PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                     September 26, 2009


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Philadelphia prospect Henry Lundy won his main event against an out-gunned and slightly graying Justo Sanchez, at the Yesha Center in South Philly. It was the first fight held at the venue, which usually hosts religious revivals. But no amount of residual prayer remaining in the building could have saved Lundy's outclassed foe. The match was really no match. Sanchez came in from Utah with a shoddy record of 17-23-1 (no KOs), and having lost eight of his last ten bouts. He was there to lose, and did so with a measure of dignity. Sanchez marched forward and took his lumps. He showed toughness, but only really offered some resistance in round three with some decent body work.

Lundy stalked his opponent with a familiar crab-like, wide stance. He waddled in and threw his punches in flashy flurries, but he did a lot of posing along the way. For a few rounds, it even appeared that he wasn't even interested in turning up the heat enough for the KO. In his corner between the rounds, there was a lot of disrespectful laughing aimed at his easy opponent. Lundy even pulled the hot-dog move of spinning and hitting Sanchez from behind his back in round two. When you are as good a prospect as Lundy, and are in with someone who has no chance of winning, you should get down to business and end the fight.

Lundy finally got serious in the fourth round. He hurt Sanchez to the body and dropped him with a flurry of head shots. Sanchez got up gamely. Again, Hamerin' Hank ravaged his foe's midsection and floored him a second time near the end of the round.

The slaughter continued in the fifth when Lundy put Sanchez down again with a hard left hook. The punch followed another body punching set up. The tough Sanchez survived the round, but the end was near. 

After just 21 seconds of round six, referee Benjy Esteves halted the bout with Sanchez trapped on the ropes and Lundy firing a wild flurry. The attack didn't do much damage, but it was clear that Sanchez couldn't offer any more.

The victory raised Lundy to 15-0-1 (9 KO) and gave him the UBC (Universal Boxing Council) belt - whatever that is. Lundy is an excellent prospect, but it is time for him to step up again. He looked like a world beater when he topped Jason Citron earlier this year. It should have been onward and upward for Hank after that bout, and not this sparring session.

The semi-final bout was another scheduled 8-rounder with the UBC super middleweight belt on the line - whatever that is. The bout pitted Upper Darby's Dhafir Smith against Demetrius Davis of Washington, DC. Both entered with classic club-fighter records - winning but almost even logs - Smith was 21-19-6 (4 KO) while Davis was 19-15-5 (7 KO).

Davis took the lead over the first two rounds with a hard right hand that he repeatedly landed. Smith depended on a straight, stiff jab that scored with a nice thud. In round three Smith loosened up his Philly left hook, and began driving it home. One hook dropped Davis suddenly. When Davis got up, Smith kept up the pressure with the lefts. Later in the round he hurt him again with a solid left-right that dislodged Davis' mouthpiece. Smith ran out of time in the round, but he likely won it by a 10-8 margin, which even the score, and proved critical later at the end.

The left hook clinic continued in round four, but Davis rebounded nicely. He landed a good uppercut that snapped Dhafir's head up toward the disco ball that hung over ring-center. They continued to rumble evenly in rounds five and six, with Smith perhaps having a slight edge. Davis cracked Smith with a hard right in the seventh, prompting Smith to look nervously to his corner. Moments later Smith muscled Davis to the mat to but some time.

After seven rounds, the fight was basically even. In the eighth and final round, Smith used his right hand to score while Davis returned his fire with combinations, and edged out the decision on my scorecard. But it was close.

The official scores read 77-74 for Smith, 77-74 for Davis, and 77-74 for Smith. Dhafir took the fight - and the belt - with a split decision.

Between the two main bouts, Philly's Dan Grafton made his pro debut in a 4-round cruiserweight bout against Patrick Johnson of Kokomo, IN. Grafton won every round of this contest, but if you judged by the fighters' appearance, you would have thought Johnson had won it by a mile. In round one, Grafton pressed Johnson to the ropes and wailed away, hurting him over and over again. But in one of these volleys, Grafton came a way with a bloody moustache, and smeared all over his face.

In the second, Grafton resumed the beating but again was a bloody mess himself. Even Joey Eye couldn't keep that nose quiet. But Grafton's punches were taking their toll. Johnson looked exhausted early in the second. He was sucking air desperately, with his mouth wide open and his mouthpiece rolling around his mouth like a breath mint. He looked like he wanted to quit, but Grafton was gassed too and couldn't give Johnson a good enough reason to call it a night. Finally, in round four, with the fight winding down, Grafton put Johnson in the corner and landed an extended attack. Most of the punches missed their mark, hitting mostly gloves, but it was enough to prove that Johnson was through. Referee Shawn Clark stepped in at the 2:25 mark.

Philadelphian Eric "The Outlaw" Hunter returned to the ring after a year away and looked sharp in his six-round featherweight contest. He faced Wilshaun Boxley of Coon Rapids, MN. Although Hunter won every round, it was still a well fought match on both sides. Hunter had every advantage, but Boxley effectively rushed him awkwardly. In the first round, one of these rushes caused a clash of heads which made Hunter lose his cool. He nervously pawed at his head and complained to referee Clark all night long. But Hunter just had too many tools for Boxley. He fired hard shots - especially good left hooks - and controlled the action. The fifth could have easily been a 10-8 round, even though no knockdown occurred. In the last round Hunter hurt Boxley with a pair of leaping left hooks at the bell that had the crowd of about 700 cheering wildly. The official scores were wide for Hunter - 60-54, 60-53 and 60-54. Hunter improved his record to 11-1 (4 KO). Boxley fell to 5-2 (3 KO).

Two four-round female bouts opened the evening. New Yorker Belinda Laracuente (with Puerto Rican flag trunks at left), 24-25-3 (9 KO) won a unanimous decision over Philly's Lakeysha Williams (in black trunk with white stripe, below left), 9-15-3 (1 KO), in their lightweight fight by scores of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37. Welterweight Rachel Clark, Philadelphia, 3-2-1 (2 KO) beat Ontario's Natalie Brown, 5-2 (3 KO) by a majority decision after four rounds. The official scores were 38-38 and 39-37 (twice) for Clark.

Between the two female bouts, cruiserweight Pedro Martinez fought a three-round exhibition with Ron Boddie. Martinez was scheduled to fight for real on the card, but his opponent fell out.

Bionic Bull Promotions staged the show, moving slightly west from their recent locale of South Philly High to the Yesha Center. The Yesha was a decent fight venue. The ring was set up at the far end of the rectangular room, with padded banquet chairs lined up in two wide rows all the way to the back of the room. Most of the seats - probably 70% - were filled on this night at the fights. The lighting of the room left a little to be desired, with only two chandeliers, a few inset ceiling bulbs, and that disco ball above the ring throwing light onto the ring. Still, it is always fun to try a new fight club on for size, and there is talk of a second show happening here before the end of the year.




John DiSanto - South Philly - September 26, 2009