Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
By: Ken Hissner
Ray McCline’s idea of creating the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame was a big success over the weekend. Especially on Sunday night with 24 inductee’s before a large crowd at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City!
Master of Ceremonies was the New Jersey Hall of Fames President Henry Hascup who did an excellent job. There were some excellent acceptances starting with legendary matchmaker Don Elbaum’s stories. He has worked in over a thousand shows over the years. “This is incredible. My mentor J Russell Peltz is here and the man I got started Don King!” He went onto say how Jimmy Carter was running for president at the time and how King called him Jimmy and Carter called King “President!” In King’s hometown of Cleveland Carter won big taking not only the black vote but the Jewish vote. King took credit for both! He brought in then Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) for an exhibition to help a children’s hospital.
Hascup first brought up Mike Hall, Jr. whose father Mike was being inducted. He trained world champion Virgil Hill amongst others. This writer saw him earlier and said “it’s good to see you are still alive” not knowing I was talking to the deceased’s son. Another Atlantic City native Bill Johnson came forth whose brother Leavander was the IBF lightweight champion winning in Italy and passed away shortly after a battle in NV losing his title but going out like a warrior! “My brother loved the sport and the people involved with it,” said Johnson. Hascup said “Leavander gave his life for the sport!”
Althea Saunders sang the national anthem. She is still an active boxer from Atlantic City. As expected Larry “The Easton Assasin” didn’t show and “Iron” Mike Tyson didn’t either but was seen via video accepting his induction from AZ. Inductee Ken Condon known for his PPV work talked about being in Barbados when he left his wife upstairs to go downstairs in the hotel to watch Spinks-Holmes II. It caused an obvious argument he said.
Michael Spinks drew the most attention afterwards signing autographs, getting pictures taken by many fans of his and being interviewed. Press members included AC Press writer David Weinberg, John DiSanto of Philly Boxing History, Bernard Fernandez formerly with the Philadelphia News, Joe
Sangrito formerly of Ring Magazine, Frank Bartolini of the Rinaldi Brothers newspaper, Marc Abrams and his beautiful wife, with Abrams doing an excellent job with the PR work for the event. Keebler Media was taping the event and this writer representing Boxing Insider.
Representing his father Lou Duva was Dino Duva still an active manager saying “today would have been my father’s 95th birthday.” Duva put on the first world title bout in Atlantic City with Joey Giardello fighting Dick Tiger. “My father always said never forget your roots,” said Duva.
Accepting for the absent Holmes was one of “Smoking” Joe Frazier’s daughters Weatta.
An emotional wife and daughter of the head physician in Atlantic City was none other than Dr. Frank Doggett. “He graduated from Howard Universities Medical School in 1948 and was chief surgeon for the Atlantic Police and Fireman. He referred to the boxers as his boxers. If he was here he would simply say thank you.”
Nicoli the artist was on hand showing a portrait of Don King which went up for bid with no takers. One of the VP’s of the board who did the electing was Rodnick Green VP Strategy & Business Development for the ACBHOF who proclaimed how another well-known inductee Steve “Double S” Smoger who was inducted into the IBHOF in 2016 helped the kids at the AC PAL! Smoger known to be one of the best speakers in the business talked about how Elbaum ran weekly shows at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino for five years and how he worked many of them as a referee. He has received many awards and is one of the best of all time.
Fan and press favorite writer Jack “KO” Obermayer who passed away approximately a year ago was well represented by Freddy Blumstein one of the best timekeepers in the business who said “my wife curses the day I met KO because I am away from home so much.” Eric Bottjer one of the best well known matchmakers in the business called Obermayer his best friend. Obermayer’s daughter and his partner Darlene, who flew in from Wyoming, saying “he was the love of my life!”
Roy Foreman another VP who managed his brother George and who lives in the area and is now promoting shows in Houston, TX, was well received by the audience saying “without the boxers we wouldn’t be here!”
Mustafa Ameen spoke in behalf of inductee Matthew Saad Muhammad how the nuns found him on the Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway at the age of 4 left there by his brother at his mother’s request due to having too many kids. Saad’s adopted brother Joe Johnson was in attendance. Ameen talked how Saad put up a 10k award if anyone would come forward telling him who would know anything about his identity. As it turned out someone did and told him his real name was Antonio Loach. They appeared on Good Morning America and Saad was not too fond of being called Antonio. Ameem talked of Saad’s religion of being a Muslim. When Saad passed away there was a funeral at a mosque and then at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Saad told me personally during an interview “I’m no longer a Muslim.”
Elbaum spoke how he got King into the business as the first black promoter and took him to New York introducing him to Madison Square Garden’s promoter and matchmaker. King said “they are all white!” Elbaum told him “don’t say that again for we are all Americans adding Kings famous known phrase Only In America!” Elbaum went onto say how Tropicana gave him a two year contract, living quarters and agreed to run every Tuesday night.
Current NJ Commissioner of boxing Larry Hazzard, Sr. did an excellent job speaking of how he spent 13 years in the amateurs working as a referee and becoming one of the tops in the world and becoming commissioner. After leaving office the current governor of NJ Chris Christy brought Hazzard back for his old job.
Smoger talked about starting out as a timekeeper from 1978 to 1982 and starting to ref in 1984 and becoming the referee in a world title fight just two years later. He said how he worked shows for Peltz, King, Frank Gelb and Duva. He gave a large amount of credit to Deputy Commissioner Bob Lee who couldn’t make the event. “He treated me like gold,” said Smoger. He also gave a lot of credit and would expect the next induction to be the then commissioner and former heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott. He went onto say except for referee Pat Russell he was the longest serving referee in the country.
Former world light heavyweight champion Mike “The Jewish Bomber” Rossman accepted his award and walked off the stage without saying a word. He had his Local 30 Roofers jacket on and the roofers bought 40 tickets.
Dave Bontempo another inductee spoke well and how ESPN recruited him from AC and how the game has changed since the Atlantic City Press had him cover boxing. He went onto say how boxers like Bennie Serrano became well known fighting at the Tropicana for Elbaum. He added it was 20 years ago today he met his wife Suzie and being married for 32 years.
Peltz, a well-known matchmaker and promoter as well as being one of the few promoters doing his own matchmaking spoke as well as anyone at the podium. He ran shows while attending Temple University at the age of 22 in 1969 and brought in “Bad” Bennie Briscoe on his first show. He said “we didn’t need any med’s in those days only a boxer with a heartbeat or without.” How in 1970 he brought in IBHOF trainer George Benton to headline a show and paid him 1k while the show itself cost $800 to run prior to this. Benton’s manager insisted Benton’s return but Benton was not to be found at the gym he trained so Peltz got another headliner. When Benton showed up with his old yellow suitcase weeks before the event Peltz told him he was replaced because he wasn’t ever in the gym. Benton called his manager Gramby who got Peltz on the phone and said “isn’t your word good enough?”
Peltz remembered that and once brought in Gramby’s prize attraction heavyweight Tex Cobb to headline. He was to get 20k but got a bigger offer of 500k from MSG and Peltz reminded him of “isn’t your word any good?” Cobb fought for Peltz. Peltz said Cobb once said “I didn’t lose to Larry Holmes, I just lost the first 15 rounds.”
Gelb talked about how over 500 shows were run in AC from 1982-85 and how “Russell stole half of my stories.” Gelb’s sons were also in attendance. He said “when the NFL went on strike NBC decided to put on boxing in its place and how inductee Arturo Gatti sold out the Boardwalk Hall six consecutive times. Gatti’s beautiful daughter Sophia was there who was 3 when her father passed away. She spoke well of her father and how blessed she was to have him for a father.
King gave credit to Arthur Goldberg as “his boss who called King the light of the boardwalk starting him off at Bally’s.”
Chuck Zito formerly a Hell’s Angel’s biker accepted for Gatti. “He fought here 23 times and got Fighter of the Year from Ring Magazine 5 times. Bill Johnson talked about his brother winning his first 23 (including a draw) fights. “My oldest son’s wanted to box and the youngest was Leavander.
Former world heavyweight champion Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon and Qawi were two who learned to box at the PAL.
Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi said “someone saw my work on the streets of Camden and fought with their fists, no guns.” Spinks who defeated him along with being the first present light heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title from Holmes thanked his Lord and Savior. The Lord worked through me and gave him all the honor and glory.
Hazzard had played the part in the Ali movie of Zack Clayton. He thanked McCline and Foreman and gave thanks to his wife Patricia along with their family. “She married me and the sport of boxing,” said Hazzard. “We had 3 fights in one day by USA Boxing, CBS all at different places like the Tropicana and the Boardwalk. Hazzard went on to say “it was better to stop a fight a little early than too late.”
Lindsay Tucker of the IBF spoke in accepting Lee’s award who was President of the first IBF with Tucker saying “Bob couldn’t make it tonight but was elated.”
King would be the final speaker giving one of his shortest speeches. “I started in Atlantic City in 1972 thanks to Elbaum. We had 8 world title bouts in Atlantic City promoted for and about the people. I started at the top with Ali,” said King. He said how current President Donald Trump helped him and what a great job he is doing now as President.
Current mayor Don Guardian spoke to close the event.
Boxing Insider Notebook: RIP Jack Obermayer, Canelo, Smith, Stevenson, Ruiz, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: RIP Jack Obermayer, Canelo, Smith, Stevenson, Ruiz, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 21st to June 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
RIP Jack Obermayer
(written by Marc Abrams) I am sad to report that passing of boxing super-scribe Jack Obermayer, who passed away this morning at his home in Lindenwold, New Jersey at the age of 72.
Obermayer, who covered 3514 professional fight cards in 49 states in over 400 cities and was affectionately known as “KO-JO” was a beloved figure at ringside for 50 years.
Obermayer wrote for many publications such Flash Gordon’s “Tonight’s Boxing Program”, Ring Magazine, Boxing Illustrated (Which later became Boxing Digest) & USA Boxing News.
Obermayer penned the popular column “KO JO Says”, which chronicled his many road trips to fights an and his love of classic diners.
Obermayer was inducted into the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame’s. In 2010 he won the Barney Nagler Award for Long and Meritorious Service by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Services will be held on Thursday, June 30th at The Harmon Funeral Home (571 Forest Avenue in Staten Island, New York).
Canelo Alvarez to Battle Liam Smith for WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Known for his power and dominance in the ring, Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) will look to win his third title in the junior middleweight division when he challenges undefeated heavy-hitter Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship on Saturday, September 17. A battle between two power-punchers, Canelo vs. Smith promises action between two fighters willing to take a punch in order to secure the next Knockout of the Year. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Information regarding venue and tickets will be announced shortly.
“I am very pleased to announce my next fight against Liam Smith, a tremendous fighter with real knockout power, and the WBO junior middleweight world title owner,” said Canelo Alvarez. “I have no doubt that this fight will be give and take, which will fill the expectations of the fans, and I will work with all the enthusiasm as I always do to get the upper hand on 17 September.”
With the bout’s announcement, Canelo has fulfilled his pledge to headline the two biggest fight nights of the year; Cinco De Mayo – when he knocked out Amir Khan in dramatic fasion — and Mexican Independence Day.
Current WBO Junior Middleweight Champion Liam “Beefy” Smith has built a reputation as one of the hardest punchers in the sport as his last eight victories have come by knockout. Defeating Canelo via knockout is now his top priority, as he begins to establish his legacy in becoming the UK’s next boxing super-star.
“I am delighted to get the opportunity to defend my world title against the biggest name in world boxing and to headline in the U.S. which is a dream I have had since I started in the sport of boxing,” said Liam Smith.
“This fight allows me to make my name in the U.S. and show just how good I am and this is the big stage that will enable me to do that. I thank my team for getting me this opportunity: Frank Warren, BoxNation, Daniel and of course Golden Boy for providing it. I am confident of winning this fight and returning to the great city of Liverpool with my belt still around my waist.”
Adonis Stevenson to Face Thomas Williams Jr.
Light heavyweight world champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs) returns to defend his belt against hard-hitting challenger Thomas “Top Dog” Williams Jr. (20-1, 14 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike Friday, July 29 from Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/8 pm. CT and features former world champion “Bad” Chad Dawson (34-4, 19 KOs) against top light heavyweight contender Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (19-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round showdown.
Stevenson will be making his seventh title defense and his second straight defense on Spike. His latest challenge will be the young and hungry Williams Jr. who comes in with a straight-forward style and a ton of confidence after he knocked out Edwin Rodriguez in the second round of their April clash.
“I am very happy to return to the ring on July 29 in Quebec,” said Stevenson. “I will demonstrate that like fine wine, I am even better with age. Even though I haven’t boxed in 10 months, I’ve never left the gym and I’m willing and ready to defend my crown.”
“There were many people who had lost trust in me two years ago after my loss, but here I am” said Williams Jr. “There were circumstances that led to that result, but I don’t make excuses and that is in the past. I’m coming off of the best performance of my career and I’m ready to hold that belt on July 29. Stevenson has never faced a puncher like me.”
Andy Ruiz to Headline Next Detroit Brawl
To the delight of the sizable Mexican community in Detroit, on Saturday, July 16, world-rated Mexican heavyweight contender Andy “The Destroyer from Mexicali” Ruiz will appear in the 10-round main event of Salita Promotions’ next “Detroit Brawl” installment at the Masonic Temple in Downtown Detroit.
26-year-old Ruiz, from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, is a former amateur standout, now undefeated at 27-0, 18 KOs as a professional and rated WBO #5, IBF #5, and WBC #7 at heavyweight. Ruiz is the current NABF heavyweight champion and has already made four successful defenses. Before that, he held the WBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight Championship and made an additional three successful defenses before relinquishing.
In his last in-ring appearance, Ruiz stopped former world title challenger Ray Austin in the fourth round on May 14 in Studio City, California.
“I cannot wait to get back into the ring,” said Ruiz. “I’ve got some thunder coming with me to Detroit.”
“I am very excited about bringing another sensational show to Detroit that will feature local talent as well as some of the best fighters from around the country and the world,” said Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions.
“I have a vision of helping Detroit become known as America’s Greatest Comeback City and the East Coast hub of professional boxing. With each show, we are showcasing great fighters and building a fan base locally and around the world.”
Sergiy Derevyanchenko to Face Sam Soliman on July 21st
Rising middleweight contender Sergiy “The Technician” Derevyanchenko (8-0, 6 KOs) will take on former world champion Sam “King” Soliman (44-13, 18 KOs) in the 10-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN & ESPN Deportes on Thursday, July 21 from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.
Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features a middleweight showdown between hard-hitting Ievgen Khytrov (13-0, 11 KOs) and California’s Paul Mendez (19-2-2, 9 KOs) in 10-rounds of action.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to headline against an experienced former champion,” said Derevyanchenko. “Soliman has accomplished a lot, but right now he is standing in the way of me being a world champion. You will see the best version of me on July 21 and I will show why I am a dangerous fighter in this division.”
“This is a crossroads fight so I am leaving nothing to chance and will do every bit of training needed to win this fight,” said Soliman. “We are both fighting for world title position and I know Sergiy will fight hard for this win. This all makes it a great contest.”
Rising Promotions Set for 4th Event in Seven Months on July 22nd
On Friday night, July 22nd, Rising Promotions will present it’s 4th big event at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.
No doubt another sold-crowd will be on hand to witness the action as Rising Promotions is establishing itself as the busiest promoter in the Garden State.
The shows have consistently featured some of the best talent in the Tri-Stae (New Jersey, New York & Pennsylvania.) in competitive, fan-friendly bouts in front of a packed venue at The Claridge.
“The first three shows have gone exactly to the blueprint which we set out for when we came up with the concept,” said Debra LaManna of Rising Promotions.
“The response has been terrific on all fronts. From the fighters, the fan turn out and sponsors. The Clardige and the New Jersey State Athletic Commission have been a pleasure to work with as well.”
“I think when fans know that every couple months they know they can see these kinds of events with Rising Promotions, the events start to sell themselves. With events scheduled for July, September and November, we will continue to build on what we have started.”
Said Thomas LaManna of Rising Promotions, “Every big time promoter starts somewhere, I just so happened to start at the age of 24 while still active in my career with a pro record of 18-1.”
“It all started out with just doing these shows to keep me active. Ray McCline of the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and I met in Las Vegas during the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight week and discussed doing shows at The
Claridge because he had a direct connection with them. When the meeting was over, I started to see the big picture with it so I than sat down with my parents and my promoter Mr. Vincent M. Ponte of Gulf Stream Promotions, we put together a strong team with a solid mission and three successful shows later, here we are,” Continued Thomas LaManna.
It feels great to open doors for fighters to jump start there career. So far, I was able to have four boxers make their professional debut on my shows so far and they include (former Olympian Luis Perozo, 2016 United States Olympic alternate Leroy Davila & Marvin Johnson).
“It’s always been my dream and goal to become a world champion. That’s first and foremost because I am still a fighter first, but I also have a goal to be one of the top promoters in the sport of boxing. Most people say I can’t, waste of time, no money to be made. That’s there way of thinking and they can keep that mindset. I strive to be great in everything I do and this is just another journey. Keep a lookout for Rising Promotions.”
Karl, DeLoach, and Price Win on PBC on NBCSN
Fast rising super welterweight prospect Justin DeLoach (15-1, 8 KOs) dominated Junior Castillo, 10-1 (9 KOs) rolling to an eight round decision by scores of 79-71, 78-72 and 78-72 in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on NBCSN.
Drilling Castillo to the canvas in the third and sixth, DeLoach put the junior middleweight division on notice that he is looking to become a world champion in the not-to-distant future.
“I’m very happy with my performance, did exactly what I wanted to. I’m ready for any of the big names in the junior middleweight division. Even my friend Erickson Lubin, I’d love to fight him,” said De Loach.
“I’m going to stay humble, stay focused, and keep working towards a world championship.”
Unbeaten super lightweight Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (12-0, 8 KOs) continued to impress with a one-sided eight round decision over Luis Solis (14-7-4, 12 KOs).
Dropping Solid in round, Karl went past the fifth stanza for the first time in his career enroute to victory by scores of 80-71, 79-72 and 78-73.
In the televised opener, Darwin Price (12-0, 11 KOs) stayed undefeated with a spirited eight round decision against the also previously undefeated Semajay Thomas, (8-1, 4 KOs) in a super lightweight scrap by scores of 80-71 (twice) and 79-72.
Dropping Thomas in the first round, Price set the tone, playing matador to Thomas’ bull. Following the advice of his renowned trainer Ronnie Shields Price stayed on the outside, racking up points throughout the fight with a piston like jab setting up his combinations towards the wide points decision.