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Story & photos by John DiSanto


Philadelphia’s summer boxing season kicks off Friday night in South Philly at the 2300 Arena with an interesting main event between Atlantic City’s DeCarlo Perez and Californian Dashon Johnson. The 10-round above-the-limit middleweight contest pairs two boxers familiar to local fight fans.

Super middleweight Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster, 19-1, 10 KOs, Glassboro, NJ, returns to the ring Saturday night in a scheduled six rounder against Maryland journeyman Lenwood Dozier, 9-10-2, 4 KOs. The fight is the main event at the Grundy Arena in Bristol, PA, and will be Webster’s first appearance since suffering his first pro loss nearly one year ago.

“You know, I thought that a loss would make people want to fight me, but it didn’t do me any justice,” Webster said. “I still had people pulling out on me. So, I wish it (his return) would have been in a little bit earlier.” 

Last July, Webster dropped a ten round decision to Arif Magomedov in a Showtime-televised fight for the vacant NABO middleweight title. It was a tough night for the then-undefeated fighter, but he seems to have put the incident in perspective and moved on from it.

“If it was a punishable loss, I guess it would have bothered me a little more,” Webster said about the setback. “But it wasn’t the opponent that I lost to. It was more so the weight loss.” 

Webster had been fighting at the 168-pound limit for years, but took the fight, even thought it was at middleweight.

“Losing that amount of weight in two weeks is a lot on anybody,” Webster said. “I was definitely drained. If I let off a nice combination, that was all I had. The thing that kept me alive was my legs. We worked up our legs for the fight to keep my base strong, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Losing was a new feeling for Webster.

“It was maybe like the third of fourth round that I told my trainer, ‘This is a fight that I’m not going to win’. The guy was the most basic thing I ever seen in my life. It’s a part of boxing. I accepted it. I applauded him. He was the healthier guy that night, not the better guy. He was the healthier guy. That was a learning lesson for me. I learned my lesson the hard way.” 

On Wednesday, Webster took part in an open media workout, outdoors in the parking lot of Saturday night’s fight venue. The Grundy Arena is an ice hockey rink in the historic town of Bristol.

Also on hand at the workout, were undercard attractions Elijah Vines, 1-0, 1 KO, a junior middleweight from Northeast Philadelphia, Trenton cruiserweight Mike Hilton, 1-0, 1 KO, and a few amateur boxers who will also appear on the fight card.

The show is promoted by D and D Promotions, and is the kick-off of a new boxing series.

“This one, on June 4th will start the series,” Dave Price of D and D Promotions. Price is one of the D’s of D and D, and his business partner, Doc Nowicki is the other. Together, they manage prospects Jesse Hart, DeCarlo Perez and several boxers.

“Then we’re going to move right into August 6th, Price continued. “We’re going to do two times here (Grundy Arena) and we’re going to do two other promotions at another location.” 

On paper, Webster’s opponent, Lenwood Dozier, looks like little more than a tune up.

“He was a last minute stand in,” Webster said of Dozier. “I was actually preparing for someone who was 25-4 with 21 knockouts. I was looking forward to that fight. Then we were going after someone else that was like 17-2, and I was looking forward to that fight. I don’t take anything from the guy or anybody who has the guts to get inside that ring. They deserve the respect, but this is not (a level) that I should be fighting at. With 20 fights, I shouldn’t be fighting anybody of this caliber. If it was my choice, I would have fought any one of the better guys and had a nice fight.” 

Still, Webster took the fight and plans to make the best of it.

“When that bell rings, then it’s my job to go in there and just get it out of the way,” Webster said. “This guy has no business being in the ring with me at all. It’s going to be an exciting night. I’m promising a big knockout in the first or second round. I’ve been training too hard. The work is already done. So all I have to do is show up.”

However, Webster knows the danger of taking a foe lightly. He was almost surprised a few years back in Atlantic City by Sabou Ballogou. Although Ballogou’s record looked average, he proved to be a tough opponent, dropping Webster and nearly coming away with the upset.

“Everybody still talks about that fight to this day,” Webster said. “You get bored in there sometimes when you’re hitting anybody with everything you got, and you can land anything at will. So I kind of fell asleep in there and got careless. But that woke me up!”

Webster won his next six bouts before running into Magomedov eleven months ago.

A win on Saturday night should put Webster back on track for the bigger fight he desires.

“We’re supposed to be fighting on another Showtime card in July,” Webster said. “Then I’m going to take a break. I’m getting married in September. I’m going to take a break and just be a fiancée and be a great husband. I got to make my lady and honest lady. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. A great partner. It’s what I’ve always been missing. She’s my rib, everything that completes me. After the wedding is over, put me back in the ring.” 

Once the honeymoon ends, Webster hopes his chance at name opponent will finally come.

“Whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to fight,” Webster said. “I’ve been looking at guys such as Anthony Dirrell, and a guy over in Australia, Zac Dunn. I would definitely like that fight. Greg Cohen is still my promoter and that’s what he does best. So, we need to get back in the wining category, and we will, and then I’ll go ahead and let him work his magic from there. Now that Andre (Ward) went up (in weight), the division is pretty open.” 

In addition to boxing, Webster is also has a few other vocations, among them acting. He landed a part as a boxer in last year’s hit movie ‘Creed’.

“I’ve got my hands in a lot of different pots,” Webster said. “If boxing went away tomorrow, I’m still the bank. Career-wise, boxing is my first priority. Acting fell into my lap. ‘Creed’ was just something that fell in my lap. It wasn’t my only movie. I’m doing another movie now, ‘Bad Boxer’. We’re already in the process of filming that now. I’ve been doing the acting thing for a little minute now.” 


Saturday’s card is comprised of four professional and six amateur bouts.

Junior middleweight Elijah “Vicious” Vines makes his second pro start in a four rounder with Jordan Rosario, 0-4. “I’m very excited,” Vines said. I always expect to win, but I don’t ever underestimate an opponent. On June 4th you’re going to see a knockout.” 

Trenton cruiserweight Mike “The Beast” Hilton also makes his second step as a pro, facing Dave Valykeo, 4-7, in another four rounder. “I’m excited to be on this card,” Hilton said. “I’m definitely going to put on a good show. I’m going out and playing hard, and I’ll become 2-0, 2 knockouts.” 

The third undercard bout features good-looking Camden, NJ featherweight Vidal Rivera. Rivera has been impressive in his first three bouts, winning them all by knockout. He’ll face Brian Santos, 0-1.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - June 01, 2016