PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - March 09, 2016  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. -


Super middleweight Jesse “Hard Work” Hart, 19-0, 16 KOs, held a media workout today at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philadelphia to publicize his upcoming fight against Dashon Johnson, 19-18-3, 6 KOs.  The 10-round bout for Hart’s NABO and USBA 168-pound title belts is scheduled for Friday, March 18th at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. 

Ticket sales have been brisk ever since the moment they became available. In fact, if you don’t already have your tickets, the best you can do now is to try for one of the limited “standing room only” tickets that were just - but you better not delay. 

“This event right here sets me apart,” Hart said. “Sold Out. We have standing room only tickets. This is what sets us apart from any Philadelphia fighter you can name. Jesse sold the Arena out. Nobody else is fighting here. If you look at any other top fighter from Philadelphia, they all fighting in different places. None of them brought it here. I told Bob (Arum) and Carl Moretti that I wanted to fight here and they made it happen.” 

Hart sold out the same arena a little more than one year ago, but he had the popular Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo as a co-star that time. For Friday’s show, Hart has done it solo. He is the only attraction this time, and tickets sold faster than ever. Hart is on the brink of a world title shot and he’s become a hot attraction. 

“I’m coming to get the knockout,” Hart said. “I’m pushing for the knockout to solidify the win. We all know if we read the stats, that I’m the mandatory challenger for the WBO (super middleweight title). The winner of Gilberto Ramirez and Arthur Abraham on April 9th, I get the winner. I don’t care who wins. They got to see me (next). So for this fight, I trained extremely hard. It’s the fight before the title fight that we all have to do extra for. This guy is coming to win. I don’t care nothing about him. I approach this fight like I approach everything else. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. My approach is always the same.” 

If the usual pattern is followed, Friday’s fight would be the last time we see the North Philly star fighter at home for quite a while. In recent years, once a local fighter graduates to the top tier, fighting in Philly becomes a thing of the past. 

However, Jesse Hart not only guarantees that this won’t be the case, he claims that this fight is part of the plan to set up a title fight, or title fights, in his hometown. 

“This show is setting the trend for that,” Hart said. “This show right here is setting the trend. I’m bringing boxing back. If nobody else fights here, you can guarantee that Jesse Hart is going to have a world title fight here. That’s what this show boils down to, and that’s why we have Peltz on board. That’s why my dad is in play. This whole promotion is in play for after I win the title. It’s just a matter of when. When I win a title, I’m bringing it back to Philadelphia. I refuse to fight in other people’s hometowns, other cities, and give everyone else a play.  I got my own fans right here. If Terrence Crawford can do it (in Omaha), why can’t Jesse Hart do it?” 

All Hart needs to do is get by Johnson on the 18th and then wait for the winner of Gilberto Ramirez and Arthur Abraham. Two more wins, and Jesse Hart will be a world champion. 

“This fight is only going to prove that I’m one of the best super middleweights in the world, if not the best,” Hart said. “Like I said, after this fight, I’m the mandatory challenger for the WBO. But we’ve got to get through this fight first, and that’s why this fight is so important. That’s why I’m pushing for a spectacular win, in spectacular fashion. I want to solidify my name with the greats, and this is the stage I can do that on.” 

Dashon Johnson has a moderate record, but still appears to be a durable test for Hart. 

“We know he’s a fighter,” Hart said of Johnson. “He comes to fight. He had a nice upset against Mike Gavronski, but there ain’t going to be no upset here. I mean, he’s coming to Philadelphia.” 

Hart is part of the next generation of Philadelphia fighters that includes Danny Garcia, Eric Hunter, Julian Williams, and Steve Cunningham, all of whom will compete in world titles fights in 2016. Jesse, the son of one of Philly’s favorite sluggers, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, also has his bloodline on his side.    

“The mission for me is to be one of the greatest Philadelphia fighters to ever lace up the gloves,” Hart said. “That was my inspiration at first. I kept hearing about how great my dad was. I kept hearing about how great Georgie Benton was. I kept hearing about how great Bennie Briscoe was. These different guys, Gypsy Joe Harris. My dad was from that era and that’s the mindset I have. That’s why these new guys come along and I dominate them so well. I never lost a round because I have that old school mentality. I’m a 15-round fighter in my mind. I’m not a modern day dude. I’m a different type of dude.” 

Hart will be out to prove that against Johnson. Once he does, he can then move on to his mission of bringing big-time boxing, and a world title, back to the City of Brotherly Love. 

“I want that Golden Age (in Philadelphia),” Hart said. “I want to bring them back here. I want all the fights back here. This is not for the money. This is to make a stand.” 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - March 09, 2016