight Action

Najee Murray …….vs…….Jason Collazo
Pro debut ……………….…….0 – 1

Throughout time the Philly Middleweight scene has been stocked with talent. Today is no different and we added one more to the collection as Najee Murray made his pro debut against Jason Collazo of Patterson, NJ.

It took Murray about 2 rounds to get his feet wet as both fighters kept a good distance and threw a bunch of jabs that rarely landed. In the third, Murray shortened the distance and put Collazo down with a left – right combo that landed flush.

Collazo beat the count and eventually survived the round.

The 4th didn’t fair any better for Colazzo who found himself on the wrong end of a big left hook to the ear. Collazo hit the deck again and was visibly shaken. He once again rose to his feet and Murray’s corner screamed “finish him!”.

Murray took a cautious approach and picked shots as Colazzo stayed at a safe distance.

The fight would up in the judges hands and they all saw it 30 – 34 x3 for Murray.

With the win, Najee Murray improves to 1 – 0.

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