|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY July 26, 2011||
Pro boxing returns to the City of Philadelphia for just the fifth time in 2011 on Friday night when KEA Boxing stages it's second Philly show of the year. The oft-renamed Asylum Arena (aka the South Philly Arena, the New Alhambra, etc. etc.) will be the venue.
Topping the card is undefeated featherweight Coy Evans, who steps onto center stage after stable mate Derek Ennis, the original headliner, injured his shoulder this week and was forced to pull out of his scheduled match. Evans will box a rematch with Jason Rorie, who placed the only blemish on Coy's 10-0-1 record. The pair clashed back in 2008 and fought to a four-round draw in Evans' third pro bout. Rorie, North Carolina, was 1-0 at the time, but has fought twice as much as Evans since that date, compiling a lumpy 6-12-2 (3 KO) record against many good young lions.
Evans has showed promise but has fought far too infrequently to push himself up the ladder. Friday will be his first start since January. 2011 has been frustrating for him, as at least two scheduled dates have fallen out. Evans sounded ready to go at Tuesday's final press conference, still bristling at the 2008 draw decision.
"I won every round" Evans told the assembled press and fans who gathered at Champp's sports bar and restaurant in South Philly. "I have the tape, if anybody wants to watch it. I just have to beat him better every round this time." Evans and Rorie will fight their rematch over six rounds.
The main supporting bout pits undefeated southpaw Juan Rodriguez Jr of Union City against Philly's Greg Hackett in a six round welterweight fight. Hackett brings a shabby 2-8 record into the fight. On paper it looks like a sure win for Rodriguez (6-0 / 3 KO), but Hackett talked a good enough game at the press conference to make this the most anticipated bout of the night.
"I've had more than five weeks to get ready for him, and that's very unusual for me", Hackett said. It's true that Greg has taken his share of last-minute matches and at times, has come in ill prepared to fight. But this fight will be fought at welterweight, and Hackett, who has fought as high as light-heavyweight, looks better than ever. "I can't even remember the last time I weighed 147. This is a dream."
"I don't see anything special about him", Hackett said of his undefeated opponent. "I don't even understand why they promote him."
Rodriguez seemed annoyed by Hackett's comments, but he became further steamed when Hackett wouldn't let him speak without interruption. Rodriguez began, "I've had three fights in Philly already. I give it 100% every time I come. I showed I'm a brawler, a boxer, any kind of puncher. I have hand speed..."
"And no defense", Hackett inserted.
"I train 100%...", Rodriguez continued.
"What happened to the defense? You're going to need some defense, man", Hackett insisted.
"Come on, you had your turn", said publicist Kurt Wolfheimer, trying to contain Hackett.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
But the exchanges continued, to everyone's amusement - especially Hackett's.
So this unassuming six rounder suddenly looks to have "fight of the night" potential. Let's see if Rodriguez can remain undefeated, or if Hackett can back up his talk. One or the other will happen, and it should be fun to watch.
Also on the card Friday is Southwest Philly's Ardrick Butler against North Carolina's William Wilson. Butler, a lanky welterweight who had a whale of a brawl against Mike Denby on KEA's last Philly show, comes in with a 6-4 (3 KO) record, while Wilson brings a record of 8-7 (4 KO) to his first trip to Philadelphia. Their fight is also a six rounder.
A trio of heavyweight bouts, all four rounders, should add some punch to the card. First, touted Miami-based Nicaraguan Jose Luis Roque, 3-0 (3 KO) takes on Canadian 2-7-7 clubber Taffo Asongwed, who tested Joey Dawejko earlier this year. Asongwed has never been stopped. So it should be interesting to get a peek at Roque, after hearing so much about him from his publicist. It's always fun to see what a new guy brings into the ring. Perhaps we'll learn what he can do.
In the second heavyweight clash, John Lennox, 5-0 (2 KO) of Carteret, NJ, meets Virginian Antonio Robertson, 0-2-1.
Georgiy "The Chemist" Guralnik, 1-0, makes his second pro start Friday against Damien Richardson of DC, 0-2. Guralnik hails from the Ukraine but has been a Philadelphian for about ten years now. He gets his nickname from the degree in chemistry he earned at Drexel University here in Philadelphia. Seriously.
Super bantamweight Josh Bowles, Harrisburg, 1-0 (1 KO), faces Cyprian Khumalo, 0-1, in a four round bout.
The show opens with the professional debut of Tyrone Crawley Jr, son of the excellent lightweight contender of the 1980s. Crawley meets Corey White, 0-1, of Ohio. The two welterweights are scheduled for four rounds.
The first bell is scheduled to ring at 7:30. Ticket prices are $40, $60 & $100.