|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - April 25, 2018|
& Photos by John DiSanto
Anticipation for the biggest Philly fight card in years surged on Tuesday when Bryant Jennings, Joey Dawejko, and others featured on Saturday night's show held a media day workout for fans and press at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philadelphia.
Both Jennings and Dawejko train outside Philly - Bryant in Florida and Joey in California - so this was the first chance for locals to catch a glimpse of the heavyweights. Also participating in the media day were super middleweight Jesse Hart, bantamweight Christian Carto and junior lightweight Joseph Adorno.
As Dawejko wrapped up his allotted time slot, Jennings jumped in the ring and playfully told Joey that his time was up. Dawejko joked back that he wasn't finished yet. Both Philadelphians then shook hands and posed for photos. It was a welcome display of sportsmanship by both boxers.
Although the pair has always been likeable individually, it wasn't certain how they would act toward each other this close to fight night. To their credit, they were both gentleman and left any potential hostility for Saturday night.
Fresh from his West Coast training camp, Dawejko appeared to be in terrific shape, solid and firm. Conditioning has been the one nagging issue for Dawejko during the lead up to the fight, and his appearance yesterday calmed any doubts that his fans may have had about the topic. Of course we'll see for sure on Saturday, but so far, so good.
As expected, Jennings, always trim and bulging with muscles, looked to be in perfect condition at media day. He couldn't resist pulling up his shirt several times to display a perfectly sculpted rack of abs. He looked good and may have even grown a few extra muscles for this all-Philly showdown.
Each fighter ran through a brief four-round workout and then took questions from the media individually, before the next fighter took their turn. The one exception was Jesse Hart, who breezed in toward the end of the event, mingled with the crowd, answered a few questions, one on one with several reporters, and then shadow-boxed for a single three minute round. Once the bell sounded ending that round, he declared, "That's it!" Hart then posed for some photos and mingled a little more.
Here is what they had to say.
ďThey say he (Dawejko) will gas in five rounds because thatís a repeated thing of his. I donít depend on that, because when surprises come, they can hurt. So, I look forward to, and go by, what he says (he will be).Ē
ďIn boxing, we always understand our duties. Our goal is to go out and win the fight. Once the fight is made, once you agree, once you sign that paper, then you know exactly what you have to do. I only have to worry about my responsibilities. The opponentís responsibilities donít matter to me. I understand that he has a family, and Iím not saying that thatís not my problem, but I have mine. We both have separate responsibilities. So I have to do what I have to do.Ē
ďI fought at Madison Square Garden in front of 17,000 people, but I still donít remember it. I still never lived it. My homies can tell you right nowÖ the whole crowd was cheeringÖ Iím like damn! I wish I was there. I was in it, but I wasnít there because I had my mind so focused on what I needed to focus on. I donít add that pressure until itís over.Ē
ďThereís no feeling-out round with me. I go right at him and fight my fight. I make quick adjustments, so I donít need a feeling-out round. Iíll feel him out in the first ten seconds.Ē
ďIím the better fighter. Iím the better puncher. Iím a better boxer. Iím ready to go, man. I wish the fight was last week.Ē
ďI came from the airport, and I saw my billboard (advertising the fight) that my manager, Mark Cipparone, put up. So that was a great feeling.Ē
ďThey got me in absolutely perfect condition. Itís all about me now. Itís about my mind. Itís about my attitude going into that fight. Demond Nicholson is a good fighter. I canít take nothing away from him, but I want to perform, be great. You have good fighters and you have great fighters.Ē
ďWeíre working on a lot of mental things. I canít get away from my game plan. Last time I fought here (a thriller with Dashon Johnson in 2016), I got caught up in that crowd. Sometimes I want to show them that I have enough heart and that I can be in a knockdown, drag out fight. I may be pushed to that point again, and I want people to know that the heart is there.Ē
ďThere are a lot of prospects coming up today (in Philadelphia) Ė Jaron Ennis, Avery Sparrow, Stephen Fulton, Tight (Darmani Rock). Iím missing a lot of people, but thereís a ton of people coming up in Philly that are going to be contenders for a belt.Ē