junior middleweight champion Kassim Ouma snapped his
three-fight losing streak at the Armory on Saturday night
with a 6th round TKO over Martinus Clay. The fight capped a
six-bout card billed as "Shamrocks and Dreams", where
"Kassim the Dream" provided the dreams, and three upcoming
Irish nationals supplied the shamrocks. The night was
trimmed with an Irish band, bagpipers, smoke machines and
lighting effects, which only enhanced the entertaining show
inside the ring.
win began a little shaky for the former champ when his
sluggish start was exploited by an upset-minded Clay who
boxed carefully and landed a number of solid right hands
during the first four rounds. But Ouma kept chugging. And
although he failed to rev all the way back up to his former
non-stop, always-pressing style, he did enough to show that
his career should not be relegated to Saturday nights at the
Armory. Yes, Kassim the Dream may still have gas left in his
tank. As the fight wore on, his peppy attack showed flashes
of the fighter he once seemed to be, unlike at least two of
his three recent losses, which almost wrote his career
Ouma loosened up, his increasingly consistent attack wore
Clay down. Martinus stayed competitive through the fourth
round, holding things pretty even in this fight he was not
supposed to win. But beginning with the fifth, Clay's
potential upset started to fray. You could see it beginning
to happen in his corner before the bell even sounded. Clay
looked tired. He was breathing heavily and his slumping body
language seemed to indicate that he wasn't going to make it
up the hill. The weary fighter's left eye was also showing
signs of wear and tear. His trainer, Billy Briscoe, worked
on the eye as well as a cut inside Clay's mouth.
the fifth, Ouma owned all the action. More furious corner
work after the round couldn't stop the slide. In round six,
Ouma chased his prey around the ring caught him near his own
corner. A combination of punches ending with a booming
uppercut deposited Clay on one knee. Martinus got up but
Ouma was on him immediately. After another combination from
Ouma, Clay took a knee once again. He began to rise but
Clay's corner called for referee Benji Esteves to stop it.
The win raised Ouma's record to 26-5-1. It was his 16th KO.
Clay dropped to 13-19-4.
The night began with Tim Witherspoon, Jr.
winning his first pro fight with a narrow majority decision
over Julius Edmonds, in a jr. welterweight four rounder that
could have gone either way. Witherspoon, son of the former
heavyweight champ, improved to 1-1. Edmonds fell to 2-3, but
probably deserved better.
Middleweight Jamal Davis, 8-4 (6 KO),
followed with a shutout over four rounds against fellow
Philadelphian Chris Hall, 3-5-1. All three judges scored the
Irish action began with the third bout of the night.
Dublin's Patrick Hyland, an undefeated junior lightweight
and one of three fighting Hyland brothers, overwhelmed Elvis
Martinez of the Dominican Republic with a second round TKO.
Using flashy right hands, Hyland, 15-0 (8 KO), had Martinez
on the canvas once in first and twice in the second, forcing
Martinez' corner to stop the mismatch and referee Hurley
McCall waved it off at 1:24 of the second round. Martinez
slipped to 11-27-2.
Simon O'Donnell, a middleweight from Galway, Ire-land who
now fights out of Philadelphia, scored his own KO on this
Irish night when Antonio Baker finally succumbed at 58
seconds of round five of their scheduled six rounder.
Referee Esteves didn't bother to count when Baker slipped to
the mat. With the win, O'Donnell goes to 7-1 (4 KO); Baker
drops to 6-11.
In the final preliminary bout before the
main event, Lucian Gonzalez, Reading, PA, let the air out of
the ceremonial bagpipes with his upset win over Paul Hyland.
The second Hyland brother started well, winning the first
two rounds. Gonzalez rallied back in the third to score a
knockdown, which evened the score going into the final
round. The two fighters fought the full three minutes of the
round and it was Gonzales who clearly had the best of it.
After a nervous wait for the judges scores, Gonzalez was
awarded the decision. It was the first pro setback for
Hyland, now 12-1 (4 KO). The unlikely winner upped his
record to 8-4-1.
It was a festive night and a successful
first event for the fledgling promotional company
Philadelphia Worldwide. Approximately 900 fans filed into
the National Guard Armory for the Saturday night program.
should also be noted that for the first time in many, many
years, a local show utilized a some dramatic lighting
effects to add to the atmosphere. To begin each fight, the
Armory's house lights were turned off and the boxers were
led into the ring by spotlight. Once the action began, the
house lights were left off and the ring was lit by four
lighting banks each positioned above the corners. It called
to memory the good old days of the Spectrum in the 1970s,
when slip and fall lawsuits were rather uncommon, and the
legendary venue also used spotlights and dimmed the house
lights during every round. It was small detail, but it went
a long way in making a night at the fights like no other
So congratulations to the Philadelphia
Worldwide on their launch AND to the lighting technicians
for making the night special.