PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                           April 20, 2012


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Lightweights Angel Ocasio and Jason Sosa lit up the National Guard Armory Friday night by waging an all-out war of a rematch. The pair fought to a six round draw in their first meeting in January. This time, they picked  up right where they left off three months ago and made fight number two a gritty, high-energy battle that had the Armory crowd roaring with approval. After eight solid rounds of close, give and take action, the three official judges once again could not pick a winner, and called the fight a draw.

It was the type of fight that could have gone either way - one that each fighter understandably thought they had won. The same goes for the large rooting section of each boxer.

"I thought I dominated much more than the first fight," Ocasio said in the dressing room afterward. "I thought I won five of the eight rounds."

"I believe I had more control this fight," Sosa countered in his dressing room. "I was dancing a little salsa and he was dancing a little hip hop."

In the first fight, Ocasio was more effective early, with Sosa mounting a rally in the second half. This time out, the roles were basically reversed. Sosa was stronger at the start, and Ocasio seemed to get sharper as the fight wore on. But with the fight on the line, Sosa closed the show and took the final round with his forward motion and punching power. Still the judges saw the fight even.

Judge Alan Rubenstein scored the bout 78-75 for Sosa, while both Lynn Carter and Richard Hopkins saw it even at 76-76.

Most of the rounds were close and full of action. As expected, Sosa was the aggressor, but this time he brought an effective jab with him that helped him pile up points. He also had Ocasio missing punches far more than their first fight indicated he ever could.

Ocasio came away from the first round with a cut over his left eye. By the end of the fight, the gash would need six stitches to close it. However, the cut never seemed to affect Angel during the fight, as cut man Billy Briscoe kept the flow of blood stemmed. Sosa's punches also caused Ocasio's face to swell as the fight unfolded.

But this was a nip and tuck battle. Ocasio moved and landed good counter shots all night. But Sosa's punches seemed heavier overall. Sosa appeared to hurt Ocasio in the fifth, but Angel responded in round six with his own hard punches that stopped Ocasio in his tracks. After the fight neither fighter would admit to the other's power.

"No power," Ocasio said of Sosa's punches. 

"No power," is how Sosa described Ocasio's best shots.

These guys even talked to a draw.

After the fight, of course all the attention was focused on the scoring. Although that is understandable, let's not forget the quality of the fight put up by both men. They fought hard for eight rounds, and never took a breather. Everyone watching was treated to one of the best Philly fights of the year.

Opinion on the decision was split around ringside as well. A quick poll of the other boxing writers, produced varied judgment. Some felt Sosa had won, some favored Ocasio, and many had it even. So maybe the official judges got it right.

A third fight is a natural, but we'll have to see if it ever happens.

"I'd like to fight him a third time in a row," Sosa said afterward. "But it won't be here (Philly), I tell you that. It won't be here."

"No," Ocasio said about a third fight. "I'm not giving him the opportunity to make money off of my name, and come to my hometown... No. I'd rather fight somebody better."

So we'll have to see.

Ocasio left 6-0-2 (1 KO), and Sosa 4-1-3 (1 KO).


The rest of the fight card was comprised of just three four-round bouts. Originally ten fights were announced, however, half of them fell out at the last minute.

North Philly Bantamweight Miguel Cartagena had a willing and tough opponent in late substitute Luis Ortiz of Puerto Rico. Ortiz landed a few good uppercuts and gladly traded shots with Miguel throughout the four rounds. In the end, Miguel had the better skills. However, Ortiz' toughness allowed Cartagena to finally put on a demonstration of his abilities. Lately Miguel's foes haven't been able to stay in with him beyond the first serious combination, but Ortiz, a last-minute substitute, forced Cartagena to fight four full rounds. Miguel was quick, and threw punches from every angle. He won all four rounds, and thrilled the crowd doing it. Judges Lynn Carter, Alan Rubenstein and Richard Hopkins all scored 40-36 for Miguel, now 5-0 (3 KO). Ortiz fell to 2-11. Cartagena was originally scheduled to fight six rounds, but the PA commission cut the fight to four with Ortiz as the new opponent.

Heavyweights Georgiy Guralnik, Philadelphia, and Taffo Asongwed, Montreal, rumbled through their four rounder. Guralnik won the first three rounds, but was too tired to get  the shutout. Asongwed, a classic traveling club fighter, took the final round while Guralnik caught his breath. All three judges scored the fight 39-37 for the Georgiy, 3-0 (1 KO). Asonwed slipped to 2-11-7 (0 KO).

Dover, Delaware's John Bowman, beat Philadelphian Brian Donahue in the opening fight of the night. The fresher Bowman threw more punches and was able to withstand Donahue's fighting spurts. As the fight wound down, it became clear that Donahue needed a knockout to win, but he couldn't pull it out. The super middleweight contest went to the final bell and all three judges saw it for Bowman. Carter and Rubenstein scored 40-36, giving all four rounds to Bowman. Richard Hopkins gave one round to Donahue, and turned in a 39-37 card.

Joey Dawejko came to the Armory ready to fight Friday night, only to find that his opponent, Excell Holmes, who had weighed in earlier in the day, was no longer fighting. This wasn't the first time Joey suffered a last minute disappointment. Perhaps he'll find a spot on Joey Eye's May 4th show. 

Tim Witherspoon Jr. was never matched with an opponent, and thus did not fight. Late claims that he was still on the card were proven false at the morning weigh in.

Other scheduled bouts with Venroy July, Saud Clark, and Isiah Seldon were all officially scratched on Friday.

The Armory crowd numbered about 1,000. The alternate referees were Shawn Clark and Blair Talmadge. Richard Hopkins, Lynn Cater and Alan Rubenstein judged all four bouts. Larry Tournambe was the ring  announcer. The web site televised the card on line. Greg Robinson's Power Productions was the promoter.




John DiSanto - Northeast Philly - April 20, 2012