|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - October 12, 2016|
South Philly lights up again Friday night with another boxing show stacked with local talent. New venues and new promoters have given Philadelphia a shot in the arm in 2016. Friday’s event, however, comes from the most established of local promoters, Peltz Boxing (with BAM Boxing and Joe Hand Promotions – plus visiting DiBella Entertainment), at the City’s most established boxing venue, the 2300 Arena.
Like most Peltz cards, this show is loaded with local fighters and strong, intriguing matches. Headlining on Friday is a tasty 8-round clash between two junior middleweights, Tyrone Brunson and Ismael “Tito” Garcia. However, the card offers eight other fights featuring young rising talent (Isaiah Wise, Anthony Burgin, Steven Ortiz), tried and true vets (Victor Vasquez, Fred Jenkins Jr., Osnel Charles), a returning favorite (Hasan Young), a promising undefeated out-of-towner (Mike Reed), and a streaking local on the brink of a title shot (Tevin Farmer).
The main event presents the ring recipe preferred my most boxing fans. Tyrone Brunson, 23-6-1, 22 KOs, is a puncher, and Tito Garcia, 10-0, 4 KOs, is a boxer. On paper, that’s usually all you need to know. But this fight is interesting not only for its potential fireworks. It is also a crossroads fight for both boxers.
Brunson, North Philly, has been around the block more than once. His career started with a few impressive first round knockouts, which inspired his former brain trust to turn the promising fighter into a sideshow act.
Someone had the bright idea that Tyrone should set the record for consecutive first round KOs. So Team Brunson set out to make sure it happened. For the first three years of his professional career, Brunson was fed one flat-liner after another. Tyrone dutifully crushed them all in less than three minutes each, and compiled a streak of 19 opening round knockouts. Brunson had the record, but lost three years’ worth of development in the process.
“I don’t really look at that now because it’s over with,” Brunson said of his notorious streak. “It was a process that I had to go through. It was okay, it was alright, but it was frustrating because people didn’t know that I could really box, that I could really right. They just thought I was knocking these bums out.”
By the time Brunson started fighting live opponents, he had some catching up to do. He drew in his 20th bout and went 4-6 after.
However, Brunson’s most recent fight, a spectacular KO of Carlos Garcia two months ago, appears to have given him the boost he needed. Tyrone pulled himself off the canvas twice and two rounds later, destroyed Garcia with a single body punch.
“I’m on a high horse right now,” Brunson said of life after his dramatic win. “My confidence is up. I’m blessed, first of all. The knockdowns in that fight, I was never hurt. Not one time. I was in tremendous shape. I’m pumped up. My confidence is through the roof now. I’m ready to go. I’m just ready.”
He’ll take that new found confidence into the ring against Tito Garcia, a rising talent from Vineland, NJ.
At 29, Garcia is two years younger and taller than Brunson, and carries none of the baggage that the North Philadelphian lugs with him into every fight. Tito also has a win over the Carlos Garcia, and beat Fred Jenkins Jr. and Alex Sanchez during his six year career.
“He’s got three times the amount of fights I got, so we’re definitely not going in underestimating anybody,” Garcia said of Brunson. “It’s definitely a step up fight for us. I’m just excited to show people where we’re at.”
That is exactly the question we all have, and it is what makes this fight one to anticipate. If Garcia can withstand Brunson’s power and carve out a victory, he’ll move forward and stop Brunson’s career in its tracks.
“I’m gonna win, Garcia said. “I can’t really stress on what he’s going to do. We’re just going to do what we do and make him adjust to what we do. He’s a good fighter, but we’re going in knowing we’re the better fighter. We’re going to go in, do what we do, and let him figure us out, not us figure him out. I’ve had a few fights with a couple stocky, short, strong guys. I remember I had a fight with Peltz against Dushane Crooks. Not as much experience as Brunson has, but a big puncher, strong guy.”
Brunson agrees that the fight is a must win for him.
“It’s gotta be” Brunson said. “I’m not playing. Ya’ll going to see that I’m not playing. From round one to eight, if it go eight. I’m not playing. I mean business. I got a family to feed, I got people depending on me. I want to break his will, break his spirit. I want to show everybody that he’s not on my level. I don’t think he brings anything spectacular to the table that I ain’t seen before. Nothing I can’t overcome.”
Garcia sees Brunson as a dangerous but flawed opponent.
“We’ve done our research,” Garcia said. “We don’t really dwell on it. We’ve seen a couple fights, seen what kind of fighter he is, what he likes to do. Then again, we keep an open mind that he might try to switch some stuff up. He might be training for some of the things that I do. We won’t know until Friday night when that bell rings. We’re going to take it each round. Win each round. Round one, win round one. Round two, win round two. As many rounds as it goes, we’re in there to win each round.”
Brunson, more confident than ever, simply sees Garcia as a roadblock.
“I’m going to put on a great show and I’m going to win,” Brunson said. “I’m 31 now. I ain’t got time to keeping fighting Joe Blow. It’s time for me to get in them ranks so I can get this world title. People say he’s undefeated. He’s supposed to be Russell Peltz’ best fighter. No disrespect to him, but I just don’t see it. I don’t see it! And he beat my man Fred Jenkins Jr. on a short notice. I watched two minutes of his YouTube and I turned it off. I didn’t watch it no more, because it’s JV and Varsity. I’m varsity. I’m not going in over confident. I’m going in confident in me, in my skills, in my power.”
Despite Brunson-Garcia being promoted as the main event, any bout sharing the bill with a Tevin Farmer fight is strictly second banana – just ask Farmer.
“I already knew, no disrespect, that any card I get on locally, I’m going to be the main guy,” Farmer said. “If I’m the first fight or last, I’m the main guy. I respect Brunson. So I didn’t really care about not being the main event. As long as I get on the card, stay busy, it don’t even matter who’s the main event. As long as I’m on the card. And when I got on, you see, I took it over. My name took over it.”
Farmer, 22-4-1, 5 KOs, is riding a 15-bout, 3-year winning streak, and is coming off a big July win over Ivan Redkach. He’s in the world rankings and is on the brink of a big fight, maybe even one for a world title.
On Friday, Tevin will fight Nicaraguan Orlando Rizo, 19-7, 11 KOs, in an 8-round junior lightweight bout, and says he’s comfortable waiting for his big chance.
“I’m enjoying the process,” a suddenly patient Famer said. “I’m going to enjoy the process, the fun, the fame, the glory. I’m just going to enjoy it. I told myself a couple of months ago that I’m not really going to worry about that no more (getting a title shot). Is it going to come? Is it going to come? Is it going to come? A title is nothing you can work for these days. A title shot is something that got to be given to you. You can’t work for a title no more. They got to give it to you when they ready to give it to you. I can’t make this man be ready. I can fight ten tough fights in a row, knock them all out. I’ll never get a title shot. Maybe years ago, but not now. They got to give it to you when they ready to give it to you.”
Farmer returns to his hometown to fight for the first time since 2013.
“It’s amazing,” Farmer said. “I get to fight before people that never saw me fight live or people that never seen me fight at all. The last time I’ve been here is like three years ago. But now, I’m just a whole new person. My fan base grew, and people really want to see me now.”
Rumor has it that Farmer’s next fight will also be in Philadelphia.
Lightweights Victor Vasquez, 19-11-1, 9 KOs, and Osnel Charles, 10-15-1, 1 KO, will battle each other for the fourth time in their careers. Charles, Atlantic City, defeated the North Philadelphian barber by decision in their first two meetings. However, Vasquez scored a 4th round TKO the last time they fought. Victor will look to even their series in Friday’s 6-rounder.
“Fighting Charles again? That’s kind of old school right there,” Vasquez said. “No matter who he fights, no matter who I fight, every time we fight, it’s always been an exciting fight. I’m a fighter. I never pick who I’m fighting. I just fight whoever’s in front of me. That’s who they think I should fight then so be it. I’m not scared to fight anybody, as everybody knows. We both know what to expect from each other. This is not a game of checkers, it’s a game of chess. So when we get in there, it’s who’s in better shape at the end of the day. That’s the way it falls out – who’s in better shape. We know each other’s styles pretty well. Four times around? It’s just who’s in better shape.”
Lightweight Anthony Burgin, 9-2, 2 KOs, is coming off a controversial July points loss to Divante Jones. The word is that he deserved the decision but got a raw deal. He’ll try to bounce back Friday night in a 6-rounder against fellow Philadelphian Gerald Smith, 3-2, 1 KO.
“It just made me hungry to fight again,” Burgin said of the recent controversial loss. “To be honest, in my opinion, I feel as though I dominated that fight. I was more aggressive. I landed the more solid shots. I was pleased with my performance.”
Upstart junior middleweight Isaiah Wise, 2-0, 2 KOs, returns to the 2300 Arena, the only place he’s ever fought as a pro, to face James Robinson, 4-4-4, 1 KO, of York, PA. Wise has looked impressive thus far, and is anxious to show more.
“We’re trying to progress and make sure that in this fight, we look better than we did in our last fight,” Wise said. “I’m ready. This is the worst part, just waiting. The last few days till the fight. You put so much work in, you just want to fight, get it out of the way. I want to see my opponent, I want to step across from him. I want it all to take place. Walking into the ring, the crowd cheering. I want that attention. I just have to wait so long for it. A few days can be a long time.”
We know the feeling. Just a few more days until this great card happens. There’s nothing like fight night in Philly.