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A number of Philly-based boxers will be tested this week in high-profile bouts. Mike Jones, the city's most exciting prospect, will make his national TV debut on ESPN2 Friday night from NY. His opponent, Germaine Sanders, 27-5 (17 KOs), should prove to be a real challenge to Mike's 12-fight knockout streak. Although Sanders has lost his last two, he has only been stopped once in his career, and that was by cuts back in 2002. So Mike may be hard-pressed to grab KO # 13, but I wouldn't be surprised is he gets it. Jones looks like the real thing. Further, he is a fighter who really believes that the boxing world is his for the taking. That confidence combined with his emerging ring skills makes Jones the man from Philly to watch. This big op with everyone watching could be a real launching pad for the next phase of his career.

The main event Friday will be slumping Kassim Ouma, the former jr. middleweight



champ with promotional ties to Philadelphia via Peltz Boxing, against 27-3 Cornelius Bundrage. Coming off back-to-back losses, Ouma will try to return to the title picture with a good showing in this fight. His 2007 challenge of Jermaine Taylor for 160-pound honors went about as well as could be expected for a little guy in the wrong weight class. So being back at 154 pounds should help the affable Ouma, but he faces a good opponent in Cornelius Bundrage, an alum of "The Contender" TV series.

Also on the card Friday (and hopefully on TV) is young Philly jr. welterweight stand-out Hammerin' Hank Lundy. Undefeated Lundy looks for win number eleven against 8-0 Darnell Jiles. 

The next night Tyrone Brunson tries for his 20th straight 1st round KO against a foe yet to be announced. A KO (in any round) would move him ahead of Cycone Hart on the all-time Philadelphia consecutive KO streak list. Among Philly fighters, only Billy Fox and Earl Hargrove have more consecutive KOs than Hart. So a Brunson KO would technically move him to #3 on the list, but Tyrone's streak is not in the same class the others. Brunson has been spoon-fed carefully selected opponents designed to keep that streak intact. It's not that every young fighter isn't handled with TLC, but at some point a fighter must be matched against live opponents. For example, in his 19 straight KOs, Hart toppled Kitten Hayward and Leroy Roberts along the way. But I don't recognize a single name on Brunson's record except for Kirk Douglas, and I'm guessing it's not Spartacus who faced Tyrone. The Brunson fight takes place at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Michigan. [Editor's note on 3/28/08: Brunson's opponent has been named as Francis McKechnai. He has a record of 3-14. All 14 of McKechnai's losses are by KO, and he has never made it past the 4th round.]

Also on Saturday (3/29), but on a separate card from Germany, Arthur Abraham will defend his IBF middleweight championship against Elvin Ayala. Although Ayala is from New Haven, CT, he has a strong Philly connection, again through Peltz Boxing. Ayala, 18-2-1 (8 KO), looked great in his last outing, a surprise disputed draw against Sergio Mora. However against Berlin's Abraham, 25-0 (20 KO), he should have his hands full in his first title try.

So it should be an interesting week in Philly boxing, even if all of this ring action takes place far outside city limits.