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J. Russell Peltz Reflects on his Favorite Fights in Atlantic City


Boxing in Atlantic City has been prevalent for more than 45 years. One man who has been in the center of a lot of the action on the boardwalk has been International Boxing and Atlantic City Boxing Hall-of-Fame promoter and matchmaker J Russell Peltz.

The Philadelphia legend, who has promoted scores of cards in the shore town, is making matches for the February 24 card at The Showboat Hotel that will feature Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna vs. Gabriel “Tito” Bracero in a 10-round battle for the WBC Fecarbox Welterweight championship.

“I did my first fight in 1973,” said Peltz, who has run shows in just about every property in Atlantic City.

It is only fitting that Peltz is the matchmaker with promoter Rising Star Promotions in the South Jersey based promotional outfit’s effort to bring Atlantic City back to prominence as the the premier fight destination on the East Coast.

Peltz is hoping LaManna-Bracero is added to the memorable bouts that Peltz has been involved in Atlantic City:

1. August 31, 1981 at The Sands Hotel–Frank Fletcher vs Ernie Singletary.(PRISM)

“The fight was televised by local cable channel PRISM (Jim Barniak and Bob Wright, both deceased, did the commentary) and it was for Fletcher’s USBA middleweight title.

“This was the most brutal fight I ever saw, even more brutal than Matthew Saad Muhammad-Marvin Johnson I. This was a closet classic since few saw it on PRISM. The fight was toe-to-toe for seven rounds, no knockdowns, until ringside doctor stopped it between the seventh and eighth round. They coukd have fought this one in a phone booth.

“Singletary was taken to hospital after fight.

“Later, when we couldn’t find Fletcher, we broke into his hotel room, and he was out cold on the floor. We couldn’t get an ambulance so we (Marty Feldman and I) put him in the back of a police wagon and rode with him to the hospital where the doctor told us if we hadn’t found him he would have been dead.

“Singletary kept saying in the pre-fight buildup that no 12-2 TV fighter was gonna beat him. This was a reference to Fletcher getting into the first ESPN tournament and winning while Singletary had been plying his trade for years (24-2 then) and never got that kind of exposure, just on PRISM. Actually, Fletcher already had been on NBC once, beating Norberto Sabater.”

2. September 9, 1980 from Resorts–Mike Rossman vs. Al Bolden (PRISM)

“Ex-WBA light-heavyweight Rossman was getting beat up every round for 8 1/2 rounds against Al Bolden, of Pittsburgh, PA, and finally found a little light late in round 9 and came on to knock Bolden out at 2:32 of the 10th round and salvage the win. Bolden took the second knockdown in the 10th on his knees.”

3. March 13, 1983 from Resorts–Jeff Chandler – Gaby Canizalez (ABC)

“Jeff Chandler, in the most brilliant performance of his Hall-of-Fame career out-boxed, out-punched and out-muscled future champion Gaby Canizales, of Texas, over 15 rounds to defend his WBA bantamweight title for the seventh time by unanimous decision. No one thought he could stand up under Canizales’ body attack but it was Chandler’s body and head attack that kept Canizales at bay for the entire fight. Just magnificent.”

4. March 2, 1985 from the Sands Hotel–Gary Hinton vs Aaron Pryor (ABC)

“Unknown lefty Gary Hinton gave IBF 140 pound world champ Aaron Pryor all he could handle, but a 14th-round knockdown helped Pryor gain a 15-round split decision with Sylvester Stallone in attendance. He was our partner at the time with Pryor. It was Pryor’s last successful title defense.”

5. November 19, 2011 from Ballys–Garrett Wilson vs. Chuck Mussachio

“Moving from light heavyweight to cruiserweight, Mussachio appeared to have out-boxed Wilson for 11 rounds in their USBA cruiserweight title fight, but Wilson drilled Mussachhio with a monstrous overhand right 41 seconds into the 12th round for the knockout win.”

Besides LaManna vs. Bracero, a terrific undercard has been assembled featuring undefeated fighters: light-heavyweight Frederick Julan (8-0, 6 KOs), of Brooklyn, NY; super middleweight Darren Goodall (5-0, 4 KOs), of New Milford, NJ; middleweight Omar Kabary Salem (1-0), of Brooklyn, NY; super lightweight Jahmal Dyer (4-0, 2 KOs), of Baltimore, MD.

FIGHT NIGHT TICKETS: $150, $80 and $55 and can be purchased at: www.risingboxingpromotions.com

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Usyk Opens as 3-1 Favorite to Defeat Murat Gassiev in WBSS Final


By: Bryant Romero

The stage is set for the Crusierweight final of the Word Boxing Super Series. Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) of Ukraine will take on Murat Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) of Russia for all the marbles of the cruiserweight division in an unusual location for a prize fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on May 11. Perhaps a change in location could be in the cards since its being reported that Russia is pushing hard to land the cruiserweight final. Though it would be fair to both finalists to fight on neutral soil, especially since Usyk has already had to fight on hostile territory on two occasions in this tournament.

The 31-year-old Usyk has opened as high as a 3-1 favorite to defeat Gassiev , according to the 5dimes sportsbook. Usyk is coming off a hard fought battle against Latavia’s Mairis Briedis (23-1, 18 KOs) in a good scrap between two undefeated champions. Usyk was legitimately tested for the first time in his so far brief pro career. The Ukrainian however, was able to separate himself though as the rounds progressed, showing a superior workrate, and consistently outboxing Briedis while coming forward. It was the most competitive fight of Usyk’s pro career, but he was the rightful and clear winner earning a majority decision on the scorecards.

It’s only early February but Gassiev on the other hand was already in a fight of the year candidate with Yunier Dorticos (22-1, 21 KOs) of Cuba. In an anticipated matchup between explosive punchers, it sure lived up to the hype as Gassiev and Dorticos produced a dramatic battle at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Alder, Russia. Dorticos started fast giving Gassiev problems with his range, long jab, and workrate. The 24-year-old Gassiev however, was able to turn the fight around after a slow start and slowly but surely started to pick apart the shaky defense of the 31-year-old Cuban. Gassiev would score 3 knockdowns in the 12th and final round forcing a stoppage and sealing the victory, while unifying the IBF and WBA titles in the process.

Gassiev seems very mature beyond his 24 years of age but he will have an uphill battle with Usyk who brings in a very extensive amateur background, pedigree, and a much different boxing style compared to Gassiev’s last two opponents. Usyk’s boxing style has given him the comparisons of being a cruiserweight Lomachenko and he should be the favorite coming into this bout. However, the confidence Gassiev will bring into the fight after unifying two titles and under the guidance of his coach Abel Sanchez who also trains Gennady Golovkin, we could be in for a dramatic battle of this cruiserweight final. May the best man win.

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