It was seven years ago this week when The Legendary Blue Horizon hosted a match that was arguably the last great, two-way action fight in the history of the famed building.
The September 12, 2008 card at The Blue was built to feature up and comers Steven Upsher and Ran Nakash, but it was the mid-card 8 round Middleweight contest between local Philly fighters Gee Culmer and Jameel “Black Gold” Wilson that stole the show. A fight that was expected to be an appetizer to the evenings featured attractions ended up in the local history books as the city’s 2008 Fight of the Year.
The big lumberjack from Minnesota, Joey Abell (24-4, 23 KO’s) did it again, pleasing the crowd with 3 rounds of target practice which led to a stoppage over Houston’s Billy “The Kid” Willis (12-14-1, 9ko’s). Abell looks to have added a jab to his arsenal, a punch he threw a lot of in the 1st which would set up that wrecking ball of a left hand. Give Willis credit, he ate some SCUD missiles and still had the audacity to connect with a strong right hook as round 1 ended, a punch that surely caught Abell’s attention. The fight continued and it was more of Abell hammering the concrete head of Willis. The first knockdown came early in the 3rd which from my vantage point actually looked like a slip. Willis jumped right up but was attacked on the ropes and referee Blair Talmedge jumped right in to stop what could have been a severe beating. Video with Abell below.
In the co-feature, the State Athletic Commissions # 1 ranked super middleweight Gee Cullmer once again wins a close decision at The Blue, this time by way of split decision over Clarence “Sonny Bono” Taylor in their 6 round rematch from a fight that took place in 2004. Call this one “The Battle of the Free Hand” as the amount of work done in clinches were the most telling source of scoring in rounds 2 – 5. From my vantage point there were only two clear cut rounds to award, Bono getting the 1st as he set the pace and landed some solid right hands to open the contest. Cullmer came on very strong in round 6, walking forward and connecting with a steady diet of combos, sensing that he needed a big round to secure the victory. It went to the cards which read 59 – 55 for Cullmer, 59 – 55 for Bono and the third judge seeing it 58 – 55 for Cullmer. Video with Gee is below.
Jose Tiburcio, now training at The Oven Gym under the eye of Billy Briscoe, scored two knockdowns en route to a unanimous decision win over Frankford’s Julius “Marvel” Edmunds in their 4 round lightweight match. Tiburcio started strong with the knockdowns but faded late as Edmunds came on down the stretch but it wasn’t as Tiburco won on all 3 scorecards in his first fight in 2 years.
Queen’s lightweight Joselito Collado is quickly becoming a house favorite and once again he impresses with a win over Darrell Martin who preferred to showboat, clown and dance rather than fight hard. 60 – 54 across the board for Collado.
Taneal Goyco (3-0, 1 KO) again gets the win over Davit Davitshvili (0-3) this time by unanimous decision in their cruiser weight fight.
Talk about it on the forum here http://phillykeith.com/fightforum/index.php?topic=772.0
Philly boxing 2008… overall it was another good year but in the same breath it has to mentioned that there was a significant drop off in the amount of action as only 17 professionally sanctioned cards happened in this year. Most nights were solid though we did have a few duds and also a few memorable barn burners. Through my eyes, there was no clear cut fight of the year winner in 2008 so I will not designate one particular match. Instead, I will highlight some of the best performances of the year. As always, it is open to discussion, feel free to comment if you agree, disagree, omissions etc. At some point in 2009, www.phillyboxinghistory.com will give out the Briscoe Awards which will recognize one fight as the best of ’08. Visit the site and cast a vote there if you wish.
Without further ado, I give you the Philly Keith Sports 2008 nominees for Fight of the Year!
Rasheem Brown vs. Jameel Wilson – 4/18/08 @ The National Guard Armory
This 10 round Super Middleweight fight capped off the most action packed boxing card in Philly for the year 2008. The state title was on the line and the then newly signed Rasheem Brown was thought to be put in prime position for a career push after recently returning from a lengthy layoff. Wilson on the other hand did not come to lay down. Brown started strong and it looked to be an easy night but Wilson came alive taking the middle rounds and both men went toe to toe down the stretch to cap off a non stop action bout. The only disappointment in this one came outside of the ring, as 3 blind judges scored only one round for Wilson on the offical cards while everyone in press row agreed that this fight was even money that could have gone either way. Regardless of the outcome, this fight proved once again that when you match two Philly fighters against each other, the fans are always in for a treat!
Ryan Belasco vs. Victor Vasquez 5/11/08 @ The New Alhambra
Coming into this fight, Delaware’s Ryan Belasco was looking to erase the stink of three consecutive sub par performances and Philly’s Victor Vasquez was taking his first real test against an area known fighter with a record above .500. While most thought it was a solid fight when it was announced, few expected to be treated to such an action packed rumble. It was give and take with Belasco carrying a slight lead as he was able to effectively box the non stop Vasquez. Belasco’s non stop jabbing caused Vasquez left eye to swell like a ballon, leaving the referee no option but to stop the fight and the commission no choice but to order a 6 month medical suspension. Vasquez is back, medically cleared to fight and wants a rematch “sooner, rather than later”. I have a feeling that Russell Peltz will be putting this together very soon.
Gee Cullmer vs. Jameel Wilson @ The Legendary Blue Horizon 9/16/08
When this one was signed, you just knew it would be a close fight. At the time, Gee recently pulled out a few tight majority decision wins while Wilson was on the wrong end of a quite a few razor thin decisions. In this one, Gee put on a boxing clinic early, Wilson showed his grit in the middle and final rounds were tooth and nail. Fittingly, this fight could have gone either way and ended in a majority decision for Cullmer who after the fight earned the designation of PA’s #1 Super Middleweight contender slot by the state athletic commission. Click the link to watch this fight in its entirety on Go Fight Live.
Mario Mina vs. Pedro Calla @ The Legendary Blue Horizon 4/11/08
Two fighters who learned their craft half a world away came to Philadelphia to make their pro debut and in the process put on a 4 round Blue Horizon classic. Mina of Ecquador was said to be a former amateur star and Peru’s Pedro Calla was no slouch either. This was a wild, two way leatherfest that ended with Calla splattered across the canvas mid way through the final round, much to the delight of the fans, who gave both men a standing ovation when the dust finally settled. Watch this fight in its entirety on Go Fight Live
On a national level, recognition goes to Steve “USS” Cunningham, who may have lost his IBF Cruiserweight title, but in the same breath won over millions of fight fans for his show of heart against Tomasz Adamek live on Versus. Cunningham won a lions share of the rounds but was also knocked down 3 times in this non stop slug fest between two of the worlds best. A rematch just has to be in order. The TV demand and money will be there you can be assured of that. The only liability here is if Adamek decided to hide.
Bernard Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik
Last but certainly not least, recognition has to be given to Philly’s main representative in the sport of boxing, Bernard Hopkins for his one sided spanking of Kelly Pavlik over 12 rounds in a fight where next to no one was giving him a shot in hell to win. Once again, people were saying he was too old or he was slowing down just as they did before his fight against Antonio Tarver and even before that in his fight against Felix Trinidad. On this night, B-Hop reminded the world that it is a terrible mistake to under estimate the Germantown native.
The last fight card of the 2008 summer in Philly was at the Legendary Blue Horizon on Sept 12th and they came through with an exciting card that featured many local fighters facing off against one another. In the main event, “Showtime” Steve Chambers got his first shot at the headliner against perennial B-sider Kevin Carmody, a fighter who has taken on a bevy of rising prospects in his short career. There was a Cruiserweight showdown between two familiar faces as Israel’s Ran Nakash made his 6th pro stop the famed Philly fight hall. He would get the first real test of his career as he signed on to face the big punching Larry Robinson of South Philly in what was scheduled for 8 rounds but everyone in the building knew it wouldn’t go anywhere near that long. The other co-feature was a battle between two fighters who have been on the opposite end of many controversial decision in their day. Gee Cullmer just can’t seem to get any credit in this town for his wins, while Jameel “Black Gold” Wilson has gone the distance with some of the best in very close, entertaining only to get shafted on the scorecards. Also slated for action were two regarded amateurs making their pro debut in “Dangerous” Darrell Jones & Derek Bivins who fought in separate bouts. New Yawker William Jeter also stopped by to take on Pete Guthy. Scroll down to find out how it went down.
Steve Chambers….vs….Kevin Carmody
17-1-1, 5ko’s………..10-9, 1ko
This main event featured two of Philly’s youngest, yet most experienced Jr. Welterweights. “Showtime” Steve Chambers, the brother of former King of the Blue “Fast” Eddie Chambers was getting his first shot to fill the void his bro left a little over a year ago. Carmody is no stranger to promotionally pushed opposition. At 22 years old, he has traveled the country and at times had his arm raised in victory. The main question coming into this was not if either man could fight, but who would take the initiative to actually make a fight out of it? Carmody isn’t known for his aggressiveness and Chambers, until recently, had a tendency to not fight with much fire.
All questions about the pace of this fight were answered immediately as both men stood in the center of the ring exchanging good leather. Midway through the round, Carmody landed a straight right down the pike which put Chambers on the seat of his pants. Chambers did beat the 10 count as Carmody stayed relaxed and picked his shots.
Down but far from out, Chambers and Carmody continued to exchange with Carmody getting the better through 3 rounds. The tide turned in the 4th when Chambers opened a cut over Caromdy’s left eye. In the 5th a straight right hand from Chambers sent Carmody’s mouthpiece flying into press row. Round 6 was very close and Carmody threw combination on the inside while Chambers looked to land the hard overhand right to the head.
The action died out down the stretch with Chambers seemingly doing more than the tiring Carmody. The fight went to the scorecard which read 78 – 73, 77 – 75 & 77- 74 for Chambers who improves to 18 – 1 – 1, 5ko’s
Larry Robinson….vs….Ran Nakash
Don Elbaum finally decided to step up the competition for his fighter Ran Nakash and this one was expected to be a war. In the end it was a one sided bombing as a Ran Nakash short right hook ended matters :50 into the 1st round of this Cruiserweight battle. An impressive win to say the least. Welcome to the Philly top 10 list.
Gee Culmer….vs….Jameel Wilson
As stated in the opening segment, this was a battle between two fighters have been involved in many close fights over the past few years. Culmer seems to always get the nod while Wilson usually gets the shaft. The ending of this one is open for debate as well in what turned out to be a very good two way action battle between two Philly natives.
In the opening three rounds, Gee Culmer put on a boxing clinic, using the ring, working his jab, sneaking in his straight right and getting out of the way of incoming danger.
But I know Jameel Wilson, and the book on him is he will lull you to sleep and give you a false sense of confidence, then lay the hammer on you. The middle rounds were very close, very competitive as Wilson dramatically picked up the pace and in the process, changed Gee’s approach from that of a smart boxer to street brawler.
Round 6 and 7 were big for Wilson who had Gee on the ropes and consistently land a variety of punches. Gee absorbed the shots and fired back some of his own, willing to fight it out. The crowd erupted at the end of these rounds.
The 8th started with a solid toe to toe exchange. Midway through Gee went back to his early formula of boxing instead of brawling and did quite well. Wilson came alive as time was winding down which sparked off another two way exchange until the final bell sounded.
The crowd was buzzing and press row scoring was all over the place. When Ring Announcer Larry Tornambe grabbed the mic, he announced a majority decision in favor of Culmer by scores of 77 – 75, 78 – 74 with the third judge seeing it even at 76-76.
Derek Bivins….vs….Darrell Martin
Derek Bivins started off his pro career in style with a one sided unanimous pounding over the usually durable Darrell Martin. In the beginning it was competitive but after round two, you could make a case for round 3 & 4 being 10 – 8’s as Bivins continuously stalked and battered Martin around the ring.
It went to the cards with all three judges seeing it 40 – 36 in favor of Bivins who is now 1-0 as a pro,
Darrell Jones….vs….James Wynn
Dangerous Darrell Jones says he plans on cracking the top 10 list by next year and he is off to a strong start with fiery 3rd round KO over James Wynn in his pro debut. Jones fired off some hard body punches followed by soem right hooks to the head. After 2 rounds Wynn wanted out. By round 3 a left – right combo gave him that option as he hit the deck only to get up long after the 10 count was given.
Winner “Dangerous” Darrell Jones who improves to 1-0, 1ko
William Jeter…vs….Pete Guthy
Two unknowns came to the Blue and put on a pretty good fight while it lasted. The highlight came in the 3rd where Guthy threw a right handed bomb with everything he had behind it and landed squarely on Jeter’s chin. The problem was, Jeter didn;t budge, then returned the favor two folder with a right handed bomb of his own which did put Guthy down twice, the second of which he wouldn’t beat the 10 count for.
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.
Two fighters who don’t duck anybody got together to headline this card at The Blue and this one didn’t disappointed. It was 8 rounds of two way exchanges as a chiseled Moon tried to apply pressure and be the boss in the ring but his offense was nullified by clean counter punching and well timed combinations by Lenny.
The fighters split the first two rounds which went at a steady pace with neither man truly gaining the upper hand. In the third, the fight seemed to take its form as Moon, the stronger of the two would try to muscle Lenny into the ropes and punch to the body. Lenny, with his back against the ropes would take a few then wiggle free to fire off some combinations in return.
In the 4th, DiVictoria brought the fight to the middle of the ring where he would do his best work of the evening. Moon would stand toe- to toe with the Philly native but it was Lenny who landed the cleaner punches and eventually scored a flash knockdown as his movement kept Moon off balance.
Moon picked up the pace after the knockdown and tried to change his look, switching from orthodox to southpaw and back again. Lenny let the fight come to him and responded with three and four punch combos as Moon kept coming, fighting until the very end.
It went to the cards with all three judges seeing it in favor of Lenny DiVictoria who improves to 11- 10 , 4ko’s
Gee Culmer vs. John “The Baptist” Terry
We didn’t get the Gee vs. Joe Christy fight that was originally proposed but we did get Joe Christy lite in the form of John “The Baptist” Terry.
Gee pounded away for the majority of this fight but Terry does have some spunk in him and showed that even though he is from Baltimore, he is pretty tough.
Through 5 rounds, Gee worked the body and followed up with straight rights upstairs.
Terry’s corner man was screaming going into the 6th and Terry responded with his best round of the evening as he went all out trying to get a KO.
In the end it wasn’t enough and Gee won on all three judges scorecards.
Ran Nakash vs. Rey Ruiz
Ran Nakash stays undefeated with a 2nd round knockout over Rey Ruiz who usually fights at light heavyweight.
It was a typical Nakash fight where the house stacked the odds heavily in his favor as he came in 3 lbs over the cruiser weight limit.
With that out of the way, Nakash did do what he had to do and after a slow first round, he let loose in the second landed punches at will. A hard 4 punch combo sent Ruiz to the ropes where referee Gary Rosado decided to stop the fight.
At 11 – 0, it is time for State Athletic Director Greg Serb to stiffen the competition.
Ahmed Samir vs. Kamarah Pasley
Samir was very aggressive in this fight as he chased around Pasley over four rounds and landed a good amount of straight right hands.
Pasley had a few spots where he would catch Samir sleeping and lunge in with a straight left out of his southpaw stance but overall it was Samir’s energy and willingness to fight which led him to the win.
Julias Edmunds vs. Shavaris Boui
In the opener, Philly’s Julias Edmunds pounded out a 4 round unanimous decision over NY’s Shavarious Boui. Though Edwards was the smaller fighter, he was more aggressive, landed the much cleaner punches and even though it was his debut, looked far more comfortable in the ring.
Things got really good in the final minute as Buie looked for the KO and slugged away but Edwards responded and landed some hard rights and lefts of his own which put the crowd on their feet.
It went to the cards and Julias Edmunds won by scores of 40 – 36 & 39- 37 x2.
The house gave the steel chinned Tex Cobb a standing ovation when he was presented his Sports Management degree as he recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Temple University.
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.