|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - November 04, 2015
Date: Friday, October 30, 2015
Venue: Sheet Metal Workers Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Promoters: Hard Hitting Promotions
Ring Announcer: Alex Barbosa
Referees: Shawn Clark & Blair Talmadge
Matchmaker: Wilbert Ruiz
Photos: ChrisToneyPhotography.com & KeyArtPhoto.com
It has been quite an inauspicious past two weeks for Pennsylvania State Cruiserweight champion Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson (15 wins – 9 losses – 1draws – 9 kos) who was set to defend his title in a ten-rounder. Last week his original opponent, the ever-dangerous Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante didn’t clear medical scrutiny due to an injury incurred in a car accident back in April and was automatically sidelined. And on Tuesday, Wilson’s good friend and former stablemate Elizabeth “Liz” Sherman died in Charleston, South Carolina. The tiny pugilist with the infectious smile is gone and her passing sent shockwaves throughout the Philadelphia boxing community reverberating in the Marian Anderson Boxing Gym, which she considered her second home—Wilson’s training ground.
On the track “Ruff Seas” Jamaican singer Tarus Riley sang “rough seas make skillful sailors, ride the tide until the storm is over.” Thus, Wilson agreed to face rugged Pedro “The Bull” Martinez—who took the fight on short notice—in an eight-round heavyweight bout. It was the perfect opportunity for Martinez to avenge his February 25, 2012 third round technical knockout loss to Wilson in Atlantic City. On that fateful night the tough Martinez got off the canvas with a badly busted nosed forcing referee David Fields to call a halt amidst his protestations. And, after taking Tuesday off to mourn his dear friend, Wilson returned to training on Wednesday focused on his formidable foe knowing that Martinez would want to even the score.
Martinez, the forever patient pugilist who tipped the scales at 251˝ Lbs., watched as the Wilson and his entourage which included former IBF junior-middleweight champion Buster “The Demon” Drayton, stablemates Taneal “The Spider” Goyco and Shumpert Caldwell; Charles “The Cobra” Hayward capped off by trainer Rodney Rice and assistant trainer Charles Ramey strolled to the ring in fantastic fashion Kanye West blaring over the house speakers on the track “Amazing” featuring Young Jeezy:
No matter what
It's amazin', so amazin', so amazin', so amazin', it's
I'm a monster
Referee Shawn Clark administered the formalities and the gong sounded. Immediately Wilson despite a forty-pound disparity attacked Martinez going downstairs to the body with jabs and hard hooks. Unabashed, Martinez stood his ground and fired back to the body with his back to the ropes never allowing Wilson to get space and time to plant his feet and deliver his awesome power. Round after round Wilson came forward trying to land a crippling blow, but Martinez used his size and shrewdness to smother and defuse danger. However, in the fourth stanza Wilson’s found pay dirt with a vicious left hook followed by a straight right that wobbled Martinez momentarily. But, Martinez was able to hold on and use his weight to weather the storm.
The bout was a tactical match with Martinez having his moments beckoning to Wilson to “come on” whenever it appeared that the tide was turning in his opponent’s favor. There were a few close rounds, but Wilson was the busier fighter landing the harder punches. Martinez proved his mettle by being able to accord himself favorably on such short notice going eight hard rounds. Two judges turned in identical scores of 78-74 with the third seeing it 77-75 all for Wilson who earned a unanimous decision.
Philadelphia has a new superstar and he is from the Dominican Republic. I sat in press-row mesmerized as lightweight Marcos “El Tigre” Jimenez (20 wins - 6 losses - 0 draws - 13 kos) attacked Rafael “Diamito” Reyes (6 wins - 3 losses - 0 draws - 5 kos) of Reynosa, Mexico with poise, precision and power working behind a stiff jab banging the body appearing to be a hybrid of three division world champions Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum and Felix “Tito” Trinidad. I am flabbergasted that the Dominican transplant—recently signed to Hard Hitting Promotions and residing in Philadelphia—has six losses on his dossier. But, most of those setbacks were to world-class competition. Then again, some fighters find their optimal stride after the age of thirty as appears to be the case with the thirty-one year-old Jimenez.
Jimenez came out at the opening bell of the scheduled six-rounder stalking his nemesis, hands high behind a stiff jab raking Reyes to the body—always within striking distance—deadly focused—a heat-seeking missile—fixated on devastation and destruction. Reyes countered with equal force and power striking Jimenez with a few good shots. In the second stanza an inadvertent left uppercut to the groin had the Mexican writhing on the canvas in pain stretched out on his back as though he was sunbathing in Cancun. Fortunately, Reyes recovered after a three-minute respite and the action resumed. Shortly thereafter, a short right to the head followed by a left uppercut to the ear toppled Reyes to the canvas. Somewhat shaken, he was up before referee Clark tolled six and was able to withstand Jimenez bombarding his body with hard punches.
The next two rounds saw
both pugilists demonstrating their wares in the squared
circle. Jimenez continued his methodical dismantling of
Reyes by punishing his body. Reyes was perpetual motion,
under attack, throwing quick combinations in an attempt to
thwart his adversary’s forward progress. A compelling
argument could be made for giving a slight edge to Reyes in
the fourth round. However, his success was ephemeral as a
left hook to the body sent him to the canvas in the fifth
round. Reyes got up before the referee could reach the count
of eight. The action resumed and seizing the moment Jimenez
connected to Reyes’ solar plexus with a right uppercut
anchoring him to the canvas for the second time. Referee
Clark immediately called a halt to the action declaring
Jimenez the winner by technical knockout at 1:59. Yes folks,
there is a new superstar in the City of Brotherly Love.
After a three-year hiatus Philadelphia lightweight Angel Ocasio (7 wins - 0 losses - 2 draws - 2 kos) returned in a scheduled six-round junior-welterweight bout again Bryne Green (7 wins - 8 losses - 1 draws - 3 kos) of Vineland, New Jersey. Ocasio joined the punch-for-pay ranks on July 10, 2009 and reeled off six wins followed by two consecutive draws with now world-ranked Jason Sosa in 2012— January 13th and April 20th respectively. He fought one more time in the year stopping Esteban Rodriguez in the second round on December 8th before riding off into the sunset. During his time away from the ring, Ocasio kept his job at a Center City law firm, got married and in his own words “found his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Not meaning to sound blasphemous, tonight this talented fighter two months beyond his 26th birthday was back in the pugilist pulpit preaching the gospel of the sweet science attempting to convert Green to a hapless, helpless heap on the canvas. Like Ocasio, Green hadn’t seen action in a long time. In his last bout on November 16, 2013 he was stopped in the fourth round by Jason Sosa. Thus, press-row was wondering which fighter would be most impacted by ring rust.
They didn’t waste much time as both Ocasio and Green came out bombing at the bell working the body and head throwing with bad intentions. The rounds were close with many heated exchanges—not one drop of ring rust appearing on the canvas. They waged war at a frenetic pace using all of the heavy artillery in their arsenals. Ocasio gained a competitive advantage with barely ten seconds remaining in the fifth round when he connected with a laser right followed by a blistering left hook sending Green toppling into the ropes which kept him upright. RefereeTalmadge followed the letter of the law and awarded Ocasio a knockdown. The bell rang and Green made it to his corner.
The final round was equally exciting with Green having a slight edge landing a few good combinations forcing Ocasio to stay on his bicycle and box from a distance. Green pressed the action and press-row gave him the final round. The scores were somewhat lopsided 60-53 and 59-54 twice all for Ocasio.
In a scheduled four-rounder Philadelphia featherweight Thomas “TJ” Velasquez (1 win - 0 losses - 0 draws - 1 ko) and Puerto Rico’s Jose Carmona (0 wins - 2 losses - 0 draws) threw caution to the wind and came out at the opening bell hell-bent on ending the fight early. Velasquez one day past his twentieth birthday sent Carmona to the canvas early with a hard left hook reminiscent of his mentor Danny “Swift” Garcia unloading on Amir Khan. Carmona was up as referee Talmadge reached the count of two and was more than willing to engage in a shoot-out. Later in the round, the referee had to stop the action to adjust Carmona’s trunks, which momentarily quelled the heated bout. With Garcia ringside and his adoring fans chanting his name, Velasquez resumed his attack after the wardrobe malfunction. The second round was just as brisk and robust as the opening stanza with both men throwing punches loaded with dynamite. Velasquez landed a vicious hook to the body, Carmona countered with a wild hook to the head.
In the third round Carmona took a tumble to the canvas after being flipped into the air by Velasquez who slipped a combination and lifted him with his head. The action resumed and Carmona sent Velasquez to the canvas with a picture-perfect hook. Shaken, the fallen fighter rose at the count of three on unsteady legs. Carmona was relentless attempting to close the show, but Velasquez used every inch of the ring and showed great recuperative powers and was able to weather the storm and make it to the bell. The final round was close with Velasquez having a slight edge landing a few good body shots. Velasquez won by unanimous decision 39-36 and 38-36 twice in an action-packed bout.
Asbury, New Jersey’s middleweight Hakim “Braveheart” Bryant (4 wins - 0 losses - 0 draws - 3 kos) dropped southpaw Yoeglis Duverger (0 wins - 2 losses - 0 draws) of Guantanamo, Cuba now residing in Miami twice in the second round and had him in dire straits in the third round pinned in his corner absorbing punishment forcing referee Clark to rescue him from serious damage calling a halt at 2:19 declaring Bryant the winner by technical knockout.
With opponent Wilfredo Ceballos (0 wins - 1 loss - 0 draws) of East Orange, New Jersey awaiting his entrance Philadelphia lightweight Seifullah Jihad Wise (2 wins - 1 loss - 0 draws - 0 kos) burst into the ring with trainer Bozy Ennis— Grammy winner Missy Elliott blaring over the house speakers on the track “Get Ur Freak On.” In the battle of southpaws, Wise didn’t waste much time in “getting his freak on” as he hopped on Ceballos dropping him twice forcing referee Talmadge to end the pogrom at 2:49 of the opening stanza.
It was an exciting night of Philly boxing. The show opened with the ever-dapper ring announcer Alex Barbosa paying homage to our beloved Lizzy:
“Liz Sherman (July 10, 1980 – October 27, 2015). She was a Philly gladiator who passed on Charleston, South Carolina. The lady with the infectious smile left an indelible mark on everyone she met. She was a professional pugilist and engaged in seven exciting bouts. Liz was a force of nature and never failed to assist everyone who asked for help and was in need.”
The audience stood and the traditional ten-count was administered as the bell echoed throughout the building. I couldn’t help reflecting on my friend and the last time I saw her back in May when she paid us a surprise visit at the gym.
Bye, bye Lizzy. You will live forever, in our hearts, in our minds and in our stories.
There will be a memorial on Monday, November 02, 2015.
Time: 6 pm – 8 pm
Where: Marian Anderson Recreation Center Boxing Gym, 740 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!