On February 6, 2009 – the local boxing fans flocked to the Legendary Blue Horizon for a solid 6 fight card which was highlighted by undefeated Israeli heavyweight / cruiserweight Ran Nakash continuing his knockout streak when he dismissed the light challenge of Delaware, Ohio Ryan Carroll in less than 2 rounds.
Nakash, a hand to hand combat instructor in the Israeli Army, used a body assault to pave the way to victory as Carroll’s flabby midsection wasn’t built to withstand the power punches downstairs. During this short fight, Carroll was dropped to his knees twice from shots to the bread basket.
Midway through the 2nd, referee Steve Smoger saw enough and call a halt to the contest as it became apparent that Carroll was ready to gas out at any moment.
On February 6, 2009 – the boxing tandem of Vernoca L. Michael & Don Elbaum return to The Legendary Blue Horizon with rising Israeli knockout artist Ran Nakash (16-0, 12 ko’s) being promoted to headline attraction for the first time in his career. The undefeated Cruiserweight’s assignment is Delaware, Ohio resident Ryan Carroll (7-1, 4ko’s) in a scheduled 8 rounder.
It’s not quite the step up people want to see out of Nakash but it isn’t horrible either. Nakash, who serves as a hand to hand combat instructor in the Israeli Army, has become quite the crowd draw in recent months after spending the early portion of his stateside career fighting less than formidable opposition. That all changed in September when he stepped up, and knocked out South Philly slugger Larry Robinson :50 into the first round, opening the eyes on many who now say Nakash could evolve into a real threat in the Cruiserweight division.
Since that night Nakash returned to The Blue in December to knockout journeyman Harvey Jolley in 7 rounds. For Carroll, this will mark the first time he will fight outside of his native Ohio. The last time he really stepped it up, he was mowed down in 1 round by Aaron Williams. Since then, he returned a year later to squeak out a split decision over Mike Word. Let’s see how this one works out.
Every year, one fighter separates themselves from the pack. Last year it was Harry Yorgey, the year before that it was “Fast” Eddie Chambers.
In 2007, Mike Jones took the quick leap from early 4 round prelim fighter to main event status by knocking out all 7 men who stood in front of him in this year.
In every fight he raised the level of competition and by the end of 2008, he could be in a position to put some of the worlds best welterweights on notice. He has become the man they pay to see at The New Alhambra, pretty soon he might be the man they pay to see on TV.
Hand speed, two fisted power, knockout potential, he has it all. There are still a few questions lingering to see what the Mount Airy native can or can not do, he has already done enough to cement his status as the top national prospect fighting in our region.
Catch him while you can because this show might be going on the road really soon.
Rookie of the Year
Teon “The Technician” turned pro in January of this year and has made the transition from amateur to pro look really easy so far. The former Golden Glover & National Champion has drawn comparisons to another fellow Philly featherweight Jeff Chandler who happens to be in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
The Philly 2007 boxing season wrapped up at the Legendary Blue Horizon and Lenny DeVictoria vs. Elad Shmouel’s main event was a perfect way to close the book on an exciting year from the fight capital of the world. At the pre fight press conference, matchmaker Don Elbaum promised an exciting action fight.
Many thought the promoter was selling snake oil and expected to see a solid boxing match. The Don nailed it and what the fans got for their money was a full blown toe to toe war with both men tasting canvas.
The co-feature pitted two talented undefeated featherweights against one another in an effort to find out who is the man in this talent heavy division. The 0 had to go when Jules Blackwell and Paul Fernandez stepped into the ring. This one was very competitve early but one of the young lions pulled away down the stretch to secure the victory.
Gee Culmer and Marcus Brooks faced off in middleweight action and this one turned out to be a competitve, close range fight which ended in majority decision.
Youngster Luis Castro looked to celebrate his 22nd birthday in style but tough Mexican Conrado Garcia refused to be used as a stepping stone over 4 rounds of action.
All of this and a few pro debuts to boot capped off the night from the house where a few Philly legends were made and a lot of suckers were set home limping.
It was the tough Philly journeyman going against the rising prospect and what a fight this was! No doubt fight of the year in Philly for 2007.
It didn’t look like this in the early going though. Elad came out flaming in the opening rounds, staying in Lenny’s chest and bombing away at close range.
After taking a close first round, Elad almost closed the show early in round two when he trapped El Diablo along the ropes and pounded the North Philadelphian’s body with rights and lefts. As “The Kosher Pit Bull” was digging deep into his opponents tenderloins, he found room to connect with a straight right to the head which sent DeVictoria to the canvas.
Lenny beat the 10 count and weathered another Shmouel storm. The youngster may have shot his load near the rounds end. Moments ago, it looked like Lenny was going to have to catch the bus home. Instead, he actually finished the round strong, connecting with a few late punches of his own as his trainer Billy Briscoe frantically screamed “Stay Conscious!”
After two rounds, it was obvious that Elad was bringing the fight out of his older opponent – goading him into a style of fight that his corner did not want their fighter to engage in.
Lenny’s corner would plead “Please Box Him!” as Lenny continuously threw caution to the wind, eating big punches to land his own in return.
The action never seemed to move more than a few inches away from both fighters. Lenny was primarily focused on the body, Elad playing to role of head hunter. It was brutal boxing – it was beautiful action. The low-budget battle had everyone from press row to the nose bleeds in the near capacity crowd cheering.
The Blue Horizon’s house camera man took it a step further, opting to be very unprofessional and scream obscenities at DeVictoria during the fight from his camera post.
The war was on and neither fighter gave an inch.
Both fighters traded hard punches to the head and body for two more rounds. After five rounds, it was Lenny who started to take control of the match courtesy of his grave digging body work. Not bad for a guy who we all thought was a goner nearly nine minutes prior.
While Lenny had the momentum, Elad likely held slight lead on the scorecards at this point. It was scheduled for eight rounds. Maybe it would be the length, but probably not.
The crowd who cheered for Elad early were now finding themselves in the DeVictoria corner as the chanted “USA,USA” & “Lenny, Lenny”
At the start of the sixth, both fighters stormed out of their corners. They met in the middle of the ring and continued firing away at each other.
Lenny’s trainer Billy Briscoe is considered by locals to be a war-time cornerman while not much is known about Elad’s teams of foreign fighters.
Briscoe, who is known for coding his punch sequences, was screaming at the top of his lungs for his man to throw “The Mexican” & “The Mickey, The Mickey”.
They worked because once again, Lenny was administering a fiery body assault on Shmouel along the ropes.
All of this chipping away at the young prospect eventually led to a breaking point. Now, blood was flowing from Shmouel’s mouth. Maybe it was a bloody lip, maybe it was internal bleeding. We will never truly know.
What we all know is that with these injuries, Elad’s body could no longer withstand the punishment. The 21-year-old dropped to his knees after a fury of punches to the rib cage.
The table truly turned – now it was the prospect who was facing a 10-count.
To his credit, he beat referee Shawn Clark’s count – barely. It was a great display of heart – but it was all for naught.
Lenny went right back to work with more hard body shots on a defenseless Shmouel, leaving referee Clark no option but to stop the fight.
The stoppage set off one of the best moments I ever seen at The Blue Horizon. Lenny jumped on the turnbuckles in celebration as his team stormed the ring to carry him on their shoulders – where they would circle the ring with a hosted North Philly warrior who has his arms raised in the air to the crowd.
The fans went absolutely wild. the applause must’ve lasted 10 minutes.
To cap it all off, Lenny leaned between the ropes to share a word with the heckling cameraman. I didn’t hear what was said, but I’m sure it wasn’t G rated.
What a way to cap off one of the best two-way action fights North Broad street has seen in some time. Hopefully we get a rematch and hopefully both men aren’t hurt too bad from the after effects of this war.
While the main event eventually stole the show, this was the fight that some of the regulars were most interested in coming into the night.
The co-feature pitted two local featherweights with good records against each other. A very rare occurrence these days at The Blue.
Both fighters are young in the game, but a win would certainly give the victor an upper hand as they advanced through their division.
The bout was scheduled for 6 rounds, unchartered territory for both pugilists. Someone’s 0 was headed out the window. I put $20 on Jules in a pre-fight bet with my press row buddy Jeff Izes. I liked Blackwell’s experience along with the fact we were both one-time students at Katharine Gibbs. “The Iceman” liked Fernandez tenacity and punching ability.
This fight came as advertised with Fernandez as the aggressor and Blackwell playing to role of boxer.
Through 4 rounds it was a close, sometimes eventful fight where both fighters had a moment in the sun. it got a little sloppy as times both fighters were over aggressive, other spots would see lots of holding.
Fernandez was successful when he was able to get inside of his taller opponent. At times he slipped Jules right handed jab out of a southpaw stance and fired a few shots into Blackwell’s skinny ribcage. What he lacked in size he made up in spunk.
Blackwell looked best when he was able to catch Fernandez with that long jab. The Phoenixville native mixed it up a bit, sometimes he stuffed the jab in Fernandez face while the jersey natives rushed in, other times Jules used good footwork to avoid the rush and land a straight left. I didn’t see a burning fire to knock his opponent out.
As the fight came down the stretch, Fernandez seemed to gas while Jules looked to grow stronger. Fernandez was still very game but Blackwell was able to find his range and land his straight left hand at will. There was no doubt about who won the final two rounds and that was enough to secure the Gibbs alumnus a hard earned win.
The final scores read 60 – 54, 59 – 55 & 58 – 56 for Blackwell. I had it scored 58 – 56 for Blackwell.
The win won’t springboard either guy into title shot by any means – but it was an excellent fight for both to grow on.
Congrats to Jules who I am sure will soon be back in the gym getting his butt kicked (and taught) by trainers Jimmy Deoria and John Mulvanna at the Phoenixville PAL.
Shame on anyone who knocks Fernandez for having a loss on his resume. In this era of protected fighters and inflated records, he should be commended for stepping up so soon. I hope to see him compete again soon.
If you like fighters who stand on the inside and are willing to take a few punches to get theirs in, Gee Culmer is your guy. Past fights have proven that “The Throughbred” doesn’t give an inch of breathing room to his opponent. There is so much in-fighting that sometimes his bouts can turn into clinch-fests.
On this night, the Abbotsford Projects native was making his seventh consecutive appearance at The Legendary Blue Horizon. This fight was against 23-year-old Marcus Brooks of Georgia via Puerto Rico – an unknown commodity in this town.
Brooks has been making his money fighting rising prospects in the middleweight division. His last two fights were losses – but they were fights that went the distance against former Olympian Vanes Martirosyan and upset specialist Darnell Boone respectively. the bottom line is that Brooks probably wasn’t a push over despite the lackluster record.
When the bell rang, the first couple of minute was really good spots with both men exchanging at short range.
Gee looked to be in control early, methodically working on the inside, holding a bit, sneaking punches to each side of the ribs, or slipping in a shot on the belt line or giving the free handed left hook upstairs.
Brooks got a little bit of revenge in the second when a right hook seemed to momentarily stun the Philly fighter. Brooks tried to follow up with a big barrage but was greeted with uppercuts and hooks to the body.
It got physical during 4th & 5th rounds when a lot of time was spent in the corners and along the ropes. The fight became a grind, and Gee’s fellow Shuler’s Gym residents really seemed to like what they saw as they shouted words of encouragement from the stands.
In the last round, we were about to find out who wanted it more. Gee clearly outworked Brooks over the final three minutes with more rights and lefts at short range to the head and body as Brooks looked to land a big blow to get him back into the fight.
It went to the scorecards which read 58 – 56 x2 and 57 – 57 giving Gee Culmer the majority decision win.
The female fighters have been making their fair share of appearances at the Blue in recent months. I’ve come to learn that if Olivia Fonseca is in the building, you are usually going to see a good fight. Once again she outworked most of her male colleagues in this entertaining four rounder.
Her opponent, Michelle Linden who took the five hour drive from Steeler Country, was no push over. This was evident by her 6 ko’s in 6 career wins. She fought like a woman looking to add to that total in this fight.
Linden won the first round by the landing cleaner, harder punches in what was a good round. While Olivia’s skills and looks get most of the attention, many don’t realize that this girl has one hell of a chin.
In the third round, Olivia decided to stand in the pocket and fight fire with fire. This decision caused a big roar of appreciation from the crowd.
Olivia seemed to take over the rest of the fight once she was able to slow things down and establish as jab to slow down her head hunting opponent. In the final round, Olivia out-landed Linden pretty convincingly.
The fight went to the cards and they read 39 – 37 for Fonseca but over ruled by 2 scores of 38 – 38 causing the fight to go into the history books as a majority draw.
I scored it 39 – 37 Fonseca.
Luis Castro….vs….Conrado Garcia
1 – 0, 1ko………..pro debut
Luis Castro made his pro debut a few weeks ago at the Blue and mopped the ring with his opponent during a 1st round KO win. He looked to follow that up on his 22nd birthday but Conrado Garcia was a fighter who took no crap.
Garcia, who was at something like a 5 inch height disadvantage took the fight right to Castro in the 1st, getting inside and bombing away as Castro tried to fend him off but missed.
The first round was promising for Garcia but that is pretty much where his success ended.
Before long – Castro was able to find range with a jab – and this jab was setting was up other shots that were burying Garcia’s head and body.
I’ll give Garcia a lot of credit, he ate everything thrown at him and asked for more. With that being said, it was obvious who the better man was on this night and that was Castro, who was impressive for a second consecutive outing and could be a fighter to keep an eye on in 2008.
The final scores read 40 – 36 x2 & 39 – 37 for Castro. I also had it scored 39 – 37 for Castro.
Gerald Smith…vs….Darrell Martin
I covered Darrel Martin’s pro debut a few months back and liked what I saw from the slick boxer from Maryland. Tonight, he took on the debuting Gerald Smith who hailed from Philly.
While this fight got a little rough & sloppy, Smith showed he is a tough customer who isn’t afraid to get into it and make a fight happen.
Smith swept all four rounds while Martin lost two points for rabbit punching and spitting out his mouth piece.
All three cards read 40 – 34 for Smith who goes 1 – 0.
CRUISERWEIGHTS Kamarah Pasley…vs….Sean McClain Philly………………………………NY PRO DEBUT………………….1- 1
This was an interesting way to start the night. McClain, a part time actor fighting Pasley, a West Chester University graduate who also holds a Masters degree in a four round contest.
The first round was slow, but Pasley got the crowd warmed up in the 2nd when he scored a nice knockdown with a quick left to McClain’s chin. The thespian was rocked but to his credit got back to his feet and was able to fight on.
McClain recovered and continued to fight in rounds 3 and 4 against the southpaw Pasley who looked to finish the night with a knockout.
Both fighters were willing to exchange punches, but it was Pasley’s straight left hand which seemed to be the difference maker in the fight. The contest went to the scorecards which somehow read in favor of Sean McClain by majority decision.
The crowd booed in disbelief letting everyone know that Pasley was ripped off.
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.
The Blue Horizon was open for hurt business once again, this time featuring young hopefuls on a card consisting of five – four round fights and a six round main event.
Out-of-town heavyweight “Minnesota Ice” Joey Abell is a newcomer to Philly, but on the strength of recent performances he was promoted to headline status. On this night he was matched up for good an ol’ fashioned rumble with Salem, NJ’s Mark “Oaktree” Brown in a battle of undefeated heavyweights. An “0” had to go.
On the under card – fight game newbies Jamie Morales and Chris Plebani went the distance in a 4 round barn burner that exemplified what the Blue Horizon is all about.
Tel Aviv transplant Elad Shmouel has been cake walking through competition that is softer than two-ply Charmin since he began fighting the in USA. No more in Philly is what PA boxing commish Greg Sirb told the Shmouel camp after his last fight, demanding that he step up the competition. Tonight he found himself opposite Marcus Luck whose style gave “The Kosher Pit Bull” trouble in the early going.
Rounding out the night was another Minnesota import Dave Peterson who tried to stay perfect coming into the night with three knockouts in three tries. A lot of Philly middleweights think he is faking the funk, but his record says otherwise.
Former two-time Heavyweight champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon worked the corner of his new trainee Jesse Blunt, a young fighter who opened the show again Ohio native William Prieto in a four rounder.
The Blue Horizon was back in business this past Friday as promoter Veronca Michaels and Don Elbaum put together one of the best cards in recent memory at Philly’s legendary fight house.
The six bout card was led by up and comer Max Alexander who made the jump to co-main event status and turned in a performance that tosses his name into the debate of the best light heavyweight on the Philly circuit.
Headliner Terrance Cauthen took a slight step up in competition against the hard hitting Joshua Onyango and flashed the speed that makes him one of the toughest men in the business to catch on camera.
Also on the card was hometown heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon who stepped in for a 6 rounder against Akron gym rat David Polk.
Once again Joey Abell said to hell with Minnesota’s sorry state of professional boxing and caught the red eye to Philly to see if he is really tough enough to make the transition from the gridiron to the squared circle. His last appearance at the Blue was one to remember and the crowd hoped to see his murderous right make quick work of Doug Robertson.
Elad Shmouel was set to make his debut on American soil and faced off against Rasheen Daniels.
It was also Baltimore Middleweight Mike McFail’s birthday and William Boggs gave his best wishes Philly style by punching him more than the allowed 33 times to the arm, face and ribs. The fighters were swinging and the crowd was roaring, a perfect way to kick off the Philly spring boxing season. Here is the recap.