PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - November 13, 2018  
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Story by John DiSanto


On Friday night, one of the busiest boxing nights of the year for area fight fans, Millville welterweight Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna, 25-2-1, 9 KOs, takes on come-backing vet Mike Arnaoutis, 26-11-2, 13 KOs, in an eight round bout for the vacant New Jersey 147-pound title.  The fight headlines a ten-bout card staged by LaManna’s Rising Star Promotions at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City.  This AC boxing show is one of three local events that will pull boxing fans in different directions on the same night.  Additional shows will also take place in Philadelphia and Bethlehem, but the loyal fans of the popular LaManna will have no conflict about where to go to watch boxing this weekend. 

For fighter-promoter LaManna this will be his seventh straight appearance in Atlantic City and his fifteenth in the last five years.  As AC boxing action faded in recent years, Cornflake’s promotional company established itself as the most consistent force in the Jersey Shore fight game during the stretch. 

On Friday night, LaManna will take on an experienced but shop-worn opponent in Arnaoutis, a former regional title belt holder that returned this past summer after a two year hiatus on another Rising Star show.  In that start, Arnaoutis was cut down by hot prospect Jaron Ennis in two rounds.  Despite Jaron’s obvious talent, Arnaoutis had nothing left to fend off the streaking star. 

So, LaManna should be safe against Mighty Mike, but adding the Arnaoutis name to his resume won’t mean as much as it once would have.  In fact, LaManna will be hard pressed to top Ennis’ performance against, setting up an unnecessary but inevitable comparison. 

The rest of the card is filled with many Rising Star regulars, and a few of the matches offer some real intrigue. 

Philly welterweight Greg Jackson, 8-7-1, 2 KOs, meets Union City southpaw Juan Rodriguez, Jr, 13-5, 3 KOs, in perhaps the night’s best-matched fight.  The fight is a rematch of their 2014 first meeting which ended in a technical decision for Rodriguez after four rounds.  In that odd encounter, the fight was abruptly halted before the fifth round, but the stoppage had nothing to do with the combatants in the ring.  Rather, the fight was forced to end because the EMI staff had to handle an emergency that occurred in a scuffle in the crowd – outside the ring. 

Thus, the scheduled six-rounder went to the scorecards two rounds early, and the hard luck Jackson suffered his first professional loss.  Therefore, Friday’s Jackson-Rodriguez rematch can be labeled as unfinished business between the two.  Each was a promising riser the first time, but the fact that they both now need a win more than ever, should make the stakes high enough to produce a good fight. 

Philly featherweight Donald Smith, 7-0, 4 KOs, takes on Tyrone Luckey of Neptune, NJ, 9-9-3, 7 KOs, in a six round encounter. Smith has looked good against limited opposition thus far, while Luckey, another hard-lucker, has faced many of the best young talent in the Philly area.  Luckey has lost to Jason Sosa, Tevin Farmer, and Branden Pizarro, but looked like a million bucks earlier this year with his quick knockout victory over Jerome Conquest.  So Smith-Luckey figures to be interesting. 

In another NJ title bout, Chris Thomas of Toms River, 10-0-1, 7 KOs, faces Dennis Knifecheif of Stillwater, OK, 12-8-1, 7 KOs, in an eight-round middleweight bout.  Also on the card is a six-rounder between Joel De La Paz (Atlantic City) and Rashad Jones (Selma, AL), plus a four-round match between Isaiah Hart (Atlantic City) and Leon DeShields (Philly), as well as a pair of four-rounders between Elijah Morales (Trenton) & Michael Ruiz (Toms River), and Omar Salem (Brooklyn) vs. Alberto Delgado (Roanoke, VA).  Additional bouts on the card feature Steve Moore (Atlantic City vs. Maryland’s Nigel Fennell) and Ry’Shine Collins of Philadelphia. 

The first fight begins at 7:00 PM. 




John DiSanto - Atlantic City - November 13, 2018