PHILLY BOXING HISTORY  -  March 05, 2014                                                                 


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by John DiSanto


Twenty-seven years after a fateful fight at the Blue Horizon, former boxer, Randy "KO" Jenkins passed away at the age of 52. Randolph Jenkins Sr. died at Lankenau Medical Center on February 10, 2014. We received this sad news just last week, almost three weeks after his death.

Jenkins had only six pro bouts between 1984 and 1987, fighting five times at Atlantic City's Resorts International Hotel Casino and once at the Blue Horizon, in his ill-fated final fight. 

It was at the Blue Horizon that Jenkins faced Darryl Underwood in a 4-round middleweight bout that by all accounts was a tough and evenly-match battle. According to the newspaper reports after the bout, Jenkins and Underwood split the first two rounds before Randy faded in the final two.

Underwood landed well in the last round and hurt Jenkins just before the final bell. However, it sounded like a spirited, two-way battle, with Jenkins falling slightly short on the scorecards. None of the reports described the fight as a mismatch, nor did they say that Jenkins took an inordinate amount of punishment. 

He left the ring on his own, just like his five previous fights. Still, shortly after the fight ended, Jenkins grew sleepy in the dressing room and eventually slipped into a coma. He received immediate medical attention, and was directly transported to Hahnemann University Hospital.

At the hospital, Jenkins underwent brain surgery and remained in a coma for a period.

However, Jenkins' story did not end the way so many others have. Jenkins did not succumb to his injuries in 1987. Randy survived both the fight and the surgery, but for the remainder of his life, lived as a quadriplegic.

Twenty-seven years later, Randy "KO" Jenkins passed away. He was 52.

Jenkins went 3-3 in his professional boxing career. He made his debut on October 4, 1984 with a 4-round unanimous decision over Vernon Dawkins at Resorts. Randy followed it up with another win at Resorts twenty days later, and scored a 2nd round TKO over Rocky Sloane. Three weeks after that, Jenkins dropped a 4-round majority decision to Victor Claudio.

In March of 1985, Jenkins beat George Lanton by split decision over six rounds. Then on May 2nd, he rematched with Victor Claudio, and was stopped in round five.

Jenkins stayed away from the ring until January 13, 1987, when he faced Underwood at the Blue Horizon. For his final fight, Jenkins earned $150.

In the aftermath of the fight, Randy's younger brother, Bobby Jenkins, a 6-0 boxer who beat the same Darryl Underwood the year before, claimed that his brother was not training and should never have been in the ring that night.

Technically this was not a ring fatality, but it was very much a Philadelphia boxing tragedy.

No information about Randy's life after the Blue Horizon fight was available at the time of this writing. I could not find, or make contact with, his family. However, I will continue to seek them out to learn more about this Philly fighter.

Below are a three reports from 1987 that addressed this fight: 

Show Recap by Jeff Jowett (The Ring)

Column by Nigel Collins (The Ring)

Feature Story by Elmer Smith (Philadelphia Daily News)




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - March 05, 2014
Photos by Pete Goldfield (on January 13, 1987)