PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - April 27, 2018  
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HART LOOKS TO CARRY
FAMILY NAME ON HIS BACK

CARTO'S CAREER ALSO TIED TO FAMILY LEGACY

Story & Photos by John DiSanto
 

 
   

On Saturday night, Philly super middleweight contender Jesse Hart, 23-1, 19 KOs, will fight in his hometown for the first time since his unsuccessful but impressive attempt to wrest the WBO world 168-pound championship from Gilberto Ramirez last September. Hartís homecoming comes against Laurel, Marylandís Demond Nicholson, 18-2-1, 17 KOs, in the biggest boxing show to hit the City of Brotherly Love in quite some time.  

The nine-bout card promoted by Top Rank and Peltz Boxing at the Liacouras Center on Temple Universityís North Philly campus, features a WBO world junior featherweight title bout between champ Jesse Magdaleno of Las Vegas and Isaac Dogboe of Ghana, as well as an all-Philly heavyweight showdown for the PA state championship between North Phillyís Bryant Jennings and Taconyís Joey Dawejko. Jesse Hart fights in between these two bouts. The trio of fights will be broadcast live on ESPN.  

The last time Hart fought here in 2016, he won a harder-than-expected heart-stopper against Dashon Johnson in South Philly. Although the lively brawl won ďPhilly Fight of the YearĒ honors, Hart drew some criticism from fans and his legendary father, former middleweight monster Eugene ďCycloneĒ Hart, for his reckless performance.   

As Jesse approached Saturdayís meeting with Nicholson, he appeared to be in phenomenal physical condition Ė lean and cut, more so than ever before. However, three additional topics besides Nicholson, seemed to be on his mind as well - his title fight with Ramirez, that brawl with Johnson, and keeping his family legacy in good standing.   

HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT THIS FIGHT?
They 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 and be great. You have good fighters and you have great fighters.   

DID YOU WORK ON ANYTHING NEW FOR THIS FIGHT?
Weíre working on a lot of mental things with me. I canít get away from my game plan. Last time I fought here (against Dashon Johnson) I got caught up in that crowd.  

DO YOU THINK THAT FIGHT HURT YOU IN ANY WAY?
Iíve been tarnished. My nameís been tarnished because of who my father is. Sometimes people say, Ďoh, heís not as good as his dad. He doesnít have as much heart as his dadí. Sometimes I want to show them that I have enough heart and that I can be in a knock-down-drag-out fight. I can get knocked down and I can prevail. He may push me to that again. I donít know, but I want to let people know that my heart is there. That should never be in question.

WHAT DID YOUR TITLE FIGHT PROVE ABOUT YOU? 
I think I showed that I am a real fighter. I think I showed that Iím a different fighter than the rest. It felt good. All the adulation I received after the performance, after the fight. People thought I was going to be a sore loser; that I was going to lose my head. But everything I said, I think I said it right. That showed growth I believe. I look at all that, and thatís character. Iím still building character, but in that title fight I showed a lot of character.  

DO YOU THINK YOUR STOCK WENT UP EVEN THOUGH YOU LOST?
I donít look at that like a loss. I always look at things like that as a lesson. Thatís what I learned. My trainer Fred Jenkins took my mind to a different place. Iíve grown, but Iíve grown because of my Dad. Before, my Dad never gave me acknowledgement about being a good fighter. But that night, he gave me my acknowledgement; he gave me my respect.  

HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT RESPECT?
The Hart last name - thatís what Iím trying to prove, not only to myself, but to the world, that I can carry the Hart name on my back. Thatís what Iím out to do. Boxing is deep in my family roots. All my uncles boxed, but my Dad took it the furthest. Thatís the goal, to take it further than my Dad did.  

DO YOU LIKE THAT YOUíRE FIGHTING AT HOME AGAIN?
It means everything. This is my backyard. North Philly. Iím not from West Philly. Iím not from South Philly. Iím North Philly, the hardest part of Philly. To see all these faces, to see my Mom, my Dad, cousins, all my family. Iím really taking it in now.   

THIS IS THE BIGGEST SHOW IN QUITE A WHILE HERE
What can I say?  We know who the main event really is. I donít want to get ahead of myself, but I think the show is great. Bryant Jennings and Joey Dawejko is a great match-up, but a lot of people want to see Jesse Hart. They want to see how I grew from the Ramirez fight.    

HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE FIGHT TO GO?
Iím extremely focused. My mindset is on destroying Demond. Thatís the terminology we came up with in the gym. That was the mindset, and thatís what they put on the chalkboard every day. Destroy Demond. I wish the best for him after this fight, but thatís my mindset. Iím not playing tricks on the crowd. Iím not going to let my mind get razzle-dazzled. Itís going to be straight business. Iím going straight in there.

 

CARTO'S CAREER ALSO TIED TO FAMILY LEGACY
Besides the three nationally televised fights, six other bouts round out the live show at the Liacouras Center, including a scheduled six round bantamweight match featuring local Christian Carto, 14-0, 11 KOs, against Edwin Rodriguez of Puerto Rico, 9-4, 5 KOs.  

Carto has become a wildly popular rising prospect in Philadelphia after less than two years in the professional ranks. Heís already been headliner at a number of local boxing events, and was added to this giant show to spotlight his talent and to capitalize on his ability to sell tickets.   

ďItís exciting to be fighting on a card this big,Ē Carto said. ďIím excited to be fighting with other great fighters.Ē   

Carto comes from a fighting family. His brother is his manager and was an outstanding amateur boxer himself. Their grandfather, Frankie Carto was a world-rated lightweight during the 1940s. Frankie, who passed away in 2005, fought world class boxers like Lulu Constantino, Chalky Wright, Phil Terranova, and Eddie Giosa.  

In addition, Christianís uncle Nunzio Carto was also an excellent boxer. Uncle Nunz won three consecutive Philly Diamond Belt titles as an amateur before going on to a 27-2, 13 KOs, career as a pro in the 1940s.  

The youngest Carto boxer extends the family name into the modern era of the sport. 

ďItís cool to carry on my familyís legacy,Ē Carto said. ďItís a good feeling. My Pop told me about it when I first started boxing, but I didnít really think about it too much. Heíd tell me that my Grandpop was ranked #10 in the world. It was tough being rated then because there wasnít as many weight divisions.  They were fighting twice a month. Thatís crazy. I never really thought about it much, but I am part of it.Ē 

Like Jesse Hart, Christian Carto has the chance to take his family name further than ever before.

   
 

 

 
 


John DiSanto - Philadelphia - April 27, 2018
 

 
     
 

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