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Story by Danny Ziccardi
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Rodney Rice’s RDR promotions put on a second consecutive night of fights at the 2300 Arena in South Philly on Saturday. The card featured some hometown favorites, including undefeated Philadelphia welterweight Mark Dawson taking on an undefeated Ivan Pandzic as the main event.  

West Philadelphia’s own Mark Dawson (9-0-1, 3 KOs) took on California’s Ivan Pandzic (13-1-1, 8 KOs) in the 8-round welterweight main event of the night. Both fighters were unbeaten going in, and eager to keep that “zero” in their record. Dawson was able to get inside his tall opponent and outbox the shifty 6’4” Pandzic. Dawson managed to set up his shots throughout the bout, and counter punched effectively.

Dawson separated himself in the third round with a stiff counter straight right as Pandzic dropped his guard after throwing a jab. Dawson then landed an uppercut flush to Pandzic’s jaw in the 8th round and followed with a combination to the body. Dawson was awarded a unanimous decision for his efforts, with official scores of 77-74, 78-74, and 79-73, and remained undefeated.


Sean Hemphill (13-0, 8 KOs) faced off for an 8-round super middleweight scrap versus Orlando’s Robert Burwell (9-5, 3 KOs). The fight started off meticulously, with each fighter calculating every shot. It wasn’t until the third round that Burwell connected with an overhand shot that seemed to wobble Hemphill.

Hemphill endured by fighting defensively and then landed shots on Burwell in the fourth. Burwell pressed the action in the later rounds, with effective shots to the body and hooks up top.  

However, in the seventh round, after a flurry of blows by Hemphill, Burwell’s team suddenly, and questionably, threw in the towel. Burwell was still on his feet and had even escaped the onslaught. From my perspective at the media table, it seemed as if the fight was very close up to that point. Regardless, Hemphill was awarded the TKO stoppage at 2:39 of the seventh round.

Jabril Noble (1-0, 1 KO) of Philadelphia won by KO in his pro debut against Deljerro Revello (0-1), also making his debut, in a scheduled 4-round featherweight contest. Noble was on the attack from the start and connected frequently on his foe. He dropped Revello with a right in the second, but the referee allowed Revello to continue. Noble pounced right in to finish the job. He landed a barrage of body shots that sent Revello to the canvas again, forcing the referee to stop the contest. The official time of TKO stoppage was 1:12 of round two.

Philly’s Rasheen Brown (10-0, 6 KOs) won via unanimous decision against Prisco Marquez (4-4-1, 1 KO) of Texas in a 6-round junior lightweight bout. Southpaw Brown displayed smooth and slick punching from the start and floored Marquez in the first round with a body shot at the end of the first round.

Brown continued his sleek boxing until a one-two combo put down Marquez once again in round five. Marquez rose to his feet and continued the bout. But Brown looked comfortable throughout and won the unanimous decision with judges’ scores of 60-52, 59-53, and 58-55.

Millville, NJ’s Edgar Joe Cortes (9-6-1, 1KO) squared up with Roberto Pucheta (10-19-2, 6 KOs) of Mexico in a 6-round junior featherweight clash. Despite a valiant performance from Pucheta, Cortes won via unanimous decision. Cortes had a strong first round, which brought his fans to their feet as he got off a flurry of punches. In the later rounds, a scrappy Pucheta rose to the occasion. He walked Cortes down and was the aggressor.

The contest was a battle between the smooth punching Cortes, and the classic Mexican brawler. Although the crowd seemed to think the fight was closer, the judges saw the bout differently, scoring the bout unanimously 58-56 in favor of Cortes.

In a cruiserweight bout, Jersey City’s Joe Jones (12-4, 9 KOs) won by third round technical knockout against grizzled Upper Darby veteran Dhafir Smith (28-26, 4 KOs). Jones came out strong and controlled the pace from the start. At the end of the second round, a sharp right sent Smith to the canvas. The vet made it to his feet as the bell sounded to end the round.

Jones ran out to start the third round looking for a finish. He trapped Smith in the corner and got off a barrage of hard blows, which prompted the referee to halt the bout after just 18 seconds into the third round. Smith hadn’t been stopped since 2008.  

In the opening fight of the night Reading, PA native David Stevens (6-0, 4 KOs) topped Montrel James (1-6) by unanimous decision in a 4-round light heavyweight showdown. Stevens outclassed James throughout, earning himself a clean sweep through each round. All three judges scored the fight 40-36. With the win, Stevens remained undefeated.

RDR Promotions is scheduled to return to the 2300 Arena in September.  




Danny Ziccardi - South Philly - July 24, 2021