PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - February 29, 2020
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Daniel Cork


Philly lightweight Hank Lundy breezed through eight rounds of boxing against Argentine Ezequiel Fernandez to register his 31st career victory in the main event on Saturday night at the Pal Center in Hockessin, DE. The bout topped an eight-bout show promoted by Dee Lee Promotions. With the unanimous decision win, Lundy improved his pro slate to 31-8-1, 14 KOs and kept alive his dreams of landing another world title shot. After his hand was raised, Lundy also picked up an additional $500 in cash, which had been advertised as an additional bonus earmarked for the victor in this "old fashioned prize fight".

Throughout the fight, Lundy out-boxed his game opponent, who was definitely there to fight but seriously out matched by Hammerin' Hank's skills. Lundy jabbed and hustled round after round, building an insurmountable lead as the bout progressed. Lundy set the tone with a vicious right hand in round two that backed up Fernandez, but not for long. The visitor kept chugging forward, but he never found any answers for Lundy's consistent assault. Fernandez landed stray shots of his own, but Lundy never seemed bothered by anything incoming.

In round six, Lundy shifted to a southpaw stance and the switch worked well for him. He peppered Fernandez with lefty shots, and in the following round he slammed him with a pair of hard lefts that appeared to hurt the tough South American. In the final round, the two fighters slugged it out for most of the three minutes, but again Lundy had the upper hand.

On my scorecard Hank swept all eight rounds for a 80-72 final tally. Two of the three official judges (John Gradowski and James Kenny) gave Fernandez a round and scored the fight 79-73. Judge Adam Friscia saw the fight closer at 78-74. The loss was Fernandez' second in a row and left him with a record of 28-4-1, 3 KOs, 1 No Contest.

In the semi-wind up bout, Lebanon, PA welterweight Nicholas Hernandez chopped down Michael Crain of Smyrna, DE in the third round of their scheduled six. After winning the first two rounds, southpaw Hernandez cracked fellow-lefty Crain with a right hook that sent him to the canvas. Crain managed to rise, but was quickly met with another right hook that sent him crashing again. The moment Crain hit the deck for the second time, referee David Braslow immediately ended the fight without a count. The time was 1:34 of the third. Hernandez improved to 11-4-2, 3 KOs. Crain slid to 3-5, 1 KO.


In a four-round battle of road warriors, Dhafir Smith won a unanimous decision over Greg Hackett in their curious match up. When the rumor began circling last month that this pair would meet, it seemed a long shot that the fight would ever happen. Smith had been dormant for nearly six years - other than his globe-trotting sparring work. During that gap, one fight after another for Smith was scratched and it felt like he might never again step in the ring for real. Despite being busy as a trainer these days, Hackett has never lost the urge to fight and is willing to face anyone open to fighting him - that is if he could find a commission to clear him to fight, given his bumpy record. I guess the theory here was that these two old pros couldn't hurt each other, and the fight proceeded without a hitch. The fight was made at cruiserweight with Smith weighing 195.5 and Hackett at a career-high of 202.4 pounds. 

The two veterans came out carefully in the first. Smith used his jab effectively, and kept the shorter Hackett at bay. Each time Smith landed a shot, Hackett shook his head and played to the crowd, sending the message that Smith's punches had no affect on him. However, Smith kept pumping his jab and near the end of the first, cracked Hackett with a strong left hook. Greg again shook his head 'no', as the bell sounded. 

The second round was closer, but Smith still had the edge from my perspective. However, Hackett revved up the crowd with a Jersey Joe Walcott-style cakewalk and a collection of clowning tactics. In the third, both landed good punches but no one was ever hurt or in danger of going down. Smith closed the show with another solid round in the fourth, and he took the decision by two shutout tallies of 40-36 by James Kenny and Adam Friscia. John Gradowski gave Hackett one round, probably the second, and scored the fight 39-37. Smith improved to 28-25-7, 4 KOs, while Hackett fell to 3-20-1. In the end, it was an entertaining fight and not the would-be sparring session or exhibition that I thought it might be.

In a sloppy four round heavyweight bout, southpaw Maurice Horne, of Middletown, DE remained undefeated, 6-0, 4 KOs, winning a unanimous decision over Antwan Tubbs of Cincinnati, 5-14, 2 KOs. Horne easily took the first three rounds before Tubbs pressed the action in the final round. Tubbs did enough to take the fourth on my card, but all three official judges, John Gradowski, James Kenny and Adam Friscia, scored the bout a 40-36 shutout for Horne.


Female middleweights Schmelle Baldwin, Newark, DE, 3-1-2, 2 KOs, and Sarah Rueda, Chickasha, OK, 0-2, fought to a four-round draw. From my seat, Baldwin won the first two rounds but Rueda rebounded to take the final two. However, much of the action appeared to play out in slow motion. Judge James Kenny's score favored Baldwin 39-37, but he was overruled by the other two judges (Gradowski and Friscia) who had the fight a 38-38 draw. 

Trenton welterweight Shinard Bunch, 8-1, 7 KOs, met no resistance from Ronnie Jordan of Cincinnati, 5-10-1, in their scheduled six-rounder. As expected, Bunch was in control from the start, but his quick victory came as a surprise given that no critical punch was apparent. Bunch chased Jordan across the ring, and after an unremarkable exchange highlighted by a right hand, Jordan backed off and took a knee. He climbed to his feet but was shaking his head 'no' as he rose. Referee David Braslow attempted to wipe his gloves, expecting to let the action resume, but Jordan would have none of it. He resigned from the fight and walked to his corner. The time was 1:25.  


In a lively light heavyweight fight, Wilmington's David Murray scored one knockdown and took the unanimous decision over Austin Marcum of Breeden, WV. Toward the end of the first, both fighters simultaneously landed rights that wobbled the other. Marcum was the aggressor and edged the first round on my card. Murray took control in the second, but Marcum proved to be plenty of trouble. He was not only tough and capable of taking Murray's hard shots, he kept charging forward and applying pressure. Occasionally Marcum landed a hard punch, like in the forth when his right hand appeared to hurt Murray. However, David responded and dropped Marcum with his own explosive right hand. Marcum hit the deck and remained motionless on his back as referee Shawn Clark counted over him. It seemed certain that he'd be down for the count, but suddenly Marcum literally jumped to his feet to beat the count.

In the fifth, Marcum threw caution to the wind and wildly charged Murray, tossing punches. He landed a few, but Murray kept his cool. The pair traded punches in the final round and closed the fight with a flourish. All three judges saw the fight 59-54, which matched my score. Murray raised his record to 10-2-1, 6 KOs; Marcum slipped below .500, 11-12-1, 5 KOs.


Philly welterweight Tahmir Smalls opened the show, winning his second straight bout (2-0, 2 KOs) with an one-sided TKO of Detroit's Kaywann Sistrunk, 0-5, in the final round of their scheduled four-rounder. Smalls swept through the first three rounds with little problem other than being warned in the first for hitting low. Sistrunk was feisty in the third. He trash-talked Smalls but wasn't able to match skills. In the fourth, Smalls cracked Sistrunk to the body and then landed an immediate right to the chin that sent him to the canvas. Referee David Braslow stopped the fight without a count and called it a knockout at 1:38 of round four.

The show attracted a crowd of about 800.




John DiSanto - Hockessin, DE - February 29, 2020