PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                             June 27, 2013


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by John DiSanto


Cuban Yordenis Ugas steamrolled Adan Hernandez in just 40 seconds in the scheduled 10-round main event at The Deck in Essington, PA Thursday night. The sudden KO capped the debut installment of the local boxing series, Champions of Tomorrow, helmed by Damon Feldman, Marty Feldman, and Meldrick Taylor. It was a solid and intimate club show staged in the nightclub area of The Deck. 

Ugas stormed out at the start of the junior welterweight bout and surprised Hernandez with a crushing right hand punch to the body that dropped the El Paso fighter and kept him down for a full 10-count. Referee Blair Talmadge finished his count and ended the bout at 40 seconds of the first round.

The explosive finale took the crowd by surprise and brought the evening to a sudden finish. The Miami-based Cuban, an Olympic Bronze Medalist, improved his professional record to 14-1 with 7 KOs. Hernandez slipped to 15-8 (6 KOs). It was the second time he was stopped since 2004, when he fell in a single round to Ivan Valle in Irvine, CA. 

The meat of the show came in the undercard, which was filled with local boxers in some good action fights. 

Welterweight Tim Witherspoon Jr. routed Josh Beeman of Providence, RI, over four rounds. The son of the two-time heavyweight champion won every round of the fight. After taking the first two sessions, Witherspoon started to land with authority and easily secured the win.

All three judges, Rose Vargas, Joe Pasquale and Pierre Benoist tabbed the bout 40-36 for Witherspoon. I agreed with the shutout score of 40-36. The win was Tim's second in a row and raised his record to 10-3-1 (2 KOs). Beeman, 4-12-4 (2 KOs), was tough and willing to fight, but only extended his 5-year winless streak.

Yonkers, NY journeyman Lekan Byfield (above) dished NJ super middleweight Isiah Seldon his first pro loss in their 6-round contest. The fight was close and loaded with two-way exchanges throughout.

Byfield cracked Seldon early in the first round, but then Isiah, the son of former heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon, took control and maintained an edge over the first three rounds. Seldon hurt Byfield three times with hard right hands in round two, and moved the New Yorker backward with a thudding body shot in round  three. Everything was going well for Seldon, but then he started to tire. 

Byfield began lashing Seldon with his awkward punches and taunting him all the while. Seldon lost his mouthpiece twice, and drew a stern warning from referee Talmadge, who seemed to believe that the fighter was intentionally spitting the guard as a stalling or resting tactic. Byfield took round four and it put him back in the fight.

In round five, Byfield was besting a tired Seldon when Isiah again lost his mouthpiece. The referee penalized Seldon one point, as he had warned he would. The fine ultimately gave Byfield a two-point round, which was significant in the close fight. 

The pattern continued in the sixth and final round. Seldon was tired and Byfield outworked him most of the way. Seldon even lost his mouthpiece again (for the 4th time), but no further penalty was issued by the ref. Byfield won the final round, but Seldon landed a big right at the very end of the fight.

Judges Pasquale and Benoist both scored the fight 58-55, while Vargas had it 57-56. My score agreed with Vargas', meaning that on our cards, the penalty point proved the difference in the three rounds to three fight. Pasquale and Benoist each gave Byfield four rounds of the fight. 

Byfield evened out at 4-4-2. Seldon suffered the first blemish on his 7-1 (3 KOs) record.

In an interesting heavyweight fight, Dante Selby was tested in his third start by 24-bout veteran Zeferino Albino. However, the young heavyweight ultimately passed the test, taking  a 4-round majority decision in the fight.

Albino shook up Selby in round one with a few solid rights, but Dante responded well in round  two. With the fight even after two rounds, both heavyweights pulled out all the stops in the final two frames. It was a rugged six minutes, with both landing hard. Albino's punches seemed to carry more sting, but Selby was busier and displayed his own share of power.

One judge, Pierre Benoist called the fight a draw, 38-38, but he was overruled by Vargas and Pasquale who scored it 39-37 for Selby. My card also favored Selby, 39-37. It was a good, close rumble between two Philadelphians. 

Selby won for the second straight time, 2-0-1. Albino added another character line to his bumpy 4-18-3 (2 KOs) record.

Lightweight Lonnie Jackson Jr. returned after a two year layoff and made short work of the usually sturdy Travis Thompson of Pottstown. Thompson tried his trademark rough tactics at the beginning of the fight when he lifted Jackson up in the air and threatened to drop him to the canvas. Referee Blair Talmadge cooled the situation and the fight resumed.

Jackson responded with a set of crackling shots that deposited Thompson on the canvas. Of course the rugged Thompson got up and ran back into the battle. Jackson met him with another storm of punches that pushed Talmadge to jump in and save Thompson from further punishment.

Jackson, 2-0-1 (1 KO), celebrated the stoppage with his corner, while Thompson, 4-11-2 (3 KOs), raged at the ref's decision. But the stoppage was correct, as swift and surprising as it was.

North Philly's Tyrone Crawley Jr. beat Christian Steele, of Staunton, VA, by unanimous decision in their 6-round bout, which was originally scheduled for 4 rounds.

Crawley came in three pounds heavy at the morning weigh in and Steele's team apparently requested the extra rounds in lieu of a monetary fine. It was a calculated gamble that did not pay off. The extra rounds made no difference in the fight.

Crawley switch-hit his way through the fight, winning every round on my card. The son of the former lightweight contender (Tyrone Sr.), hurt Steele in the 5th round with a hard left. It was his best punch of the one-sided fight. Steele did surprise Crawley with a hard left hook in the final round, but it was too little, too late.

Judges Vargas and Benoist scored 60-54, giving every round to Crawley. Pasquale gave Steele one round for a 59-55 score. Crawley remained undefeated, 4-0, while Steele fell to 3-6-1 (1 KO).

The evening started around 8:15 PM with a 4-round welterweight fight between Philly's David Gonzales and Evencii Dixon of Lancaster, PA (above in blue trunks), who was making his pro debut. The fight was close, and I saw it a 38-38 draw, giving each fighter two rounds. However, the official judges all gave the fight to Gonzales.

Rose Vargas had it a shutout, 40-36, while Joe Pasquale and Pierre Benoist scored it 39-37 (3 rounds to 1) for Gonzales, now 2-0. A frustrated Dixon went home 0-1.

The show attracted a big crowd for the small venue. The place was packed, but attendance was probably around 350. The crowd was filled with a number of boxing celebrities like former greats Jeff Chandler, Nate Miller, Ivan Robinson, Robert Hines, Tim Witherspoon, Buster Drayton, Meldrick Taylor, Hank Cisco, and current stars like Bryant Jennings, Farah Ennis, Garrett Wilson, Dhafir Smith, Hasan Young, Charles Hayward, and others.

Joltin' Jeff Chandler

Damon Feldman served as the MC for the evening, and announced that the next installment of the series would happen on Thursday, August 15th, at the Bamboo Bar in Philadelphia. That's good news, especially the fact that "Champions of Tomorrow 2" will be in Philly. Thursday was a pretty good show. Keep them coming! 

Damon Feldman

Meldrick Taylor

Promoter Marty Feldman




John DiSanto - Essington, PA - June 27, 2013