|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 29, 2015|
After one or two false starts earlier in the year, promoter Marshall Kauffman finally managed to stage his anticipated meeting between the two rising local 130-pounders, Omar Douglas of Wilmington and Frank DeAlba of Reading. Waiting for this showdown, which also turned out to be a spectacular all-action fight, was well worth it. Both fighters performed brilliantly, exceeding the already high expectations.
Omar Douglas, 16-0, 11 KOs, won a 10-round majority decision in a match that, leading up to fight night, many felt he would dominate. However, DeAlba, 17-2-2, 6 KOs, started strong and gave the undefeated Omar all he could handle over the course of the fight.
Originally planned as a preliminary bout for a higher-profile headliner, the main event on Tuesday's nationally televised Fox Sports 1 broadcast from the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, was given the fitting platform that it turned out to deserve.
The fight itself was dazzling, with DeAlba jumping out to an early lead, winning four of the first five rounds on my scorecard. The Pennsylvanian appeared to have all the answers and seemed to be on the brink of an upset. However, Douglas dug down and began surging in the second half of the fight.
Still the battle remained close in each round, but as the fight neared the end, it was Douglas who was the fresher and stronger fighter. This late rally allowed Omar to avoid the upset and to record his biggest win to date. However, this was a fierce, high-level fight that could have gone either way.
Judge Bernard Bruni saw the fight a draw (95-95), but his score was overturned by the tallies of Steve Weisfeld (96-94) and Ron McNair (97-93). I also thought the fight was a draw with many close rounds.
Douglas continued his undefeated campaign while DeAlba lost for the first time since his 2012 pro debut. A rematch somewhere down the road would be wonderful to see.
In a scheduled 8-round welterweight contest also televised by Fox Sports 1, Orlando's Miguel Cruz, 12-0, 11 KOs, battered Virgil Green of Vancouver, WA, 11-4, 4 KOs, for a 7th round TKO victory. Cruz won every round before flooring Green with a combination midway through the seventh. Green made it to his feet, but Cruz jumped right on him and kept throwing until referee Benjy Esteves stopped the fight. The time was 1:36.
Philly light heavy Christopher Brooker, 7-1, 5 KOs, upset previously undefeated Leo Hall of Detroit, 8-1, 7 KOs, with a non-stop aggressive attack that earned him an 8-round unanimous decision in the Fox Sports 1 TV opener. It was an impressive showing by Brooker, who took the fight on short notice and scored the best win of his rookie season.
Brooker started punching the moment the fight started and didn't let up until the sound of the final bell. The Philadelphian was cut in round eight, but the fight was all his. The scores were 80-72 and 79-73 twice.
The win caps a terrific and exciting inaugural year for Brooker, and makes him a front runner for the Rookie of the Year Briscoe Award.
In a 4-round light heavyweight bout, Brooklyn's Earl Newman, 8-0, 6 KOs, beat Victor Kpadenou, of Benin in West Africa, 10-9, 5 KOs, in a landslide unanimous decision. All scores were 40-36.
Marlboro, NJ super middleweight Denis Douglin, 20-4, 12 KOs, dropped Miami's Marcus Upshaw, 18-16-4, 9 KOs, in both the first and second round, but could not finish him early. Douglin continued to dominate the action and then in the eighth and final round swarmed Upshaw until referee Benjy Esteves stopped the fight at 1:53 of the last round.
In a scheduled 6-round junior middleweight bout, Junior Castillo, 9-0, 9 KOs, Reading, PA, stopped experienced Ecuadorian Eduardo Flores, 23-19-3, 15 KOs, at the end of round five (3:00). Flores started fast but Castillo got into a groove in round two and pounded away until Flores retired in his corner before the final round.
Undefeated junior welterweight, Milton Santiago, 13-0, 2 KOs, Philadelphia, squeaked out a tough 8-round majority decision victory over Texan Angel Hernandez, 9-6-1, 5 KOs. It was a rugged bout with both fighters landing often. Hernandez looked stronger down the stretch and came close to pulling an upset. However, Santiago fought tough and was awarded the official decision by scores of 76-76, 78-74 and 77-75. I saw the bout at 76-76 draw.
In the opening bout of the night, switch-hitting Brooklyn featherweight Chris Colbert, 4-0, 2 KOs, pitched a six-round shutout over Philadelphian Derrick Bivins, 2-4-2, 1 KO. Colbert controlled the fight, but the final round was close with Bivins making a last ditch effort to score a late KO. The late surge by Bivins earned him a round on judge Michael Somma's 59-55 card. However, Steve Weisfeld and Bernard Bruni saw it a perfect 60-54 for Colbert.
Three local boxers fought in a trio of off-TV walkout bouts:
Wilmington's Kyrone Davis, 10-0, 4 KOs, defeated Andrew Hernandez of Phoenix, 10-3-1, 2 KOs, by unanimous decision in a 6-round middleweight fight by scores of 59-55 and 60-54 twice.
Philly junior welterweight Jerome Conquest, 4-1, 1 KO, won by disqualification over Allentown's Christian Molina, 4-2, 3 KOs. Conquest won the opening round before Molina lifted and body-slammed Jerome to the canvas in round two. Conquest remained on the floor motionless for several minutes and was eventually carried out on stretcher. Unable to continue due to injury, Conquest was declared the DQ winner by referee Gary Rosato. The time was 30 seconds of round two. Later social media postings by Conquest himself confirmed that the fighter had survived the incident without serious injury.
In the final fight of the long night, Philadelphia featherweight Stephen Fulton, 8-0, 3 KOs, won an uninspired 4-round majority decision over Chicago's Joshua Green Jr., 3-1-1, 2 KOs. The scores were 40-36, 39-37 for Fulton and 38-38 even. My score favored Green, 39-37.
The marathon, 11-bout show closed out the 2015 fight year with a flourish. The well-contested bouts were entertaining, even if there were a few too many of them. The new fight year begins on January 22nd with a show at South Philly's Sheet Metal Workers Hall. Kauffman's Kings Boxing returns to the Sands in February.