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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Local super middleweight Christopher Brooker, Philadelphia, bounced back from two consecutive losses Friday night with an eight round unanimous decision over Oscar Rojas, of Monterrey, Mexico, at the Sugar House Casino. The main event bout began with Rojas taking a quick lead, while Brooker mostly backed up and boxed. This passive start was a nerve-wracking red flag for Brooker fans who knew Chris as an aggressive stalker until his previous fight when the puncher turned boxer and let a winnable fight slip by in Atlantic City.

At the pre-fight press conference three days before, Brooker promised that the “old” Ice Cold Brooker would be back against Rojas at the Sugar House. He said he would be aggressive, just like he had in his first dozen or so bouts. However when the fight began, unfortunately the “new” Brooker was still in full effect.

Rojas took the first two rounds on my card, but by the third, Brooker adjusted and began to press the action. The change in style and temperament helped Brooker turn the fight. In round three, Brooker nailed Rojas and the Mexican fell into the ropes. The incident could have been ruled a knockdown, since only the ropes kept Rojas up, but referee Benjy Esteves did not agree.

Still, Brooker won the round and changed the tone of the fight. Rojas remained competitive, but could not again do enough to win a round. Brooker’s power punches – right hands and especially left hooks – rocked Rojas and kept the 33 year old vet cautious. Brooker continued to apply the pressure, and swept the final six rounds. 

After eight full rounds, all three judges, Gail Jasper, John Poturaj, and Justin Rubenstein, scored the bout 78-74 in Brooker’s favor. My score was identical. 

The win snapped a two-fight skid for Brooker and improved his record to 12-3, 5 KOs. Rojas slid to 14-8-1, 4 KOs.

In the co-feature bout of the night, Philly lightweight Jerome Conquest, 7-2, 1 KO, returned from a nine-month layoff, due to a broken foot. Jerome looked fully recovered from his injury and easily boxed his way to a wide-margin points victory over rugged Mexican Daniel Perales, 10-10-1, 5 KOs. At one point early in the fight, Conquest lost his footing and he tumbled to the canvas. It was a nervous moment for his followers, who may have feared another foot injury. However, the fleeting moment was the only scare of the night for Conquest. Jerome picked himself up and went on to rout Perales over the six rounds. When it was over, Conquest won by two tallies of 59-55 and one 60-54 score. My score was a 60-54 shutout for Conquest.

In a bruising super middleweight battle, Henry Beckford of Coram, NY, 5-6, 1 KO, issued Blake Mansfield, Burlington, NC, 4-1-1, 2 KOs, his first professional loss in their six rounder. There were no knockdowns, but the action was steady throughout the bout. From my vantage point, southpaw Beckford maintained control of the fight. He was busier and landed the better blows, but the fight was a scrap all the way to the finish. One judge, John Poturaj, called the bout a draw (57-57), while John Gradowski and Gail Jasper saw it 58-56 for Beckford. My score was a 59-55 near shutout in the winner’s favor. 

In probably the most entertaining fight of the night, free-swinging southpaw cruiserweight Sam Orapeza, 2-0, 1 KO, Philadelphia, scored a pair of bookend knockdowns - one in the first and one in the fourth - against Kyle McNutt of Battle Creek, MI, 1-3, 1 KO, and took a wild unanimous decision over four exciting rounds.

However the former MMA fighter was nearly knocked out himself in the final round. After dropping McNutt with a left, Orapeza began to run out of gas. As the final round elapsed, McNutt capitalized on the opportunity and staggered Orapeza in the final minute. For at least 30 seconds, Orapeza was on the brink of disaster. He staggered; he slumped, and he huffed and puffed, but the exciting puncher remained on his feet until the final bell. The official scores were 38-37, 39-36 and 39-35, all for Orapeza. I scored it 39-37 for Sam.

In a four-round junior welterweight bout, Philadelphian Jeffery Torres, 3-0, 1 KO, beat Reading's Kashon Hutchinson, 2-3, 1 KO, by comfortable scores of 39-37 twice and 40-36. I felt that Torres won every round of the bout, and came away with a 40-36 scores on my card.  

In an action-packed flyweight four-rounder, Allentown, PA's Harold Lopez, 1-0-1, 1 KO, and Philly's Basyzbek Baratov, 2-1-2, fought to a majority draw. Lopez dropped Baratov in round three, but the fight continued with back and forth action until the final bell. The scores were 38-38, 38-38 and 39-37 (Lopez). I think Baratov is one of the most exciting newcomers in Philly lately, but I thought Lopez won this fight. However, the bout was a joy to watch, and gave boxing fans everything they love in a fight. I’d love to see them in a rematch.

In the opening bout of the night, Ohio featherweight Chaise Nelson, 5-1-0, 3 KO, came off the floor to win a four-round unanimous decision over Bryan Perez Nevarez of Puerto Rico, 2-6-1, 1 KO. Nelson won the first round, but southpaw Nevarez put him on the deck in the second. Nelson survived and went on to win the fight by official scores of 39-37 and 38-37 twice.

This was the second show by Kings Promotion at the Sugar House, and the event drew about 1,000 boxing fans. Kings Boxing comes right back on Friday (May 19), with a pro show at the 2300 Arena in South Philly.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - May 12, 2017