PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - June 30, 2015                                                              
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by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb, Jr.


Cruiserweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy battled back from the brink of disaster Tuesday night to stop Paul Parker in the 10-round main event at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. The LA-based puncher pulled himself off the floor twice in round one and averted a big upset by somehow surviving the round. Parker pounded away but ran out of time in the opening round. After that, Parker's window closed quickly and Shabranskyy took control of the fight. Parker tired badly and couldn't lay a glove on Shabranskyy beginning in round two. In round three Shabranskyy's power punches started taking their toll, and it became obvious that the end was near. 

However, in round one it was all Parker. Midway through the round, a pair of right hands staggered and dropped Shabranskyy. It was a sudden twist in a fight that was expected to be a cakewalk for the Ukrainian.

He climbed to his feet, but was clearly dazed and still in trouble. Moments later another right from Parker sent Shabranskyy to the canvas again. The upset appeared certain. However, Shabranskyy showed his durability, and the clock and Parker's conditioning gave him a break. The bell sounded, ending the first round, and as it turned out, the scare was over.

In round three, with Parker huffing and puffing, Shabranskyy battered away. Suddenly a sharp right hurt Parker and a combination sent him to the ropes. Shabranskyy landed rights and lefts as Parker twisted and tried to survive. Shabranskyy punctuated his combo with a hard right to the head and Parker turned his back and hung over the ropes. Referee Gary Rosato jumped in to save Parker at 2:36 of round three.

The victory kept Shabranskyy undefeated (14-0, 12 KOs) and dished Parker his first pro defeat (7-1, 4 KOs). It was a bruising battle that had the crowd cheering.

DC light heavyweight D'Mitrius Ballard cruised through his 6-rounder with awkward Mexican Josue Obando. Ballard was workmanlike and dealt with Obando's rangy frame. At first the Mexican appeared harmless, but Ballard began collecting a number of bumps and bruises around his left eye. Still Ballard banked rounds.

In round four Obando started fast and swung away. He landed and backed Ballard up. However, a solid right by D'Mitrius finally slowed Obando's roll. Ballard regained control but the action was closer from this point on.

After six full rounds, Ballard took the unanimous decision by official scores of 60-54, 58-56 and 58-56. My card had Ballard up 59-55.

Ballard improved to 9-0, 7 KOs. Obando returned to Guadalajara 11-6, 9 KOs.

DC lightweight Lamont Roach Jr. dominated Texan Christian Santibanez over six rounds and took home a one-sided points victory. Santibanez heated things up a bit in the second half of the fight, but was not in the same class as Roach. A pair of rights probably earned the underdog round four but the rest of the bout belonged to Roach, who took the decision with scores or 59-55 and 60-54 twice. I scored the bout 59-55.

The undefeated Roach extended his streak to 8-0, 3 KOs; Santibanez fell to 3-5, 2 KOs.

Palmer Park, MD junior lightweight Kevin Rivers Jr. also remained undefeated (12-0, 9 KOs) with an impressive TKO of Mexican Luis Lizarraga, 5-5-1, 2 KOs. Rivers won the opening round and then knocked Lizarraga down near the end of round two. The bell saved him, but the end was near.

Rivers jumped on his wounded foe in the third and after a hard right and few other assorted blows, Rosato stepped in with Lizarraga helpless along the ropes. The time was 24 seconds of round three. The loss evened out Lizarraga's record, 5-5-1, 2 KOs.

The first two bouts of the evening were absolute wars. The action was back and forth in both bouts and got the night off to a great start.  

First, junior lightweights Tyrone Luckey, 6-4-2, 5 KOs, and Gang Yong Kim, 5-2, traded knockdowns. Luckey, Middletown, NJ, dropped Kim with a left hook in round one. Then Kim, Philadelphia (by way of South Korea), returned the favor in the second, courtesy of a hard right hand. In the final two rounds, the fighters battled back and forth. However Luckey held the edge and was awarded the unanimous decision after four rounds. All three official scores were 38-36.

The win was the first for Luckey since 2012. Kim lost for the first time since his pro debut. The close and entertaining fight was a beauty and a rematch would be fun.

In the second bout, Philadelphia's Victor Vasquez, 19-9-1, 9 KOs, dropped Osnel Charles, 10-14-1, 1 KO, in round one of their scheduled 6-round lightweight bout. Charles, Atlantic City, fought back to win round two, but could not hold off Vasquez after that.  

The pair brawled away, but Vasquez was landing the harder shots. In round four, Victor trapped Charles in a neutral corner and blasted him with a combination that had Osnel nearly out on his feet. Referee Benji Esteves called it a knockdown and then stopped the bout after taking a good look at the woozy Charles. The time was 44 seconds of round four.

The victory was sweet revenge for Vasquez, as Charles had won their two previous 6-rounders on points.

In the walkout bout, Damon Allen made his long-awaited return to the ring with an impressive TKO of Puerto Rican southpaw Luis Rodriguez. Allen shook off 15-months' worth of ring rust in round one, but still won the closest session of the fight.

Beginning in the second, Allen was in complete control of the scheduled 6-rounder. Rodriguez landed a nice left hook in round three, but it was the only road bump he offered in the fight.

In the fourth, Allen was fighting at full steam and landed a terrific right and a hard left hook. Rodriguez took the shots, but they took the fight out of him. After four full rounds, Rodriguez quit in his corner.

"I was nervous," Allen said about returning after such a long layoff. "I felt rusty in the first round, but it felt great to be back." 

Allen improved to 7-0, 3 KOs. Rodriguez  slipped to 3-5, 2 KOs.

The fight was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions with Joe Hand Promotions, and some match-making by Peltz Boxing and BAM Boxing. Fox Sports 2 televised four of the bouts (Shabranskyy, Ballard, Roach and Allen). About 400 fans attended the show.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - June 30, 2015