Prospect Watch: Junior Flyweight, Flyweight, and Super Flyweight
By: Oliver McManus
In these uncertain times across the world it is impossible to put a timeframe on any prediction and, naturally, there are far bigger things to worry about than when boxing will be back on the agenda. Nevertheless over a series of articles we’re going to look at prospects from all corners of the globe worth keeping an eye on when punches can be thrown again. The fighters chosen will have different ceilings and this is, by no means, a definitive list of fighters set to be world beaters but merely a selection of names we believe will provide plenty of entertainment along the way.
We kick off our series with Hasanboy Dusmatov who made a long awaited paid debut in November last year. The Uzbek southpaw holds a distinguished amateur record: Gold at Rio 2016 and the Asian Amateur Championships (2015 and 2017) pair nicely with Silver at the 2017 World Championships. Having been linked with big name promoters immediately after that success in Brazil it’s perhaps surprising we had to wait so long for his debut. The patience of Dusmatov is to be admired, though, and he impressed when the time came: scheduled for eight against Jesus Cervantes (9-7), the light-fly got the job done in just two rounds.
Ginjiro Shigeoka isn’t a name too familiar to me but was suggested by a family member living in Malaysia. The Japanese fighter turned professional in September 2018, three weeks before his 19th birthday, and has started making moves at minimumweight. Naturally not the deepest of weight divisions but opportunities come fast and often: so far Shigeoka has risen to the challenge without a hitch.
Staying in that Asian bubble and we can turn our attention to Suzumi Takayama: with only three pro fights under his belt the super-fly is the least experienced on our shortlist. Having held a somewhat take-it-or-leave-it amateur record of 36-15 there isn’t a lot that would immediately highlight Takayama as one to watch. Japan, however, has a reputation of breeding pedigree at lower weight classes and the 23 year old is being ambitiously advanced through the domestic division. Fighting out of Watanabe Gym, Takayama secured the national youth title with a last round knockout over, previously unbeaten, Tetsuro Ohashi in October. There will be lots of developing to come for the fighter who impressed on the University circuit and there’s every chance he might not hang around at 115lbs.
Across the ocean and a young Jesse Rodriguez is racking up experience and plaudits aplenty. The 20 year old turned over in March 2017 and in those three years since looks a completely different man: as is to be expected when debuting two months after his 17th birthday. Now 11-0 and embracing sturdier challenges it’s a credit to his match-making that Rodriguez has been allowed that time and space to naturally develop as a fighter: that dedication paying dividends as the calibre of opponent increases. The San Antonio native now looks comfortable at flyweight having toyed with weight classes in the past. Money on him to be the city’s first major world champion since ‘Jesse’ James Leija, in 1994, wouldn’t be beyond reason.
British Prospects to Watch in 2020
By: Oliver McManus
With young fighters making their debut on a weekly basis it’s becoming hard to juggle all the names looking to catch a break. Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren are in a luxurious position of being able to offer television exposure but the ball doesn’t stop in their court. Up and down the country there are jewels in the crown of every promoter or manager: here are five to keep an eye on over the next 12 months.
21 year old Bradley Rea has made a healthy start to life as a professional; moving to eight wins without defeat since his debut in September 2018. Stretford’s middleweight had five outings last year and notched up three wins inside the scheduled distance. Against Alistair Warren, who holds wins over Marcus Morrison and Chad Sugden, Rea was clinical in his pursuit of the body. Rea and, coach, Blain Younis had intended to target the liver from the off and dropped Warren on three occasions – all from body shots. The contest was called off after just two minutes.
2020 should see Rea stepping up to eight rounds in the first few months before targeting titles in the back end.
One of two fiercely impressive heavyweight giants, in every sense of the word, to debut in December. Alongside David Adeleye, a Queensbury Promotions prospect, the future of British heavyweight boxing looks to be in safe hands. Ignatius has secured the backing of Charlie Sims, an early sign of approval, and debuted with Matchroom Boxing. A huffy and puffy Hrovje Bozinovic was in the opposite corner and Ignatius boxed with patience for the first three rounds. In the fourth he could see Bozinovic was looking for a way out and produced classy hooks to the body to finish the contest off in style.
Welsh teenager Rhys Edwards is a precocious talent. One of eleven children, the 19 year old insists he isn’t even the most gifted boxer in his family – younger brother Iestyn supposedly the cream of the crop. The Tonypandy fighter has wasted no time in moving to 9-0 with seven fights in ten months, last year. From his debut the super featherweight has looked ahead of his years but the difference in just over a year is exponential. In his last fight of the year, against Stefan Sashev, Edwards boxed with perfect poise and composure before sinking Sashev with a crisply timed shot to the body.
Edwards has stated he wants to become British champion by the time he’s 21 and you’d be a fool to tell him otherwise.
Born in Lanzarote before moving to Yorkshire as a teenager, George Davey has had his eyes set on professional boxing for as long as he can remember. The 22 year old made his debut in October against a tricky Zygimantas Butkevicius and in the third round you could see him relax – as much in realisation of the occasion. A few weeks later he out-worked Dale Arrowsmithover four rounds to end the year shaking and grooving. Davey was namechecked, alongside Dennis McCann and ShabazMasoud, by, promoter, Frank Warren when discussing “the best youngster in British boxing.” He’ll be staying busy in 2020 and might well bob along under the radar – jump on this bandwagon, now.
Welterweight Ekow Essuman is the most experienced fighter on this list; the English champion has 13 fights and two defenses of the title to his name. The Engine has established himself on the welterweight scene and has risen to challenges at every horizon – the goal for 2020 will be to push on to bigger titles. With a renaissance of talent coming through the ranks in Nottingham, Essuman serves as a wiley figurehead to the sport in the city. His grinding workrate and aggressive shot selection has seen him outwork quality boxers in Tyrone Nurse and Curtis Felix and he looks better with every fight. In a crowded welterweight scene he could well find opportunities aplenty at his door this year.
Top Rank Prospects for 2019
By: Oliver McManus
Boxing is an ever changing landscape with new players emerging each and every day. An old name withstanding the test of time is that of Top Rank, still a driving force in American boxing. With that in mind and the new year looming, let’s take a quick-fire look at some of the best prospects emerging from Bob Arum’s stable with eyes on a big 2019 –
Alexander Besputin – Welterweight
12 and 0 in the welterweight division since turning professional in December 2015, all of Besputin’s fights have come in his adopted home of America. The Russian native has held his power considerably as he’s progressed through the ranks with nine victories inside the scheduled distance.
Russian champion on 11 occasions, across various levels, Besputin holds an amatuer victory of Daniyar Yeleussinov and is a two-time European Championship medalist. Aggressive by nature, Besputin has looked well-measured throughout his career, thus far, from the southpaw stance.
Favouring full-blooded flurries as opposed to counter-shots or loading up for one punch, Besputin secured the USBA Welterweight belt in September and is ranked 1st by the WBA and 10th with the IBF. A world title shot surely serves as the motivation for 2019 but the 27 year old would be minded to test himself against fellow contenders beforehand.
Mikaela Mayer – Super Featherweight
Women’s boxing is going through a purple patch that looks like it’s sticking around for a while. Traditional forerunners, in Latin American boxers, still pave the way but, increasingly, we’re finding talent emerge from their Northern counterparts.
Mikaela Mayer is leading the way for Top Rank with the super-featherweight looking to gatecrash the world title scene as imminently as possible. A bronze medal at Qinhuangdao in 2012 – the World Championships – was one of four medals for the U.S.A but it is Mayer who has made the most progress as a professional.
Eight undefeated, the 28 year old is the NABF Super Featherweight champion having won the belt in October with a definitive victory over Vanessa Bradford. Leading with the left hand, Mayer’s fights tall and at range, something she’s done effectively up to this point.
Defending her title against Calista Silgado on December 14th, Mayer closed the year at 9 and 0 in impressive style and is surely targeting one of the four world champions at 130lbs.
Guido Vianello – Heavyweight
Alongside Joe Joyce, Vianello formed a major part of preparation for Tyson Fury’s fight with Deontay Wilder. Invaluable rounds of sparring with the lineal champion preceded an announcement that he had signed with Top Rank Boxing, managed by Sam Jones.
Making his debut on the undercard of Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jose Pedraza, Vianello leapt straight onto the big stage and took on Luke Lyons (5-1-1). The Italian made his mark with an immediate impression with clubbing right hands dropping his counterpart on two occasions en route to a 2nd round KO.
Nicknamed The Gladiator, imagine Deontay Wilder but with a touch of regality, Vianello looks incredibly light on his feet, floating in and out of the pocket. The Rio Olympian, still 24 years young, looked classy in his opening fight and will be looking to expediate his development throughout 2019.
Josue Vargas – Super Lightweight
20 years old and already a professional for three years, Josue Vargas worked his way to 12 and 1 since debuting in November 2015. The singular loss came as a result of brash disqualification – Vargas guilty of hitting Samuel Santana when his back was turned – in the third round of his seventh professional fight.
Brought in by Floyd Mayweather for sparring, in the build up to his bout with Conor McGregor, the experience has seen Vargas mature in the ring. That’s to be expected for a man still becoming an adult. A flamboyant fighter – and I’m not just talking about his short choices – Vargas sweeps into the pocket, targeting the body of his opponent with relentless passion.
Returning, after an eight month absence, on the Lomachenko-Pedraza card, Vargas dropped John Renteria in rounds two, four and five to finish the fight in the fifth round, his eighth knockout win. The 140lb fighter, backed heavily by Bob Arum, will be looking to continue the momentum he’s found with a further three or four fights in 2019. Nicknamed ‘The Prodigy’, it’s clear to see why the Puerto Rican born fighter is thought so highly of in his new home.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov – Super Lightweight
We’ll stick with the super-lightweight division, for our final pick, as we venture on towards an Uzbek living in Los Angeles – part of a whole raft of ‘-Stan’ suffixed nations with a recent influx of boxers over in America. Arguably the better positioned prospect, in relation to Vargaz, Gaibnazarov is able to make the most of his amateur pedigree. Rio 2016 Gold medallist as well as Silver in the 2016 Asian & World Championships, the 27 year old already has the technical foundations that will be crucial throughout his career.
Having shared the ring with Vasyl Lomachenko on the amateur circuit, Gaibnazarov turned professional in April of last year. That debut saw him touch down in the first round, a sign of nerves perhaps, but aside from that he has looked comfortable in his opening six bouts.
Fighting from range, Gaibnazarov has a pawing left-jab-turn-hook and stays rocking on the balls of his feet. I’ve been most impressed with the footwork of the Uzbekistan standout, particularly over the course of eight rounds against Augustine Mauras and Victor Rosas. In those particular contests, Gaibnazarov was able to to control the tempo of the pace throughout and looked breezy.
Next out on January 18th, he’ll face Ricardo Garcia over a scheduled eight rounds to move 7 and 0 but it really shouldn’t be long before the southpaw is knocking on the doors of a world title.
Mark your cards, 2019 is going to be a massive year Stateside with the emergence of new players on the landscape but these five are all looking to become a household name over the next 12 months… no pressure!
British Prospects Shine in York Hall
By: Oliver McManus
York Hall, Bethnal Green, was the location for the latest British Warriors promotion – entitled The Big Bang, twelve of Britain’s most exciting prospects descended on the iconic venue to showcase their skills and the night produced contest after contest.
Jake Anthony opened the night with a four round bout against, former Central Area Champion, Darryl Sharp. Anthony, a 19 year old from Wales, controlled the fight from the off with a commanding work-rate and evasive footwork. The key to Anthony’s success was a simple jab used to good effect, doubling up in the face of Sharp to, ironically, make Jake the sharper of the two men. A 40-37 points victory saw Anthony improve his record to 2 and 0.
Moving into the night we witnessed Jeff Ofori ahead of his showdown with Jumaane Camero for the Southern Area Lightweight belt, he was in with Luke Fash (2-41-2) over a scheduled six rounds tonight and Jeff took to the centre of the ring immediately, relentlessly throwing out his jab, mirroring the footwork of his opponent to good effect.
Fash fought clever and dirty, not illegally, in the clinch but Ofori remained calm, starting to explode into life every time he was tested with a particular target area to the body of Fash, sickening punches landing and, whilst the uppercut could have been used to better effect, Ofori was beating Fash to every punch and making him pay.
To all intents and purposes this was a lesson in composure with the superior work-rate being carried out by Ofori before the Tottenham-resident emerged in the fourth round a man possessed, determined to get the stoppage, working all sorts of angles and landing a phenomenal series of punches to force the referee to intervene and plead the mercy rule.
A fourth round TKO for Jeff extended his record to 7 and 0 as a professional and I caught up with him after the bout;
“As soon as I went out there I thought I was going to work my jab and he ate the first two, I was getting a good rhythm, and he kept getting caught with the jab so I thought he was going to try and catch me over the top. His head was really hard but when I hit him with the body shot I knew the stoppage was going to come… I thought they should have stopped it earlier”.
Talking about that fight with Jumaane Camero, Jeff was having none of it when I asked him if he thought he could win…
“Ollie, Ollie, of course I do, you are insulting my intelligence, of course I will. You want to be there Ollie”.
Good job Jeff and I get on well, then.
Alfie Price competed over four rounds against the durable journeyman Fonz Alexander, 5 wins and 83 losses, with Price keen to get a knockout victory.
When the bell rang to signal the start of the contest Price kept the bout at distance, boxing at range and his classy boxing skills were clear to see – this is a man who has sparred with the likes of Jorge Linares and Ohara Davies.
The measured approach of the southpaw super lightweight was producing success and some fizzing left hands and fast, flirtatious, combinations, kept his challenger on the ropes. A BIG smile began to emerge on the face of Alfie as he produced two right hook ‘albatross’ punches and began to really enjoy the fight, teeing off on the body of Alexander.
Concussive combinations against a durable opponent began to turn this into a Western-esque standoff as Price went BAM BAM BAM against the granite chin of Fonz. Truth be told he probably deserved the knockout but a 40-36 points victory was enough to enhance his record to 2 and 0.
Talking to me afterwards he said;
“I thought I boxed pretty well, I was staying composed, with the first fight I thought I was trying to hard but I found my range early on and I fought really well… I’m not too bothered (about not getting the knockout) because I put on a really good boxing display, I teared him apart and I know I’ve got the power to produce knockouts when I really get going”.
Daren Gibbons was up against, debut-maker, Aaron Green with Gibbons looking to go 3 and 0 as a professional over the course of 4, 3 minute rounds.
Gibbons, the taller man, was drawn into a fire fight from the off with Green not shying from the occasion, firing with rapid right hands, a smirk emerged on the face of Green, swiftly dented by a furious counter flurry from Gibbons.
Green rallied and a scintillating salvo resulted in a dazed Gibbons losing his gum-shield.
An overhand right followed by a prolonged attack to the body saw Green crumple to the canvas and the fight was waved off in the first round – a real flash-in-the-pan war. But what a fight this was.
Alex Bishop made his debut and brought big support from Luton as he fought Rudolf Durica, who had only been knocked out once, with Bishop’s kickboxing background standing him in good stead as he proved the aggressor throughout, utilizing a beautiful left hand to keep a sustained rate of pressure and high tempo throughout to come away from the fight with a convincing, CONVINCING, points victory.
Chris Kongo returned to the ring in a six rounder and looked in imperious physique – ‘2Slick’ looked, well, just that. He looked too slick for his opponent and with an explosive first thirty seconds, he shellacked his man into the neutral corner, dropping Mitiev to the floor within 70 seconds to establish, firmly, why he is such a hotly-tipped talent.
Ryan Charles was another man on the bill looking to make a statement and, having been scheduled at cruiserweight, Charles took the decision to stay busy in a heavyweight fight against Phil Williams in a fight that saw the former amateur-star going through the motions, working the jab, testing out combinations and just polishing his development – a good victory.
He told me;
“Yeah I thought I did well, I think I could have boxed a lot better, I know my capabilities, I got the win and I’m happy. I just couldn’t get the weight down in time but I wanted to fight so I’ll look better at cruiser, I’m hoping to get some titles next year but 2018 is all about keeping busy and learning with every fight”.
British Warriors living up to their name, then, warrior after warrior and fight after fight. If you want small-hall shows doing it big then look no further than Mo Prior and British Warriors because, as it stands, they’re the best around.
Five Fighters to Watch in the United Kingdom
By: Oliver McManus
British boxing has got it GOOD at the moment, you’d go as far as to say we’ve never had it any better but it’s not just at the top with Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Tony Bellew in which we’re excelling, there’s talent across the board and here are five of the best lower weight class fighters you’d be a fool not to keep an eye on.
*DISCLAIMER* Lower weight = Super lightweight and under
QAIS ASHFAQ – Bantamweight
Gold medallist at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games, Silver in the 2014 Commonwealth’s and 2015 European Amateur’s and a bronze at the 2015 European Games, Qais Ashfaq left a mark on the amateur scene and there’s no doubt he’ll do the same in the pro ranks.
Initially signing a deal last year with Hayemaker Ringstar, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing announced the signing of Ashfaq in February of this year and quickly set him to work against a durable Brett Fidoe.
A comfortable points victory put the bantamweight on the path to glory. Now 2 and 0 – thanks to a victory over Ricky Starkey in April – the 25 year old has already shown over the course of eight rounds just why he is such a hotly tipped fighter.
Fast with the feet, his game is all about dominating his opponent with superior movement, bouncing around the ring, before landing some crushing counter-punches. The style has brought him incredible success and being a pressure fighter with lightning fast hand speed, Ashfaq is always going to be one of those fighters you just love to watch.
JEFF OFORI – Super Featherweight
King Jeffy, as he’s known, Ofori made his debut in May of last year and has notched his way to five victories without defeat since – his 6th bout will come this weekend (May 19th) and in only his second bout at Super Featherweight he’ll be looking to send some statements.
A dominant third round TKO victory over Aleksandrs Birkenbergs in April saw Ofori display expertly the sort of power needed to mix it at the top but most impressive was his temperament to deal with an awkward opponent who came to duck and weave.
Ofori, himself, was critical and said he thought he tried too hard in the first couple of rounds to get the stoppage and whilst that may be true, the Tottenham-fighter kept a cool head when it came to crunch time to lay it on the Latvian and give, referee, Mark Bates no choice but to stop it.
Targeting a Southern Area title by the end of the year, there’s no doubt in my mind that Jeffy is just going to keep better with every fight he has – who knows where he can end up…
RYAN GARNER – Super Featherweight
It’s not hard to understand why Ryan Garner is known as The Piranha given the ferocious way in which he attacks his opponents in the ring.
With seven fights under his belt, the 20 year old is already learning more than you do at University and the maturity developed within the ring is clear to see since he initially turned pro back in the summer of 2016.
A patient fighter, the former junior European amateur champion, is already experienced enough to know when to step on the gas and punish his opponent but, equally, when to take a breather and just play the waiting game.
An enforced sixth month absence from the ring, due to personal issues, has only made the Piranha even hungrier and his display against Lesther Cantillano on February 24th was a perfect example of a boxer looking to go places – he showed in that fight that not only does he pack a really solid flurry of punches capable of stopping his man but, more importantly, he has the technical ability to outbox opponents.
When you can whack, dance, and out-work those who step in the ring then you’re very unlikely to taste defeat and, luckily, for Ryan he has all of that. Let’s not forget he’s only 20, too, so he’s going to get so much better as the years progress… it’s almost scary!
ARCHIE SHARP – Super Featherweight
Dubbed “the best kept secret in British boxing” by his promoter Frank Warren, Archie Sharp is a super featherweight on a mission and at 23 years of age there’s plenty of time, for the 12 and 0 Super Feather, to create his legacy.
Nine years in the amateur ranks saw him pick up nine national junior titles and Sharpshooter has wasted no time in racking up win after win in the professional game.
A clever fighter with fluid movement, Sharp takes to the centre of the ring from the outset in an attempt to draw his opponent into a proper fight and against tough, durable, journeyman Sharp has found considerable success when targeting the body of his opponent – often sending them crumpling to the canvas. Seven of his triumphs have come via knockout.
Having stepped up to eight rounds for the first time last year there can be no question marks about his stamina with Archie having the energy of a puppy throughout his eight round points victory over Rafael Castillo back in December.
Indeed the young whipper snapper isn’t far away from competing for his first title and with the widely held belief being that the classier his opponent, the better Sharp will look, he really is Hollywood.
BRING IT ON, that’s all I can say!
SAM MAXWELL – Super Lightweight
Now Sam Maxwell *just* makes the upper limit for this list and that’s not something that happened on purpose, it was a decision made beforehand that only fighters up to Super Lightweight would be included and, boy, what a decision it was because Sam Maxwell is of the most exciting boxers building a profile in the United Kingdom at the moment.
Having turned pro in October of last year the MTK Global fighter has shot to seven victories in double-quick time with the former Great British Lionhearts fighter recording six knockout’s along the way.
Already having fought on the undercard of a world title fight – that between Manuel Charr and Alexander Ustinov – Maxwell is no stranger to the big stage and, indeed, when thrust into the limelight at the SSE Arena on April 21st this year he blasted out Michael Isaac Carrero in less than sixty seconds.
The bruising super-middle is causing a stir in the domestic scene, he’ll be next out on June 9th as part of Frank Warren’s Manchester promotion and there’s a very real chance that the 29 year old Liverpool-resident will send a thunderous statement as he looks to gate-crash his way to the top of an, already bustling, British super lightweight division.
I’m only allowed five main fighters to pick but I can’t let this finish without mentioning two classy, classy fighters in Osman Aslam a 12-0 super bantamweight who brings a whole new definition to the word “technical fighter”, his movement is sublime and his shot selection incredible; and Ukashir Farooq the Scottish Area Bantamweight kingpin waiting for his postponed title tilt against Josh Wale, at just 22 Farooq still has a lot of learning to do but with experience under his belt he could well live up to his nickname – Untouchable.
NOW that’s just scratching the surface of lower weight fighters that should be in the spotlight but we’d be here all day if I was to talk about everyone with bags of talent so I implore you to get down to the small hall’s, see boxing at its purest and discover someone worth talking about because, I can’t say this enough, British boxing is having the time of it’s life!
Philly’s Top 8 Prospects Ennis, Carto, Fulton, Cuevas, Pizarro’s, Sparrow & Folly Are 80-2
By: Ken Hissner
At the present time the city of Philadelphia once a major player in boxing doesn’t have any world champions. Still fighting are several such as Danny “Swift” Garcia who held WBC titles at super lightweight and welterweight. The other is Steve “USS” Cunningham who held titles at cruiserweight.
Leading today’s top 8 prospects out of Philadelphia is welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 18-0 (16), trained by his father Derrick “Bozy” Ennis. Their gym is over the Harrowgate Gym on Venago Street off of Kensington Avenue called “Bozy’s Dungeon”. Ennis also trains current top welterweight “The New” Ray Robinson.
The father was 4-1 (3) as a professional and decided to concentrate on his 3 sons. The eldest Derek “Pooh” Ennis was 24-5-1 (13), and held the USBA Super Welterweight title and is now 38 having retired after losing in July of 2014 to current IBF Super Middleweight champion Caleb Truax.
The second son Farah was 22-2 (12), having won the NABF Super Middleweight title. His second loss was to current WBA Light Heavyweight champion Badou Jack. His following fight was his last on May of 2015 ending with a win. He is 35.
The third son to come along is 20 year-old welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 18-0 (16), who was an Olympic alternate after losing 2 of 3 to Gary Antuanne Russell. He turned professional in April of 2016 under manager Cameron Dunkin. He has been promoted by Chris Middendorf’s Victory Promotions. His biggest wins were over Ayi Bruce, 23-14 and Gustavo Garibay, 13-9-2 in his most recent bout. He is 9-0 in Philly rings.
Next up is bantamweight Christian Carto, 13-0 (11), who trains out of the Rosati Gym in South Philly’s S. Chadwick St. The owner is his trainer Mickey Rosati. He is managed by his brother Frank III who was a novice Golden Gloves champion. Carto lives in Deptford, NJ.
Carto won the National Golden Gloves in 2014. He turned professional in July of 2016 and is 11-0 in Philly and scheduled March 2nd at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly in the 8 round main event against James Smith, 12-1, of Detroit. His two biggest wins have been over Juan Guzman, 22-7, and Alfonso Melendez, 14-1. He is 21.
Next up is featherweight Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton, 12-0 (5), who trains out of the James Shuler Gym on Brooklyn Street in West Philly owned by Buster Custus.
Fulton is a former National Golden Gloves champion in 2013T and trained by Hamza Muhammad. He has fought for one year in the World Series of Boxing prior to turning professional in October of 2014. He has only fought once in his home city of Philly. He is 23.
Fulton has defeated 5 unbeaten opponents including Luis Rosario, 8-0-1, and Adam Lopez, 8-0, in his last bout in December of 2017.
Last but not least is Jeremy “King” Cuevas, 7-0 (6), a 22 year-old southpaw. His biggest win was in September of 2017 stopping Justin Savi, 31-13-2. He is 6-0 in Philly rings and trained by Tony Bersanti.
Cuevas turned professional in October of 2016.
The Pizarro brothers are part of another pair of Puerto Rican decent with a big fan following. The younger, 18, Lightweight Branden, is 8-1 (4), and scheduled to fight this Saturday taking on Marlon Lewis, at the Orlando Live Event Center, in Orlando, FL. He is trained by his father Angel, Sr.
The older brother 22, is Super Bantamweight Angel Pizarro, Jr., 3-0 (2), who has had several cancelled bouts since his last fight. He is also trained by “Bozy” Ennis.
Super Featherweight Avery Sparrow, 9-1 (3), is 22 and in his last 3 fights has defeated Isaelin Florian, 6-0, Joey Laviolette, 6-0, and in his last fight Jose Lopez, 19-1-1, in his first 10 round bout. He is No. 14 in the WBO. His trainer is Vaughn Jackson and his adviser is J Russell Peltz. He is scheduled to take on Jesus Serrano, 17-5-2 (12), of Sonora, MEX, on March 9th at the Parx Casino, in Bensalem, PA.
Super Bantamweight Manny “Major Pain” Folly, 10-0 (8), is 25, and a former Philadelphia Police Officer. He is trained by “Bozy” Ennis.
Chinese & Russian Boxers to Watch in Fanlong Meng & Egor Mekhontsev
By: Ken Hissner
Back in 2012 this writer was in New York watching USA vs China. Two boxers stood out one from each team. From team USA it was Philadelphia’s Jesse “Hard Work” Hart, now 22-1. He lost that fight in his September title shot to Gilberto Ramirez the WBO Super middle champion. The Chinese team had a boxer I thought may have been from Mongolia but I was wrong for he was from Chifeng, China.
I have seen Meng, fight professionally in Atlantic City, NJ, when he defeated Zab Judah’s brother Daniel, 24-10-3, in July of 2016, scoring a fifth round knockout. That was his 8th fight. I saw him in his third fight at Beach Haven, NJ, beat Michael Mitchell, 3-5-2, of Paterson, NJ. Mitchell defeated Wildwood’s Chuckie Mussachio, 19-3-2, in January of 2017.
Meng’s first four fights were in the US then one in Puerto Rico. Then back to the US then China and when he beat Judah. In April of 2017 in his last US appearance he won all eight rounds defeating Brad Austin, 12-23, from Tennessee, right after Austin beat Greg Brady 5-1.
After the Judah fight in September of 2016 Meng defeated Zura Mekereshvili, 18-5, from the country of Georgia. Meng came off the canvas twice to win an eight round majority decision. Zura now has 22 wins with 18 by KO. In Meng’s next fight which was in January of 2017 Meng won the vacant WBO Oriental light heavyweight title with a first round knockout in his first ten rounder over Russian Gasan Gasanov, 12-4-1, in April of 2017.
In Meng’s next fight he returned to the US beating Austin. Next in his last fight in October he defeated Emmanuel Danso, 28-1 (23), from Ghana, winning all ten rounds in Macao as the co-feature to an IBF Female world title fight. He is now 12-0 with 7 knockouts.
Meng represented China in the 2012 Olympic Games defeating a Moroccan, 17-8, then came a Brazilian that ended 17-17 and they gave it to the Brazilian. Meng fought in the 2009 and 2011 World Amateur Championships. In 2009 he was 1-1 and in 2012 he won his first three matches then losing to a boxer from KAZ named Adilbek Niyazymbetov. This brings me to my other prospect who defeated Niyazymbetov when they ended up 15-15 in the Gold Medal round of the 2012 Olympics.
That fighter is Egor Mekhontsev from Asbest, Russia who is 13-0-1 as a professional with 8 knockouts. He’s a 33 year-old light heavyweight southpaw now living in Los Angeles, CA.
Mekhontsev was a quarter-finalist in the 2005 World Amateur Championship going 2-1, in China. In 2009 he moved up to heavyweight and won the same tournament defeating among others the current WBO World Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk from the Ukraine, who won the 2012 Olympics defeating the boxer who defeated him in the 2008 Olympics Clemente Russo of Italy, in Milan, Italy.
In 2011 Mekhontsev was a Bronze medalist as a light heavyweight in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he won his first three matches including defeating Marcus Browne of the US, 14-6, who is 20-0 (15) as a pro. Mekhontsev then beat a boxer from the Ukraine but lost to the Cuban Julio Cesar la Cruz 20-15, who won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2016, the World Amateur Championships in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Mekhontsev was the Gold Medalist in the European Amateur Championships in 2008 in the UK and in 2012 in Russia. In the 2012 final he defeated Tervel Pulev, now a cruiserweight from Bulgaria who is 6-0 (6), as a pro, and lost to Usyk in the semi-final round of the 2012 Olympics. Tervel is the older brother of Kubrat Pulev, 25-1, only losing to Wladimir Klitschko in a world title bout.
Mekhontsev’s first six fights ended in knockouts with four of them in the US, one in Macao, where he stopped Thailand’s Atthaporn Jaritram, 4-0, February of 2014. Only in his first bout did he fight someone with a losing record in December of 2013. He was 6-0 in 2014 stopping boxers Dwayne Williams 5-1, Mike Mirafuentes, 2-0, Samuel Miller 28-8 and Jinner Guerrero 7-2 while decisioning Joey Vargas 17-9-1, winning 7 or 8 of the 8 rounds.
In 2015 Mekhontsev was 3-0 stopping Marcelo Leandro Da Silva, 21-3 (dislocated left arm), of Brazil, Hakim Zoulikha, 21-5 of France, and Jackson Junior 17-3, of France. In 2016 he was 2-0-1 Felipe Romero, 19-10-1, of Mexico and knocking out Victor Barragan 12-9-1, then drawing in a majority decision with Alexander Johnson, 16-4, while getting a 78-74 in his favor.
It was close to a year without fight with his only 2017 fight in Moscow in July. Top Rank released him two years ago. Mekhontsev’s opponents as a pro are 105-55-6.
Philadelphia’s Young “Talented Twelve” Are 116-2-2 with 71 Knockouts
By: Ken Hissner
There are twelve young prospects in Philadelphia that this writer calls ”The Talented Twelve”! This famous boxing city at present has no world champions but the best is yet to come!
The best looking prospect to come out of Philadelphia since 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Meldrick Taylor in this writer’s opinion is 20 year-old JARON “BOOTS” ENNIS, 17-0 (15), in just twenty months from the Germantown section. He was 58-3 in the amateurs. His father “Bozy” Ennis is his trainer. Cameron Dunkin is his manager and Chris Middendorf of Victory Promotions does the promoting for Dunkin.
Ennis won the 2015 in January and the National Golden Gloves in May. At the Olympic trials he ended up as an alternate.
Ennis defeated Gary Antuanne Russell in his first fight in the 2016 Olympic Trials. In the box-off he lost back to back matches to Russell. “Bozy” was not happy with the two losses and said “we beat him in the second bout but they stole it. I’d give Russell the third one”
Ennis made his professional debut in April in St. George Utah and stopped Cory Muldrew in 0:42 of the first round. He defeated Luis Ramos in 0:23 in Philadelphia in May for his second win.
In June he stopped Deshawn Debose in 0:20 of the first round in Springfield, VA, for his third win. Then in July for his third win he stopped Tavorus Teague at 1:38 of the fourth round in Rio Rancho, NM, for his fourth win.
In August in Ennis’ fifth win he stopped Matt Murphy at 2:52 of the second round in Bristol, PA. “Murphy had just stopped a 3-0 boxer in his previous. He won his sixth fight defeating Eddie Diaz, 2-4-2 at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on September 15th. He is 5:10 and after competing at 141 in the amateurs he’s now a welterweight.
Ennis won his seventh fight on November 11th at the 2300 Arena where he stopped Chris Alexander, 4-3, in 4 rounds. Then he won his eighth fight on December 15th at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, stopping Marcus Becker, 3-4-3, in the sixth and final round. On January 28th, of 2017 he knocked out Elvin Perez, 28-17-4, at 0:35 of the first round at the 2300 Arena. On March 31st at the 2300 Arena, he won his tenth straight in a rough and tumble bout against James “Shotgun” Winchester, 20-12, winning the entire six rounds on all judge’s score cards on a Victory Promotions show.
Ennis scored his eleventh win in thirteen months on May 13th at Norfolk, VA, where he stopped Eduardo Flores, 25-26-3 in the fourth of a six round bout. Flores had been in with some big names in boxing and either went the distance or wasn’t stopped inside of five rounds as he was by Ennis including former WBC champion Carlos Baldimor.
On June 2nd Ennis won his twelfth straight stopping Wilfredo Acuna, 16-20 of Mexico City in 2:53 of the first round. He defeated Robert Hill, 6-32-1, June 22nd at the Durham Armory, in N.C. when Hill retired at the end of the third round. In his fourteenth win he knocked out Ricardo Cano, 17-13-5, at 0:40 of the first round at the Howard Theatre, in DC.
Ennis in his fifteenth bout knocked out Lionel Jimenez, 3-18-1, in 2:43 of the first round in Hammond, IND. His sixteenth bout was October 14th in Springfield, VA, knocking out Ayi Bruce, 23-15, of Ghana, in 1:37 of the first round. In his seventeenth bout on December 1st he stopped George Rosa, 15-10-1 in the second round of a scheduled eight at the 2300 Arena.
Ennis’ two brothers were pro’s first. Farah “Quiet Storm”, 22-2 (12), won the NABF Super Middleweight title while the oldest brother Derek “Pooh” Ennis, 24-5-1 (13), won the USBA Super welterweight and the PA Super welterweight titles. Ennis has a combination of both brothers and then some of his own. He trains at “Bozy’s Dungeon” in North Philly run by his father over top of the Harrowgate Boxing Club on E. Venago Street off Kensington Avenue. He keeps his composure and is level headed.
DARMANI “SOLID” ROCK, 10-0 (6), is 21 and a super heavyweight at 6:05. He is trained by his father Wayne “Wiz”. They go between their own Rock Solid Boxing Gym at 2840 Chatman Street in the Frankford section of North Philly and Fred Jenkins 26th & Master ABC Recreation Center. His promoter is Jay Z’s Roc Nation. In 2014 he won the Youth World Title in Bulgaria and in 2015 the US Nationals. He also won the 2015 National Golden Gloves. He made it as far as the Olympic Trials semi-finals.
In May Rock turned pro in D.C. stopping Carlos Black at 1:54 in round one in D.C. In June he stopped Bobby Favors who weighed 402 lbs. at 1:46 of round one in Quincy, MASS. In July he stopped Hassan Lee at 2:21 in round one in Pittsburgh. In August he won over Mike Kyle in Oakland 40-35 and a pair of 39-37’s. In October he stopped John Orr in Winchester, VA. On November 19th in Las Vegas, NV, he defeated Brice Ritani Coe, 4-4-1, by decision, November 19th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Rock knocked out Solomon Maye, 3-7-2, January 20th at Bally’s Event Center in Atlantic City, NJ. “My dad has trained me since I started at 12 or 13. I feel that I will get better and better with each fight,” said Rock. On March 18th he won a 6 round decision over Jon Bolden, 8-10-1, at the Mountaineer Casino Ballroom, in New Cumberland, WV. At the 2300 Arena show he had his right hand bandaged which he said the injury went back to the Maye knockout.
In October he went south to Durham, NC, and won every round in a six round decision over Juan Goode, 8-6. On December 1st at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia he made his hometown debut stopping Carlos Cotto, 8-1-1, of PR, in the first round improving his record to 10-0
Bantamweight CHRISTIAN CARTO, 13-0 (11), of South Philadelphia was an Olympic Alternate. He is trained by Mickey Rosati, Jr. Mickey was a PA State GG champion. His gym is over his Business Rosati’s Auto Repair Shop at 1937 S. Chadwick St., in South Philly. “He is a rare breed who comes in the gym six days a week. I’ve trained him for the past 3 years. He’s a pleasure to train because he listens. He’s up to bantamweight,” said Rosati. Carto’s original manager Jimmy Binns, Jr., passed away in 2017 so Carto’s older brother Frank, a former Golden Gloves Novice champion took over as manager.
Carto’s twelfth win took him the full distance for the first time winning every round on the judge’s scorecards defeating Alonso Melendez, 14-1, of Mexico over 8 rounds in the main event at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. In his thirteenth and last fight on December 1st at the SugarHouse Casino he defeated Luis Fernando Saavedra, 7-3, of PR, over eight rounds scoring a knockdown and pitching a shutout.
Carto was the 108 National Golden Gloves Champion in 2014. “I was with him when he beat Leroy Davila who was the best in the country,” said Rosati. Carto finished third in the 2015 Golden Gloves. Carto turned pro at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA, stopping Rahkeem Parker who wouldn’t come out after three rounds. In his second bout he stopped Christopher Nelson at the Claridge Casino in Atlantic City in the third round just 20 days later after his debut. In August in his third bout he stopped Jonathan Hernandez at 1:02 of the second round at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly. In his fourth bout on October 28th Carto stopped Angel Carvajal, 2-4, in the second round.
In his fifth fight on November 12th he stopped Leonardo Reyes, 5-10, in the second round. Carto has a big following which showed in his last fight with all the Carto shirts. He boxes well with good balance and is finding some punching power in the professionals. He won his sixth straight at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly on December 16th. He knocked out Harold Reyes, 2-6-1, in the second round. During the referee’s instructions to start the bout Reye’s trainer said “now you are in with a man.” Carto’s trainer Rosati said “I can’t believe he said that. That’s just not right.” After the first round of which Carto won big he pointed to the trainer of Reye’s in the corner saying something. After knocking Reye’s out in the second round Carto again pointed to the trainer with some choice words.
In his seventh fight he stopped Sergio Najera, 12-28-2, of Mexico, at 2:06 of the third round at the SugarHouse Casino. In his eighth fight he stopped Rudolph “the Cutting Edge” Hedge, 10-4-3, of Jamaica after four rounds and not coming out for fifth round at the Fillmore, in Philly. Carto on April 29th at the Liacouras Center won his 9th straight by stoppage over Samuel Gutierrez, 14-18-5 at the end of 5 in a scheduled 6.
Carto continued his knockout streak at ten defeating Juan Guzman, 22-7, at 2:30 of the first round at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. In his eleventh fight he stopped Philip Adyaka, 7-9, at 2:43 of the second round at the SugarHouse Casino, in Phildelphia. That made it 11 straight stoppages from the start of his career.
Super bantamweight MANNY “MAJOR PAIN” FOLLY, 10-0 (8), of Philadelphia, now trains at Bozy’s Dungeon under “Bozy” Ennis. He was with Buddy Osborn’s Rock Ministry since the amateurs through his ten fights. He hasn’t fought since March when he defeated Luis Hinojosa, 30-10 at the 2300 Arena. He should be returning to the ring in January of 2018 per his trainer. At 25 he has a style like those Philly boxers back in the 70’s. He’s the complete package. Since turning pro has fought twice a year.
Folly’s last three opponents had winning records. His last four fights have been at the 2300 Arena in Philly. In March of 2016 he knocked out Hungarian Tibor Nadori, 9-3. Then in January of 2017 he scored a first round knockout over Carlos Morgan, 13-4. Folly turned professional in April of 2013. Being on the Philadelphia police force at that time he was more or less a part time boxer due to his shift work which accounts for his limited amount of fights entering his fifth year having turned pro in April of 2013. He won four of his first five fights by stoppage with four of those bouts being in his hometown.
A diamond in the rough is Philadelphia southpaw super lightweight JEREMY CUEVAS, 6-0 (5), who hasn’t gotten all the notoriety of the others. He is trained by Tony Bersani. He turns twenty-two December and turned pro scoring a pair of stoppages in October and December of 2016 at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly. He’s had four bouts in 2017 in March, then in June in Atlantic City. In his last two bouts making it four at the SugarHouse Casino he stopped Justin Saavi, 31-13-2 in September and on December 1st stopped Jose Miguel Castro, 5-9, in his first six rounder in the fifth round.
Featherweight STEPHEN “SCOOTER” FULTON, 11-0 (5), is a former amateur champion and is fighting Adam Lopez, 8-0, this Friday on FS1 in Hialeah Park Racing & Casino, Hialeah, FL. He is twenty-three and trains at the James Shuler Gym in West Philadelphia and trained by Hamza Muhammad.
Fulton like some other Philadelphia fighters rarely fights at home. He has only fought at home once in his eleven bouts yet seven times in PA. He turned pro in October of 2014. In his last bout in April he had his first eight rounder defeating Louis Rosario, 8-0-1 at the Sands in Bethlehem, PA, for the third time.
Lightweight DAMON “LIL’ DAME” ALLEN is 13-0-1 (5), trained by his father Damon at the Mitch Allen Gym names after the grandfather who still runs the gym at 56th & Haverford. Allen is with Golden Boy Promotions.
The 25 year-old Allen turned pro in 2013 only fighting in Philadelphia in three of his fourteen fights. In his lone non victory he fought a draw with Luis Arceo and was medically suspended due to a possible fractured right hand and left shoulder. He defeated the former WBC featherweight champion Gamaliel Diaz then 40-16-3 in June of 2017 with a TD6 of a scheduled eight.
Super Featherweight AVERY SPARROW, 9-1 (3), in his first ten rounder just defeated the WBO No. 5 contender Jose Lopez, 19-1-1, on ESPN last week. He trains out of the Joe Hand Gym and trained by Vaughn Jackson and promoted by Peltz Boxing.
In his four fights in 2017 he defeated fellow Philly boxer Anthony Burgin, 10-2, and then defeated a pair of 6-0 boxers in Isaelin Florian and Joey Laviolette.
The final two boxers are the Pizarro brothers. The youngest of the group is BRANDEN “THE GIFT”, 8-1 (4), at eighteen who came off the floor losing for the first time in a close fight this writer called a draw but the judges didn’t agree. It was his toughest opponent in Christian Rivera, a southpaw at 6-0 (5) from PR. This hopefully will be the best thing for this youngster who is a senior in high school who wants to be a world champion by the time he is 21. He is trained by his father Angel, Sr. and promoted by Hard Hitting Promotions.
Branden was put in tough because he kept asking for better opposition and he got it. He is expected to come back more serious (show boater) and even better. His father just opened a new gym in Philly where he trains. He has fought seven of his nine fights in Philly.
The other Pizarro is Super bantamweight ANGEL, JR., Jr., 3-0 (2), who at twenty-two turned pro in August of 2016 winning every round. His three bouts have all been at the SugarHouse Casino with his last two bouts being in October of 2016 and didn’t come back until September of 2017 due to an injury. He stopped Joseph Cole, 1-2, and has had his opponents pull out in his last two scheduled fights at the last moment. He is trained by “Bozy” Ennis at “Bozy’s Dungeon in Philly.
THOMAS “T.J.” VELASQUEZ, 9-0-1 (5), who fights for DSG which is Danny and Angel Garcia’s group. Now twenty-two he turned pro in August of 2015.
Velasquez has fought four of his ten fights in Philadelphia. After winning his first nine bouts he was held to a draw in his last bout in September at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, by Tyrome Jones, 4-2. He is trained by Angel Garcia at the DSG Gym in Philadelphia.
STEVEN ORTIZ, 7-0 (2), 24 year-old lightweight turned pro in February of 2015 with only two fights in 2017. He defeated Tyrome Jones, 4-0, in his last fight who fought a draw with T.J. Velasquez. The previous fight he defeated 3-1 Hector Rivera. His last four fights were at the 2300 Arena. He is 3-0-1 in 2017. He trains at the DSG gym in Philly and is trained by Raul “Chino” Rivas in Cherry Hill, NJ.
That wraps up Philadelphia’s “Talented Twelve” who are all destined to be world contenders in the near future and possible world champions!
These Three Hold the Future of Philadelphia Boxing in Their Hands
By: Ken Hissner
At the end of this article this writer will talk about the three boxers in Philadelphia who hold the future of Philly boxing in their hands!
For some time Philadelphia writers, trainers, boxers and promoters have said Philadelphia is the “boxing capitol of the world!” Currently Philadelphia does not have a world champion. Only seven of Philadelphia’s boxers are in the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF ratings.
The most recent world champion was Danny “Swift” Garcia, 33-1 (19), who is currently now ranked No. 2 by both the WBC and WBA. He lost his WBC welterweight title by split decision to WBA champion Keith Thurman in March and hasn’t fought since. His manager is Al Haymon and his promoter is Golden Boy Promotions. He is trained by his father Angel Garcia at their DSG gym in North Philadelphia.
Steve “USS” Cunningham, 29-9-1 (13), the former two-time cruiserweight champion is listed at No. 15 by the IBF. He recently lost a lack luster decision. No one keeps in better condition than “USS” does. Newark, NJ, is having a cruiserweight title match and the opponent is a former opponent of his. “USS” should be on that show! He is trained by Naziim Richardson and promoted by Main Events.
Jesse “Hard Work” Hart got his opportunity recently coming off the canvas early in the fight but made a strong second half finish in losing but will probably keep his No. 1 WBO status among super middleweights but isn’t ranked anywhere else. How can that be? If he comes down to earth after that loss he still has potential to be a world champion but you can’t split his time between two gyms with two different trainers and expect results! It’s Fred Jenkins, Sr. at the ABC Recreation Center in North Philly and it’s his father Eugene “Cyclone” Hart in Joe Hand’s South Philly gym.
Super welterweight Julian “J Rock” Williams, 23-1-1 (15), lost in a WBC title attempt in December of 2016 to Jermell Charlo but is still ranked No. 6 in the WBC, No. 9 in the IBF and No. 15 in the WBO. He is still young and still has a future. Stephan “Bread Man” Edwards is his manager and trainer at Shuler’s Gym in West Philly.
Welterweight southpaw “The New” Ray Robinson, 24-2 (12) due to inactivity has dropped in the ratings but is still No. 10 in the WBO, No. 11 in the IBF and No. 13 in the WBC. He can make anyone look bad. So why doesn’t the Garcia people consider a Philly bout with him? He is trained by “Bozy” Ennis at “Bozy’s Dungeon” in North Philly. He is managed by David McWater.
“Hammerin” Hank Lundy, 28-6-1 (14), is No. 10 in the WBC lightweight rankings and has fallen to the “Philly Jinx” on more than one occasion. He’s 3-3 in his last 6 fights. “Cornbread” Ramsey was back in the corner last fight. He trains out of the Marion Anderson Gym in South Philly. Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, 25-4-1 (5), is No. 2 in the WBC, No. 5 in the IBF and No. 9 in the WBO. Coming off an injury he should be ready to go again soon. Marc Cipparone is his manager while “Chino” Rivas trains him in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Now let’s get to the “future” of Philadelphia. The best prospect since 1984 Gold Medal Olympia is welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 15-0 (13), who at age 20 is on the verge of stepping up the competition. Promoting his fights with Victory Promotions is Chris Middendorf who has him either in Philly October 21st or in DC October 14th. To have him in fifteen fights in eighteen months is impressive. He was an Olympic Alternate in 2016. His father “Bozy” trains him at “Bozy’s Dungeon” North Philly Gym over the Harrowgate Gym.
Bantamweight Christian Carto, 12-0 (11), finally got some rounds in this past week in the main event defeating a 14-1 Mexican opponent. He has had twelve fights in fifteen months of boxing and is a former National Golden Gloves Champion. He lost his manager recently to a death and still doesn’t have a promoter. His trainer is Mickey Rosati, Jr. whose gym Carto trains at over Rosati’s Auto Repair garage. He’s had ten fights with Hard Hitting Promotions and two with King’s Promotions. He’s one white boxer that even the most negative black boxing people love him in Philly.
The third is a 17 year-old super lightweight named Brandon Pizarro, 8-0 (4), who will be turning 18 this month. “Gifted” is a crowd pleaser trained by “Bozy” Ennis and his father Angel Pizarro, Sr. at “Bozy’s Dungeon” in North Philly. He is promoted by Hard Hitting Promotions.
On Sunday October 18th John DiSanto is holding his 8th Annual “Briscoe Awards” where most of these boxers along with this writer will be in attendance. It will be held at the Xfinity Live facility at 1100 Pattison Avenue in South Philly.
Philly’s Fab Four Turned Professional in 2016 and Are 23-0-1!
Philly’s Fab Four Turned Professional in 2016 and Are 23-0-1!
By: Ken Hissner
This was to be the year that five Philly boxers were to go to the Olympic in Brazil!The best looking prospect to come out of Philly since 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Meldrick Taylor in this writer’s opinion is Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 8-0 (7), from the Germantown section of Philly at 19. He was 58-3 in the amateurs. His father Bozy Ennis is his trainer and possibly the best in the city. Cameron Dunkin is his manager and Victory Promotions his promoter. He could have signed with Top Rank but Dunkin chose Victory a new name on the block ran by Chris Middendorf. Top Rank Promotions were not thrilled with Dunkin’s decision and neither was this writer.
Ennis defeated Gary Antuanne Russell in his first fight in the Olympic Trials and followed it with two more wins. Then in the box-off he lost back to back matches to Russell who was one of four men to go to the Olympics in Brazil. Bozy Ennis was not happy with the two losses but said “we beat him but they stole it. I’d give Russell the third time.”
Ennis made his professional debut in April in St. George Utah and stopped Cory Muldrew in 0:42 of the first round. He defeated Luis Ramos in 0:23 in Philly in May for his second win. In June he stopped Deshawn Debose in 0:20 of the first round in Springfield, VA, for his third win. Then in July for his third win he stopped Tavorus Teague at 1:38 of the fourth round in Rio Rancho, NM, for his fourth win.
In August in his fifth win he stopped Matt Murphy at 2:52 of the second round in Bristol, PA, for his fifth win. “Murphy had just stopped a 3-0 boxer in his previous fight,” said Ennis. He won his sixth fight when hedefeated Eddie Diaz at 2300 Arena in Philly on September 15th. Diaz was from Compton, CA, one of the toughest areas in the country. Ennis is 5:10 and after competing at 141 in the amateurs he’s now a welterweight but just a couple of pounds over 141.”He’s doing pretty good defeating all the opponents he’s fought so far. Even I don’t always realize when he switches from orthodox to southpaw. After seeing him in the Diaz fight I am moving he up to 147 and no more 143 fights,” said Ennis.
“Boots” won his seventh fight on November 11th at the 2300 Arena where he stopped Chris Alexander, 4-3, in 4 rounds. Then he won his eighth fight on December 10th at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, stopping Marcus Becker, 3-4-3, in the sixth and final round. “I will be back in the ring January 28th at the 2300 Arena that my promoter Chris Middendorf of Victory Promotions is running.
“Boots” two brothers have been pro’s first. Farah “Quiet Storm” won the NABF Super Middleweight while the oldest brother Derek “Pooh” Ennis won the USBA Super welterweight and the PA Super welterweight titles. “Boots” has a combination of both brothers and then some of his own. He is orthodox but fights some of his bouts southpaw. He trains at “Bozy’s Dungeon” in North Philly run by his father over top of Harrowgate’s Boxing Club on E. Venago Street off Kensington Avenue.
In 2015 “Boots” won the National Youth title in January. In May he won the National Golden Gloves title. He took lost in the Olympic Trials in December and was asked to be an alternate but his father turned it down to turn professional. At the Olympic Trial Qualifiers in Philly he won all five bouts.
Joshua Jones, 3-0-1 (2), signed with Dunkin and Victory Promotions along with Ennis. He trains at both Marion Anderson and Bozy’s Dungeon. Aaron Ford is assisted by“Bozy” Ennis. Jones is 23 and a Super lightweight. He made his debut in April in Utah along with “Boots” stopping Jason Thompson at 2:33 of the third round.
He was to fight in Philly along with “Boots” but hurt his hand. He is now scheduled to fight January 28th in Philly. In June both boxers were on the Springfield, VA, show where Jones stopped Christopher Kuhn at 1:52 of the first round. In July he fought to a majority draw with Ahmet Kayretli in Erie, PA, getting a 39-37 vote with the other two having it 38-38. “He could have done better but he certainly deserved the fight. The opponent came in at 139 and was 150 at fight time. Jones has a fight scheduled forNovember 11th in Philadelphia at 2300 Arena meeting Corey Edwards, 2-1. “I believe Boots, Tight and Christian are all great and I believe we will all do big things in boxing,” said Jones.
Darmani “Tight” Rock, 6-0 (4), is a super heavyweight at 6:05 and averaging just under 250. He is trained by his father Wayne “Wiz”. They go between their own Rock Solid Boxing Gym at 2840 Chatman Street in Frankford section of North Philly. His promoter is Jay Z’s Roc Nation. In 2014 he won the Youth World Title in Bulgaria and in 2015 the US Nationals. He also won the 2015 National Golden Gloves. He made it as far as the Olympic Trials semi-finals.
In May Rock turned pro in D.C. stopping Carlos Black at 1:54 in round one in D.C. In June he stopped Bobby Favors who weighed 402 lbs. at 1:46 of round one in Quincy, MASS. In July he stopped Hassan Lee at 2:21 in round one in Pittsburgh. In August he won over Mike Kyle in Oakland 40-35 and a pair of 39-37’s.He is 20.In October he stopped John Orr in Winchester, VA. On November 19th in Las Vegas, NV, he defeated Brice Ritani Coe, 4-4-1, by decision.
Rock is next scheduled January 20th at Bally’s Event Center in Atlantic City, NJ. “My dad has trained me since I started at 12 or 13. I feel that I will get better and better with each fight,” said Rock.
The final one of the Fab Four is Bantamweight Christian Carto, 6-0 (6), of South Philly was an Olympic Trials Bronze medalist and went to the training camp in Colorado to help others after the trials. He is trained by Mickey Rosati, Jr. Mickey was a PA State GG champion. His gym is over his Business Rosati’sAuto RepairShop at 1937 S. Chadwick St., in South Philly.“He is a rare breed who comes in the gym six days a week. I’ve trained him for the past 3 years. He’s a pleasure to train because he listens. He’s up to bantamweight,” said RosatiHe is managed by Jimmy Binns, Jr.of Binns Management out of Las Vegas.
Carto was the 108 National Golden Gloves Champion in 2014 defeating Leroy “Lucious” Davila who was No. 1 in the nation and 4-0 now as a pro. “I was with him when he beat Davila who was the best in the country,” said Rosati.Cartofinished third in the 2015 Golden Gloves. His father Frank is always there to support his son who is 20. His brother Frank, Jr. won the Novice at 141 in the Golden Gloves this year.
Carto turned pro at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA, stopping Rahkeem Parker who wouldn’t come out after three rounds. In his second bout he stopped Christopher Nelson at the Claridge Casino in Atlantic City in the third round just 20 days later after his debut. In August in his third bout he stopped Jonathan Hernandez at 1:02 of the second round at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly. In his fourth bout on October 28th Carto stopped Angel Carvajal, 2-4, in the second round.
In his fifth fight on November 12th he stopped Leonardo Reyes, 5-10, in the second round. Carto has a big following which showed in his last fight with all the Carto shirts. He boxes well with good balance and is finding some punching power in the professionals. He won his sixth straight at the Sugar House Casino in Philly on December 16th. He knocked out Harold Reyes, 2-6-1, in the second round. During the referee’s instructions to start the bout Reye’s trainer said “now you are in with a man.” Carto’s trainer Mickey Rosati said “I can’t believe he said that. That’s just not right.” After the first round of which Carto won big he pointed to the trainer of Reye’s in the corner saying something. After knocking Reye’s out in the second round Carto again pointed to the trainer with some choice words.
Two other Philly boxers Paul Kroll won the Olympic Trials but didn’t qualify for the Olympics while Mark Dawson fought to a draw in his debut and won his first fight in the Olympic Trials but suffered a cut and wasn’t able to go onto the next round. He is with Split-T Management under David Mc Water. He’s a former 2012 Jr. National PAL, 2013 Nation Silver Gloves, 2013 National Jr. Olympics and 2015 Youth Nationals champion with 75 amateur bouts. He is 19.