PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 26, 2018  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Rising Philly lightweight Steven Ortiz scored an impressive second round TKO of DC prospect Joshua Davis in the main event at the Sugar House Casino Friday night. Ortiz, 8-0, 3 KOs, jumped out to a fast start, and Davis, 11-3, 5 KOs, could not keep pace. By the second round, Ortiz was in high gear and went in for the kill.

A left hook by Ortiz dropped Davis for the first time. He got to his feet, but Ortiz was ready and waiting. Steven pounded away until a sharp right hand put Davis down again. The visitor survived, but when the action resumed, Ortiz blasted him with another right than sent him to the canvas for a third and final time.

The moment he hit the mat, referee Gary Rosato waved the fight over, giving Ortiz the best win of his career thus far. The time of the stoppage was 2:21 of the second round.

With Davis’ slightly more experienced record, and a 2017 TKO win over Carlos Rosario to his credit, the DC native came in the favorite on this night. However, Ortiz, with his overwhelming performance and upset victory, cleared the air on which of these lightweights has the bigger future. The win was a real showcase for Ortiz, now officially a hot Philly prospect. And for his trouble, Ortiz picked up the WBF North American Regional title belt.

In the co-feature bout scheduled for six rounds, solid-gold Philly prospect Jaron Ennis, 18-0, 16 KOs, chopped away at Mexican welterweight Gustavo Garibay, 13-10-2, 5 KOs, for four rounds before finally stopping him at 2:14 of the fourth.

There were no knockdowns in the bout, but Ennis was in complete control throughout the fight and the outcome was never in doubt. There were a few unruly exchanges early on, but Ennis handled things each time the Mexican pressed him.

Ennis smoothly shifted back and forth from orthodox and southpaw stances and raked Garibay from both sides. Under the Ennis’ constant attack, Garibay began to waver in the fourth, and referee Eric Dali stepped in to mercifully stop it.

In a brief welterweight contest, Philly’s Poindexter Knight, 2-0, 2 KOs, put down Jordan Morales of Sunbury, PA, 2-4, 2 KOs, twice and stopped him at 2:19 of the first round of a scheduled 4-rounder. This was Philadelphian’s first bout at home after debuting on the road. Knight used a left hook to score the first knockdown and then a right hand to end the fight.  

In the only fight of the night to go the distance, NY Cruiserweight Kennedy Katende, 3-0, 1 KO, battled six full rounds with Lyubomyr Pinchuk, 4-1, 3 KOs, and won an entertaining unanimous decision. Southpaw Katende, shorter and slightly heavier, scored a knockdown with a left hand in round one, but the lanky Pittsburgh-based Ukrainian battled back to make it a very competitive fight. On my scorecard, Katende won the first three rounds before Pinchuck rallied to win the final three, although many of the rounds were close. So, the first round knockdown by Katende was the difference on my 57-56 card.

The official judges had the fight a bit more comfortably for Katende. Anthony Lundy scored it 58-55, while both Dave Braswell and Adam Friscia had Katende winning 59-54.

Upper Darby super middleweight Brandon Robinson, 9-1, 7 KOs, beat New Yorker Juan Zapata, 5-12-2, 3 KOs, by TKO in round one. Heavy-handed Robinson chugged forward at the opening bell looking for another knockout. It didn’t take long before Robinson began to land telling shots. A little past the midpoint of the round, Robinson unloaded a right hand that crumbled Zapata in a neutral corner. As Zapata folded to the floor, referee Gary Rosato stopped the fight. The time was 1:50.

New York middleweight Edgar Berlanga, 7-0, 7 KOs, made quick work of Jaime Barboza, of Costa Rica, 19-14, 9 KOs, dropping him twice in the first round, first with a right uppercut and then with a left hook-right hand combo, and stopping him after just 2:42. Eric Dali was the referee.

In the show opener, scheduled six rounds, Detroit welterweight Janelson Bocachica, 9-0, 6 KOs, stopped Mexican Victor Gaytan, 2-4, 1 KO, with a mighty right hand early in round five. Earlier, Bocachica dropped his foe in the second, but Gaytan survived. However, another rocket caught him three rounds later, and referee Gary Rosato halted the fight as soon as Gaytan hit the floor. The time was 13 seconds of round five.

Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Sports and Entertainment promoted the sell-out show. The former four-time heavyweight champion was in attendance and came to center ring along with former opponents Larry Holmes, Bert Cooper, Lionel Byarm, and past stars Michael Spinks, Buster Drayton, Jacqui Frazier-Lyde,  and Kevin Howard.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - January 26, 2018