PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                        October 12, 2009


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For the second straight year the Briscoe Awards were presented to members of the local boxing community to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of the year. The ceremony / party was held at the Veteran Boxers Club (VBA-Ring One) in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. The club is steeped in boxing history, loaded with vintage posters and photos from the past 70 years. About one hundred family, friends, and fans of Philly boxing were in attendance, as were many stars from Philadelphia rings past and present. Celebrities included Joltin' Jeff Chandler, Steve Cunningham, Stanley 'Kitten' Hayward, Bobby 'Boogaloo' Watts, Curtis Parker, Robert 'Bam Bam' Hines, Charlie 'Choo Choo' Brown, Henry 'Toothpick' Brown, Roy 'Tiger' Williams, Mike Everett, J Russell Peltz, Gabriel Rosado, Raymond Serrano, Lenny DeVictoria, Lloyd Brown, Carmen Bartolomeo, Buster Custus, Joe Hand, Joey Dawejko, Vernoca Michael, and others.

'Gee Cullmer vs. Jameel Wilson' was honored as the "2008 Philly Fight of the Year" and Bernard Hopkins was recognized as the "2008 Philly Fighter of the Year". Also acknowledged was Joey Dawejko, a 1-0 professional heavyweight who was named the outstanding amateur of 2008, based on national and international titles he won in the past year. Dawejko took home the Everett Brothers Award, named for three fighting siblings from South Philly - Mike, Eddie, and local legend Tyrone Everett. The award was presented by Mike Everett, middle brother and himself a three-time amateur Golden Gloves champion and a professional junior welterweight contender and world title challenger of the 1970s.

Also on display this night was the work-in-progress statue of Joey Giardello, which is being sculpted by artist Carl LeVotch in a makeshift studio in the attic of the VBA Club. LeVotch also sculpted the original Bennie Briscoe figure used for the annual award. 

Hopkins was not in attendance, but received his award two days later at the press conference to announce his upcoming fight in Philadelphia. Leading up to and after the Briscoe event, some attention to Hopkins' absence was paid by a few. And although having Bernard in attendance at the event would have made the night complete, his status may have overshadowed much of what did transpire at the Briscoe Awards. This was the evening when an excellent and interesting mix of people gathered to support everything good about Philadelphia boxing, not just its brightest star of the moment. The Briscoe Award is intended to recognize moments and milestones in the great timeline of Philly's boxing history. No fighter is bigger than that timeline, and the only fighter who will be perennially singled out is Bennie Briscoe. 

The fight of the year was won on points by Gee Cullmer at the Blue Horizon on September 12, 2008. The decision was close and the back and forth battle could have gone either way. Cullmer came away with the victory, and Wilson walked away with another of the razor-thin losses than have marked his career. The fight was one of four nominated, and gained top honors based on votes cast by the local fight media and the readers of the web site

"Gee and I have been friends for years" said Jameel Wilson. "Boxing is amazing. You can fight each other and try to kill each other in the ring, but after it's over, you are still friends. But saying all of that, let me say this - I think there should be a three-fight clause for this fight."

Cullmer said, "First, I want to congratulate Jameel because he's deserved this for a long time. He's in the fight of the year every year, and deserves this award more than I do." Cullmer acknowledged the many boxing celebs in the house including Hall of Famers Jeff Chandler and J Russell Peltz.

Both fighters also thanked their families and everyone who came out to participate in the award ceremony. 

Winners from last year, Steve Cunningham (2007 Philly Fighter of the Year) and Lenny DeVictoria (knockout winner of the 2007 Philly Fight of the Year) helped with the award presentation by handing Wilson and Cullmer their Briscoe statuettes.

In the wake of the second annual Briscoe Awards, some bragging rights must be noted. Of the six active boxers who have taken home the award in the past two years (Fighters of the Year & participants in Fight of the Year), three of them hail from the Shuler Gym (Cunningham, Wilson & Cullmer). That is 50%.  Further, for the second straight year, the Blue Horizon has hosted the Fight of the Year. That is 100%. So the bragging rights have been established. I hope that the entire local boxing community will challenge these early trendsetters by starting to reach for the Briscoe, and in doing so, help to make the award a real Philly tradition. But no matter who wins each year, I hope even more that we all can gather every October to celebrate the sport we love, and recognize those who excelled.

Philly Boxing History would like to thank everyone who participated this year. We congratulate Gee Cullmer, Jameel Wilson, Bernard Hopkins, and Joey Dawejko on their awards, and thank them for their contributions to legacy of our sport.


Dan Rossano, Stanley 'Kitten' Hayward and 'USS' Steve Cunningham
at the Briscoe Awards on October 12, 2009.


Philly Legend Bobby 'Boogaloo' Watts, trainer of boxer Rogers
Mtagwa, addresses the crowd about their recent thrilling title bout.
Photo by Anthony Gargano


Former heavyweight contender Roy 'Tiger' Williams, boxing's version
of Barry White, performed a couple of songs.
Photo by Anthony Gargano


Khalil Farah, Lenny DeVictoria, Billy Briscoe, Philly Keith, and Jameel Wilson at the Briscoe Awards (Bennie Briscoe, not Billy).
Photo by Anthony Gargano


Khalil Farah, Raymond Serano and Gabriel Rosado at the Briscoe Awards.
Photo by Anthony Gargano


Rivals and friends Jameel Wilson and Gee Cullmer,
Winners of the Briscoe for "2008 Philly Fight of the Year".
Photo by Anthony Gargano


Robert 'Bam Bam' Hines, George Hanson, Joltin' Jeff Chandler, Bobby
'Boogaloo' Watts, Steve 'USS' Cunningham, Mike Everett, Jameel Wilson,
John Pawlowski, Norman Torpey, Mark Petroski, Lenny DeVictoria, Brain McGinley, Joey Dawejko, Khalil Farah, Buster Custus, J Russell Peltz,
Lloyd Brown, Henry 'Toothpick' Brown, Carmen Bartolomeo.
Photo by Anthony Gargano




John DiSanto - Northeast Philly (Port Richmond) - October 12, 2009