PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                             June 24, 2013


Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact


by John DiSanto


It's been eight years since Damon Feldman promoted an honest to goodness boxing match. However, during this hiatus from the "Sweet Science", the former undefeated boxer and promoter has been in the news, on sports talk radio, and local TV, plenty. He has also staged numerous Celebrity Boxing shows during the stretch. However his boxing dry spell comes to an end Thursday night when the first of his "Champions of Tomorrow Professional Boxing Series" debuts at The Deck in Essington, PA. 

Feldman, a top-flight hustler and self-promoter from way back, had to hustle his way back into the boxing game after losing his promoter's license after a skirmish with another promoter in 2005. After the incident, the PA commission never renewed his license. 

Between then and now, Feldman's headliners have included the likes Octo-Mom, Rodney King, Michael Lohan, Tonya Harding, and many other "stars". But Feldman never gave up on his goal of returning to legitimate boxing. 

The loop that has allowed Feldman back in is the fact that his father, Marty Feldman, a former standout middleweight fighter and respected trainer, is the promoter of record for Thursday's show, as well as for all the subsequent installments planned for the future.  Also involved in the new "Champions of Tomorrow" entity is Philly all-time ring great Meldrick Taylor, who adds a little star power to the effort. Damon Feldman only holds a matchmaker's license, but make no mistake, he is driving this bus headed back to the boxing world. 

Feldman has been a pure promoter from the beginning. Even before quitting the sport at 9-0, after an out-of-the-ring injured vertebrae forced him to hang up his gloves, he was already promoting and  selling an exercise program. But it was after he retired from the ring that he really started flexing his promotional muscles. Thus began the more than 20-year hustle that has led him in, out, and back into the sport he loves. 

"With these fights, we're going to do them old school," Feldman said. "You're going to see a lot of the same fighters on a lot of these cards. That way the fans can follow them, like years ago when they could follow Bennie Briscoe, Willie 'The Worm' Monroe, and guys like that. Now there's really nobody to follow because the  champions don't even fight in Philly." 

An old-fashioned fight series would be a welcome addition to the current fight schedule. Philly has so many good fighters these days, and more local fights means more opportunities for them to perform for Philadelphia-area boxing fans. 

"I'm making it a series where I can take it anywhere," Feldman said. "With (Meldrick) Taylor, obviously he's a nationally and worldwide known name. I can bring him to different areas and do fight cards." 

Let's hope the majority of the series' shows stay local. 

On Thursday night, the main event features a pair of out of towners, Cuban Olympian Yordenis Ugas, 13-1, 6 KOs, and El Paso's Adan Hernandez, 15-7, 6 KOs, in a 10-round welterweight match. However, the undercard is filled with local talent. 

Tim Witherspoon Jr., son of the former two-time champion, faces Zach Kelly in a 4-round welterweight bout. 

Also on the card is Isiah Seldon, undefeated at 7-0, the son of another former heavyweight champ, Bruce Seldon. Isiah fights New Yorker Lekan Byfield, 3-4-2, in a 6-round super middle-weight bout. 

Undefeated Tyrone Crawley, Jr., 3-0, of North Philly, the son of the former lightweight contender, Tyrone Crawley, takes on Virginia's Chris Steele, 3-5-1, 1 KO, in a lightweight bout over four rounds. 

Heavyweight Dante Selby, 1-0-1, fights for the third time as a pro against 24-bout veteran Zeferino Albino, 4-17-3, 2 KOs, in an interesting clash of big men. 

Philadelphia junior welterweight David Gonzales, 1-0, fights for the second time Thursday. He battles a debuting Evencii Dixon, of Lancaster, in a four rounder. 

"I love this sport." Feldman said. "I've been around it all my life. Being back in the sport feels great."

If Feldman can bring us an ongoing old-school boxing series studded with local talent, then we fans will be feeling great too. The first step comes Thursday night at The Deck in Essington, PA. 




John DiSanto - Essington, PA - June 24, 2013