PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - April 18, 2024  
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Story by Matthew H. Ward
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. / Instagram: @darrylcobb


DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing series made its debut in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Thursday, April 18th. The five-fight card played out in front of a weeknight crowd at the city’s legendary 2300 Arena, a venue that has played an important role in keeping the “City of Brotherly Love’s” boxing scene alive for nearly a decade.  

As is almost always the case, promoter Lou DiBella provided fans with a quality product. Brockton, Massachusetts-based matchmaker Peter Czymbor did the matchmaking for the evening’s spectacle. Fans were also treated to a boxing royalty sighting; former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was on hand to take in the night of boxing. 


The main event was a heavyweight showdown that pitted Indianapolis’ Skylar Lacy (8-0-2, 6 KOs), 251.9 lbs., against the Bronx’s George Arias (18-1-1, 7 KOs), 228.6 lbs.. Arias, promoted by DiBella Entertainment, entered the ring on Thursday coming off his first professional loss to heavyweight contender Jared Anderson last year in Newark, New Jersey. Lacy, who had a quality career in the amateur ranks, fought last month in Mexico, a TKO victory over Hector Coronado.  

To kick off the marquee fight of the evening, Lacy moved quickly towards the middle of the ring and threw a big right hand that grazed Arias’ upper body. Throughout the first round, Arias was the far more aggressive fighter, repeatedly coming forward on Lacy, who stands nearly eight inches taller than him. Arias threw big hooks with mixed results at his opponent. The awkward Lacy, who surprisingly moved lightly on his feet and with athleticism at times throughout the bout, used these features to his advantage to frustrate Arias throughout the eight-rounder. As the two fighters returned to their corners following the first-round bell, Lacy did his best Boris Karloff impression, staring down Arias as he made his way to the stool. 

In the second round, Arias, looking to bring his taller opponent down to his level, set out to work Lacy’s body. Arias landed a hard left hook to Lacy’s head just as the round ended. In the third round, Arias, looking for the knockout shot, rushed Lacy with big hooks. A Lacy right hand to the body slowed Arias’ forward movement momentarily, as the two men locked up in a clinch. Arias, punching upwards, landed a right uppercut to his opponent's jaw. Lacy responded with a big right uppercut of his own that landed somewhere between Arias’ upper body and jawline.  

Arias, the far more aggressive fighter, came forward and put pressure on Lacy throughout the fourth round. Many of these offensive surges were smothered by a tired Lacy through various hugs and clinches. Lacy landed two big right hands to Arias’ body as the final seconds of the round winded down. Lacy came out in the fifth looking like a beaten fighter. An Arias left hook to the jaw didn’t help his demeanor. Lacy, clearly losing the round, rallied again in the final seconds of the fifth frame, landing two straight right hands to his opponent’s face as the round ended. 

The sixth round was marked with a lot of defense on Lacy’s part, as he sought to avoid the aggressive Arias. Lacy landed a big right to Arias’ head during this round that slowed the pursuit. The seventh round was much the same as the sixth. The round was highlighted by a big Lacy right hand to his opponent’s body. The eighth and final frame was relatively uneventful, as the overall round could be described as two tired big men clinching and dodging half-speed shots. Judge Steve Weisfeld scored the bout 77-75 for Arias, with judges Tony Lundy and Paul Wallace seeing it as a 76-76 draw, thus the fight was ruled a majority draw. 

One of two local fighters on the card, Philadelphia’s Romuel Cruz (11-0-1, 5 KOs) defeated Las Vegas resident and New York native Robin Ellis (6-4,5 KOs) by TKO in the fourth round of a scheduled six-round, junior featherweight contest. Cruz, 122.5 lbs., entered the ring to the delight of his hometown fans, who surrounded the walkway to the ring. In the opening frame, Cruz and Ellis, 121.4 lbs, battled in the center of the ring. The first round was evenly matched as the two orthodox fighters battled at close quarters as the final seconds of the round counted down. 

The second round was more of the same as the first, as both men exchanged shots in and out of the clinch. Early in the third round, Cruz went on the offensive landing a big left hand to Ellis’ head. He followed this shot up with a series of jabs that pushed his opponent back into the ropes. These jabs were followed up with a right hand to Ellis’ body. As the round progressed, Ellis began showing signs of exhaustion. Despite the now constant pressure from the better fighter Cruz, Ellis showed that he was a gamer by staying on his feet. 

Ellis ran out of gas in the fourth round after desperately trying to outrun the stalking Cruz. A Cruz left hand to the jaw dropped Ellis. Despite being clearly hurt, he pulled himself up from the canvas, seeking to continue the fight. Ellis’ corner, having their fighter’s best interest at heart, waived off the fight at the 1:43 mark of the fourth round. This was Cruz’s fifth knockout victory, and 11th overall win of his career. 

Philadelphia southpaw Erron Peterson (6-0-1, 5 KOs) squared off against Morgantown, West Virginia’s Raheem Davis (1-3) in a super middleweight bout. In the opening round, Davis appeared to spend more time mocking Peterson through his dance moves than he did boxing. Peterson, not impressed by the awkward pugilist’s moves, got right to work landing a big right hand to his opponent’s head that seemed to remind Davis he was in a fight. Peterson proceeded to pummel Davis with multiple left-right combinations that sent the fighter crashing into multiple corners. A powerful right hand to the body sent Davis to the canvas. Davis recovered from the blow, only to be nailed with another big Peterson right to the body. Davis sunk into his corner after the round ended. 

Davis answered the second round’s bell on visibly shaky legs. Peterson landed crushing multi-punch combos to his opponent’s head and body. A left hook to the body made Davis sink into the corner. Davis was down again in the second after Peterson landed a right hook to the body. Davis recovered again, but by this point of the contest, Peterson smelt blood in the water. He hit Davis with a right to the chin that sent the orthodox fighter to the ring mat for the third and final time. Referee Eric Dali waived off the fight at the 1:53 mark of the second round of a scheduled four rounder. Peterson now has six victories and five knockouts on his resume. 


In a four-round middleweight contest between undefeated fighters, Kestna Davis (6-0), Vauxhall, New Jersey, defeated Abdallah Nagy (1-1), Albuquerque, New Mexico, by unanimous decision. Nagy, 153.8 lbs., answered the opening bell throwing swooping left and right hooks. His plan for an early knockout was crushed as Davis, 158.7 lbs., dodged the punches and worked Nagy’s body with multi-punch combos. The southpaw Davis, far faster on his feet than his opponent, peppered his opponent with several unanswered shots as the round progressed. 

In the second round, Nagy came out swinging for the fences, as Davis easily dodged these shots. When the dust settled from this fruitless melee, Davis responded with a left-right combo to Nagy’s exposed body. Nagy landed a clean shot to his opponent’s liver, but Davis responded with a multi-shot combo to the body. Nagy continued with his fight plan in the third round, again coming out swinging wildly in hopes of a quick knockout. A Davis quick right hook to the chin sent Nagy crashing to the canvas. The downed fighter rose to his feet after the knockdown and started throwing more wild hooks seeking to void the previous knockdown with one of his own. 

In the fourth round, Nagy, aware that he was down on the judges’ scorecards, desperately tried to land the knockout shot on Davis. Nagy landed a solid right hook to Davis’ upper body that caused the fighter to wince in pain. Davis, determined to get the victory, pushed Nagy into the ropes, and proceeded to land a variety of shots to his head and body, almost at will, as the final bell rang. As the ring announcer prepared to read the judges’ scorecards, Lennox Lewis joined Davis in the ring. All three judges (Bernard Bruni, Tony Lundy, and Paul Wallace) scored the bout 40-35 in favor of the still undefeated Kestna Davis. 


Heavyweights opened the evening’s boxing card, as Roney Hines (14-0-1, 8 KOs) 247.8 lbs., fought Robert Hall, Jr. (14-3, 11 KOs), 240.8 lbs., in an eight-round bout. Cleveland, Ohio’s Hines answered the opening bell by throwing a straight right that narrowly missed Hall’s head. Hines, standing at 6-foot-6, had the clear height advantage over his opponent who hails from Johnson City, Tennessee. Hines landed a big left hook to Hall’s body that forced Hall to “turtle up” with his guard. 

Hall was far more active in letting his hands go in the second round, but as Hines increased his level of aggressiveness the fighter transitioned back to his cautious style. Hall was smacked around by Hines’ big right hands early in the third round. By this point, the outclassed fighter went into survival mode, moving cautiously around the ring, seeking to limit the impact of Hines’ shots. In the opening seconds of the fourth inning, Hines landed a big straight right hand to the head of Hall that caused the fighter to backpedal away from his taller opponent. During this round, the pace of the fight slowed considerably with both big men showing fatigue from the fisticuffs. 

Hall and Hines exchanged big shots early in the fifth round, before both fighters, now visibly tired, transitioned to a more cautious game plan. Hines continued to control the scoring in the sixth round, by landing quality shots to his opponent’s head and body. Early in the seventh round, Hines landed a crushing left hook to Hall’s abdomen. Hall, who continued to proceed with weariness and caution, couldn’t avoid a Hines multi-punch combination to the head and body. Hall, hoping to land the “fight-ending” shot, went on the attack for the last time during the fight, landing a heavy left-right hand combo to Hine’s upper body midway through the round. 

In the eighth and final round, Hall’s nose was bloodied and his guard, which he relied heavily upon in the fight, was dropped. Now wobbly on his feet, Hall coasted to the final bell, facing little in the nature of offense from his opponent. All three judges at ringside (Bernard Bruni, Paul Wallace, and Steve Weisfeld) scored the bout 79-73, a clean sweep for Roney Hines who improved his record to 14 wins, no defeats, and one draw.  




Matthew H. Ward - South Philly - April 18, 2024