PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - February 08, 2019  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


The 2019 Philly fight season opens Friday night with a jammed packed South Philly show headlined by popular bantamweight prospect Christian Carto.  Arguably the most popular boxer in the City, Carto, 17-0, 11 KOs, takes on experienced Mexican lefty Victor Ruiz, 22-10, 15 KOs, in the 8-round main event.  An additional seven bouts rounds out the card. 

The show is the first of the year, and kicks off a busy first quarter of Philadelphia boxing, already stacked with eight shows scheduled in the Philadelphia area through March.  The bulging boxing season contains a number of exciting matches, and also promises a series of firsts for local fight fans. 

Tonight’s show is the local debut of promoter Michelle Rosado’s Raging Babe Promotions.  Rosado is a Philly native, but has been promoting in Arizona and North Carolina.  Her first hometown show has a strong lineup and has been all but completely sold out – and has been for weeks.  A few scattered tickets might be available at the door for a few lucky latecomers, but even a lot of 200 standing room tickets have already been sold as well. 

Carto always packs the house, but the strength of the card overall, and the hustle of the promoter, have equally contributed to the success of 2019’s first event.  Also fighting tonight is undefeated heavyweight prospect Darmani Rock, 13-0, 8 KOs, (in a 6-rounder against Steve Lyons of Louisiana). 

In addition, fearsome welterweight puncher Marcel Rivers, 6-0, 4 KOs, fights a scheduled 4-rounder against southpaw Derrick Whitley, 4-0-1, of Springfield, MA.  South Philly heavyweight amateur standout Sonny Conto makes his professional debut against Buffalo sacrificial lamb Jimmie Levins, 0-4, in one of the most anticipated rookie starts in some time. 

After tonight’s show, next up for Philly fans is a Hard Hitting Promotions (Manny Rivera & Will Ruiz) card at the Met on North Broad Street.  It will be the first boxing date at the ancient-but-beautifully-restored former opera house in 64 years.  That show, on February 23rd, features a spectacular meeting between two of Philly’s brightest lightweight prospects, Jeremy Cuevas, 11-0, 8 KOs, and Steven Ortiz, 9-0, 3 KOs.  Samuel Teah, Branden Pizarro, Benny Sinakin, and other hot local boxers are also scheduled to appear on this historic show. 

Another first for the Philly fans, will be Tevin Farmer’s first fight in his hometown since winning the IBF world junior lightweight championship last August.  Farmer, 28-4-1, 6 KOs, makes his third title defense against Dublin’s Jono Carroll, 16-0-1, 3 KOs, at the Liacouras Center, on March 15th.  The show is promoted by Matchroom Boxing (Eddie Hearn).  Farmer, the 2018 Philly Fighter of the Year, has been on a spectacular and busy run, fighting four title bouts in the last seven months.  The title bout headlines the show, but this too is a deep slate of fights. 

Lightweights Hank Lundy, 29-7-1, 14 KOs, and Avery Sparrow, 9-1, 3 KOs, will meet in a fantastic 10-round match up, on the Farmer undercard.  The fireworks between the two Philly lightweights started at the press conference to announce the fight, and figure carry on right up to fight night.  Gabriel Rosado, 24-11-1, 14 KOs, returns home on the same card, in a tough 10-rounder against Polish middleweight Maciej Sulecki, 27-1, 11 KOs.  The show also features world female lightweight champ Katie Taylor defending her belts against Rose Volante.  Three additional bouts round out the card. 

Before the Tevin Farmer fight on the 15th, the month of March begins with two shows on the same night, March 1st. 

First, Marshall Kauffman's Kings Promotions brings a 9-fight show to South Philly’s 2300 Arena, with Tyrone Brunson versus Jamaal Davis as the feature bout, a 10-round battle for Brunson’s PA state junior middleweight title.  The show also features Antonio DuBose, Rasheen Brown, James Martin, and Tyrone Crawley Jr. vs. Victor Vasquez. 

On the same night, Joe Hand Promotions returns to the Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, for their third event at the venue.  The main event pits popular and dangerous Philly cruiserweight Garrett Wilson, 18-15-1, 9 KOs, against Brian Howard, 13-2, 10 KOs, of Georgia. 

At the end of the month, Kings Promotions comes to the Sugar House Casino on March 29th.  The next day, March 30, Top Rank stages a light heavyweight world title fight between champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk and challenger Doudou Ngumbu.  Philly’s Ray Robinson is also scheduled to fight on the card.  On the same night, Dee Lee Promotions returns to the PAL Center in Hockessin, DE. 

More details on all of these shows will follow as they approach.  However, first things first, and that is Christian Carto tonight in South Philly.  Let the Philly boxing season begin!




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - February 08, 2019