|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - March 06, 2015|
Heavyweight Joey Dawejko wasted no time Friday night in sending the message that he was ready and willing to step up to fight Amir Mansour in a proposed 10-rounder on ESPN2 in May. "The Tank" rolled forward at the opening bell and let go a picture-perfect left hook that crash-landed on the chin of Enobong Umohette. The bomb sent Enobong to the canvas face-first, where he remained without a twitch, for far more than ten seconds, despite the fact that referee Benji Esteves didn't bother to count.
The length of the entire fight was a mere 27 seconds. Dawejko did exactly what he needed to do to turn the already heavily-hyped possibility of fighting Mansour into a must-see meeting - at least for the 1,000 strong assembled in South Philly on this night. Forget Mayweather-Pacquiao. This unruly band of fight fans wants Mansour-Dawejko as soon as they can get it. And once the word of mouth kicks into high gear, the 2300 Arena might need to construct an addition to hold everyone who wants to come.
The moment Umohette hit the deck, Dawejko looked directly at Amir, who was seated at ringside doing commentary for GFL. Joey opened his arms as wide as he could as a smile almost as wide spread across his face. The two fighters, Dawejko and Mansour, one in the ring the other outside it, locked eyes for a moment, and then Mansour shot Dawejko his own million dollar grin.
It appears that the fight is on!
"You got to be prepared to die in that ring with me," Mansour told Dawejko at ringside after the fight. "You got to be prepared to go all out with me, and you have to be ready."
"I'm ready," Dawejko insisted confidently.
"You have to have the skill set," Mansour continued. "You can't have the skill set in your mind or your mouth, you really have to have the skill set."
Later in his dressing room, Dawejko said that after the KO, he "pointed right to him (Mansour). He said I don't have the skills to compete with him. He's out of his mind. He'll find out. I can't wait for that fight. It's going to be huge."
The win was Dawejko's sixth in a row and also his fourth consecutive first round knockout. He's now 14-3-2 with 7 KOs overall, and brimming with confidence like never before. Umohette lost his second straight by knockout and left 9-3 with 8 KOs.
In the co-feature bout and final fight of the night, a sloppy and sluggish Jason Sosa still dominated Bergman Aguilar in their scheduled 8-round junior lightweight bout. The Camden brawler swept the fight, clearly winning the first three rounds, and halting his foe suddenly in round four.
Despite winning every round, Sosa also missed wildly, especially early on, and took a few good shots from his Costa Rican opponent. In round two, Sosa stunned Aguilar with a pair of left hooks - one to the body and one to the head - that threatened to end the fight on the spot. However, Sosa let the opportunity slip by.
In round three, the two fighters repeatedly exchanged right hands in the best round of the fight. The action was two way, but Sosa's punches were harder. And for the first time in the bout, Aguilar appeared to be losing his appetite for battle.
By round four, Sosa had shifted into high gear and was gunning to add to the knockout streak that he began in 2012. Sosa pressed and landed a volley to Aguilar's face, who took a step back and spit a gush of blood onto the canvas. Aguilar moved back into the action out of instinct, but then suddenly retreated to the ropes and turned his back.
Referee Gary Rosato followed Aguilar to the sideline and waved him back in. However, Aguilar shook his head, indicating that he was finished. Although Sosa was coming on strong, it wasn't clear from ringside why Aguilar had decided to surrender.
After the bout, Rosato reported that Aguilar had lost three bottom teeth in the fight. Apparently the final flurry did the damage and brought the bout to a close. Later long after everyone had left the arena, promoter J Russell Peltz released a statement saying that Aguilar's jaw had been broken in three places.
The time of the stoppage was 1:54 of round four.
"I felt a little rusty," Sosa said after the bout. "He was a little awkward, but it felt good being back in the ring. The knockout streak is going to keep going."
The victory raised Sosa's record to 14-1-3, 10 KOs, and was his ninth straight knockout. Aguilar fell to 12-2-1, 4 KOs, and lost for the first time inside the distance.
Lightweight Victor Vasquez posted his most impressive win in years with a fourth round TKO of lanky Jose Guzman in a scheduled six rounder. Vasquez hurt Guzman as early as round one, and dominated the action for as long as the fight lasted. Guzman wrestled Vasquez down after taking those telling blows in the first, and managed to land his own shots that left a ruddy mouse under Victor's left eye as the first came to an end.
By round two, Vasquez was still winning the fight but now had another swelling growing under his right eye as well. However, Vasquez eventually worked his way inside his opponent's gangly arms and began to ravage Guzman's midsection. The inside trench war, Vasquez' specialty - but one that has been missing from his recent performances, was a return to form that reminded fans why he's always been such a crowd-pleaser.
The tactic also spelled the end for Guzman.
With Vasquez comfortably camped out on Guzman's chest, Victor landed heavy body blows and jarring shots to the head. As Guzman's strength sapped, Vasquez stepped back and blasted away. Vasquez landed everything he threw, and Guzman's head snapped back over and over again.
Vasquez did not let up his attack until referee Gary Rosato jumped in just as round four was about to end. Guzman remained on his feet, but had taken more than enough. The time of the TKO was 2:59.
Vasquez' well-warn record improved to 18-9-1, 8 KOs. This was his first knockout since 2011. Guzman, who lost for the fifth straight time, slid to 5-9-1 overall.
Welterweight southpaw Keenan Smith returned to the ring after three years away and scored a third round TKO of Malik Jackson. Jackson tried to work the same awkward magic that brought him an unlikely win over Luis Cream last summer, but Smith stayed focused and began landing well-placed power shots after quickly shaking off a little ring rust.
Fully warmed up, Smith rocked Jackson in round two and had a very good three minutes. By the next round, Keenan had solved the puzzle. Smith caught Jackson with a right-left that hurt him and sent the action into Jackson's corner.
Sensing the kill, Keenan fired away. Jackson covered up in an attempt to survive. However, Smith ripped several punches through Jackson's guard and referee Benji Esteves saved Malik from further punishment. The time was 1:41 of the third.
Smith, 6-0, 2 KOs, remained undefeated, while Jackson, 1-6-4, lost for the third consecutive time.
Undefeated junior middleweight Jeff Lentz dominated his six round bout with Fred Jenkins Jr. Jenkins won the first round, but faded quickly in the fight after that. Beginning in round two, Lentz found the perfect distance to fire away at Jenkins. His punches landed frequently and Fred's face began to show the affects.
With his eyes swelling and his scorecard deficit following suit, Jenkins made a few gallant attempts to turn the fight around. He hammered Lentz with a strong left hook in round five, but did not have the wind to follow it up.
Still he gamely and steadily waded into the action, even though it was clear that this was not his night. Lentz was quicker, sharper and in far better shape. With all this in his favor, Lentz swept the final five rounds and posted a wide-margin points victory in the still-entertaining bout.
Judges Dewey LaRosa and Bernard Bruni scored the fight a 60-54 shutout, while Larry Hazzard Jr. saw it 59-55. My score was also 59-55 for Lentz.
Lentz extended his winning ways to 5-0, 1 KO. Jenkins lost for the first time since 2012, and went home 9-2, 3 KOs.
In the opening bout of the night, Jerome Conquest won a four-round unanimous decision over debuting Kevin Garcia in a lightweight contest. Southpaw Conquest landed well to the head and body during the first two rounds before Garcia punched his way into the fight in round three.
The third was the best round of the fight, with both boxers landing well. Garcia thumped Conquest with a good left hook and Jerome hit home with his own right hook. Garcia edged the action, but it was close.
Conquest regained control in the fourth and final round, and went on to take the decision. Judges LaRosa and Hazzard had it 40-36 for Conquest. Judge Bruni scored it a point closer at 59-55. My score mirrored Bruni's.
An excellent crowd of about 1,000 attended the show which was promoted by Peltz Boxing, BAM Boxing and Joe Hand Promotions. All six fight were broadcast live on the web by GFL. Marc Abrams and Amir Mansour did the telecast. Steve Mittman was the ring announcer.