PHILLY BOXING HISTORY  -  August 02, 2014


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 Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Rich Graessle / Main Events


Sergey Kovalev kept his unification fight with Bernard Hopkins on track with a second round TKO of Blake Caparello at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City Saturday night. The champion retained his WBO light heavyweight title, but had to climb off the deck in round one to do it. Southpaw Caparello landed a straight left hand that toppled Kovalev back onto the seat of his pants, and momentarily put the proposed Hopkins fight in jeopardy. 

However, Kovalev got to his feet and steered his lucrative future back on course.

"I did not feel his power," Kovalev said of the surprise knockdown he suffered. "It might have looked like a knockdown from the side, but he just caught me off my balance."  

In round two, the champion drilled Caparello with a nasty right to the body that made the Australian crumble to the floor. With great effort, Caparello got up and fought on, but the fight was basically over right then and there. 

Kovalev charged in and immediately tested his opponent to the body. Caparello weathered the attack, but fell into the ropes where Kovalev pummeled him with a flurry. Referee Sparkle Lee jumped in and called the incident a knockdown, although the Australian never hit the deck. 

Kovalev continued his onslaught as soon as he was allowed. After a frightful volley, Caparello slumped to the ropes and slid to the canvas. Referee Lee waved an end to the bout at the very moment that Caparello's corner stepped up on the ring apron to stop it. The time was 1:47 of the second.

Kovalev, 25-0-1, 23 KOs, retained his title and cleared the way for the hotly anticipated bout with Hopkins tentatively scheduled for November, two months shy of Bernard's 50th birthday.

"He's very smart," Kovalev said about Hopkins. "He's very sneaky. He's very tricky. He's a very smart fighter. He's very experienced. That my next fight is against Bernard Hopkins makes me very happy. It's a very big fight. It's an interesting fight, for me and for the boxing world. It's my dream, one of my dreams to fight him."  

When the two best light heavyweights face off, the WBO, IBF and WBA 175-pound titles will all be on the line. Only Adonis Stevenson holds another championship share (WBC) in the division (He is also the linear champion.).

"I want to be undisputed champion of the world," Hopkins said. "That's what I set out to do, and that's what I'm going to do." 

Hopkins - and Kovalev - get the chance to step toward the undisputed light heavyweight championship in November. 

In the final preliminary fight before the main event, junior middleweight Dmitry Mikhaylenko won an 8-round unanimous decision over Sechew Powell. The Russian fired away at Powell and controlled most of the action. However, the old warhorse stayed in the fight and landed a few hard shots. But as the rounds ticked by, Powell's output diminished completely.  By the end, he was just surviving. 

Judge Lawrence Layton scored the fight a shutout (80-72); Henry Grant had it 79-73, and Lindsey Page scored it the closest at 78-74. I gave all eight rounds to Mikhaylenko for an 80-72 score. 

The Russian remained undefeated, 17-0, 6 KOs.  Powell fell to 26-6, 15 KOs. 

In a snoozer of a light heavyweight bout scheduled for ten rounds, South African Isaac Chilemba wore down and stopped Cory Cummings of Newark, NJ. Cummings kept pressing forward and bruised Chilemba under the left eye, but the "Golden Boy" kept dishing out  jabs and straight right hands. 

As the bout elapsed, Cummings tired and fought through two swollen eyes. Finally in round seven, his corner had seen enough and climbed the ring steps to ask the referee to stop the contest. Referee Eric Dali waved the end at 2:28 of the seventh. 

The win raised Chilemba's record to 23-2-2, 19 KOs. Cummings slid to 17-7-1, 13 KOs. It was his third straight defeat. 

It was bombs away in a scheduled six round heavyweight fight between Adam Kownacki, Brooklyn, and Charles Ellis, Wichita. Kownacki won the brawl by TKO in round five after three punch combination dropped Willis to the canvas. Kownacki landed two rights and a left hook that had Ellis sprawled on the mat. The moment he fell, the ringside doctor stepped into the ring to ask for the fight to be stopped. Referee Randy Neumann obliged. 

It was an exciting battle. Although he appeared to land most of the early power shots, Kownacki's eyes were both red and lumpy after a couple of rounds. In the third, it appeared that Ellis was ready to turn the tide. He stunned Kownacki with several hard shots, but by the end of the round, Adam was back in control. 

Kownacki took the fourth with more power punching, and wrapped things up just 15 seconds into the next round. Kownacki kept his KO streak going with the win, 7-0, 7 KOs. Ellis lost for the second time, 9-2-1, 8 KOs. 

In a closely fought junior middleweight fight, Atlantic City's DeCarlo Perez squeaked out a 6-round majority decision over Marcus Willis of Ft. Myers, FL. It was a back and forth battle with both fighters landing their shots. Willis was the harder puncher, but Perez gained steam as the fight progressed.  

After the full six rounds, judge Lindsey Page had the bout 57-57, but he was overruled by Henry Grant and Lawrence Layton who both saw Perez the winner, 59-55. I too scored the fight even (57-57). 

Perez improved to 12-3-1, 4 KOs, while Willis fell to 13-3-2, 3 KOs. 

Heavyweight Joey Dawejko, 11-3-2, 4 KOs, made an auspicious start under his new Club 57 Management banner with a first round TKO of fellow Philadelphian David Williams, 7-9-2, 2 KOs. Dawejko started fast and was clearly on a mission to knock his opponent out. 

Joey slammed Williams with an overhand right to register the first knockdown. Moments later, a left hook dropped Williams again. He got up slowly and didn't look much like he wanted to continue. He did however go back for more. 

Dawejko jumped right on his wounded foe and scored the final knockdown with an overhand right-left hook combo. Williams went down hard, and referee Randy Neumann stopped the fight. The time was 1:48 of round one.  It was Joey's first win by stoppage in two and one half years (2012). His decision over Derric Rossy was technically a bigger win, but Dawejko never looked better than on this night. He was aggressive and confident against Williams, and appeared to be on a very good path.

In the opening fight of the night, Hakim Bryant, Middletown, NJ, battered and stopped Anthony Watson, Philadelphia, at 38 seconds of round four. Watson landed often early on, but Bryant eventually wore him. down. The junior middleweight bout could have been stopped as early as round three, but referee Eric Dali let it enter the final round. After Bryant trapped Watson in the red corner and landed numerous unanswered punches, Dali had finally seen enough. Bryant remained undefeated, 2-0, 1 KO. Watson lost for the second time, 0-2. 

The card was held in Ovation Hall of the Revel Casino, and was promoted by Main Events and DiBella Entertainment. The main event was televised live by HBO.




John DiSanto - Atlantic City - August 02, 2014