PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                             May 01, 2009


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Rogers Mtagwa beat Ricardo Medina over ten exciting rounds last night in the main event at the Blue Horizon. The two fighters mauled, brawled and punched their way through the entire course of the fight, thrilling the crowd on a hot May evening. Mtagwa won the unanimous decision by wide scores of 97-93 and 98-92 twice, in a fight that felt a bit closer. For Mtagwa, it was another typically entertaining outing for the little punch machine who has never been in a bad fight. But as usual, the win did not come too easily for him, but he sure looked like he had fun doing it. 

Mtagwa and Medina cast aside any thoughts of feeling each other out and began fighting as soon as the first bell sounded. Yes, they each pressed forward, went shoulder to shoulder and threw punches. Mtagwa, 127, wound up and whipped his arching shots at Medina, 129.5, who did his best to lean away and slip to the side of the incoming missiles. He shot back often.

The fight kept moving to the ropes where it found its groove. Both fighters seemed to like it at the perimeter so much that it became hard to keep track whether one had pushed the action to the ropes or if the other had pulled it there. They just took turns and punched away.

The third round was a memorable one. Both boxers were hurt during the session. Mtagwa caught Medina first and seemed to wobble him with one of his rounded right hands. But Medina fought back and rocked Mtagwa later with a left hook. As the round wound down Medina's face was full of blood. The big slice over his left eye was probably caused by a butt. There heads were so close throughout the action. But I didn't see a clear clash of heads, an no warning was ever given by referee Shawn Clark. Mtagwa took the action-packed round, and Medina streamed blood for the rest of the fight.

The brawling continued over the next several rounds. The fight felt close, but it was Mtagwa who seemed to have the edge. In the middle rounds, Medina started jabbing a long straight left jab that helped him slow Mtagwa's forward motion a bit. But Rogers kept coming and cut Medina over the right eye in round six. The blood dripped off Medina's face, down his chest and every time he was hit, splattered everywhere else, including onto Mtagwa's white trunks.

The ninth round was a corker, especially at the close. Both guys were going for broke and swinging and landing and catching with great frequency. Mtagwa's faces started to lump up a little around the eyes, but it didn't slow him. As good as the ninth was, the tenth was ever better. Mtagwa backed Medina to the ropes a few times and whipped him with every shot he could muster. But after these flurries, Medina would step away, reset and come barreling in headfirst once again. He pinned Mtagwa to the ropes a couple of times and scored his own points. The crowd loved it.

At the final bell Medina stepped away from the action with blood all over his face and body. He shrugged to his corner as if to say, "I couldn't have done better than that." In Mtagwa's corner there was a celebration. Everyone, including trainer Bobby 'Boogaloo' Watts looked pretty happy and confident of the outcome.

All three judges had it for Rogers. One official gave Medina three rounds while the other two only gave him two. The win raised Mtagwa's record to 26-12-2 with 18 KOs. Medina fell to 31-34-5 with 17 KOs.

The night started with a four round junior lightweight bout between West Philly's Frankie Trader (green trunks) and North Philly's Luis Esquilin. Trader took the majority decision by scores of 38-38 and 39-37 twice, and posted his fourth win in as many fights (4-0 / 1 KO). Esquilin dropped to 1-2-1.


Next up, young and exciting junior lightweight Anthony Flores basted foe Carlos Diaz out at 2:51 of the first round. The 21 year old Flores has a real baby face and displays a sweet smile before and after a fight. But while the battle is on, he turns into a tiger. He stalked Diaz to a neutral corner and drilled him with a lanky right hand. Diaz crumbled to his knees and then fell flat. The fight was stopped without a count, but Diaz would have never made it to his feet. As Flores celebrated, the medical staff rolled Diaz onto his back where he stayed for several scary minutes. Eventually he got up and left the ring on his own legs, 10-19-4. Flores' record raised to 8-0 with 5 KOs. The bout was scheduled for six rounds.

Junior welterweight Victor Vasquez of North Philly had another exciting start in his rough battle with Linwood Hurd of Atlantic City. Hurd marked up Vasquez' eyes and cut his right eyelid over the course of the six rounder. But Vasquez outworked his opponent most of the way and punctuated his performance with a last round knockdown. The official decision was one-sided for Vasquez with all three judges scoring it 59-54. The win made Vasquez 9-4 with 5 KOs. Diaz fell to 2-2-3.

In a scheduled six-round light-heavyweight bout, Tony 'Boom Boom' Ferrante beat Anthony Pietrantonio, the Italian Nightmare, with a workmanlike effort, but it wasn't an easy win. Ferrante piled up points in the first two rounds before Pietrantonio opened the third with some hard shots. He controlled the action in the round and cut Ferrante below the right eye. The cut worsened in the 4th but Ferrante regained control of the fight, even though he looked a little winded. Early in the 5th, Ferrante caught his foe on the ropes with a hard left hook and clubbing right hand that convinced referee Clark to step in. The TKO came at :45 seconds of the 5th round. Ferrante remained undefeated, improving to 7-0 with 4 KOs. Pietrantonio returns to Youngstown, Ohio 6-2-1 with 5 KOs.

North Philly southpaw Kaseem Wilson usually posts careful and rather dull decision wins when he fights. But on this fight night Wilson showed some real moxie and blew past Louie Leija, of San Antonio, in just 1:06. Wilson dropped his foe in the red corner and jumped right on him, when he arose. After a few more shots along the ropes by Kaseem, referee Eddie Claudio decided to stop the fight. The win boosted Wilson's record to 12-1-1. It was his 4th KO. The experienced Leija fell to 21-11-1 with 15 KOs. On paper, it looked like a big mistake to put this one on right before the main event. A long and boring fight would have made the crowd restless, but Wilson's display of punching power revved up the 1,000 or so fans nicely. 

Immediately after Mtagwa took the main event, North Philly jr. middleweight Jamaal Davis lost a tough decision to Invington, NJ's Jerome Ellis. The action was pretty evenly dished out. While Davis had the edge in the center-ring exchanges, Ellis appeared to be physically stronger and repeatedly bulled Davis to the ropes where he left his punches fly. The last round was a tough one for Davis as Ellis finished strongly. The official cards were all over the place, 79-73 for Davis, 80-72 for Ellis, and a far more reasonable 77-75 for Ellis. The split decision win raised Ellis to 12-9-2 with 10 KOs. The hard-luck Davis left 9-5 with 6 KOs.

Welterweights Ardrick Butler and Dontre King closed the show with a uneventful 4 rounder. Southwest Philadelphian Butler landed at will with a long jab and a variety of other punches. King, of Cambridge, MD, moved around and occasionally stepped in to test the waters, but didn't seem to like the temperature. As they began the final round, King really need to make something happen. However, he was content to dance the round away. With it went the decision, which was awarded to Butler, now 2-1, by majority scores of 40-37, 40-36, and a surprising 38-38. King's record further soured to 1-4-1.

The eight-bout card was the second event in the return to the Blue Horizon by promoter J Russell Peltz, and came on the 45th anniversary of Kitten Hayward's explosive TKO of Curtis Cokes at the same venue (5/1/64). The Hayward-Cokes was nationally televised fight is generally considered the venue's best fight ever.


Carlos Diaz went down in the neutral corner.

Anthony Flores celebrates.


Carlos Diaz was down for several minutes.

Anthony Flores is the winner.

Victor Vasquez and Linwood Hurd exchange jabs.

Vasquez wades in.

Vasquez wins the decision over Hurd.

The illustrated man, Victor Vasquez.

Tony Ferrante lands his left hook.

Boom Boom Ferrante throws his right.

Ferrante staggers Pietrantonio.

Referee Shawn Clark stops the fight.

Kaseem Wilson celebrates his fast win.

Jerome Ellis and Jamaal Davis square off in center ring.

Dontre King backs Jamaal Davis to the ropes.

Jerome Ellis nails Jamaal Davis with a right.

Ardrick Butler jabs Dontre King.

Ricardo Medina moves in on Rogers Mtagwa.

Medina was cut in round three over the left eye.

Mtagwa digs an uppercut.




John DiSanto - North Philly - May 01, 2009