Fight Preview: Sosa vs. Rhodes, Berlanga vs. Trenel
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Top Rank Promotions will partner with Peltz Boxing Promotions to put on an event at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The main event was originally scheduled to be a featherweight fight between Emmanuel Dominguez and Carl”The Jackal” Frampton, but a freak accident caused a facture in the left hand of Carl Frampton, and that fight had to be scrapped.
The junior lightweight fight between Jason Sosa and Haskell Lydell Rhodes was elevated to main event status and the co-main event will be between Edgar Berlanga and Gregory Trenel in the middleweight division.
Other boxers on the undercard include two time Cuban Olympic Gold Medalist Robeisy Ramirez, as well as prospects Paul Kroll, Donald Smith, and heavyweight Sonny Conto.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Edgar Berlanga (11-0) vs. Gregory Trenel (11-4-2); Middleweights
It should probably be noted again that this fight was bumped up to co-main event status after Carl Frampton broke his left hand.
Berlanga is a 6’1 prospect from New York that has stopped every opponent he has faced at this point in his career. He’s a tall middleweight at 6’1 and took second place several times at the National Police Athletic League as an amateur.
Trenel doesn’t have any notable amateur experience. He’s 28 years old and only has three stoppage wins. He has never been stopped in defeat, but has losses to Vincenzo Bevilacqua. Mickael Sanches, Christopher Guedes, and Karim Hayani. None of those boxers are very well known.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Berlanga fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2018. Trenel fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018. However, Trenel has never fought in the United States before and the combined record of his past two opponents was 13-55-2.
This fight should be a blowout. Anything less than a stoppage victory for Berlanga would be considered disappointing.
Jason Sosa (22-3-4) vs. Haskell Lydell Rhodes (27-3-1); Junior Lightweights
Jason Sosa is a Camden native that formerly held the WBA Super Featherweight Title. He’ll likely have a large contingent of supportive fans in attendance since Camden is a short trip from Philadelphia.
Sosa is the same age as his opponent and will be giving up about two and a half inches in reach but will have an inch height advantage. Both Sosa and Rhodes have not been very active the past two years. Sosa only fought once in 2019 and once in 2018. Rhodes fought three times in 2018, but zero times in 2019 and zero times in 2017.
Neither boxer has an extensive amateur background.
Sosa has gone 2-2 in his past four fights, but two of his losses were to big time opponents. He has losses to Yuriorkis Gamboa and Vasiliy Lomachenko. He also has a loss early in his career to Tre’Sean Wiggins. He has a majority draw with Nicholas Walters and has defeated the likes of Reynaldo Blanco, Stephen Smith, and Javier Fortuna.
Fortuna was the biggest win of his career and he win the WBA Super Featherweight Title in that fight.
Rhodes has losses to Omar Douglas, Edner Cherry, and Sergey Lipinets. His notable wins were against Miguel Huerta, John Nater, and Yakubu Amidu. Rhodes briefly competed in MMA.
Sosa has to be considered a favorite, but Rhodes is a live underdog. The home field advantage should help Sosa on his way to victory.
Hard Hitting Promotions Stages Exciting Card at the Met on Broad Street in Philadelphia
By: Frank Bartolini
Saturday night fights at the opera house does not sound right. Especially when you are speaking about North Philly. That is exactly what happened when Hard Hitting Promotions displayed their wares at “The Met” on north Broad Street. Considered at one time to be in disrepair the former Metropolitan Opera House has been restored down to the final detail of its original luster. . Anyone of the estimated 3,700 fans who entered the venue for the first time were awestruck by the forty five million dollar refurbishing.
Partners Manny Rivera and Will Ruiz of Hard Hitting Promotions staged the event with house promoter Live Nation. Trying to deliver a quality slate Hard Hitting matched their charges Samuel Teah and Jeremy Cuevas in with tough opposition. Both of them lost eight round decisions by wide margins. Each of these forays were for Pennsylvania State Titles.
Photo Credit: Jano Cohen
The main Event saw Steve Ortiz,134.2, drop Jeremy Cueves, 134.1, twice on his way to earning a unanimous eight round. This all Philly encounter pitted two young men with similar undefeated records. Ortiz showed more poise out finessing his hometown adversary. On his way to accumulating Cuevas utilized a in your face steam engine piston firing style . Why for the biggest fight did Cuevas come out imitating Mean Gene the Dance Machine was baffling. This approach diminished Cuevas chances and Ortiz took full advantage of this by pick his spots and settling down and teeing off.
Cuevas is now 11-1 (8 ko’s). Ortiz stays undefeated at 10-0 (3 ko’s)
By picking up this win Ortiz career continues to prosper as his tock rises. Cuevas did suffer a small setback and after a win or two he will return to hot prospect status.
Squaring off for th Pennsylvania Super Lightweight Championship Samuel Teah,139.1, was nearly shutout by Tre’Sean Wiggins,140,.over eight heats. It looked like Teah may have underestimated Wiggins for he did not have a answer for anything thrown at him. Teah slides to 15-3 (7 Ko’s). Wiggins record stands at 11-4-2 (6 Ko’s) . Being a road warrior for most of his career Wiggins has been on the wrong side of a couple bad decisions and a couple of those losses and draws should be w’s.
As usual Baltimore based welterweight Malik Hawkins,144.9. looked good as usual battling Gledwin Ortiz of Bronx, NY. Hawkins won a eight round unanimous over Ortiz,146.3,. Always trying to obtain victory Ortiz pushed Hawkins the entire way. Due to Ortiz effort Hawkins was able to showcase his talented repertoire.
Hawkins remains undefeated at 14-0 (9 Ko’s) . Power punching Ortiz left the ring possessing a slate of 6-3 (5 Ko’s)
When speaking of hot prospects out of the City of Brotherly love and there is a lot of them, Branden Pizarro,138.8, name is one of the last to be mentioned. As a young bad ass out of North Philly Pizzaro may achieve more success than his contemporaries. Physically more mature than his was two years ago when he made his pro debut while still in High School Pizarro exploded on poor Zack Ramsey of Springfield Mass . Poor Ramsey,140.1, took a sound thrashing before succumbing at 1:50 of round one.
Charismatic, exciting with crunching power and fast hands Pizarro is a real “Kid Blast” lifting his record to 14-1 (7 Ko’s). Getting to spend a weekend in Philadelphia Ramsey goes home with some cash while he licks his wounds owning a 8-6 (4Ko’s) mark.
Organically growing Hard Hitting Promotions using their own hands Rivera and Ruiz are now reaping a bountiful harvest with a estimated gross gate of almost a quarter million dollars this evening. Not only have these two young men help maintain the Philly fight scene they have made it thrive. Hard Hitting brings boxing back to The Met on April 26.
Raging Babe’s ”Philly Special” Set For February 8th at 2300 Arena
By: Ken Hissner
Michelle Rosado, who has been promoting her own boxing cards in
Arizona since 2011 and working behind the scenes on other shows across
the country, is promoting Friday evening, February 8th at the 2300
Arena in South Philadelphia.
Michelle Rosado is a boxing enthusiast, but to say that she’s
passionate would be an understatement. Rosado has channeled that
passion and energy she felt as a fan into a career on the business
side of the Sweet Science.
Now a successful Radio Host, Boxing Promoter and Marketing Consultant,
Rosado has found her niche in excelling at both the entertainment side
of boxing, as well as the event and fighter marketing aspect of the
Rosado is the co-founder and former host of “The Morning Punch-In with
RB & Jae”, a groundbreaking Monday morning drive-time broadcast that
featured unconventional fighter interviews and bleeding edge news. The
podcast has drew acclaim throughout the industry, and became a
platform for boxing top talent to showcase its lighter side.
Dubbed the “Raging Babe” by the Phoenix New Times Magazine, Rosado
parlayed the moniker into a successful boxing and lifestyle brand
under the membership of “The First Lady of Boxing,” Jackie Kallen.
Inspired by Kallen, who has managed six world champions, and whose
life story was the basis for the Paramount Movie Against the Ropes,
starring Meg Ryan, Rosado launched her passion project, the Raging
Babe Bruch in 2012. Both a celebration of women in a male-dominated
industry and a valuable networking event, the Bruch has grown from 12
attendees to more than 80, all with prominent roles at networks,
promotional companies, governing bodies and other boxing
organizations. It was around the same time that she launched her
apparel line, which features t-shirts for male boxing fans and the
underserved female boxing fan demographic.
Rosado grew up in the Philadelphia-area watching boxing alongside her
father, not knowing at the time that her boxing career would take her
full circle, and that she would one day be working events in her old
stomping grounds. Rosado gained invaluable experience and notoriety in
promoting several sold-out events in Arizona, along and with Top Rank
Boxing, and is widely credited with revitalizing boxing in the Valley
of the Sun and Tucson. She then went on to work with Mayweather
Promotions and eventually returned to Philadelphia to work with Hall
of Fame Promoter, J Russell Peltz.
For Michelle Rosado, boxing isn’t work. She doesn’t punch the clock at
the end of the day, and vacations and breaks are largely imposed upon
her by her friends and family. She makes it look easy, and like
everything she touches turns to gold. What is unseen is the passion,
hard work, ambition and humility that drive her success. The Raging
Babe story continues…..She was nice enough to entertain some questions
for Brick City Boxing.
KEN HISSNER: What part of the Philadelphia area did you live and
attend high school?
RAGING BABE: I grew up in Bristol Borough, right outside of
Philadelphia. I attended Temple University. GO OWLS!
KEN HISSNER: Like me you first got a glimpse of boxing from watching
TV with your father. Mine was the second Marciano-Walcott fight. Do
you remember who you watched first?
RAGING BABE: My dad liked Sugar Ray Leonard. He would mention Muhammad
Ali’s name and Wilfred Benitez too. I remember he’d watch all the
fights, but I didn’t really understand who was who back then. I was
too young. I really got into it when Mike Tyson hit the scene by
storm. We’d watch all the Tyson fights!
KEN HISSNER: I understand Felix “Tito” Trinidad was one of your
favorite boxers. Are there any other boxers that were are your
RAGING BABE: My dad loved Tito so of course, I did too. Tito made me
fall in love with boxing. His pride, heart, will, and charisma were
captivating. The first time I cried over boxing was when he was beat
by Hopkins. I cried when Winky Wright spanked him too. Today, I’m a
huge fan of Terence Crawford. His journey has been amazing, his
accomplishments, remarkable. His entire team is awesome. If you
haven’t been to one of his fights in Omaha, put it on our bucket list!
I’ll admit, I cried when he beat Indongo and became the undisputed
champion of the world. I was glad to be there in that moment and to
witness history. Despite being a part of boxing on the business side,
I find boxers and their accomplishments still stir up my emotions. I
am still deeply passionate about the sport.
KEN HISSNER: I see you have your boxing event coming up at the 2300
Arena on February 8th. On top you have Christian Carto, possibly the
most exciting young boxer in Philly. I guess you know he’s probably
the biggest ticket seller in the city.
RAGING BABE: I knew that, coming into Philly, with all of its history,
the personalities still involved in boxing, I had to bring my A game.
Boxing is serious business here, and I have a lot to prove. I am
thankful that Carto, despite being offered other opportunities is
toppy my first card here. Christian Carto is the “Philly Special” and
he’s an attraction. He’s one of the top prospects in Philly. In my
opinion, the hottest thing coming out of South Philly in many years.
He’s the best bantamweight in Philly since Jeff Chandler. He has a
bright future and his team is an absolute pleasure to work with. It
made great sense for us to work together. The 2300 Arena is in South
Philly and Carto is from South Philly. Welcome to Carto’s House on Feb
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you
RAGING BABE: Thank you for the opportunity, and for shining a light on
the talent we have coming out of Philly.
Philadelphia Area Has a Big Weekend of Boxing with Three Shows
By: Ken Hissner
On Friday night at the SugarHouse Casino, Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions brings Tyrone Crawley, Jr., 7-1 (0), of Philadelphia, for the WBF junior welter title, against his toughest opponent to date in Dominican Ricardo Garcia, 14-3 (9), over 8 rounds. The matchmaker is Damian Ramos and PR is Marc Abrams.
Crawley is the son of his now trainer Tyrone “Butterfly” Crawley, Sr., 22-2 (7), who was one of the slickest boxers in Philly’s modern times. After his career ended he became a Philadelphia policeman. He won the NABF title over future champion Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown, defeated unbeaten boxers, Robin Blake, 22-0, Gene Hatcher, 14-0, Edwin Curet, 14-0-1, Pat Jefferson, 6-0, and Hermino Morales, 10-0-1.
I remember when I first saw Crawley, Jr., fight I called him the caterpillar, for he wasn’t quite a “butterfly” like his dad but the future will reveal that. “Seeing Tevin Farmer win the world title last week is an inspiration,” said Crawley.
The card is filled with Philly fighters with the co-main event having always exciting super middle Christopher Brooker, 13-5 (5), coming off a win in his last fight over Philly’s Jamaal Davis in March. Welter Poindexter Knight, 4-0 (2), under management to Dave McWater, super feather Joshafat Ortiz, 4-0 (2), of Reading, welter Rasheed Johnson 3-2 (1), of Willow Grove, Philly’s Paul Kroll former National Golden Glove champion making his debut, along with Rasheem Brown, super welter James Martin, 1-1, son of Jerry “The Bull” Martin, and Jamaican heavyweight Nicoy Clarke, 1-1, from Jersey City, NJ.
Talk about home grown Philly and surrounding area boxers!
Saturday Hard Hitting Promotions under Will Ruiz, Jr. and matchmaker Manny Rivera will be at the 2300 Arena in South Philly off Oregon Ave & Front Street. PR Kurt Wolfheimer.
On top is Glassboro, NJ, super middle Derrick “Take It to The Bank” Webster, 26-1 (13), taking on Australia’s Les Sherrington, 37-10 (21), over 10 rounds. In the co-feature is Philly’s Eric “The Outlaw” Hunter, 21-4 (11), first fight in over two years losing in a IBF World feather title fight in the UK against southpaw Fatiou Fassinou, 28-10-3 (15), of Benin, fighting out of Ft. Washington, MD, over 8 rounds.
On the loaded undercard are Philly’s lightweight Branden “Gifted” Pizarro, 10-1, lightweight Samuel “Tsunami” Teah, 31-2-1, of Liberia, Philly, lightweight Jeremy Cuevas, 9-0, super bantam Romuel Cruz, 2-0, light heavy Benjamin Sinakin making his debut, super feather Seifullah Jihad Wise, 3-5, and cruiser Prince Badi Ajamu, 29-4-1, of Camden, NJ.
Finally, at the PAL Center, in Hockessin, DE, Saturday headlining for matchmaker Rene Aiken will be Philly’s cruiser Dhafir “No Fear” Smith, 27-25-7, out of Upper Darby, heavy Mark “Oak Tree” Brown, 15-7, super feather Donald “No Love” Smith, 7-0, middle Ryan Wilczak, 6-0, of Scranton, Jamaican Anthony Miller, 3-2, of Wilmington, welter Tyrone Shelton, making debut, of Wilmington, and feather Ryshine Collins, of Philly making his debut.
Keep An Eye on Philadelphia’s Stephen “Scooter” Fulton
By: Ken Hissner
Philadelphia featherweight Stephen “Scooter” Fulton had an outstanding amateur career. He was a Ringside, National Golden Gloves and Junior National Golden Gloves and Silver Gloves Champion.
Fulton was working out at the James Shuler Memorial Gym in Philly when I approached him about a story. I have seen him box professionally about eight times. His trainer since day one is Hamza Muhammad. He is managed by Al Haymon.
Photo Credit: Stephen Fulton’s Twitter Account
Fulton has had the nickname “Scooter” for some time but on the belt of his trunks you can see “Cool Boy Steph”. He’s been in camp with former WBA Super World Featherweight and now interim WBO World Featherweight champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton in the UK helping him get ready for his last fight against Nonito Donaire in April of this year.
Fulton is a “classic Philly boxer” who will been turning 24 in July. Of his twelve wins he defeated five unbeaten opponents in his last six fights. His upcoming bout June 16th will be on the undercard of IBF World Welterweight champion Errol Spence, Jr. and Carlos Ocampo at the Ford Center at the Star, in Frisco, Texas, on USA Showtime in Fulton’s first ten round bout.
Fulton’s next opponent will be Mexico’s Jesus “La cobra” Ahumada, 14-1, with 9 stoppages making his US debut. After four bouts at four rounds Fulton had six bouts at six rounds before his last two bouts at eight rounds. He hasn’t fought since December of 2017 in Hialeah, FL, winning a majority decision over Adam “Bluenose” Lopez, then 8-0, who has won two fights since his loss to Fulton.
Fulton also won a majority four round decision over Joshua Greer, Jr., in 2015 and came off the canvas to stop Adalberto Zorrilla, 6-0, in the fourth of a scheduled 6 in 2016. This will be Fulton’s ninth Spanish opponent. In 2017 along with the win over Lopez he defeated Luis Rosario, 8-0-1, over 8 rounds at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA. Nine of his twelve wins have been in PA.
Fulton turned professional in October of 2014 on the undercard of IBF World Super Featherweight champion Rances Bathelemy’s defense against Fernando Saucedo at Foxwoods Resorts, Mashantucket, CT, stopping Issac Badger in two rounds. Fulton had wins in each of the next three months defeating Damen Wood in November, Benjamin Burgos in December and Eric Gotay in January. He had four more fights that year but in 2016 and 2017 he only fought twice each year.
“I could make 122 but it seems I can get more fights at featherweight so I will stay there for now,” said Fulton. He is looking very sharp in the gym and definitely one to “keep an eye on!”
On Saturday Fulton will be seeking his thirteenth win on the undercard of the IBF World welterweight champion Errol Spence, Jr., 23-0 (20), defending his title against Mexican Carlos Ocampo, 22-0 (13) card at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Fulton will be in his first 10 round bout taking on Jesus “La cobra” Ahumada, 14-1 (9), of Sonorea, MEX, on USA Showtime promoted by Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions.
Two Events Same Night in Philly 2300 Arena & SugarHouse on Friday
By: Ken Hissner
When will the PA Boxing Director learn you cannot have two boxing events on the same night like he did December 1st? 2300 Arena in South Philly is sold out per Will Ruiz of Hard Hitting Promotions with co-promoter Greg Cohen Promotions Showtime event Friday at Front & Oregon. At SugarHouse Casino Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions are on 1001 Delaware Avenue.
Photo Credit: Devin Haney Twitter Account
The main event at 2300 has Devin “The Dream” Haney, 18-0 (12), of Las Vegas, NV, taking on Mason “Rock Hard Mighty” Menard, 33-2 (24), of Rayne, LA, for the USBA Lightweight Title over 10 rounds. At the Press Conference Wednesday Haney was there but Menard a no show. Doors open at 6:30 and First Bout at 7:15.
Showtime will have four of the eight bouts aired starting at 9pm. The co-feature has Super Bantamweight Joshua “Don’t Blink” Greer, Jr., 16-1 (8), taking on Glenn Dezurn, Jr., 9-1-1 (6), of Baltimore, MD, in a 10 round bout
Light Heavyweight Alvin “Iron Majik” Varmall 15-0-1 (12), of Catskill, NY,takes on Charles Foster, 15-0 (8), of New Haven, CT, in a 8 round bout. Super Bantamweight Adam “Mantequilla” Lopez, 16-2-2 (8), of San Antonio, TX, takes on Arnold “Ami” Khegai, 11-0-1 (8), of Odessa, UKR, over 8 rounds. They are the four Showtime bouts.
Four Philadelphia boxers in 6 round bouts will fill out the card with Lightweight southpaw Jeremy “King” Cuevas, 8-0 (6), of Philly, taking on Hector Marengo, 7-11-4 (4), of Arecibo, PR. Lightweight Branden “The Gift” Pizarro, 9-1 (4), of Philly, taking on Israel “Isra” Villela, 6-9 (2), of Cancun, MEX. Light Heavyweight David ‘One-Two” Murray, 7-1-1 (6), of Philly, taking on Craig “Danger” Duncan, 10-1-1 (8), of Apopka, FL. Opening the show will be the return of Milton “El Santo” Santiago, 16-0 (3), of Philly, after 18 months taking on Jorge L Munguia, 13-11 (5), of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
At the press conference were Haney, Greer, Dezurn, Varmall, Lopez, Cuevas, Murray, Duncan and Santiago. “This will be my sixth appearance tying a record on Showtime. Thank God, my team, my dad, Hard Hitting and Greg Cohen. Come Friday I want to show them I’m up there with those at the top,” said Haney. “Thank God, I have a pillow for Dezurn to put him to sleep on,” said Greer. “I want to thank my coach, parents and am looking forward for a great fight and to put another guy to sleep bringing Showtime back to Philly,” said Cuevas.
At the SugarHouse Casino in the main event will be Super Lightweight Mykal “The Professor” Fox, 16-0 (4), of Forestville, MD, taking on Anthony Mercado, 11-3 (10), of Arecibo, PR, over 8 rounds. Eleven Sports will cover the event. There will be seven other bouts with a pair of 6 rounder’s and 6 bouts at 4 rounds.
Returning to the ring after 21 months is “The Fighting Ring Announcer” Super Bantamweight Alex Barbosa, 5-3-1 (1), of Philly. The rest of the undercard has Bantamweight’s Romuel Cruz, Jerrod Miner and Desmond Moore of Philly. Also, Super Featherweight’s Joshafat Ortiz of Reading and Jordan “The Kidd” Peters, of D.C., Heavyweight Michael Polite Coffie, of NY. Lightweight Thomas Mattice, 11-0 (9), of Cleveland, OH, was added this week.
Doors open at 6pm and Starting time for first bout is 7pm.
Here We Go Again with Two Fights in Philly on same Night May 11th
By: Ken Hissner
We all know there are at least 1500-3000 boxing fans that will attend a boxing event in Philly. Two 1000-1500 facilities can be filled on a given night there. On April 28th the Peltz Boxing promotion at a 5,000 seat facility with a co-feature in itself that would fill one of these small venues like SugarHouse Casino or 2300 Arena, will they fill the Liacouras Center on the Temple University facility?
On December 1st of 2017 Boxing Director Greg Sirb “made the decision” to have two events in Philly on the same night. The writers were wondering “which one should I cover?” I told Marshall Kauffman who was promoting at the 2300 Arena “wherever Christian Carto fights I will be there” knowing both his King’s Promotions and Manny Rivera’s Hard Hitting Promotions who was at the SugarHouse Casino have had Carto on their events. He came back and knowing Carto would be at the SugarHouse said “I’m having “Boots” Ennis on my show, whom I feel is the best prospect out of Philly since 1984 Olympian Meldrick Taylor, I told him it didn’t make a difference. For “Boots” can finish an opponent within 3 minutes whereas Carto wares them down with his boxing ability until he lowers the boom on them while “Boots” is in a hurry to get it over with. So I’d rather see 5-8 rounds of Carto than 3 minutes of Boots even though the latter is a more skilled boxer in my opinion and Carto a more exciting one. Obviously that night I went to the SugarHouse Casino to see Carto.
Now, Hard Hitting co-promoting with Greg Cohen Promotions will be at the 2300 Arena that can’t compare with the SugarHouse Casino for parking or a better area. One of my concerns is that the promoter’s show I don’t go to will not be pleased with me though going to the better overall show comes first. Of course Sirb will be at the 2300 Arena since Showtime will be there and that is also a concern to rather be at the show he isn’t.
Hard Hitting has only had one bad show while having the reputation of competitive fights. Not that King’s doesn’t have competitive shows because they do. Both promotions have good competitive matchmaking.
Both events have out of town main events which will not be known to the average fan. Having just finished an article today on Mykal Fox who will be in the main event at SugarHouse and ring announcer Alex Barbosa “making a comeback” there will influence me, Jeremy Cuevas and David Murray will be at the 2300 Arena which also interests me. Both main events should give the main boxer in Devin Haney and Mykal Fox a challenge if not more.
I’m sure Philadelphia area PA commissioner Rudy Battles doesn’t know about the double in one night show like he didn’t about the December 1st event until I contacted him, why does he allow Sirb to make these decisions knowing he (Battles) doesn’t approve of this? Sirb hates the Press, especially this writer, so he could care less how we feel.
In the meantime Carto will be on the Peltz Boxing show April 28th and who knows where “Boots” will show up after winning his 19th fight in 24 months Saturday in Va? Of Course Chris Middendorf who has promoted his fights along with manager Cameron Dunkin make those decisions. With 2300 Arena having 6 fights and SugarHouse having 7 fights it allows either to add one more fight. If “Boots” ends up anywhere it will probably be the 2300 Arena though the chances of being on Showtime considering the undercard would be of interest since he probably would have his fight shown. But then Middendorf’s Victory Promotions may do a show of their own since Middendorf has just informed this writer “it’s time to step up the competition and get “Boots” into the ratings”. It may not be long before he steals the spotlight from former champion Danny “Swift” Garcia or stable mate “The New” Ray Robinson. But that’s another one of those “wait and see moments!”
Mykal Fox Turns Losing Amateur Record into a 16-0 as a Pro
By: Ken Hissner
In covering a Marshall Kauffman King’s Promotions show Friday night at the Bethlehem Sands Event Center I met Mykal Fox and unbeaten 6:03½ Super Lightweight with a 16-0 (4), record who will be the Main Event May 11th at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. King’s Promotions will promote this while in another part of Philadelphia the Boxing Director Greg Sirb did it again! Greg Cohen Promotions and Hard Hitting Promotions will be at the 2300 Arena in South Philly via Showtime with David Haney against Mason Menard in the Main Event. Sirb approved of two shows December 1st at the same two facilities. That was a “writer’s nightmare” because you get one of the promoters upset if you don’t go to their show.
Getting back to Fox he told me “I was 40-60 in the amateurs”. I asked if he meant 40-6? He repeated 40-60. “I wasn’t that dedicated,” he said. No kidding! But, what a turn around. He has another brother that also boxes.
“My dad Troy is my trainer. My brother Alantez (“Sly Aza, 23-1-1 (11), middleweight). Reggie Brown is my cut man,” said Fox. I knew about his brother who has had a good career so far. He lost for the first time in his last fight to Demitrius Andrade, 24-0, in November of 2017, but had him down in the 7th round.
“My brother always was my biggest supporter and my best training partner. We push each other regularly,” said Fox. His brother is 26 while the younger brother is 22. Mykal turned pro in April of 2014 while his older brother turned pro July of 2010. It wasn’t until July 18th in 2015 that they fought on the same show with his brother scoring a 1st round KO and Mykal winning a 6 round decision. It’s been the only time on the same card.
I asked him about some of his tougher opponents.
“Claudinei Lucerda, 16-13-1, who actually fought at 154 and dropped to 140 but his punching power came with him. In the first round he hit me with some hard body shots. Tre’Sean Wiggins, 7-2, was another power puncher but he also had very quick hands.
Alejandro Reyes, 11-3-1, was another. I went up a weight class to face him. He was an aggressive action fighter true to Mexican style. Ricardo Garcia, 14-1, was an awkward fighter and I know I lost the first two rounds against him,” said Fox.
In Fox’s first three years he fought a total of four fights each year. In 2017 he only had three fights. He has one fight this year and the other on May 11th scheduled. Kauffman will keep him busy. On his November 21st fight he won the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) All America Welterweight title though only weighing 143 which has been his highest weight so far when he defeated Manuel Alejandro Reyes.
Fox will have a tough opponent in his May bout in Anthony Mercado, 11-3 (10), from Arecibo, PR. He won his first 7 fight by KO and followed with three more wins. Then dropped two bouts before winning his most recent one in March when his opponent Tyrone Crawly, Jr., 7-0, hurt his hand and couldn’t come out after 3 rounds.
Fox’s first 10 fights were in Ft. Washington or Washington, MD. On June 28th of 2016 he finally fought out of MD at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center winning all six rounds over Jose M. Valderrama, 5-13. He returned to this facility in November defeated Reyes over 10 rounds and in February defeating Garcia over 8 rounds.
In Fox’s debut he defeated David Ruiz who was also in his debut. In his 5th fight he was in his first 6 rounder defeating Luis Rodriguez, 3-1. He has also defeated Juan Carlos Castillo, 4-2, Adam Mate, 18-6, Sommer Martin, 5-2, Juan Rodriguez, 6-5-1, and Daniel Sostre, 13-12-1, among those opponents with winning records.
It looks like the younger Fox has a bright future though not a real good puncher. But, with that height advantage he should be able to out box his opponents. Mercado will be a good test on May 11th at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
Will Christian Carto Be Philly’s Next Bantamweight Champion Since “Joltin” Jeff Chandler?
By: Ken Hissner
Former Philadelphia WBA World Bantamweight Champion “Joltin” Jeff Chandler was 13-0-1 with 4 knockouts after his first 14 fights. His fourteenth fight was his first 10 rounder.
In comparison Philadelphia’s 21 year-old Christian Carto is 14-0 with 11 knockouts and a former 2014 and 2015 National Golden Gloves Champion. He’s also been the main event boxer on three shows. Starting August 11th, September 29th and March 2nd.
Photo Credit: Darryl Cobb, Jr.
On April 28th he will be fighting for the same promoter Chandler had who is IBHOF promoter J Russell Peltz of Peltz Boxing. The bout will take place at the Liacouras Center in North Philadelphia which is the home base for the Temple University Owls basketball team. It is also where both Peltz and his assistant matchmaker Brittany Rodgers graduated from.
Peltz is known to give the fans what they want and put’s on very competitive fights. Carto’s opponent will not be an exception in Edwin “Puto” Rodriguez, 9-4 (5), of Puerto Rico. He is coming off a win over Juan Carlos Camacho then 6-0 (4) in August by majority decision in Complejo Ferial, Ponce, PR, over 6 rounds. In his previous loss he lost a split decision over 10 rounds to Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, then 31-4 (19), at the ABC Sports Complex in Springfield, VA, to win the UBF All America Super Flyweight title. He has a knockout win over Puerto Rico’s Carlos Rodriguez who was 12-1 at the time for the WBA Fedecentro Super Flyweight title.
Carto is trained by former PA Golden Gloves Champion Mickey Rosati. He trains above Rosati’s Auto Repair Shop in South Philadelphia. Carto’s manager is his brother Frankie Jr. who was a PA Novice champion. In this writer’s conversations with Frankie it’s like talking to an old time manager. For someone so young and inexperienced you would never guess this. Rosati is one of the best young trainers in the business and having his boxing career in Philadelphia following his father’s career has really been a blessing. At the gym today I found out PAB HOF Mickey Sr. fell and fractured his pelvis and broke a hand. He is in the Methodist Hospital in South Philly and “fighting to get back home” with every doctor he encounters.
Carto turned professional on July 2, 2016 stopping Rahkeam Parker at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA. Just 20 days later he was stopping Christopher Nelson who was making his debut at the Claridge Hotel & Casino, in Atlantic City, NJ.
Carto would win 4 more fights in 2016 with 3 at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and 2 at the Liacouras Center where his next bout will be held. He would have a total of 7 fights at the SugarHouse Casino, 1 each at the Fillmore and 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Tropicana Hotel & Casino as well as the previously mentioned Claridge making it 2 in Atlantic City.
Carto’s last 3 wins have be 8 round decisions over Mexico’s Alonso Melendez, 14-1, Mexico’s Luis Fernando Saavedra, 7-3 and James Smith 12-1 of Detroit, MI. It wasn’t until his last fight against Smith that one of the judges had an opponent winning a round.
KEN HISSNER: Do you know anything about your next opponent Edwin Rodriguez?
CHRISTIAN CARTO & MICKEY ROSATI: We’ve seen several films on him. He looks more like a boxer than a slugger.
FRANKIE CARTO: We have seen enough films on Rodriguez to know that he will be a tough test for Christian even though he is coming up a couple of pounds from his usual weight.
KEN HISSNER: Do you feel you have learned more from winning your last 3 fights by 8 round decisions than your first 11 bouts by stoppages all within 5 rounds?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I believe I am learning and improving with each fight.
MICKEY ROSATI: We work on new stuff and he adjusts so good it’s amazing how quick he picks things up.
KEN HISSNER: This will be your third time fighting at Temple University’s the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Is there much difference than fighting in smaller venues?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I don’t notice the crowd so the size of the facility or crowd doesn’t matter to me.
KEN HISSNER: You have fought for promoters Hard Hitting Promotions, King’s Promotions and now Peltz Boxing in association with Top Rank Boxing. Do you and your brother Frankie feel it’s good so that you can evaluate them?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: My brother Frankie takes care of all of this.
FRANKIE CARTO: We evaluate them and all have helped Christian’s career which is important in a young career. This keeps him in the gym. He will be having his fifteenth fight next month in twenty-two months since turning professional in July of 2016.
KEN HISSNER: What is the weight set at for the fight with Edwin Rodridguez knowing he is a super flyweight?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: The weight is set at 118 give or take a pound.
KEN HISSNER: Who was your amateur trainer?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: Tony Brisani who also trained Mickey (Rosati) in the beginning. Then Mickey came in from that point and for all my professional fights.
KEN HISSNER: Would you say sparring with Manny Folly also out of Philly who is 10-0 has been as tough as any of your opponents?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: Manny gives me the best sparring I could get and he is as good as my opponents have been.
KEN HISSNER: Who have you sparred with in preparing you for this upcoming fight?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I just finished sparring with Stephen “Scooter” Felton (12-0 Philly Featherweight).
KEN HISSNER: Have you signed a promotional contract as of yet?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: No.
KEN HISSNER: In your last bout you had your first main event fight. In the one coming up you will be on a card with a world title bout, a pair of 10 rounder’s and be one of the four 8 rounder’s but on a much larger stage and on ESPN. Can you compare the two without yet experiencing it?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: It is exciting on the same card with some good people.
KEN HISSNER: I believe I have covered all your 14 bouts and have to say you are probably the most exciting to watch because you come with the “full package” of boxing skills and punching power. Do you feel the fans expect a knockout since your first eleven fights ended that way?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I feel I am getting better with each fight. I know it’s a learning process going from the amateurs to the professionals.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule preparing for your upcoming fight on April 28th.
CHRISTIAN CARTO: Anytime.
“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler & Eddie “Flame” Mustapha Muhammad Were Schooled in Philly Before Becoming World Champions
By: Ken Hissner
Philadelphia was a hot bed for boxing back in the 1970’s especially in the middleweight division. Out of own boxers would come in to test the water. Two of them that were schooled in Philly that went onto become world champions were “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Eddie Mustapha Muhammad aka then Eddie Gregory.
Let’s start with Hagler, who was 25-0-1, when he came to the city of “Brotherly Shove” at the Spectrum on March 13, 1976, losing a somewhat disputed majority decision to Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, 27-3-1. All of Hagler’s Philly fights were promoted by J Russell Peltz’s Peltz Boxing.
Several months late on March 9, 1976 Hagler returned to fight a “different” Willie “The Worm” Monroe, 31-3-1, who was then being trained by future IBHOF trainer George Benton for his second fight. Monroe was no longer a runner but stood in front of you like Benton did as a boxer slipping and countering. This writer was in attendance that night and it looked like by the second round Hagler’s nose reminded me if memory serves me right like “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”. Whether it was broken or not I do not know.
In September 14, 1976, Hagler returned to Philly to face their knockout artists Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, 30-6-1 with 28 knockouts. Hagler was ahead on all three scorecards when Hart was stopped in the eighth round.
This writer remembers seeing Monroe at a weigh-in with a cast on his I believe left hand sitting there. I asked “I hear you are having a rematch with Hagler in Boston” how come? “I beat him before didn’t I?” Well, like that old saying “watch what you ask for” and Monroe was stopped in the twelfth and final round for the vacant North American title.
Later that year on August 23rd Hagler and Monroe would have their rubber match back at Philly’s Spectrum with Hagler stopping Monroe in the second round.
Almost a year to the day on August 24, 1978, Hagler returned to face “Bad” Bennie Briscoe, 60-16-5, with 50 knockouts. I recall after defeating Briscoe Hagler went onto comment on how tough Briscoe was. It would be a little over two years when Hagler got his first title fight ending in a disputed draw against Vito Antuofermo, 45-3-1, in Las Vegas. A fight he should have gotten the decision. Antuofermo would lose his title in his next back to back fights with Alan Minter.
While Minter and Antuofermo were fighting one another Hagler got a rematch with Watts in Portland, Oregon, stopping Watts in the second round in April of 1980. Two fights later on September 27, 1980, Hagler traveled to the Wembly Stadium, in the UK, to stop Minter on facial cuts in the third round with a riot following the fight.
In Hagler’s second title fight he stopped Antuofermo in June of 1981. Two years after that he stopped “Caveman” Lee from Philly who was a member of the Kronk Team in the first round.
Now, let’s take a look at Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, 6-0, when he made his Philly debut on September 24, 1973 scoring a first round knockout over Philly’s Elwood Townsend, 3-6-2. J Russell Peltz told this writer he promoted the Townsend, Smith and Briscoe fights that Mustafa had in Philly. Almost a year later on August 26, 1974, in New York, he knocked out Hart in 4 rounds.
On January 14, 1975, Mustafa returned to the Spectrum knocking out Philly’s Steven Smith, 15-4, in 4 rounds. On April 28 he returned to the Philly Arena knocking out Don Cobbs, 25-12-1, of St. Louis. On June 16th he stopped Lenny Harden, 14-4, from nearby Philly suburb of Coatesville.
On August 18, 1975, Muhammad took on Briscoe, 51-14-2, at the Spectrum losing by split decision. On July 14, 1976, he returned to Philly’s Convention Hall to stop Lee Barber, 9-3-1, of Detroit in the fourth round.
On March 11, of 1977 Muhammad would take on Philly’s Matthew Saad Muhammad, 13-2-2, at the Philly Arena to take a split decision win. Later that year on November 20th he would get a title fight losing a disputed decision to Victor Galindez, 47-6-4, for his WBA Light Heavyweight title in Italy. He got knocked down in the fifth round which seemed to make the difference in the scoring losing by a point on two cards and by two points on the other. Galindez would lose his title less than a year later to Philly trained Mike “The Jewish Bomber” Rossman from Turnersville, NJ.
Muhammad would go onto win thirteen of his next fourteen fights only losing to James Scott at the Rahway State Prison. On March 31, 1980, he would win the WBA Light Heavyweight title stopping Marvin Johnson. His first defense was against Philly’s Jerry “The Bull” Martin, 19-1, who he stopped in the tenth round.
After Muhammad lost his title to Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Spinks in July of 1981 he would return to Philly one more time defeating Pablo Paul Ramos, 20-3-1, at the Spectrum.
Brandon Robinson Defeats Oscar Rojas at Philly’s 2300 Arena
By: Ken Hissner
At the 2300 Arena in South Philly Friday night Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions put Upper Darby (Philly) Super Middleweight Brandon Robinson in his first Main Event against Oscar Rojas, of Monterrey, MEX, with six additional fights on the undercard.
In the Main Event Super Middleweight Brandon Robinson, 10-1 (7), of Upper Darby, PA, defeated southpaw Oscar Rojas, 16-9-1 (5), of Monterrey, MEX, over 8 interesting rounds.
In the first round a right from Robinson on the southpaw Rojas chin dropped him. Referee Dali administered the 8 count. Rojas was up boxing out of trouble. Robinson couldn’t put him away allowing Rojas to get through the round. He was warned in the last ten seconds for throwing Rojas back toward the ropes. In the second round smaller Rojas who was obviously overmatched tried keeping his hands high to avoid the right hand of Robinson. Rojas managed to once again get through the round as Robinson seemed content to just out jabbing his shorter opponent.
In the third round it was Rojas backing up Robinson with a jab and body work. Rojas spread his arms as if to say “is that all you got?” Robinson came in with a solid right to the mid-section of Rojas. Just prior to the bell they clashed heads causing the referee to give them a minute rest with a little more than ten seconds left in the round.
In the fourth round Rojas landed a 3-punch combination while Robinson missed with a countering right. Robinson was warned for a low blow by referee Dali. Rojas landed a lead left to the body followed by a right to the body of Robinson. It looked like Rojas finally won a round. In the fifth round Robinson slipped to the canvas as both fighters tied each other up. Robinson landed a solid right to the chin of Rojas making him stumble back several steps. Rojas came right back with a flurry making Robinson cover up. Once again Rojas taunted Robinson who landed a punch as the bell sounded to the chin of Rojas.
In the sixth round Robinson landed a hard right to the chin of Rojas getting his attention. Again Robinson got in several rights to the chin getting the crowd back into the fight. Rojas stood his ground daring Robinson to come in. Robinson came in landing a good left hook to the head of Rojas. It was a big round for Robinson.
In the seventh round it was Rojas driving Robinson into the ropes only to be rocked with a Robinson left hook to the head. Robinson landed a lead right to the chin of Rojas that seemed to have little effect. Rojas shortly afterwards complaining of Robinson hitting him behind the head. In the eighth and final round Rojas came out looking to pull the fight out being well behind but Robinson was waiting for him hurting Rojas with a right uppercut to the body. Robinson was warned for a low blow by referee Dali. Rojas again was chasing Robinson looking for that one big punch. Robinson was doing little in return until Rojas landed several jabs with Robinson coming back with a right uppercut to the body. Rojas did well going the distance and making things interesting for the crowd.
Judge Hill had it 78-71 while Potaraj and Weissfeld 77-72 as did this writer for the winner.
In the Co-feature Super Bantamweight Marcus Bates, 8-1-1 (7), of Wash. D.C. lost to Raeese Aleem, 11-0 (5), of Las Vegas, NV, over 8 rounds.
In the first round it was Aleem dropping Bates with a combination having referee Shawn Clark administer the 8 count. Aleem hurt Bates again with a right to the chin almost dropping him but Bates survived the round. In the second round Bates worked his way back into the fight holding his own. In the third round Bates switched to southpaw stopping the aggressive punches by Aleem before going back to orthodox. Bates was countering well but Aleem got the better of the exchanges.
In the fourth and fifth rounds Bates fought his way back into the fight but still well behind. In the sixth round Bates hurt Aleem with a solid right to the chin. It was even through the round with Bates finally winning one. In the seventh and eighth rounds both fighters fought tooth and nail with Aleem pulling out a lopsided but interesting win.
Judges Weissfeld and Page had it 79-72 and Poturaj 80-71. This writer had it 79-72.
Heavyweight Colby “Braveheart” Madison, 6-0-2 (4), and Guillermo Del Rio, 2-2-1 (2), of Houston, TX, battled to a majority draw over 6 rounds.
In the first round the much bigger Madison (248 to 198) kept coming forward against the much smaller Del Rio hurting him with a left hook to the head driving him into the ropes. Del Rio held his own in the punch total but the difference was big. In the second round a lead overhand right from Madison rocked Del Rio. Del Rio showed a big heart even taking it to Madison and at the halfway mark landed a right to the head. Then seconds later a left to the head of Del Rio from Madison stunned him in a very good round for the fans.
In the third round it was Madison backing up from body punches from a smaller Del Rio who continued going to the body with a flurry of punches. Del Rio went to the head of Madison with an overhand right. Just prior to the bell Del Rio landed a good left hook to the head of Madison. It was a very good round for Del Rio. In the fourth round it was Del Rio backing up Madison landing overhand rights to the head. Del Rio landed a combination to the body followed by a right to the head of Madison. It was a good round for Del Rio.
In the fifth round Madison came out throwing bombs with a right to the head of Del Rio hurting him. Madison had Del Rio in a neutral corner until a Del Rio left hook stopped Madison in his tracks until the bell. The fans are cheering for the little guy Del Rio who is pushing Madison backwards. Again it was a Del Rio round. In the sixth and final round Del Rio pushed forward out hitting the bigger Madison. Madison finally landed a left hook to the head of Del Rio. Though the bout sheet said it was a 4 rounder the fight was changed to a 6 rounder. Madison is a King’s fighter and was landing well with left hooks hurting Del Rio. When the fight ended it looked like a draw to this writer.
Judge Hill had it 58-56 for Madison while judges Weissfeld and Hill scored it 57-57 as did this writer.
Welterweight Rasheed “Sugar” Johnson, 3-2 (1), of Willow Grove, PA, suffered a mild upset losing a split decision to Denis Okoth, 2-0-1 (1), of Siaya, Kenya, over 4 rounds.
In the first round Okoth was the aggressor as Johnson back pedaled using his long jab. Okoth seemed the much stronger of the two. In the second round Johnson was caught by an Okoth right while Johnson was pulling back with his head up in the air. Johnson landed a combination to the body while they were in the middle of the ring. Johnson had a superior jab that he was using for the most part in the round. In the final ten seconds of the round Johnson landed a good right to the body but was countered by a left hook from Okoth to the chin at the bell. It was a very close round that could have been scored either way.
In the third round Johnson was quite effective landing with the jab but was caught by two rights on the chin from Okoth. Johnson’s jab for the most part was giving Okoth fit’s by the end of the round making him miss more than he was landing. It was a good round for Johnson. In the fourth and final round Okoth pinned Johnson into a neutral corner landing a flurry of punches. Okoth knowing he was the visitor was going for the knockout. With half a minute left in the round a Johnson right on the chin hurt Okoth. It was a close round.
Judge Weissfeld had it 40-36 for Okoth, judge Page 39-37 for Johnson and judge Potaraj had it 39-37 for Okoth. This writer had it 38-38. The referee was Dali and in the corner of Johnson was Rasheem Brown.
In an all Philadelphia bout former National Golden Glove Champion southpaw Welterweight Poindexter “Savage” Knight, 3-0 (2), went the distance for the first time in his young career but was quite impressive in defeating southpaw Vincent Floyd, 3-5-1 (2), winning all 4 rounds despite a fast beginning by Floyd.
In the first round Floyd landed a hard left uppercut hurting Pointdexter making him hold on for the better part of the following 30 seconds. By the midway point of the round it was Pointdexter having Floyd against the ropes in a typical all Philly brawl. Suddenly a left followed by a right and down went Floyd taking the 8 count from referee Shawn Clark. In the second round Pointdexter rushed out attacking Floyd and pinning Floyd against the ropes. The fans were really into this fight from the opening bell with both being from Philly. Pointdexter drew blood from the nose of Floyd by the end of the round.
In the third round Floyd tried working his way back into the fight stalking an elusive Pointdexter who seemed to bait Floyd into a trap countering him well. It was a very close round but Floyd fell short of taking it. In the fourth and final round Floyd sensing he needed a knockout was throwing leather but Pointdexter equaled him punch for punch and putting him against the ropes. Pointdexter proved to be a very smooth defensive boxer making Floyd miss while counter punching making Floyd miss while countering him well.
All three judges Weissfeld, Hill and Poturaj had it 40-35 as did this writer for the winner. Trainer Raul “Chino” Rivas was in the winner’s corner. “He’s working on new stuff and getting better and better. I have high hopes for him,” said manager David McWater. (McWater has become one of the best manager in the country and possibly having the biggest stable of boxers)
Puerto Rico’s Lightweight Joshafat Ortiz, 3-0 (1), of Reading, PA, defeated Bulgaria’s Evgueny Metchenov, 0-2 (0), of Gaithersburg MD, over 4 interesting rounds.
In the first round in the “battle of the beards” Ortiz seemed quicker as both fighters exchanged left hooks to the body. Ortiz landed an overhand right to the side of the head of Metchenov. Carrying his left low Ortiz landed the final punch of the round landing another right to the chin of Metchenov. In the second round Metchenov kept coming forward but was catching punches by the countering Ortiz who was much quicker a hand and foot. Metchenov pinned Ortiz against the ropes landing several rights to the chin of Ortiz. Ortiz came back bloodying the nose of Metchenov winning the round by a wide margin.
In the fourth and final round Ortiz showboated a bit with both hands to his side outworking Metchenov whose face showed the marks of the battle. The fans got into it around the halfway point of the round as both fighters were letting it all hang out.
All three judges Page, Hill and Poturaj had it 40-36 for the winner while this writer had it 39-36 for the winner.
In the opening bout of the night in an all Philadelphia Light Heavyweight bout Kendall Cannida, 2-0 (0), was credited with a knockdown as Carlos Villanueva, 0-1 (0), was sitting on the ropes receiving an 8 count from referee over 4 rounds.
In the opening round it was a feeling out round of jabs until the sound of the ten second warning from the gavel of the timekeeper when both fighters opened up. In the second round the smaller Cannida pressed the action until he ran into a Vellanueva right to the chin. Cannida landed a solid left hook to the chin of Vellanueva while he was against the ropes and followed with a right and left to the head as the round ended.
In the third round Cannida started out southpaw until Villanueva landed a hard jab to the chin that turned him back to orthodox. Cannida pinned Villanueva against the ropes with a solid right to the head. Cannida walked into a left hook to the head and went wild causing swelling under the right eye of Villanueva as the round ended.
In the fourth and final round Villanueva got more aggressive having lost the last two rounds landing a solid combination to the head of Cannida. With about 20 seconds left in the fight Cannida put Villanueva into the ropes forcing referee Dali to administer the standing 8 count angering Villanueva as he tried pushing his way back at Cannida as the bell sounded.
All three judges Weissfeld, Page and Hill along with this writer had it 39-36 for the winner. In the corner for Villanueva were Bill Briscoe and his son Billy Jr. In the other corner was Chuckie Mills with Cannida.
King’s Promotion’s Marshall Kauffman it was announced by always improving young former boxer and now ring announcer Alex Barbosa that in a week they are promoting another event at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, featuring Readings Frank DeAlba on the 13th. President of the World Boxing Foundation James Gibbs presented Philly boxer Christopher Brooker with a championship belt from a previous fight in February with Jamaal Davis.
Brandon Robinson & Oscar Riojas at Philly’s 2300 Arena Friday
By: Ken Hissner
At the 2300 Arena in South Philly Friday night Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions put Upper Darby (Philly) Super Middleweight Brandon Robinson in his first Main Event when he meets Oscar Riojas, of Monterrey, MEX, with six additional fights on the undercard. King’s will return to Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, on April 13th.
In the Main Event Super Middleweight Brandon Robinson, 9-1 (7), of Upper Darby, PA, at 167.3 lbs meets Oscar Riojas, 16-8-1 (5), of Monterrey, MEX, at 168.8 lbs over 8 rounds.
In the Co-feature Super Bantamweight Marcus Bates, 8-0-1 (7), of Wash. D.C. at 122.9 lbs meets Raeese Aleem, 10-0 (5), of Las Vegas, NV, at 121.9 lbs over 8 rounds.
Heavyweight Colby “Braveheart” Madison, 6-0-1 (4), at 247.9 lbs meets Guillermo Del Rio, 2-2 (2), of Houston, TX, at 198.9 lbs over 4 rounds.
Welterweight Rasheed Johnson, 3-1 (1), of Willow Grove, PA, at 147.3 meets Denis Okoth, 1-0-1 (1), of Siaya, Kenya, at 143.9 over 4 rounds.
In an all Philadelphia bout Welterweight Poindexter Knight, 2-0 (2), 149.3 lbs meets Vincent Floyd, 3-4-1 (2), at 148.3 over 4 rounds.
Puerto Rico’s Lightweight Joshafat Ortiz, 2-0 (1), of Reading, PA, 131.5 lbs meets Bulgaria’s Evgueny Metchenov, 0-1 (0), of Gaithersburg MD, at 130.7 lbs over 4 rounds.
In an all Philadelphia Light Heavyweight bout Kendall Cannida, 1-0 (0), at 178.1 lbs meets Carlos Villenueva, 0-0 (0), at 173.2 lbs over 4 rounds.
Ray “Tito” Serrano Edged by Malik “Iceman” Hawkins at Fillmore
By: Ken Hissner
Hard Hitting Promotions returned to the beautiful Fillmore in Philadelphia for the second time since their debut there a year ago. They put on an exciting 8 bout card Friday night before a sold out crowd.
In the Main Event Welterweight Ray “Tito” Serrano, 24-5 (10), of Philadelphia, PA, lost a close exciting decision to Malik “Iceman” Hawkins, 13-0 (9), of Baltimore, MD, over 10 rounds.
In the first round it was evident Serrano was stronger but Hawkins quicker. In the second round Hawkins continued using his effective jab and elusive defense causing Serrano problems. In the third round Serrano started getting in body shots on Hawkins. Serrano ended the round with a border line left hook followed by another left hook.
In the fourth round Serrano started by landing a left hook to the chin of Hawkins who shook his head like it wasn’t as hard as it looked. The rest of the round both fighters mixed it up well. Hawkins was landing right uppercuts while Serrano landed left hooks. In the fifth round Serrano landed a stiff jab knocking back the head of Hawkins. A right uppercut to the chin from Hawkins made Serrano hold. Hawkins ended the round with a double left hook to the head of Serrano.
In the sixth round Serrano started things off with a left hook to the chin of Hawkins. Hawkins came back with right uppercuts to the chin. Serrano rocked Hawkins with a right to the chin just prior to the bell. In the seventh round Hawkins was ripping right uppercuts to the body and chin of Serrano. Serrano came right back but Hawkins got the better of it in the round.
In the eighth round both fighters landed left hooks to the chin at the same time. Serrano landed a solid right to the chin of Hawkins. In the ninth round Hawkins landed a right followed by a left to the chin rocking Serrano. Serrano came back landing a pair of rights to the chin. Just prior to the bell, Serrano landed another pair of rights to the chin of Hawkins.
In the tenth and final round with the fight on the line both landed left hooks to the body. Serrano landed a right followed by a left to the chin of Hawkins. Whether Serrano did enough to pull out a draw would be determined and in the hands of the judges.
Judge Lynne Carter scored it 98-92, Justin Rosenstein 96-94 and Dewey LaRosa 97-93. This writer had it 96-94. Referee was Shawn Clark.
Super Bantamweight southpaw Tramaine “Mighty Midget” Williams, 15-0 (5), of New Haven, CT, easily defeated Antonio “Tony” Rodriguez, 12-21-1 (5), of Durango, MEX, over 6 rounds.
In the first round the shorter southpaw Williams was on the attack landing four straight left hands to the body and head of Rodriguez. Several more times the “slick” Williams landed lead left hands to the chin of Rodriguez and evaded return punches. In the second round a straight left from Williams to the chin drove Rodriguez into the ropes. Rodriguez landed a right to the body of Williams which may have been the best punch he landed up until then.
In the third round Williams landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Rodriguez. Whenever Rodriguez and Williams clinch Rodriguez gets in some of his best punches against the much faster Williams. In the fifth round Williams landed lead left’s to the chin of Rodriguez three different times. Rodriguez came back landing four unanswered punches that didn’t seem to have much effect on Williams. Williams landed a combination to the chin of Rodriguez who came back with a right of his own.
The sixth and final round inside Rodriguez is able to get right uppercuts to the body of Williams. Rodriguez landed a lead right hook to the side of the head of Williams. The ring physician was brought in by Referee Ron Bashir to check a cut along the right eyebrow of Rodriguez that the referee said it was from a punch. The action ending the last twenty seconds was furious up until the bell.
Judges Constatino 60-53, Rubenstein 59-55 and LaRosa 58-56. This writer had it 60-54.
Super Middleweight Ronald “Akeem” Ellis, 15-0-2 (10), of Lynn, MASS, defeated Taneal Goyco, 9-11-1 (4), of Philadelphia, PA, over 6 exciting rounds of action.
In the first round Ellis stormed out of his corner landing right hand after right hand to the chin of Goyco who mostly covered up taking punch after punch. In the second round it went almost the same way until the final minute when Goyco backed Ellis against the ropes. There was no quit in Goyco.
In the third round Ellis slowed down ad started boxing using his jab. Goyco had Ellis holding on after landing several wide left hooks to the head. Both boxers threw and landed left hooks to the chin with Goyco’s ending the round. The fans loved the finish. In the fourth round a right hand from Ellis dropped Goyco who was up immediately but took the 8 count from Referee Clark. Goyco continued bobbing and weaving trying to get away from the punch Ellis was throwing and out of nowhere Goyco rocked Ellis with a wild left hook to the chin just prior to the bell.
In the fifth round Ellis was on the attack but Goyco “fighting on instinct” was dangerous with every wild punch he threw. The round ended in a close one but Ellis seemed to have the edge. In the sixth and final round Ellis would land a jab knocking the head of Goyco back only to have Goyco coming back with a punch of his own. Midway through the round the boxers bumped heads causing half a minute of stoppage. Both fighters exchanged solid left hooks to the head in this very exciting crowd pleasing match right up until the end.
Judge Carter 59-55, LaRosa and Constatino 60-53 as did this writer.
Super Lightweight southpaw Jeremy “King” Cuevas, 8-0 (6), of Philadelphia, PA, came back from a knockdown to defeat Efrain “Macho” Cruz, 4-5-1 (1), of Viequs, PR, in another exciting 6.
In the first round Cuevas pushed forward backing Cruz up who was throwing back wildly. Both fighters exchanged left hooks with Cuevas ending up with a left to the chin of Cruz. In the second round Cuevas ran into a Cruz right hand and down he went for the first time in his short career. He struggled up beating the count of Referee Clark and worked his way back and had Cruz in trouble several times though Cruz was always dangerous.
In the third round it was mostly all Cuevas who was back in form with his many fans rooting him on. In the fourth round both fighters had the fans cheering on with Cuevas taking the round with mostly right hooks and following with left’s to the chin of the ever fighting back Cruz.
In the fifth round Cuevas landed a lead left making Cruz duck into a right to the head. Cuevas rocked Cruz with a straight left to the chin. It was Cruz coming forward knowing he was behind but ran into a Cuevas left to the chin. In the sixth and final round Cruz landed a solid left hook to the chin of Cuevas. Cuevas came back landing a double jab to the chin with Cruz coming back with a right to the chin. Cuevas landed a combination to the head of Cruz who once again came right back. This was following the exciting Goyco-Ellis bout keeping the fans cheering.
Judges Carter had it 59-55, Rubenstein 59-55 and LaRosa 59-55 with this writer having it 58-55.
Heavyweight Darmani “Rock Solid” Rock, 11-0 (7), of Philadelphia, PA, knockout out Ronny Hale, 4-12 (4), of Austin, TX, in 1:07 of the second round of a scheduled 6.
In the first round Hale came out swinging but the former top amateur Rock was ready for him. Hale making his second appearance in Philadelphia after scoring a knockout win against an opponent making his debut was in with a different kind of opponent tonight. In the second round Rock landed vicious body shots before finally dropping Hale for the count by Referee Ron Bashir.
Super Lightweight Branden “The Gift” Pizarro, 9-1 (4), of Philadelphia, PA, came back big after suffering his first loss defeating Pablo Cupul, 9-24 (5), of San Diego, CA, over 4 rounds scheduled for 6 cut to a 4.
In the first round Pizarro started off tossing Cupul to the canvas getting warned by referee Clark. From that point on Pizarro handled the shorter Cupul for the most part. In the second round Pizarro continued dominating Cupul hurting him with a combination to the head. Pizarro ended the round with a left hook to the chin of Cupul.
In the third round Pizarro was all over Cupal hurting him with left hook body shots. Referee Clark warned Cupal for hitting behind the head.
All three judges and this writer had it 40-36.
Super Lightweight Sam “Tsunami” Teah, 13-2-1 (5), of Liberia living in Philadelphia, PA, stopped Orlando Rizo, 19-13 (11), of Vieques, PR, at 2:33 of the first round in a scheduled 6.
In the first round Teah dropped Rizo with body shots three times before Referee Bashir called a halt.
In the first bout of the night Super Welterweight Joey Alday, Jr., 7-0 (7), of Odessa, TX, stopped southpaw Michael Crain, 1-2 (0), of Smyrna, DE, at 1:28 of the third round of a scheduled for 4.
In the first round the taller Alday used his reach well while Crain occasionally got inside with some good body work. In the second round Alday’s timing seemed to get on track landing a good left hook on the southpaw Crain’s side of the head. He would follow up several seconds later with a good lead right hand to the chin of Crain. Crain used his jab to get inside with a body shot but can’t seem to reach the taller Alday’s chin. A combination left right from Alday to the chin of Crain dropped him. The bell sounded as Crain got up from referee Shawn Clark’s mandatory 8 count.
In the third round Alday continued the attack with solid left hooks to the body and head. Finally a left hook from Alday to the chin of Crain dropped him to a knee. Referee Clark wisely called a halt as Crain got to his feet.
The Eleventh Annual Philly’s “The Briscoe Awards”
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.
Philly’s Avery Sparrow is a Return to Old Philly Boxing
By: Ken Hissner
Philly’s Avery Sparrow puts all his trust in his promoter IBHOF promoter/matchmaker J Russell Peltz. He is currently No. 14 in the WBO ratings due to a victory over previous No. 5 Jose Lopez.
This is what Peltz had to say about his fighter when he was introduced first while fighting an opponent from Nogales, Mexico on the first pro show at Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, on March 9th.
“When I mentioned this to Brittany Rogers who coordinated the smoothly run show, she remarked “since when did J Russell Peltz care about such things as who enters the ring first?” Never once did Sparrow mention it to me later that shows he has bought into the Peltz Boxing system for which we need a name. You’ve heard of the West Coast offense in football and the Triangle in basketball, but we need a name for the Peltz Boxing system. Something like, as Michelle Rosado coined last week: “If you want a tune-up, go to Midas!”
Avery Sparrow never said one word about being introduced first. He never moaned that he was making substantially less money for March 9th than he made for November 30th when he upset Jose Lopez, the No. 5 ranked WBO junior lightweight contender in the world, on ESPN. He never argued that Jesus Serrano, 17-4-2, was not exactly “a walk in the park type of opponent”. He never threatened to pull out when he was 8 pounds over the contract weight 48 hours before the weigh-in. He simply went out there and destroyed a credible opponent in less than 2 rounds to secure his rating with the WBO and hopefully open the eyes of the other ranking organizations.
I cannot sit here and tell you that Avery Marcus Sparrow will win the world title but I can tell you that after 49 years in this sometimes wonderful, sometimes rancid business of professional boxing, I am grateful that he believes in me as much as I believe in him. I’m not going to worry if, when the money comes in, that some moron on the street will fill his head with negative thoughts about me. That’s part of the business, but as I head to the top of the stretch of my career, I am enjoying the ride.
Sparrow is 10-1 (4) and turned 24 in January. He turned professional in July of 2014 winning his first 4 fight, 2 by stoppage, before losing for the only time in his career so far by DQ in the 6th and final round to Jerome Rodriguez, 6-3-3, in October of 2015. He came back in March of 2016 to score a first round knockout in Dubai Night Life in Charlotte, NC.
Sparrow didn’t fight again until March of 2017 when he was pitted against one time Philly prospect Anthony Burgin, 10-2, when he won an 8 round split decision. In June he was up in The Sands in Bethlehem, PA, defeating Isaelin Florian, 6-0, of the DR and Reading, PA. In September he was put in with another 6-0 boxer named Joey Laviolette from Nova Scotia, Canada who he defeated by majority decision in 8 rounds. Two months later he defeated Lopez, who was 19-1-1 (14), at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, MD. This put him into the WBO Super Featherweight ratings.
In December of 2015 Peltz took Camden’s Jason Sosa who was 18-1-3, on a trip to a world championship. Sosa only had one 10 round bout prior to this. Sosa was pitted with Nicholas Walters the WBA World Super Featherweight champion who Sosa drew with in a non-title bout. In his next fight in June of 2016 Sosa defeated Javier Fortuna in Beijing, China, for the world title that Walters had given up.
Will Peltz lead Avery Sparrow to a world super featherweight title the same way? Only time will tell!