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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Kalvin Henderson returned to Philly on Friday night and for the second time in a row registered an impressive TKO victory. Last December, he derailed Upper Darby’s Brandon Robinson in the “2018 Philly Fight of the Year”. This time, the Arkansas-based super middleweight dominated and stopped Antowyan Aikens of Mays Landing in three assertive rounds.

Aikens began the first round well, lashing Henderson with his long jab. However after about one minute, Kalvin snapped Aikens with a good right hand, and never looked back. In the second round, Henderson put Akiens on the floor with a blunt jab. Aikens got up but a Henderson left hook sent him down again.

With plenty of time on the clock, Henderson continued working his wounded foe, and before the bell closed the round, he dropped Aikens with another left. Antowyan stood up for the third time and referee Benjy Esteves allowed the fight to continue. Henderson resumed, but time ran out before he could finish off Aikens.

Henderson marched out in the third and dropped twice more. The next knockdown came from a left and the then a powerful right dropped Aiken for the fifth time. After this trip, Esteves halted the fight at 2:14 of round three of the scheduled eight-rounder.

The one-sided victory extended Henderson’s undefeated streak to 12-0 with 8 KOs. His performance inspired the matchmaker in all of us, and brought to mind a number of potentially exciting pairing with local 168-pounders. Given that Henderson is signed with Marshall Kauffman, we can expect to see those possible opponents lined up one by one. Aikens lost his third in a row and went home 13-7-1, 1 KO.


In the co-feature bout, super middleweight Brandon Robinson continued his comeback after falling to Henderson five months ago. However, unlike his initial return bout in March, which ended with a quick first round KO, Brandon had his hands full on Friday night.

Robinson’s opponent was the lively and unpredictable DeVaun Lee of Queens, NY. Robinson opened the bout well, winning the majority of the three minutes. However as the round neared its end, Lee landed a stiff right hand that put Brandon on the mat and turned the fight on a dime. This characterized the fight perfectly.

Every time you thought Robinson was establishing control in the bout, Lee would explode with his wide and showy shots. It was clear that Brandon could never get comfortable.

By round three, Lee started landing consistently. The third was probably the best round of the fight and featured a lot of two-way action. However, it was Lee who began to put together rounds and pull into the lead.

As if his orthodox stance wasn’t effective enough, Lee started switching to lefty in the fourth. Generally he did better as right-hander, but after five rounds, I had him up four to one. However, with his back against the wall, Robinson dug deep down the stretch and after a good sixth, seventh, and eighth, pulled the score even on my card.

The official judges saw the fight a little differently. John Gradowski favored Lee 76-75, but he was overruled by David Braslow (77-75) and Dewey Larosa (77-74). Robinson, 13-2, 9 KOs, escaped with the win, but this was no easy stepping stone back to a rematch with Henderson. In fact, after this performance, that rematch suddenly looks like a bad idea. Lee dropped to 10-6-1, 5 KOs. Let’s hope we see him again here in Philly.


Las Vegas featherweight Raeese Akeem, 14-0, 8 KOs, looked deadly in his scheduled eight-rounder. Aleem jumped right out and knocked down Ramiro Robles of Mexico, 15-9-2, 9 KOs, three times in the opening round, en route to scoring a quick TKO. Referee Benjy Esteves waved the fight to an end at the 1:51 mark. Robles has been in with a number of good fighters including Jo Diaz, Diego De La Hoya, and Mark Magsayo, but Robles extended each of them to the limit. That Aleem won so easily, was impressive.


Junior lightweight Alycia Baumgardner, Fremont, OH, 7-1, 5 KOs, stopped Gabriella Mezei of Romania, 9-18-5, 3 KOs, in the first round of their scheduled six-rounder. Baumgardner put the Romanian down with a right to the body. Mezei got up but another hard right to the midsection froze her in her tracks and referee Chris Riskus stopped the fight. The time was 1:08 of the first round. This one felt like a bad match, with Mezei little more than a doe in the headlights.


Paul “The Punisher” Kroll, 3-0, 3 KOs, lived up to his nickname, battering the usually durable Vincent Floyd, 4-7-1, 2 KOs, with an assault in the opening round that prompted referee Benjy Esteves to halt the bout after just 2:27. Kroll landed a variety of power shots that hurt Floyd more than once. Finally Kroll pinned the southpaw on the ropes and fired away until the scheduled six-round welterweight bout was stopped by the referee. Floyd had never been stopped before, and although he protested the decision to end the fight, he offered nothing in return as Kroll ran him over.


Philly middleweight crowd-pleaser Ryan Umberger, 2-0, 2 KOs, came out swinging against Londoner Daryl Fenton, 1-5-1, and scored a first round TKO. Fenton landed a couple of good shots – especially one right uppercut – but southpaw Umberger suddenly dropped Fenton with a left. Fenton gamely leapt to his feet, but Umberger met him with a right-left combination that floored the Brit again. After the second knockdown, referee Chris Riskus stopped the fight at 1:34.


West Philly junior lightweight Antonio DuBose, 11-2-1, 2 KOs, defeated Wilmington’s Weusi Johnson, 3-12-1, by six-round majority decision. Johnson is the perfect measuring stick for rising fighters. If you’re not on your game, he is more than capable of scoring an upset. Dubose avoided such a setback, but he didn’t have an easy time doing it.

Johnson’s lanky jab was effective, but Dubose kept grinding and outworked the spoiler. He did tire however late in the fight which allowed Johnson to close the gap some. Judge David Braslow scored the fight a 57-57 draw. Dewey Larosa had it 59-55 for Dubose, and John Gradowski agreed that Dubose had won, but scored it a bit closer, 58-56. My score was 58-56 for Dubose, or 4-2 in rounds.


In the opening bout, Mexican junior middleweight Hector Mercado, 3-10, outworked Philly’s LaQuan Evans, 1-1, over four rounds and took the majority decision by scores of 40-36 (David Braslow), 39-37 (Dewey Larosa) and 38-38 (Rob Rubnitz).

The show was promoted by Kings Promotions and streamed live by the fledgling broadcast outfit The crowd was approximately 1,000 strong.




John DiSanto - South Philly - May 10, 2019