PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 30, 2021  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Sean Michael Ham / TGB Promotions


On Saturday night, light heavyweight Atif Oberlton, made his long-awaited professional debut in a nationally televised fight against Nathan Sharp, at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles. The decorated amateur from Philly, looked strong in his one-sided victory against Sharp. Oberlton dominated the action with a vicious body attack and a lashing southpaw jab that slowly wore down his opponent.

Finally in round three, Oberlton landed a series of hard body shots that pinned Sharp in the corner. As Atif's body shots hammered home, referee Sharon Sands stepped in to save Sharp from further punishment. It was a mercy stoppage, for sure. Sharp could have continued, but there was no point in that. The scheduled four rounder ended at 48 seconds into the third round. Sharp was durable and was never knocked down, but he was completely outclassed by the 24 year old Oberlton.

The victory was a strong first step for Atif, nicknamed "Lord Pretty Calvo", now 1-0, 1 KO. The rising 175-pounder looked impressive, as expected. Oberlton is trained by Philly's leading (and perhaps only) female boxing trainer, Shar'ron Baker at the Pivot Boxing Academy, which is run by Lando Rosa. Sharp, of Merced, CA, fell to 4-3, 4 KOs.

Heavyweight prospect, Darmani Rock suffered his first defeat as a pro when he was brutally knocked out by New Yorker Michael Coffie in round three of their co-feature bout, scheduled for ten rounds. Rock looked out of shape for the fight, and he paid the price against Coffie, who was older, less experienced, but equal in size, far superior in conditioning, and ready to seize the moment of a nationally televised showdown between rising undefeated heavies.

Frustrated fans of Rock, which I count myself as one, are far too familiar with the Philadelphian's lack of conditioning. In most of his bouts thus far, he appeared equally out of shape, but always held a major advantage in overall ability compared to his seventeen previous foes.

Against Coffie, Rock was out-worked throughout the fight and ultimately cracked with heavy blows that dropped him twice in round three. Rock was clear-headed after both knockdowns, but it was obvious that he was in over his head in the bout. He showed guts rising from the first knockdown, and looked ready to rise the second time, but referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight as soon as he returned to the canvas. Coffie improved his record, 12-0, 9 KOs. To his credit, after the fight, Rock comment via social media, "Chin up, no excuses. Take my Ls like my wins. I will be back." 

I've always believed that the most interesting chapter of a boxer's career comes after his first loss. Watching a young fighter mow down over-matched opponents doesn't reveal much. However, seeing how a boxer adjusts to the reality that they are not invincible or entitled to a world title and the riches that usually come with it, is fascinating.

So the next time Darmani fights, and the next phase of his career, will be the most interesting part of his career, at least to me. I'm a fan of all the Philly fighters. I want to see them rise and succeed. This includes Rock, 17-1, 12 KOs. He can do it, but he has to start now. His mindset needs to evolve and his work ethic must improve. I hope he can do it. Watching him tumble to the canvas was difficult. I hope he is okay, and I hope he's ready to salvage his career while he still can.


California middleweight Joey Spencer defeated Isiah Seldon, Somers Point, NJ, in just 2:15, in their scheduled eight-rounder. Spencer dropped Seldon twice in the first round before the fight ended.

Spencer hammered Seldon with a hard right hand that sent the son of the former heavyweight champion (Bruce Seldon), crashing to the canvas. Seldon rose to his feet on wobbly legs, but was eager to fight on. However, when Isiah returned to the action, he responded with a series of three looping rabbit punches. Referee Jerry Cantu paused the fight and penalized Seldon two points for the intentional (and repeated) foul.

When the bout resumed, Spencer hit Seldon with a left and then a right, and although both shots appeared to be partially blocked, Seldon was unstable enough that he fell to the mat once again. The referee stopped the fight the moment Seldon hit the floor.

Spencer improved to 12-0, 9 KOs, with his victory. Seldon slid to 14-4-1, 5 KOs. Three of Seldon's four losses have been by first round knockout.

These bouts, and four more, supported the main event, which saw Caleb Plant defend his IBF super middleweight title against Caleb Truax by unanimous twelve-round decision. All three official scores were 120-108, a shutout for Plant. The card was promoted by PBC and TGB Promotions, and was televised live on FOX.




John DiSanto - Los Angeles (via FOX) - January 30, 2021