PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 02, 2016 
Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact


Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


In the main event Friday night at South Philly’s 2300 Arena, junior lightweight contender Tevin Farmer, 24-4-1, 5 KOs, scored an effortless 10-round unanimous decision over Dardan Zenunaj, 12-3, 9 KOs, to defend his NABF 130-pound title and kept his career streaking toward a world title fight. 

Despite Zenunaj’s toughness and respectable record, Farmer’s task appeared so easy that the “American Idol” eventually introduced his own level of difficulty tests during the ten round chore – letting his opponent flail away at him on the ropes and ducking, dodging and punching his way out of trouble. 

Farmer won the first couple of rounds in a breeze and began opening up late in the second.  He continued to throw hard leather in the third, but when it appeared that he wasn’t hurting Zenunaj, Farmer settled for piling up points and banking round after round. 

To add a little drama, Farmer repeatedly went to the ropes and slipped his opponent’s crude attack.  There, trapped with the ropes to his back, Farmer swayed and ducked like a hyper-active Wilfred Benitez.  It was a nice display of skills, but really not necessary. Zenunaj hadn't placed Tevin in jeopardy, it was just a bored Farmer putting on a show. 

It might have been more constructive for Tevin to stick to his often potent body attack, which if pressed over the course of the fight, may have worn Dardan down enough to secure the stoppage.  However, Farmer is about entertaining fans and doing things his way. 

“His way” is to win the majority of the rounds, exercise his confidence muscle, and keep his impressive winning streak alive.  Farmer did all three.  His formula has been working for him and is one that has put him on course for a world title fight. So it’s a formula that is hard to argue with.  In fact, Farmer won all ten rounds on my card, and did nearly as well with the official judges. 

Dewey LaRosa scored the fight 98-92, while Julie Lederman and David Braslow both had it 99-91.  It was a dominant and clear cut victory for Farmer, whose winning streak now stretches 17 bouts and more than four years. 

Coming into the bout, Farmer was ranked #3 by the WBC, #7 by the IBF and #10 by the WBO.  So 2017 should be his year, with big fights, maximum exposure and the opportunity of a lifetime waiting for him.  Farmer looks ready and is clearly hungry to prove he can compete with the big names of the division.  Everyone that is, except his buddy and stablemate, WBA champ Jason Sosa.  But to the rest of the 130-pound division, watch out!    

In the co-feature bout, South Philly cruiserweight Garrett Wilson, 17-11-1, 9 KOs, beat Lamont Capers, 7-9-2, of Hawley, PA, by majority decision over six rounds. The fight started quietly and never really reached a fever pitch.  However, Wilson won the bout by trying to induce mayhem on his younger, taller and longer opponent. 

Wilson thrives when the action in the ring gets reckless, and the “Ultimate Warrior” did his best to make the fight a crazy, free-swinging affair.  However, Garrett’s timing was off and his fearsome punches missed more than they landed on this night.  On the other side, Capers stayed as far away as possible from Wilson’s aggressive bull-rushes and opted to never get brave. 

The result was like watching a frustrated bull, perhaps ready for the stud era of his career, against a timid matador, mulling other career options.  Capers’ jab won him a couple of rounds, but Wilson pressed the action and landed all the significant blows during his bursts of activity.    

After six rounds, Wilson took a close decision on two of the three judges’ cards.  Adam Friscia and Dewey LaRosa scored the fight 58-56 for Wilson, while David Braslow had the bout a 57-57 draw.  My score was also 58-56 for Wilson. 

Allentown, PA junior lightweight Joseph Adorno, 1-0, 1 KO, made an impressive and brief professional debut against Guy Newman, 0-2, of Lynchburg, VA.  Adorno dropped Newman twice in the opening round and referee Shawn Clark halted the bout to save Newman from further abuse.  Both knockdowns by Adorno came from picture-perfect left hook to the body and left hook to the head combos.  It was a beautiful drubbing.  The end came at 1:37 of the first round. 

In a scheduled 4-round junior middleweight bout, North Philadelphian Marcel Rivers, 1-0, 1 KO, made a dramatic pro debut against fellow first-timer Tony Kim, 0-1, of Fresh Meadows, NY.  Early on, Rivers staggered Kim with a pair of right hands and then dropped him with a combo moments later.  Kim got up but Rivers was waiting with more.  Marcel slammed Kim with a left hook and referee Hurley McCall stepped in to stop the fight after just 41 seconds had elapsed.  After the stoppage, Rivers’ trainer Fred Jenkins proudly paraded his fighter around the ring with his hand raised.  For Philly fight fans, it was a memorable first encounter with Rivers. 

In another junior middleweight 4-rounder, Roque Zapata, 2-1-3, Culpeper, VA, upset previously undefeated Isaiah Wise, 3-1, 2 KOs, of North Philly.  Wise started well, but before the first round was over, Zapata had taken control with his heavier punches and aggressive attack. 

The two fighters brawled back and forth for the remainder of the entertaining fight, but Zapata landed more and couldn’t seem to miss when he threw at Wise’s handsome face.  Even when Wise was landed, Zapata repeatedly took the shots and fired even better ones back. 

The pattern and action continued until the final bell, and when it was over Zapata had sculpted an upset victory.  One judge, Julie Lederman, had the fight even, 38-38, a testament to the two-way display the fighters had put on.  However, Dewey LaRosa and David Braslow overruled with their tallies for Zapata, 40-36 and 39-37, respectively.  I scored the fight 40-36 for Zapata, but it felt closer than that total indicates.  I’m sure that a rematch would be welcomed by all. 

Southpaw Victor Padilla, 1-0, 1 KO, Vieques, PR, outgunned Canadian Kimmy St. Pierre, 1-3, 1 KO, to make a successful professional debut.  Padilla won the opening round against St. Pierre, who with his handlebar mustache and close-cropped haircut, looked like a fighter from an era long past. 

Padilla jumped right into the action and made his case that he is a rookie to watch. He dominated the action in the first and was cruising in the second before one of his blows strayed low.  Referee Benji Esteves gave St. Pierre a moment to recover. This was the closest that the Canadian came to winning the fight.  However, when (correctly) no DQ was called, St. Pierre trudged back into the action to accept his fate. 

Padilla met him and stormed on to win his pro debut in style.  Victor ripped a vicious right hook to Kimmy's head and St. Pierre went down.  He climbed to one knee and took the referee’s full count of ten.  The time was 59 seconds of the second round. 

Brooklyn heavyweight Iegor Plevako, 4-2, 1 KO, dropped North Philly’s Montrell Castro, 0-1, in round one and finished him off at 31 seconds of the second round, in a scheduled 4-rounder.  Castro was the bigger fighter and was pressing the action in the opening round until a right hand by Plevako turned the fight around in an instant. 

The punch hurt Castro badly and he struggled to survive.  However, Plevako’s punches kept coming Montrell’s way.  A flurry knocked Castro into the ropes and referee Shawn Clark called it a knockdown, since the ropes were the only thing that kept him on his feet. 

The fight continued, but another flurry backed Castro up and he stumbled to the canvas.  Clark didn’t bother to signal whether or not it was a knockdown.  He just ended the fight, not a moment too soon.  The time was 31 seconds of the second. 

Harlem southpaw, Jose Gonzalez, 6-0-1, 2 KOs, won a 4-round unanimous decision over Tim Ibarra, 4-4, 1 KO, of Denver, to open the 8-bout show. Gonzalez won every round on my card and took the official verdict by similar scores.  David Braslow had it the closest at 39-37, while Julie Lederman and Adam Friscia scores the fight a 40-36 shutout for Gonzalez.     

The show was promoted by Peltz Boxing (their last for 2016), DiBella Entertainment, BAM Boxing and Joe Hand Promotions and drew a crowd of 1,271 fans. 




John DiSanto - South Philly - December 02, 2016