PHILLY BOXING HISTORY  -  December 05, 2014


Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact


 Story & Photos by John DiSanto


Maryland middleweight Jarrett Hurd won an uninspiring majority decision over Texan Emmanuel Sanchez in the 6-round main at Harrah’s Casino and Racetrack in Chester, PA Friday night. The lackluster bout topped a showcase parade of Al Haymon fighters, and included a sprinkling of local boxers mixed with several out-of-towners. Although going in, there was little doubt about the outcome of all six fights scheduled, some of the favorites managed to make an impression with strong showings. However, Hurd, 14-0, 8 KOs, was not one them. 

Hurd had his hands full with Sanchez, a southpaw who came to fight, but had more attitude than ability against the undefeated pet-pugilist. The pair mixed it up in round one, which teased the sparse crowd that they were about to see a good battle. The rest of the fight, however, did not deliver. 

Hurd edged the first-round action but finished the round with a marked left eye. Beginning in the second, Jarrett fought more cautiously, picking and poking most of the way, and taking great care not to let the fight go beyond a simmer. Hurd also appeared to be puzzled by Sanchez’ left-handed style. So when he wasn’t being over cautious, you could see the wheels turning in Hurd’s head. It wasn’t pretty, but he managed to get the job done.      

Sanchez pressed the action throughout, won the second round on my card, and generally tried to make it a fight. However, Hurd had the skills to keep Sanchez - and the battle - at bay. It wasn’t entertaining in the least, but it was difficult to score rounds for Sanchez. Although there were a couple of close ones, Hurd generally maintained control. But it was cruise control, or perhaps more accurately, auto-pilot. 

Judge Dave Braslow saw the fight even, 57-57, but he was overturned by Lynn Carter (58-56) and John Poturaj (59-55), both of whom favored Hurd. My score was also 59-55 for Hurd. Sanchez slipped to 5-2, 1 KO. 

This main event was a late assembly when the attractive rematch between Harry Yorgey and Eric Mitchell fell out close to fight night. Hurd was elevated to the main event and Sanchez was found to fill out the new pairing. 

In the scheduled 6-round co-feature, Wilmington’s Omar Douglas blasted Atlantic City journeyman Osnel Charles in less than round one. Charles, once a promising riser, has slid into opponent status over the past two years or so. Going in, he’d only won once in his last eleven starts. So it was no surprise that Douglas kept his undefeated streak going strong. Still I was impressed. 

Charles, has skill, always comes to fight, and usually proves far more durable than he did on this night. Charles started with plenty of pluck, but after Douglas landed a few bombs, the fight drained out of Osnel and you could see his survival instincts kick in. 

Douglas just kept pressing and eventually landed a thudding left hook that decked Charles and almost put him out of the ring. Osnel struggled to climb the ropes, but failed to beat the count.  It was just as well. Referee David Franciosi signaled the end of the junior lightweight bout at 2:21 of round one. 

The knockout stretched Douglas’ record to 13-0, 10 KOs. Charles lost his fourth straight and fell to 10-13-1, 1 KO. This looked like a career-ender for Charles, an affable and entertaining fighter in need of no more beatings. It’s not going to get any easier for him, and he couldn’t be further from that memorable night of his devastating KO of Anthony Flores in 2011. Charles appeared to be on his way back then, but he’s only won once since. 

Two of Philly’s top rookies were matched against tough measuring sticks Friday night and both came away with solid victories. 

Junior welterweight Milton Santiago, just 18 years old, continued his whirlwind rookie year with a shutout decision over Pottstown “Animal” Travis Thompson. Thompson, riding a four-bout unbeaten streak, the longest of his career, is used to testing promising young fighters and always does his best to introduce them to the grittier side of professional boxing. 

Southpaw Thompson, 7-12-3, 3 KOs, did his best to ruffle Santiago’s feathers. The veteran brawled, held, and refused to take a backward step.  However, Santiago, now 8-0, 3 KOs, kept his composure and skillfully controlled the fight. Santiago looked strong and skilled, and by round two had Thompson rattled, which is not an easy task. 

Still “the Animal” kept raging but could do little more than land a few wild shots. His best punch, a brutish left hand, came just before the end of the fight in round four. But Thompson never did enough to win a round, and all three judges, Carter, Braslow and Poturaj, scored the fight 40-36 for Santiago. You couldn’t score it any other way. 

For Santiago it was a good test against one of the toughest local boxers on the scene.  Milton’s performance was impressive, as was his year – 8 fights, 8 wins. With a few weeks left in the year, Santiago might manage to squeeze another fight in, but assuming he can’t, it’s safe to say he had one of the best rookie seasons in recent years. 

Another impressive Philadelphia rookie, Stephen Fulton, continued the opening chapter of his pro career with his third straight victory, and like Santiago, it was against a tough customer. 

Fulton took on Mt. Pocono’s Benjamin Burgos, a 12-bout vet who, despite his poor record, was a good test for the former amateur star. Fulton looked sharp and focused, and zipped through the four rounder in complete control. But the rising junior lightweight had to work for his victory, and it was good to see him (and Santiago) in a solid test. 

Fulton landed several right leads in the bout, and also showed good attention to his body attack. His jab was sharp, and although he was hit a few times, won every round of the fight. His best moment came in round two when a series of right hands backed up Burgos and appeared to hurt him. But the battle-tested veteran wasn’t going anywhere. 

In round four, after several warnings, referee Gary Rosato penalized Burgos one point for rabbit punching.  The deduction only widened the gap on the official scorecards.  All three judges, Carter, Braslow and Poturaj saw Fulton the winner by a 40-35 score.  My tally concurred. 

The fight was Fulton’s third in three months (3-0, 1 KO), the perfect pace for a young fighter. Let’s hope he keeps it up. 

Middleweight Caleb Plant scored a quick KO in his scheduled 4-rounder with Daryl Gardner of Spokane. Plant wasted no time, setting the tone with his powerful punches. He pressured Gardner to the ropes and unleashed a double left hook – one to the body and one to the jaw – that crumbled Daryl to the canvas. 

He barely moved as referee David Franciosi counted ten. The speedy stoppage lasted only 95 seconds. Plant, Ashland City, TN, improved to 5-0, 4 KOs, while Gardner slipped to 2-5, 2 KOs. 

In the opening fight of the evening, Brooklyn cruiserweight Earl Newman stopped Jade Ealy of Augusta, GA, in the first round.  Once Newman began to land, especially to the body, Ealy clearly decided that he had had enough.  He retreated to the ropes, covered up and waited for referee David Franciosi to stop the bout. 

The ref watched and waited for Ealy to respond to the Newman’s constant barrage, but it never came.  So Franciosi halted the fight at 2:57 of round one. It kept Newman’s KO streak going at three straight (3-0, 3 KOs).  Ealy lost by TKO for the first time in his 1-2, 1 KO career. 

All of the favored fighters went home winners on this card. There were no surprises but a few good KOs. Omar Douglas made the biggest statement of the night, and the rookies from Philly, Milton Santiago and Stephen Fulton, were right behind him. 

The show was promoted by Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions.  Harrah’s Chester is usually the turf of Joey Eye Boxing.  However Joey has apparently been benched by the local commission for his alleged involvement in bare knuckle boxing.  Eye is waiting for an official hearing to be scheduled in the matter. 

Next Saturday’s show at the 2300 Arena in South Philly is the last event on the 2014 Philadelphia schedule.




John DiSanto - Chester, PA - December 05, 2014