PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - September 18, 2015  
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Story b
y John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb, Jr.


Heavyweights Travis Kauffman and Eddie Chambers each had a pretty easy night in Atlantic City on Friday. Both fringe contenders came to town and disposed their respective opponents without much effort, and did exactly what they needed to do to keep their careers on track and hopeful for bigger and better things. The Kings Promotions show at the Claridge Hotel's Celebrity Theater consisted of six bouts, all of which were rather one-sided. Let's just say the red corner had a very good night.

In the scheduled 8-round main event, heavyweight Travis Kauffman, 30-1, 24 KO, knocked out Epifanio Mendoza, 41-22-1, 35 KO, with two body shots in round two. After dominating the first round, Mendoza landed a sloppy right in the second before Kauffman fired a right and left to the stomach. Mendoza went down from the body shots, and took referee Allan Huggins' full 10-count on one knee. 

"On a scale of one to ten, I'd have to give myself a nine," Kauffman said after leaving the ring. "That guy was a veteran. I think this was one of my best performances." 

Kauffman is sitting on a good-looking record and now boasts Brother Naazim Richardson in his corner and Al Haymon's watchful eye in the background. With his two-fight KO roll after an 18-month layoff due to an injured knee, Travis appears on the brink of landing a bigger fight in the heavyweight division.

Philly heavyweight Eddie Chambers, 42-1, 23 KO, made a successful return to the U.S. by scoring a third round TKO of Galen Brown, 42-32-1, 25 KO, St. Joseph, MO. Chambers put Brown on the floor with a pair of rights in the second round, but did not have time to finish him.

In round three, Fast Eddie's right hand knocked Brown into the ropes, and referee Mary Glover called it a knockdown (for some reason). However moments later, Chambers drove home another right that floored Brown and prompted the referee to stop the fight without a count. The time was 1:34 of the third.

Chambers looked more aggressive than usual and suggested that his time training and fighting in England brought about the change. His five fight, one year, stint abroad added five wins and three knockouts to his record, and set him up for another run at a title fight.

"It's nice to be home," Chambers said after the fight. "I love the UK. I enjoyed my time there, but obviously home is where the heart is. I want to win a world title. That's my goal. I've been there. I've been to the top before. So now it's a matter of  sharpening up, staying sharp, and getting another fight or two. Who knows? If the offer pops up, I have to be ready."

"I want to stay busy," Chambers said. "I hope to fight again soon, maybe sometime in November."

Super middleweight southpaw Dauren Yeleussinov, 4-0, 3 KO, knocked down Justin Williams, 4-11-2, 2 KO, twice in round two with identical combinations to the head and body and forced a stoppage by referee Allan Huggins. Yeleussinov landed a right hand to the head and a follow up left to the body that dropped Williams both times. The second time that the Texan hit the floor, the referee stopped the fight. The time was 57 seconds of round two.

Yeleussinov, originally from Kazakhstan and now fighting out of Brooklyn, was impressive against the trail-horse from Beaumont. Although Williams had lost ten times before, he had never been stopped. On this night, it became clear very fast, that Williams would not make it to the final bell. Yeleussinov looked big, fast and powerful from the opening bell.

Cruiserweight Keith Tapia, 16-0, 11 KO, remained undefeated with a 30-second TKO of Anthony Caputo Smith, 15-6, 10 KO.  Tapia, of Santurce, PR, landed a hard right uppercut that dropped the Pennsylvanian flat on his back. Smith jumped to his feet, but referee Mary Glover stopped the fight dispute Smith's mild objections.

Smith clearly took this fight for the paycheck, because, on paper, the match was clearly not in his favor. Tapia is big and talented and was a prohibitive favorite. However, Smith apparently approached the fight with his usual willingness to test such fighters. It was an embarrassing loss, made worse by the premature stoppage by the the referee. But truth be told, Anthony was not going to win this fight. So maybe it was ultimately the right call.

This was Smith's fourth straight loss and second consecutive defeat by knockout.

Washington, DC heavyweight Danny Kelly, 9-1-1, 8 KO, made short work of Jimmy Suarez, Aguada, PR, 4-11-2, 2 KO.  Kelly knocked Suarez down with a left hook, and Suarez happily took referee Allan Huggins' count. The time was 1:33 of the first round. Suarez didn't seem to want to be there, and found his way out as soon as he tasted Kelly's power.

In the opening bout at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, Brooklyn-based Russian featherweight Pavlo Ishchenko made a successful professional debut with a second round TKO of Nicholas Rodriguez, 0-3-1. Ishchenko dropped the Kentucky boxer twice in round one and pounded away until referee Allan Huggins halted the bout at 1:22 of round two.

Ishchenko, a 2012 Olympic representative for Ukraine, was relentless and entertaining to watch, may be a fighter to keep an eye on.

There was also a three-round exhibition between Philly's Alex Barbosa and Sandro Charneco of San Juan, PR, on the card. This match-up was born when opponents for both Barbosa and Charneco fell out at the last minute. So these two frustrated fighters put on a spirited battle for three rounds against each other, with the headgear and big gloves on. Charneco was much bigger than Barbosa, but the action was constant and pretty even between the two. In fact, this exhibition was the most competitive bout of the night.

The crowd that came out for the show was pretty sparse. The Celebrity Theater at the Claridge is an intimate setting, but still there were many, many empty seats. I'd say about 150 fans were present.

Kings Promotions takes a quick breath and comes right back Saturday night for another local boxing show at Harrah's in Chester, PA.




John DiSanto - Atlantic City - September 18, 2015