By: Ken Hissner
John DiSanto did his usual great event at the VBA Ring One this year instead of the Xfinity live in recent years thanks to the suggestion by Brittany “BAM” Rogers who is part of Peltz Boxing team.
The event had its usual mix of a crowd from the boxing world in attendance and eleven awards to match the years DiSanto has been doing this event.
It was a three hour of nostalgia and current boxing interests. The No. 15 IBF super welterweight Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, 26-6-2 (24), was the main man in the afternoon. He received the “Fighter of the Year (2017) Award scoring three big wins. Even though Boxing Director Greg Sirb hasn’t put out PA boxing rankings since the second quarter of 2015 on the PA website it hasn’t stopped promoters from having PA State title fights.
Brunson started the year off winning a split decision over Brandon Quarles, 18-3-1 (9), of Alexandria, VA, at the SugarHouse (no spaces) Casino in Philadelphia on March 11th.
On June 24th in what turned out to be the Briscoe “Fight of the Year” Brunson came off the canvas stopping former IBF Welterweight champion Kermit “Asesino” Cintron, 39-5-3 (30), of Reading, PA, in a war. Cintron had Brunson on the canvas twice in the fourth round but managed to get to the bell. In the fifth round Cintron came out to finish off Brunson but ended up on the canvas three times. Brunson with this victory won the vacant USA PA Super Welterweight Title.
On December 1st 2017 Brunson returned to the ring to pick up yet another belt in stopping Manny Woods, 16-6-1 (6), of St. Petersburg, FL, in the eighth round. All three opponents have not returned to the ring since their defeat.
Brunson picked up a third Briscoe Award for the “Performance of the Year” for his win over Cintron. Promoter of both Brunson and Cintron, Marshall Kauffman of Kings Promotion out of Reading, PA, has done well for Brunson and also in bringing Cintron back from inactivity.
Avery Sparrow, 9-1 (3), won both the “Breakout Fighter of the Year” and the “Prospect Fighter of the Year” posting four victories and gaining the No. 14 ranking in the WBO’s Super Featherweight division. He has put his career in good hands with IBHOF promoter J Russell Peltz of Peltz Boxing and it has really paid off.
Sparrow started 2017 with a win over fellow Philly fighter Anthony Burgin, 10-2 (2), on July 10th at the 2300 Arena in South Philly winning a split decision over eight rounds of boxing.
In Sparrow’s second fight of the year on June 27th he defeated Dominican southpaw Isaelin Florian, 6-0 (3), fighting out of Reading, PA, over six rounds at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Fox Sports 1. Both fighters found themselves on the canvas in the first round. Florian was dropped a second time in round two. Not to be denied he dropped Sparrow for a second time in round four.
This writer put out an article on Sparrow prior to the Briscoe Awards that went up on www.boxinginsider.com Monday entitled “Philly’s Avery Sparrow is a Return to Old Philly Boxing”. Peltz made a comment how Sparrow doesn’t ask “who or where he is fighting or for how much but follows the promoters lead” and it has paid off big time.
In Sparrow’s third fight of the year on September the 8th at the 2300 Arena he won a majority eight round decision over Joey Laviolette, 6-0 (3), of Nova Scotia, Canada. One judge gave Sparrow all eight rounds and another all but one round.
In Sparrow’s fourth fight of the year on November 30th at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, he defeated world contender Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez, 19-1-1 (14), of Carolina, Puerto Rico over ten rounds on ESPN2 to earn his world ranking.
Winning the “One to Watch Fighter of the Year” is none other than welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 18-0 (16), who before that won the “Amateur of the Year”, and before that the “Everett Brothers Award. Last year he won the “Rookie of the Year” Award.
Doing his promotion in attendance was Chris Middendorf of Victory Promotions who in just under two years has Ennis with eighteen fights. He is scheduled April 14th in Virginia for his next encounter. He is trained by his father “Bozy” Ennis who is this writer’s pick as the best trainer in Philly out of his gym “Bozy’s Dungeon” on Venango Street over the Harrowgate Gym off of Kensington Avenue.
Ennis went 9-0 with 8 knockouts in 2017 in such places as Norfolk, Virginia, Durham, North Carolina, Washington, DC, Hammond, Indiana, and Springfield, Virginia. His other four fights were all in South Philadelphia at the 2300 Arena. In the lone decision he won every round plus scoring a knockdown over James Winchester, 20-12, who hasn’t fought since their March 31st match.
The “Rookie of the Year” went to Dylan Price, 4-0 (4), a Super Flyweight former outstanding amateur for his posting of all four fights in 2017. In February he was in Wilson, NC, posting a first round stoppage. Then in April in Atlantic City he posted a third round stoppage. In June at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center he posted a first round knockout. He finished up the year in November at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY, posting another first round stoppage on the undercard of WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder title defense.
Price is promoted by Mayweather Promotions with his father Dave Price and “Doc” Nowicki handling management and advisor.
The 2017 Amateur of the Year” went to Raymond Ford of the D-Boys Boxing team, of Sicklerville, New Jersey. The eighteen year old South Jersey boxer participated in three major tournaments and performed well all year long. In July, Ford defeated Californian Japheth-lee Llamido to win the Ringside Nationals – Mens Youth Open Division Championship at 123 pounds. He also won the Silver Medal at the USA Junior Olympics. In December, in Salt Lake City, Ford competed at the USA Boxing Nationals, Elite Division at 123 pounds. He is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation, in his weight class, and is a member of the USA International High Performance Team.
The 2017 “Knockout of the Year” award went to Marcel Rivers, 4-0 (3), out of the ABC Recreation Center at 26th & Masters in North Philly under the guidance of PAB HOF trainer Fred Jenkins, Sr. On September 8th at the 2300 Arena Rivers knocked out veteran boxer Osnel Charles, 11-17-1, of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The “Everett Brothers Award” presented by Mike Everett went to Jerome Conquest, 9-3 (1), managed by James Gibbs who was by his side. The award is for to acknowledge the accomplishments, commitment and character of boxers working hard to make their way in the ring. The award is intended to encourage young fighters with the same dream the Everett’s once had – to become world champion.
The award also helps to remember and honor their brother, the late, great Tyrone Everett, one of Philly’s all-time best. The worst decision this writer ever witnessed and in person was Tyrone Everett losing to champion Alfredo Escalera in Philly. I had it 13-2 in rounds for Everett and he lost a split decision. The PA judge who voted for Escarlera never judged another fight. He was Lou Tress and he judged since 1931 some 291 bouts. The other judge Ismo Wiso Fernandez it was his first title match and did a total of 55.
In attendance Sunday were such boxing people as promoters J Russell Peltz, Chris Middendorf and Marshall Kauffman. Also, writers Jeff Jowett, Nigel Collins, Frank Bartolini, Richie Pagano, Marc Abrams (also publicist) and Matt Ward. Boxers like former IBF Junior Middleweight champion Buster Drayton, Kerry Judge, Manny Folly, Garrett Wilson, Simon Carr and Mike Everett along with all award recipients. Trainers “Bozy” Ennis, Greg Hackett. Boxing people like Michelle Rosado (with Peltz Boxing), “Doc” Nowicki, Dave Price, Dan Rossano, Fred Blumstein (Time Keeper), photographers Kenny Ludwig, Darryl Cobb, Jr., lawyer and sponsor Neil Gelb, Nicole Ross (President of Hands Across Philadelphia), referee’s Vic de Wysocki and Blair Talmadge. VBA officers President Charley Sgrillo and Secretary John Gallagher. VBA member’s Norman Torpey, Fred Druding and Joe Mathis. Steve Fleisher who is always on the boxing scene.
I know I have forgotten many in attendance. John DiSanto will have a story coming up on his event at www.phillyboxinghistory.com which is a great boxing site about Philadelphia boxing people.