PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 10, 2020  
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Story by Ken Hissner
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Unbeaten, can’t miss, Philly welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 25-0, 23 KOs, 145.75 pounds, ranked No. 13 WBO & No. 15 IBF stopped Bakhtiyar Eyubov, 14-2-1, 12 KOs, 146.25 pounds, KAZ, out of Houston, TX, at 0:34 of the fourth round of a scheduled  ten.

In the first round it was all Ennis, 145.75 pounds. He dropped Eyubov twice with shots to the body and head. Eyubov was so busted up, he was fortunate to get through the round.

In the second round, the rugged Eyubov came out throwing bombs, but they rarely hit their target. He had guts but couldn't match the skills of Ennis, who beat up his body.

In the third round, Eyubov used his head as a third glove, but Ennis continued to attack his body throughout. Ennis rocked Eyubov several times right up to the bell. In the fourth, Ennis came out and primarily went for the head. He cut Eyubov on top of the head, but the out-gunned fighter kept trying.

As Ennis' beat-down persisted, referee Earl Brown had seen enough  - after Commissioner Larry Hazzard advised him to end the fight. Brown waived the end to the bout. The time was 34 seconds into the fourth round.

Ennis is the best fighter out of Philadelphia since 1984 Olympian Meldrick Taylor and appears to be a future champion. They can keep the judges at home.

"He came to fight," Ennis said afterward. "He was a good fighter but not so strong. I set him up in the first round with left uppercuts. I had to calm down in the first round due to being a little hyped. I thought everything was cool. I've been ready for the top guys from the start."   

After disposing of his toughest opponent to date, the question no longer is "Who is Ennis ready for?". Instead, it's time to start asking "Who is ready for Ennis?" Boots gets turned down by half a dozen opponents every fight.

In the Main Event, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Champion Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, of Flint, MI, 10-0, 2 KOs, shut out former IBO world female middleweight champion Ivana Habazin, of Zagreb, Croatia, 20-4, 7 KOs, over ten rounds, to win the vacant WBC & WBO world female super welterweight titles. It was Shields' third division title by going down in weight, unlike any others who did it going up in weight. Her new belts added to her Large collection, which also include the WBC & IBF world female super middleweight straps and the WBC, IBF & WBA world female middleweight championships. Shields won her three division titles faster than any other fighter - male or female - just ten fights.

With the crowd completely behind her, Shields, 153.5 pounds, toyed with Habazin, 152.5 pounds in the first round. In the second, Shields came out doing her thing until the end of the round when Habazin swung her into the ropes at the bell, prompting Shields to stare her down.

In the third round Shields continued using an effective jab that had Habazin on the defense. She stood in a corner looking down at the canvas and suddenly landed several jabs without looking up!

In the fourth, Habazin grabbed and walked Shields to the ropes, only to take some chopping shots from Shields. In the fifth round, Habazin continued landing behind the head and Shields retaliated giving her a body and head beating. Habazin repeatedly walked into the power of Shields. At the close of the round, Shields looked into the crowd from her corner and landed a combination to he head of Habazin as she came in.

In the sixth round, Shields started showboating a bit shaking her head as if to tell Habazin "you got nothing!" Shields went on the attack with a body shot, and dropped her with a shot downstairs. Referee Sparkle Lee gave Habazin an eight-count.

In the seventh round, trainer John David Jackson sent Shields out for the finish. Habazin forced Shields against the ropes and landed several legal punches without return.  

In the eighth round Shields continued to "play to the crowd", throwing punches with "bad intentions!" Shields hurt Habazin, forcing her to hold. This brought Habazin a warning from referee Lee. At the end of the round, Habazin walked back to her corner a beaten fighter.

To her credit, Habazin came out for the ninth and made a fight of it. She stood her ground and gave as much as she took. She even went southpaw at one point. However, Shields would have none of it, and threw punch after punch to the body. Shields landed a right to Habazin's left shoulder that could be heard throughout the arena. Give Habazin credit for her effort in this round.

In the tenth and final round, Habazin came out bulling Shields to the ropes trying to do the only thing she could. But Shields laid into her without letting up. Habazin fired back, and they were both throwing punches at the bell. 

Judge Debra Barnes scored the fight 100-91; Lynne Carter had it 99-89, and Robin Taylor saw the fight 100-89. This writer also scored it 100-89.

"I heard Andre Ward say 'take it to the body'," said Shields as she wore a championship crown atop her head, to the delight of the fans.

In a unification bout, WBA world female super middleweight champion Alicia “The Empress” Napoleon-Espinosa, 12-2, 7 KOs, Lindenhurst, NY, lost a highly disputed decision to IBF world female super middleweight champion Elin Cederroos, 8-0, 4 KOs, Vasteraas, Sweden, over ten, two-minute rounds.

Napolean-Espinosa, 164 pounds, won the opening round over the taller Cederroos, 166.5 pounds, but it was a round where both fighters let it all out. Napolean-Espinosa, rocked Cederroos on several occasions to secure the round.

Cederroos landed a right to he the chin of Napolean-Espinosa that knocked her into the ropes in the second. The referee Benjy Esteves Jr. ruled it a knockdown. The incident ruin the round for Napolean-Espinosa, who was leading up to that point.

Napolean-Espinosa recovered well in the third, and took over with left hooks. In the fourth round, Cederroos came out throwing rights and hurt Napolean-Espinosa with one on the chin. Napolean-Espinosa immediately reacted and went on the attack. In the final ten seconds Espinosa hurt Cederroos with a variety of punches that had her holding on at the bell.

The fifth round was close. Cederroos used an effective jab with occasional rights on the chin. Napolean-Espinosa was able to slip most of the rights and countered well enough to maintain an edge. In the sixth, Napolean-Espinosa slipped jabs from Cederroos and countered with left hooks to the chin.

The ninth round was close as Napolean-Espinosa moved more and countered while Cederroos kept looking to land her right, but failed on most occasions. In the tenth and final round, both fighters were left bleeding, Cederroos had a bloody nose and Napolean-Espinosa a cut over the right eye. The fans went nuts! What a round with Cederroos having an edge, though it could have gone either way.  

Official judges Mark Consentino, Lawrence Layton and John McKaie all scored the fight 95-94 for Cederroos, while this writer saw it 97-92 for Napolean-Espinosa. A rematch is a must!

“First I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for without him I am nothing", said Napolean-Espinosa. "I thought I won the fight, but there must have been a reason for it not to be." 

Napolean-Espinosa has all the tools and is a true champion! 

Russian heavyweight Apti Davtaev, 19-0-1, 18 KOs, 255.4 pounds, stopped West Virginia's Keith Barr, 20-13-1, 8 KOs, 207.6 pounds, at 0:38 of the third round of a scheduled six rounder.

The fight opened with Davtaev using his height and reach while southpaw Barr used his hand speed. In the second round, Davtaev landed a pair of rights on the chin and down went Barr. He managed to beat the count and survived the round.

In the third, a vicious right from Davtaev blasted Barr on the chin and he went down again. As he got up, Barr stumbled toward the ropes and referee Ricky Gonzalez wisely waved off the fight.

Detroit-based Romanian welterweight Joseph Bonas, 7-0, 6 KOs, 152 pounds, stopped Steubenville, OH's Glenn Mitchell, 3-5, 3 KOs, 149.4 pounds, at 1:55 of the second round in a scheduled four round bout.

Bonas was the aggressor in round one, while the taller Mitchell showed a good jab and landed a solid right to the chin halfway thru the round. Bonas ended the round with a right on the chin. In the second round, a Bonas right to the body followed by several left hooks on the chin had Mitchell out on his feet as referee Ricky Gonzalez wisely stopped the fight.

The brother of Joseph Bonas, welterweight Jacob Bonas, 5-0-1, 2 KOs, 146.6 pounds, defeated Christian Rivera, of Highwood, IL, 1-1-1, 146.2 pounds, over  four rounds.

Bonas controlled the first two minutes until a right from Rivera wobbled him. Bonas immediately grabbed Rivera. He managed to clear his head to get through the round. In the second round, Bonas controlled the action with good left hooks, but at one point, both fighters landed left hooks to the chin at the same time.

Bonas dominated the third, except for a right on the chin from Rivera halfway thru the round. Bonas again used a left hook and an occasional lead right to take the round. In the fourth and final round, Bonas continued to control with left hooks as Rivera seemed to weaken from the previous round. All scores were 39-37, including mine.   

The show was promoted by Dmitriy Salita's Salita Promotions, and televised by Showtime. 




Ken Hissner - Atlantic City - January 10, 2020