PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - February 01, 2021  
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Story by Danny Ziccardi
File Photos by Jano Cohen


Our world seemed to come to a halt during the Corona Virus Pandemic. It has been a challenging time for all of us. But in everything that seems bad, we might be able to find a silver lining. For Joshua “Real War” Jones (6-0-1, 3 KOs), he found a positive during these turbulent times. His hunger for boxing was reignited.  

“COVID actually helped me mentally”, Jones said. “Before the Pandemic, I was blind. I wasted too much time. I got a chance to really sit down and face everything. I realized what I needed to get done. I realized what I needed to focus on. In a way, the time off really matured me and made me realize what is important.”  

“I became a Muslim at 16 because I needed to humble myself,” Jones continued. “I did my research. I pray a lot. I still have ways to go. We all have our flaws, but I’m always trying to improve myself.”  

North Philly native Jones looks back on his past as motivation for his future. As a nine year old growing up at 8th & Indiana, Jones had his fair share of childhood fights and getting into trouble with friends. Jones credits his father for getting him involved in the sport.  

“I got into boxing because of my dad,” Jones said. “My dad made it a punishment because I was always fighting. He would say, ‘So you want to be out here fighting, I’ll take you somewhere everybody loves to fight’. As time went on, I started getting better with it, and started liking it. So I stayed in the gym.”  

This was the start of a promising amateur career for Joshua Jones, who compiled 79 wins as an amateur including a win over Gervonta “Tank” Davis.  

“Tank was tough but I was able to beat him in the amateurs when I was around 14”, Jones said. “The fight was actually in Tacony at Jack Costello’s Gym. Tank had a looping hook that people called the “Tank Hook”, which caused a lot of other fighters problems. I was able to out-think him and stay calm in the ring and I got the win”.  

Jones had a stellar amateur career, and has been around some of Philadelphia’s best, including his teammates Jaron Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs), Stephon Fulton (19-0, WBO Champ) and coach Derek “Bozy” Ennis. Starting boxing at the famous Front Street gym, he credits his southpaw attack to coach Joe Black. Jones also picked up the nickname “Real War” along the way, which was given to him by coach Shar’ron Baker after he often “went to war”  in sparring sessions. Boxing not only enabled a career for Jones, but he credits Boxing to ultimately saving his life.  

“Boxing really saved my life”, Jones said. “As a kid in the neighborhood, you are who you hang around (with). We’d always be fighting and getting into trouble. As my dad put me in the gym I started drifting away from people. I was grinding at boxing, and had to stay focused. I would have tournaments, training, which took away from me being in the streets. I had friends who were shot while I was in the gym training. It pulled me away from that environment. As a kid I was always in the gym”. Jones also credits a solid family foundation and guidance to his success.  

 “A lot of my friends didn’t have the focus or the proper guidance,” Jones said. “Most of my friends came from one parent households or didn’t have parents at all. I was blessed to have both of my parents in my life.”  

Jones turned professional in 2016, and started his career unbeaten through his first six bouts, with one draw through 2017. Jones did not fight in 2018 through 2019.  

“I was going through some things with my management team at the time,” Jones said. “I also went through some personal things. I just had my son in the midst of my career. I also lost my brother, uncle and cousin all in the same year. So, I really needed a break from boxing”.  

Jones uses these factors as motivation to achieve his goal in the sport - to become a champion.  

“My ultimate goal career-wise is to get a title”, Jones said.  

Jones also added that his now-four year old son is a motivating factor for him as well.  

“It’s not just about the money or fame,” Jones said. “But my reason fighting now is that I want to be someone my son can be proud of. I fight so my family won’t have to. I’m very close to my son, and I want him to be able to look back on what I did and be proud of me. I want to be the best father I can be, not only provide, but also be someone my son can look up to. My family means everything to me, and I want them to be proud of me.”   

Jones has a rejuvenated approach and a hunger to move up in the 140-pound division.  

Jones recently fought for the first time since the start of the pandemic, January 16th in Chester, PA for the Rodney Rice-promoted card. The normally 140-pound southpaw took on a 147-pound contest.  

“I took the fight on a week’s notice,” he said. “Jaron Ennis really helped me get ready.”  

As the opener on the card, Jones took on David Veras Pena (0-4-1). “The Real War” was awakened in Jones after Veras attempted a cheap shot to open the fight. Jones made quick work of his opponent stopping him nearly two minutes into the first round. The official time of the TKO stoppage was 1:59 of the first round. Derek “Bozy” Ennis and Jaron Ennis worked his corner.  

“Right now I am just trying to stay active and get fights, relying on my trainers. I want to fight as much as possible. I’m always in the gym. I am hungry. I just need the opportunity,” Jones said after the fight.  

Jones is determined to have a bright future. When asked who he would like to face in the 140-pound division, he said, “Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor (17-0, WBA and IBF Champ). Those are both at the top of my list. A fight between Josh Taylor and myself would be a great fight. His style suits me. I know I’d beat Josh Taylor.”

“Hopefully after three or four more fights, I am able to get a bump up,” Jones said. “I am ready for a bump up now, but I know I have to prove myself. I am capable of fighting at the highest level. The higher level of the opponent, the better I fight. I am able to out-think other fighters.”  

With this rejuvenated spirit, Joshua Jones seems hungry to bring the “Real War” to the top of the junior welterweight division. With a goal of making his son proud and working towards a title, Jones will certainly look to make noise in 2021.




Danny Ziccardi - Philadelphia - February 01, 2021