by William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions partnered up with Peltz Boxing and Bam Boxing on Saturday evening to present a nine-bout card at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The first bout of the night was between James Robinson (3-1-2) and Fred Jenkins Jr. (8-1) in the junior middleweight division.
Robinson had the reach advantage on Jenkins, causing him some problems in the early parts of the first round, but Jenkins had them solved at the end of the first as he knocked Robinson down with a combination that ended with a left hook.
Jenkins was stalking Robinson in the middle rounds and had snapped his opponents head backwards with a straight right several times. Robinson nearly went down again at the end of the third round when he was stunned from a short right hook.
Jenkins continued his aggression in the final three rounds and attempted to get Robinson out of the fight, but Robinson was able to stay alive despite getting hurt in the fourth and sixth rounds.
The final scores were 60-53, 59-54, and 59-54 for Jenkins.
The second bout of the night was between Nathaniel Rivas (5-0) and Juan Rodriguez (5-2-1) in the welterweight division.
Rivas, despite being undefeated and a slight favorite, was caught quickly in the first round with an overhand right that sent him to the mat. He was able to get back to his feet, and Rivas and Rodriguez engaged in several fierce exchanges throughout the first round.
Rivas and Rodriguez continued to exchange heavy blows in the second round, but it was Rivas whose face showed visible damage. Rivas boxed well in the third and fourth rounds and was able to stay out of Rodriguez’s range, but he was hurt bad with a left hook in the fifth round that sent him down in the corner.
Rivas gutted it out and was able to beat the count, but Rodriguez pounded out Rivas some more by the ropes and forced the referee to stop the bout at 1:01 of the fifth round.
The next bout of the night was between Camilo Perez (9-4) and Toka Kahn Clary (13-0) in the featherweight division.
Clary, a southpaw, had recently fought in the super featherweight division and looked significantly larger than Perez. He came out in the southpaw stance, was patient and out-landed Perez at a higher connect rate in the early rounds.
It was clear by the second round that Clary was a class above Perez, but he was unable to hurt his opponent. Clary pounded the body in the middle rounds and at times even chased Perez around the ring in an effort to finish the fight.
Perez was never in the fight and lost on the scorecards 80-72, 80-72, and 79-73.
Thomas LaManna (15-0) met Gilbert Alex Sanchez (4-5-1) in the middleweight division.
LaManna is a New Jersey native who brings a large following whenever he fights in New Jersey or Philadelphia. He was much taller than Sanchez and was able to avoid the ropes for the first two rounds and land solid jabs and check left hooks.
LaManna was connecting with his looping hooks in the third round and was more aggressive than usual in the fourth round, which was the best round of the fight. Sanchez was hurt by two consecutive two-punch combinations at the close of the round.
LaManna boxed extremely confidently in the final two rounds of the fight, and even though he was caught off guard once in the last round from a short left hook, he easily out-boxed Sanchez.
All three judges scored it 59-55 for Thomas LaManna.
Randy Fuentes (4-3-1) and Julian Rodriguez (7-0) met in the opening televised bout of the night in the junior welterweight division.
Fuentes, a southpaw, had to withstand an early assault from Rodriguez, who was sharp with his jabs and combinations early on. Rodriguez hurt Fuentes with a combination and sent him to the mat with a hard left hook as the first round came to an end.
Rodriguez pummeled Fuentes to the body in the second round and forced him to take a knee and give up a knockdown. Fuentes was then immediately knocked down from a clean check left hook, and was knocked down for a third time from several hard body shots from the aggressive Rodriguez.
The referee waved off the fight after the third knockdown, with Julian Rodriguez winning the fight by TKO at 2:24 of the second round.
The co-feature of the night was between Philadelphia native Jesse Hart (15-0) and Samuel Miller (28-9) in the super middleweight division.
Jesse Hart, the son of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, is known for his knockout power and has stopped twelve of his opponents.
Hart was sharp with his jab in the first round and had Miller trapped in the corner on more than one occasion. Miller began to taunt Hart near the end of the first, but Hart was winning the round.
Hart came out aggressive in the second round and caught Miller with a crisp straight right hand to the temple, following that up with another straight right that forced Miller to take a knee. Miller was able to get back to his feet, but faced another assault from Hart that sent him falling over backwards.
When Miller got back to his feet, he was still very wobbly and the referee stopped the fight.
Jesse Hart won by TKO at 2:07 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Karim El Ouazghari (16-5-2) and Puerto Rican sensation Felix Verdejo (15-0) in the lightweight division.
The mainly Puerto Rican crowd at the 2300 Arena was strongly behind Felix Verdejo and cheered him on loudly as he entered the ring.
Verdejo was very sharp with his jab in the first round and controlled the action. Verdejo opened up a little more in the second round while El Ouazghari had no offense to offer.
Verdejo scored a knockdown in the middle of the third round after a combination left El Ouazghari wobbly and falling onto the bottom rope. Verdejo blasted El Ouazghari with a left hook as the third round came to an end, but it was too late to score it a knockdown. El Ouazghari, however, was stumbling as he walked back to his corner.
The end came in the fourth round after Verdejo landed a thunderous overhand right that had El Ouazghari badly hurt by the ropes and covering up. It only took a few more punches to land before the referee stopped the fight.
Felix Verdejo won by TKO at 1:27 of the fourth round.
Chris Diaz (8-0) defeated Jazzma Hogue (3-6-1) by scores of 60-52 on all three judges’ scorecards in the featherweight division.
George Arias (2-0) defeated Randy Easton (3-6-1) by scores of 40-36 on all three scorecards.