PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                         January 13, 2012


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Philly's Farah Ennis returned to the ring Friday night with a breezy fifth round TKO of Memphis southpaw Grover Young in the scheduled six round main event at the National Guard Armory. Ennis hadn't fought since suffering his first pro setback in April. but Young, now 5-5-1, with 2 KOs, couldn't match Ennis' skill, power or record, making this an easy comeback win for the 29 year old Philadelphian.

The bout was originally slated for eight rounds, but was cut to six by the PA commission on the day of the fight due to the disparity of the combatants' records. Ennis raised his mark to 18-1 with 10 KOs.

Farah started quickly and swept through the first four rounds, winning them all. Occasionally he would spear Young with a potent one-two combination that rocked the willing southerner, but then Ennis began to land loud body shots. He did so in the third round and the wicked shot was a signal of things to come.

About a minute into the fifth round, Ennis backed Young into a corner with booming shots to the head. Then he nailed Grover with a hard combination downstairs that doubled Young over and made him sink to one knee. After ignoring a momentary impulse to rise that manifested in a little twitch upward, Young rested back down on his haunches and took the full ten-count from referee Benji Esteves Jr.

It was a thorough but expected win for Ennis. Although it is true that this was the first time Grover was stopped, anything less would have been a disappointment for Ennis.

The anticipated grudge-y showdown between North Philly's Angel Ocasio and Camden, NJ's Jason Sosa did not live up to expectations. The pair aired out their differences in the first couple rounds, but the fight slowed dramatically as the six rounds passed by. Ocasio looked sharp early, seeming to pick up right were he'd left off in August when he had his most impressive showing to date.

Angel jabbed and moved and fired his power shots at Sosa beautifully for two rounds. After a clash of heads left Sosa with a nick over his right eye in round one, the Camden fighter buckled down and tried to match skills with Ocasio, but Ocasio was just too fast and skilled. However, Ocasio seemed to tire as early as round three. The slip allowed Sosa to close the distance and get into the fight. Still Ocasio remained in control over the first four rounds.

By round five Sosa was outworking Ocasio and brought the fight closer down the stretch. At the bell, it appeared that Ocasio had done enough to take the decision, winning 58-56 on my card. However the official judges saw it differently.

Judge Pierre Benoist agreed with my score, 58-56, but Bernard Bruni and Lynn Cater overruled with even scores of 57-57. So the fight was declared a six-round draw. It was the first blemish of any kind for Ocasio, who left 6-0-1 with 1 KO. Sosa settled to 4-1-2 with 1 KO. Afterward at ringside, there were talks of a rematch.


The fight of the night was the six-rounder between Tim Witherspoon Jr. and Tevin Farmer, both of Philadelphia. They vied for something called the IBS National Title. IBS Stands for Independent Boxing Syndicate. The title opportunity was obviously arranged to benefit Witherspoon, the son of the former two-time heavyweight champ. But the powers that be obviously didn't know what Tevin Farmer could do.

From the opening bell, southpaw Farmer aggressively worked Witherspoon. He won the opening two rounds fairly easily, but the action was two way. Witherspoon began to use his jab effectively in the third, and began to control things a bit better. Still Farmer made the fight with his non-stop forward-moving style.

The fourth round was a barnburner with both fighters swinging and landing freely. Witherspoon had the edge and evened the bout (two rounds each) by taking the round.

Farmer worked hard in the fifth and sixth rounds. He threw flurry after flurry, and was aggressive and busy. The fight was close and well matched. Every round  was full of action with Witherspoon fighting slicker, but Farmer landing harder. The crowd loved every minute of it.

Judge Pierre Benoist had it even, 57-57, but Bruni and Cater both scored the fight 58-56 for Tevin Farmer. I also saw it 58-56 for Farmer.

The upset majority win raised Farmer's record to 4-2-1 with 1 KO, and brought him the IBS belt. Witherspoon slipped to 6-2-1 with 2 KOs.

The fight was terrific and although the year is young, Farmer-Witherspoon should be kept in mind as an early candidate for a Fight of the Year nomination.

The balance of the show was a set of seven four-round bouts.

Philadelphia light heavyweight Brian Donahue (2-1) returned after almost six years away from the ring to defeat Ohio's Randy Campbell (3-9) by four round unanimous decision. Donahue scored a knockdown in the forth to punctuate his victory.

Todd Unthankmay of West Philly (left, in white trunks) won his second pro bout (2-0) and scored his first stoppage when he landed a thudding right hand on the ear of Phillip Hannah of the Bronx. The punch dropped Hannah to the canvas. He regained his feet but referee Benji Esteves Jr. halted the light heavyweight bout at 2:04. Hannah's record fell to 0-8.

Jaywon Woods of Virginia floored Clevelander Rayshawn Myers in round three en route to scoring a unanimous decision in a cruiserweight fight. The win improved Woods to 9-1-1 with 5 KOs, while Myers slipped to 4-12.

Newark, NJ middleweight John Thompson topped Aaron Williams of North Carolina by shutout unanimous decision to remain undefeated, 4-0 (1 KO). Thompson and Williams wildly milled at each other along the ropes throughout the chaotic bout, especially in round three, but Thompson had the advantage in all four rounds. Williams left 0-3.


Kensington heavyweight Joey Dawejko continued his winning ways (6-0 / 2 KOs) with a unanimous decision victory over Corey Winfield (4-9) of North Carolina. Dawejko fought through major height and weight disadvantages to take the bout by 40-36 scores on all three official cards.

In a battle of North Philadelphians, amateur star Miguel Cartagena (right) blasted out a debuting David Rodriguez after only 1:08. The win was Miguel's fourth pro victory and his third straight knockout (4-0, 3 KOs). The late substitute was no match for the rising star. Cartagena dropped Rodriguez in his own corner and the fight was stopped a moment later.

It was bombs away in the final preliminary bout as heavyweights John Lennox, Carteret, NJ, and Riley Brooks of Baltimore both jumped out to a fast start. Brooks' shots were harder as he hammered Lennox along the ropes, but it didn't take long for him to tire. Lennox surged a bit as Riley regained his wind, but he too tired badly. The war continued through all four rounds and was met with a standing ovation at the final bell. I felt Brooks won the bout 39-37 or three rounds to one. However, the all three judges gave it to Lennox. Pierre Benoist and Bernard Bruni both had it a 40-36 shutout, while Lynn Carter scored 39-37. The decision was booed loudly by the crowd. Lennox (blue stripe) improved to 9-1 (4 KO); Brooks (red stripe)  fell to 1-3-1.

This the first show of 2012, promoted by Greg Robinson's Power Productions, drew a very nice crowd of about 1,200, which is a big Philly attendance these days.

The alternating referees were Benji Esteves Jr. and Gary Rosato. Pierre Benoist, Bernard Bruni and Lynn Cater judged all ten fights. The matchmaker was Renee Aiken, and the announcer was Larry Tournambe.

Power Promotions returns to the Armory on April 20 with a show headlined by Tyric Robinson.




John DiSanto - Northeast Philly - January 13, 2012