In the 8-round main
event at the 2300 Arena in South Philly, Philadelphian
Christopher Brooker, 9-1, 5 KOs, won a rugged unanimous
decision over Atlantic City’s Antowyan Aikens, 10-2-1, 1 KO.
It was a gritty fight with Brooker pressing the action and
Aikens boxing smartly. From my seat the fight looked like a
close call for Brooker. He appeared frustrated by Aikens’
jab and move style. Plus Antowyan landed a few stiff shots
of his own. One of them sliced a cut over Christopher’s eye.
However, Brooker had the power edge in the fight and used it
to good advantage in round three.
After chasing Aikens
for nearly nine minutes, Brooker finally caught him with a
hard right hand, and the punch put Aikens down. At the
moment, it seemed the fight would end, but Aiken showed
determination. He got up and did his best to resume boxing.
He survived the round and went back to work in the fourth.
The pattern remained
with Brooker pressing and Aikens boxing. Brooker was landing
the hard stuff, but Aikens surprised him a few times with
his own unexpected power punches. The rounds ticked away.
Both fighters fought hard, but Brooker looked fresher by the
It wasn’t a surprise
that all three judges scored the fight for Brooker, but his
wide margin of victory was mildly astounding. Bernard Bruni
had the fight 79-73. Larry Hazzard Jr scored it 79-72, and
Rose Vargas saw it a shutout at 80-71. It was a good and
Former world champion Kermit Cintron, 36-5-2, 28 KOs, won a
workman-like 6-round unanimous decision over Eduardo Flores
of Ecuador, 23-21-3, 15 KOs, in the co-feature bout. This
was Cintron’s first start since beating Ronald Cruz more
than two years ago. Cintron looked frustrated throughout the
fight, as he looked for the knockout and found that it just
wasn’t coming. Still he kept throwing punches, piling up
points, and dominating the action. By the sixth round,
Flores had no shot at the win, and Cintron had no shot at
the KO. The final bell sounded and everyone settled for a
one-sided unanimous decision in Cintron’s favor. All three
scores were 60-54.
NELSON STARTS NEW
In a six round junior welterweight contest, Philly's Naim
Nelson, 13-1, 1 KO, bounced back from his first professional
defeat nicely, defeating Carlos Velasquez, of Nicaragua,
24-24-2, 14 KOs, by unanimous decision. Nelson began the
fight left-handed, but reverted to his usual orthodox style
after a while. He did well from both sides and the outcome
of the fight was never in doubt. All three judges scored it
a shutout, 60-54.
In a junior welterweight bout scheduled for six, undefeated
Scott Kelleher, 5-0, 3 KOs, battered a rusty Terrell James,
1-4-1, into submission at 2:33 of round three. Scott, of
Philadelphia, won the first two rounds easily, but then
James, also Philadelphia, nailed Kelleher with a left hook
in round three that nearly turned the fight. Kelleher
staggered into the ropes, but sucked it up and came back
swinging. “It was the first punch that ever got my
attention,” Kelleher said after the fight. “As strange as it
sounds, it was exciting to find out that I could take a
haymaker and come back from it.” From the moment he came off
the ropes, Kelleher peppered James with hard shots until
referee Blair Underwood stepped in to stop it. Kelleher had
a huge cheering section at the fight, and once his bout had
ended, a large chunk of fans headed for the door.
In a 6-round junior lightweight bout, Reading's Erik Spring,
7-1, 1 KO, won a close split decision over Pittsburgh's
Justin Johnson, 6-12-4. The action see-sawed in nearly every
round, which made the fight tough to score. Both fighters
had their moments in each round, and it produced a wide
swing on the three official cards. Judge Rose Vargas had it
59-55 for Johnson. Larry Hazzard Jr. scored it 59-55 for
Spring. Bernard Bruni saw the fight all Spring and scored it
In a super middleweight 4-rounder between two
Philadelphians, Aaron Brooks won his pro debut against
“writer-fighter” Ryan Bivins, 0-2-1, with a wide-margin
unanimous decision. Brooks dropped Bivins in rounds three
and four to increase his margin of victory. In the fourth,
Bivins was having his best round, landing cleanly and
finally getting somewhere in the fight. However, once the
second knockdown came, it put the fight almost out of reach.
Still, despite being hurt and tired, Ryan kept fighting
hard. Just before the bell, Bivins hurt Brooks with a hard
right hand, but Aaron held on until the bell. For the second
fight in a row Bivins almost scored a last-minute KO, but
ran out of time. Brooks won by scores of 39-36 and 40-34
twice, while Bivins, an excellent boxing writer, confirmed
that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
Undefeated Philly junior lightweight Thomas Velasquez, 5-0,
4 KOs, knocked out Grashino Yancy, of Staten Island, 1-1,
with a crushing left-right combination at 1:39 of the second
carefully in the first, but gained momentum as the second
round elapsed. When he finally uncorked the KO blow, Yancy
crumbled in the blue corner and could not beat the count of
referee Shawn Clark.
CRAWLEY BACK IN
In a 4-round all-Philly junior welterweight bout, Tyrone
Crawley Jr., 5-0, returned from a nearly three-year layoff
to win a shutout decision over hard-luck journeyman Korey
Sloane, 2-9-2. Crawley looked more aggressive than usual in
this comeback fight, and he easily took the decision. All
three scores were 40-36 for Crawley.
In a scheduled 6-round junior featherweight fight, Philly's
Manny Folly, 7-0, 5 KOs, stopped Bryan Nevarez, Puerto Rico,
2-4-1, 1 KO, at the end of round one. Midway through the
first, Nevarez threw Folly to the ground. The
Philadelphian’s head hit the canvas hard, and he looked
wobbly when he got to his feet. However, after a brief rest,
Folly returned to the fight looking to finish his foe. He
dominated the rest of the action. In the middle of the
attack, Nevarez began to shake his right hand, as if
something was bothering him. He shook it repeatedly until
the bell ended the round, leaving everyone wondering if he
had hurt his hand. Sure enough, between rounds the Puerto
Rican claimed he could not continue due to an injured right
hand. The fight was awarded to Folly at 3:00 of the first.
In a wild, free-swinging light heavyweight 4-rounder,
Philly's Amir Shabazz, 4-0, 1 KO, topped Tahlik Taylor, 1-4,
of Long Island in the entertaining opening bout. Shabazz
dropped Taylor with a right in round one, but Tahlik stayed
in the fight with his own power shots. The fighters traded
throughout the bout. Taylor had his best round in the third,
but his output appeared to drain his gas tank. In the final
round, both were tired, but still the punches kept flying.
In the end, all official scores favored Shabazz, 39-36.
The 2300 Arena was
quite crowded, if not completely sold out, on this rainy
Friday night. The start of the show was delayed for more
than an hour while we waited for the EMT to arrive. However,
once the card got going, it was a good night of Philly
boxing. The show was promoted by Marshall Kauffman’s Kings