sensation Jaron Ennis scored an overwhelming TKO against
fellow-Philadelphian Raymond Serrano, in their scheduled
10-round main event, before a packed house at the 2300 Arena
Friday night in South Philly. Ennis came out strong,
winning the first round before closing the show with three
knockdowns in round two. The winner was a huge favorite
entering the fight, and left the ring with another
spectacular victory which sent the local crowd home, buzzing
about his world title prospects. Additional good news for
Ennis was that a national television audience was also
watching live on Showtime’s SHOBOX series. The impressive
win sent a message to boxing fans outside of Philadelphia
that a new star is on the rise.
Ennis came out in round one and immediately went to work.
He speared Serrano with several sharp jabs and rattled him
with a chopping right hand. After a volley of body shots,
the switch-hitting Ennis turned lefty and landed freely. He
switched his stance back and forth a few times, but by the
mid-point of the round, settled in as a southpaw. Jaron
coolly fired away at Serrano, who tried to get things going,
but mostly followed Ennis around the ring on already shaky
The second round was a massacre. Just 30 seconds into the
round, Ennis, still in the southpaw stance, cracked Serrano
with a right hook that sent him tumbling backward and down
to the mat. Gutsy Serrano got right up, but looked dazed.
For my tastes, the fight could have ended right then and
there. But Serrano got up quickly and referee Gary Rosato
let the bout continue.
right-handed and zoomed back in. He nailed Serrano with a
rocket overhand right and Raymond looked knocked out before
he even hit the canvas. I thought for sure the fight would
be stopped at this point, but Serrano got up again and
wanted to continue. I wish he hadn’t wanted that.
Ennis, suddenly southpaw again, swept in to resume his
deadly mission, and moments later caught Serrano with
another right hand that was mostly a hook, but had a dash of
uppercut to it. The vicious bullet caught Serrano on the
chin, and the beaten fighter fell face-forward to the
canvas. Gary Rosato stopped the fight immediately. The
time was 1:12 of round two.
The victory, although not unexpected for Ennis, was so
convincing, so sudden, and so violent, that it even exceeded
the already high expectations set for Jaron for the fight.
Ennis improved to 22-0, 20 KOs, and looked very ready to
step up to the next level. He can no longer feed on
ordinary competition. His assignments have become too
Serrano, 24-6, 10 KOs, 1 NC, came into this crossroads fight
hoping to reboot his career. He didn’t need this tough of a
match, but took it willingly, knowing that success would
turn things around for him. His mentality as a true
Philly fighter has never been questioned. He is a popular and good
fighter, but this defeat had the feel of a career-ender.
Raymond was brave and well prepared, but he had nothing to
offer against the gifted Ennis.
TEAH UPSETS SIMS
In an 8-round junior welterweight fight, Philly’s Samuel
Teah, 15-2-1, 7 KOs, scored an upset points win over Kenneth
Sims Jr., 13-2-1, 4 KOs, in the nationally televised
semi-windup bout. For Teah, it was a career-best
performance, and with everyone watching on TV, the surge
could not have come at a better time.
The opening round was close, but Teah got into a groove
midway through and took the round on my card. In the
second, Teah hurt Sims twice with very good right hands, one
overhand right and one uppercut. Sims bounced back in the
third, but Teah regained control in the fourth.
The second half of the fight was extremely competitive, but
Teah swept the final four rounds from my perspective. Teah
scored with numerous power shots – both lefts and rights –
and at least edged Sims by the end of each round. The
seventh was the closest during the final stretch, but I
still gave it to Teah.
One of the official judges, John Poturaj, agreed with my
score of 79-73. Steve Weisfeld and David Braslow saw the
fight a bit closer, but still had Teah the winner, 77-75.
The result was a terrific win for Teah, and is a local
“Upset of the Year” candidate.
KHEGAI DEFEATS DIAZ
In the first TV bout, junior featherweight Arnold Khegai, of
Odessa, Ukraine, 14-0-1, 9 KOs, beat Jorge Diaz of New
Brunswick, NJ, 19-6-1, 10 KOs, by 8-round unanimous
decision. Khegai, an exciting fighter who now calls
Philadelphia home, displayed good punching power in the
His left hooks and right uppercuts stunned Diaz often, but
Khegai only managed to drop Diaz once, in round six with a
left hook / right uppercut combo. Diaz survived, but
repeatedly stayed out of trouble by “slipping” to the canvas
several times during the bout.
Besides the knockdown, Diaz hit the deck eight additional
times which were all ruled non-knockdowns by referee Gary
Rosato. To be fair, Khegai pushed down Diaz on a couple of
those trips, but to be sure, Diaz made the tactic part of
his survival technique.
After the eight rounds were completed, Khegai took the
decision on all three official cards. Steve Weisfeld and
John Poturaj both saw the fight 77-74, while Dewey LaRosa
had the fight much wider, at 79-72. I went even further,
calling the fight an 80-71 victory for Khegai.
There were six bouts on the non-televised portion of the
PIZARRO IMPRESSIVE AGAINST RODRIGUEZ
Just before the cameras began to roll, North Philly teenage
junior welterweight Branden Pizarro, 13-1, 6 KOs, won a
6-round unanimous decision over Trenton southpaw Jerome
Rodriguez, 7-11-3, 2 KOs. Going in, this fight had the
aroma of a good challenge for the rising youngster, and it
was exactly that. Still, Pizarro won impressively.
Branden had to deal with an experienced pro who is much
better than his tattered record suggests. Rodriguez put
Pizarro through the paces, banging up his left eye in the
first round and never falling prey to Pizarro’s youthful
For Pizarro, this was a grittier than usual win, and the
type of fight that will help him develop his skills.
Pizarro had a few issues with Jerome’s southpaw style, but
he rose to the occasion and looked good doing it. This
assignment was something that Branden isn’t always given – a
The 19 year old has been given the star treatment since even
before he turned pro, and with it, many easy matches have
come his way. But on this night he had to fight hard to
win, and he showed that he is quite capable in the ring.
That wasn’t a surprise, but it was good for us fans to get
Pizarro won by easy official scores of 60-54 (Dewey LaRosa)
and 59-55 (David Braslow and John Poturaj). My score was a
stricter 58-56, but I was impressed by Pizarro more than
ROSA WINS BY
Florida-based Puerto Rican Gadwin Rosa, 9-0, 7 KOs, won a
6-round unanimous decision over experienced Mexican
journeyman German Meraz, 61-51, 2, 38 KOs. Rosa won the
junior lightweight bout by wide scores of 60-54 (Braslow)
and 59-55 twice (LaRosa and Weisfeld). My score mirrored
ORTIZ KAYOS HOOKS
Gledwin Ortiz, 6-2, 5 KOs, Bronx, scored a one punch
knockout over Kieran Hooks of SW Philly, 3-2-1, 1 KO, in the
first round of their scheduled 4-round junior middleweight
Ortiz slammed Hooks with a perfect right hand that
put the Philadelphian flat on his back. Referee Benjy
Esteves took one quick look, and stopped the fight without a
count. The punch and abrupt end was a shocker. The time
was 2:27 of round one.
In another scheduled 4-rounder, lightweight Christian Tapia,
Coamo, PR, 7-0, 6 KOs, stopped Cleveland’s Darnell Pettis,
3-13, at the end of round three. Tapia was definitely in
control and had begun to widen his lead, but Pettis did not
seem on the brink of being stopped. However, he failed to
come out for the final round. Referee Gary Rosato stopped
the fight in the corner before the fourth, upon the doctor’s
recommendation. The time was 3:00 of the third.
In a scheduled 4-round light heavyweight fight, Philly’s
Benny Sinakin, 2-0, 1 KO, made quick work of Darren Ferndale
of Michigan, 1-6, 1 KO. Sinakin scored one knockdown before
finishing his opponent after 2:23. “The Jewish Bulldog” was
wild in his second pro fight, but was extremely fun to
watch. The referee was Benjy Esteves Jr.
In the show opener, Reading, PA cruiserweight David Stevens,
1-0, 1 KO, made a successful pro debut, stopping Judd Brown,
0-1-1, Reading, in round one of their scheduled 4-rounder.
Stevens dropped Brown once with a left hook and stopped him
moments later at 2:56 on the first. The referee was Gary
The show was a good night of boxing, and came after an
exciting build up. Tickets were sold out more than a week
in advance, and everyone seemed to be talking about the
event during the final days before fight night.
As stated before,
the house was packed. Although the enormous Showtime camera
boom, prevented the staging of a large section of would-be
seats, the promoters loaded the building with standing room
only spectators to augment the scaled down seating chart.
The result was a huge crowd of both sitting and standing
fight fans, everywhere you looked. The attendance had to be
The successful show
was co-promoted by Hard Hitting Promotions, Victory Boxing
Promotions and Showtime.