PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - March 09, 2018  
Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact


Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


The Parx Casino’s Xcite Center debuted as a boxing venue Friday night, and headliner Avery Sparrow continued his march toward the big time with an impressive second round TKO of Jesus Serrano of Mexico. The scheduled eight-round junior lightweight main event that topped the seven-bout card promoted by Joe Hand Promotions and BAM Boxing, at the Bensalem, PA casino and horse-racing track, turned out to be a real showcase for the rapidly developing Sparrow.

The prospect wasted no time jumping out to an early lead in round one, using the speedy and grunt-peppered boxing display we’ve become used to. His jabs were sharp and his movement was smooth. However in round two, Sparrow flaunted a sudden penchant for power punching that felt like an all-new facet to his game.

Sparrow exploded with a series of blows that injured the Mexican and backed him up. Avery punctuated the volley with a hard left hook, and Serrano tumbled down to the canvas. Referee Gary Rosato administered the mandatory eight count and allowed the fight to continue.

Sparrow, clearly in the mood to go home early, went right back in and dished out more punishment. Another extended series, this one capped with a right uppercut, sent Serrano down again. For a second time, the fight continued on, but not for long. After a brief resumption, and another onslaught by Sparrow, referee Rosato saved Serrano by ending the fight with the visitor standing, but wavering, on his feet. The time was 2:17 of the second round.  

The TKO brought Sparrow, 10-1, 4 KOs, his sixth straight victory and continued the swift climb into the rankings that he began in 2017. The power that he showed in this bout was an exciting wrinkle, and felt like an added piece to his puzzle. Avery’s always had the attitude of a puncher, but hasn’t shown those stripes much since his rookie year.  

The loss was the second straight setback for Serrano, who went home 17-6-2, 12 KOs.

In the eight-round semi-final, Irish lightweight, and 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist, John Joe Nevin, 10-0, 4 KOs, remained undefeated with a one-sided points win over Alberta-based Mexican Alex Torres Rynn, 6-1, 3 KOs. Nevin was in control throughout the fight. However, Rynn made it a bit more competitive in the later rounds, landing a few power shots on Nevin, who was either tiring or getting bored – like many of us. After eight full rounds, there was no doubt about the result. Official judges Anthony Lundy and Steve Weisfeld both saw the fight an 80-72 shutout, while Dave Braswell had it one point closer at 79-73. My score, like Braswell’s, was 79-73, after giving Rynn the final round against a retreating Nevin.  
In a very entertaining six-round junior middleweight fight, Cherry Hill, NJ spoiler Anthony Prescott, now 8-8-2, 2 KOs, dropped Philly’s Isaiah Wise, 6-2, 3 KOs, in round two, and went on to win a close split decision. Wise bounced back from the second round knockdown well, winning three rounds in the middle of the fight. He’s a fun fighter to watch, not perfect by any means, but a hard worker, especially with his back against the wall.

Wise grinded away, trying to make up for his trip to the mat, and it helped him to bring the fight close. However, Prescott, much better than his .500 record, is a tough test for anyone, and he showed it on this night.

Prescott took the final round on my card, refusing to let his lead slip away. After the six rounds had ended, I had the fight three rounds apiece. However, that knockdown in the second gave Prescott an extra point, and thus was the difference in the fight, 57-56 from my perspective.

Wise fought back well, but his surge could only sway one of the official judges. Official James Kinney favored Wise 57-56, and so, Dave Braslow (57-56) and Anthony Lundy (59-54) overruled. Lundy’s score was surprisingly wide in the winner’s favor.   


North Philly welterweight Marcel Rivers, 4-0, 2 KOs, stopped Rafael DeJesus of Puerto Rico, 0-2, at the end of round two in their scheduled four-rounder. Rivers began blasting as early as round one. He landed stiff jabs, a nasty left hook, and a thudding straight right in the first three minutes.  

In the second, DeJesus landed a few good shots himself, but Rivers walked through them and dropped DeJesus with a combination. It was a left hook by Rivers that did the most damage in the series. DeJesus climbed to his feet, but never again mounted an offense.

Rivers continued to pound away as the second wound down, and just before the bell, it appeared that referee Steve Smoger was ready to stop it. He began to reach in, more than once, but never pulled the trigger. Ultimately, the bell sounded and the round ended. However, the moment DeJesus returned to his corner, a short trip really as most of the final action was about one step away from the blue corner pad, the bout was stopped by his seconds. The time was 3:00 of the second round.


In a 4-round lightweight contest, Elmira, NY’s Vinnie DeNierio, 3-4, 1 KO, won an unpopular split decision over Gerardo Martinez, Coatesville, PA, 2-2, 1 KO. It was a sloppy fight with Martinez appearing to have the edge, albeit a couple of the rounds were quite close. All three judges saw the fight 39-37, two for DeNierio (Braslow and Weisfeld) and one for Martinez (Kinney). I thought Martinez won it going away. 


In the show (and venue) opening bout, Nahir Albright, Sicklerville, NJ, 3-1, 1 KO, beat New Yorker Sidney Maccow, 3-8, 2 KOs, by unanimous decision in their 4-round junior welterweight bout. Albright nearly ended the fight in the first when he dropped his opponent twice with right hands. However, Maccow survived and even fought back well in the remaining rounds. After four, all three judges had Albright ahead by a mile, 39-35 and 40-34 twice. I saw the fight a bit closer for Albright, 38-36.


In the walkout bout scheduled for six, lightweight Tyrone Luckey, Neptune, NJ, 9-8-2, 7 KOs, shocked Philly’s Jerome Conquest, 9-3, 1 KO, dropping him twice and scoring a TKO after just 2:43. Both knockdowns came from right hand shots that Conquest couldn’t seem to avoid. Jerome looked disgusted each time he rose, but it was clear that he let this one get away, almost from the beginning. For Tyrone, it was a long-awaited taste of good luck, although his punches had more to do with the result than good fortune. The referee was Gary Rosato.

This inaugural boxing show at the Parx, located just across Philly’s northeast boarder, was impressive in many ways. The venue itself is intimate, with good views on all four sides of the ring (plus three large video screens), and the atmosphere is beautiful, painted in blue and red light, and with red flip down seats throughout most of the arena. The fights were good and the program moved at a hasty clip. The seven bouts wrapped shortly after ten pm. A full capacity of 1,298 attended. No future dates have been announced, but the feeling is that this was the start of something.




John DiSanto - Bensalem, PA - March 09, 2018