By: Ken Hissner
At the Xfinity facility in South Philadelphia Sunday was the Philly’s 7th Annual Briscoe Awards that packed the place with over 400 people crammed into that room. It was Philly Boxing History’s editor John DiSanto bringing in 2016’s finest performances. He will need a bigger facility the way this one turned out. He made all of us plus his lovely wife Jennifer proud.
Current boxers and past one’s attended with former the class of 2-time Cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham co-hosting. It was a low admission charge with free food for all. His precious daughter Kennedy and lovely wife Livvy along with young Steve were right there in support.
Former WBA world champion Jason “El Canito” Sosa who is one of the most likeable boxers you would want to meet got the much deserved “Fighter of the Year”. He went to China to dethrone previously unbeaten Javier Fortuna. This was after drawing with then unbeaten Nicholas Walters in 2015 to earn that shot. Then Sosa defended his title five months after winning the title defeating Stephen Smith in Monte Carlo. We fans cannot wait to see him back in action.
“The Briscoe Awards get bigger every year and it’s nice to see the boxing community get together for a social event. Plus several old-timers showed like Sidney “Sweet Pea” Adams and members of the “Gypsy” Joe Harris (one of Philly’s all-time favorites) family and Dick Turner (former welterweight contender), along with Nate Miller (former cruiserweight champion) and Curtis Parker (former middleweight contender),” said J Russell Peltz. (Hall of Fame promoter and matchmaker).
Possibly the best prospect to come along in Philly since 1984 Gold Medal Olympian Meldrick Taylor in attendance to receive an award was Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 16-0 (13), in just 18 months of activity thanks to people like his promoter Chris Middendorf who was also in attendance. It was just the previous day Ennis knocked out veteran Aye “Bruce” Lee Bruce of GH in 1:37 of the first round in Springfield, VA. His father and trainer “Bozy” Ennis was there along with his other two son’s “Pooh” and Farah who were USBA and NABF champions.
Peltz received an award for Dashon Johnson who along with top Philly super middleweight Jesse “Hard Work” Hart gave the Philly fans the “Fight of the Year”.
Hart was in attendance and this close title challenge in his last fight should only make him a better fighter with the fans looking for his return. His former co-managers Doc Nowicki and Dave Price were in attendance with the young son of Price’s Dylan who just turned professional receiving an award and like his father “giving praise to God” for the blessings he has received in his past amateur career.
“Every year the event continues to grow and improve. I had a great time seeing Philadelphia’s finest from the boxing community. John DiSanto continues to put Philadelphia boxing on a new level,” said Dave Price.
Others receiving awards were Tevin “American Idol” Farmer though not present is preparing for his December world title challenge. Unbeaten boxers Christian Carto, 12-0 (11) and Damon “Little Dane” Allen, 13-0-1 (5), who is with Golden Boy Promotions were also receiving awards.
Joining Carto were his father Frank Sr and brother Frank Jr (amateur champion) along with well-respected trainer of Carto’s Mickey Rosati. Mitch Allen a legend in Philadelphia who is the great grandfather of Allen’s and his father Damon Sr. were there in support. Speaking of Philly’s young talent present were Jeremy Cuevas, 5-0, trainer Angel Pizarro and his unbeaten son’s Branden, 8-0 and Angel, Jr. 3-0.
Getting the much deserved “Upset of the Year” award for the second time was Taneal Goyco for his defeat of Jerry Odom.
Absent was former world champion Bernard “B-Hop” Hopkins who since retiring after his bout in January was to receive a Briscoe award but was a “no show” and wonders why he doesn’t get the respect he cries out for?
Former USBA champion Willie Gibbs was in attendance and showed his class in assisting Dave Ruff a Wilmington, DE, legend out of this writers car. Ruff is currently in a re-hab in Wilmington getting his strength back after a three year illness. Another DE resident and referee Vic de Wysocki was there doing filming as usual. Also speaking of Gibbs there was James Gibbs of the WBF with his lovely wife and former veteran boxer Greg Hackett. Also were the Members from the Ring One VBA President Charley Sgrillo, Secretary John Gallagher and Jim Moran another member of one if not the oldest VBA in the country.
Others were Promoter Manny Rivera (Hard Hitting Promotions), top cut-man and actor Joey Eye, attorney Neil Gelb (son of former manager Frank Gelb who had Tyrone Everett), former title challenger Mike Everett, Darren Maciunski (defeated champions Meldrick Taylor and Buddy McGirt in back to back fights), popular former USBA champion Garrett Wilson, former editor of Ring Magazine Nigel Collins of ESPN, timekeeper Fred Blumstein, writers Jeff Jowett, George Hanson (also an attorney), Frank Bartolini, Ryan Bivins who also boxed and is serving in the US Army.
Others like Photographer Darryl Cobb (who received an award for photo of the year), Steve Fleisher who is always in support of Philly boxing, active boxer’s like contender “Hammerin” Hank Lundy, Fred Jenkins, Jr. and Tyrone Brunson. Rich Pagano (author of The Baron of Leiperville), Whita Frazier (daughter of “Smokin” Joe Frazier, her brother-in-law Pete Lyde who is married to Jacki Frazier, the honorable Alan Rubenstein who also serves as a boxing judge, referee Shawn Clark, newly inducted PAB HOF trainer and gym owner Buster Custus and his daughter. PR man Marc Abrams and his lovely new bride with Marc doing interviews and her filming them. Another PR person was the beautiful Cathy Lebron who works for Kings Promotions. Speaking of wives the lovely Linda Peltz joined her husband J Russell. Former boxers Simon Carr, “Oak Tree” Brown and title challenger Marvin Mack (also designs hats). Legendary ring announcer Hank Kropkinski was also in attendance and longtime boxing figure Eric Bottjier who works for DiBella Entertainment.
Then families of “Gypsy” Joe Harris, “Bad” Bennie Briscoe and Gil Turner were in attendance. DiSanto presented one of his past five gravestones for Turner.
This writer could go on and on as you can see. Disanto puts on this event every October. The event was enjoyed by one and all.