PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - April 03, 2021  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


On Saturday night at the 2300 Arena, Philly heavyweight Joey Dawejko returned to the ring after more than one year off, and scored a two-knockdown, first-round TKO over Joe Jones of Lynchburg, VA. The fight was the scheduled eight-round main event of an eight-bout card staged by RDR Promotions. The fighters started quickly. Both landed shots before a clash of heads temporarily halted the action. Moments later, Jones slipped to the canvas, which paused the fight again. However, once the action resumed, the bout shifted into another gear.

Dawejko landed a good right to the head and followed with a solid body shot. Another body shot put Jones on his bicycle. Jones stepped in and landed a nice right to Dawejko's head, but Joey countered with his own right that was twice as hard. Jones stepped back before Dawejko followed up with a left hook that sent Jones tumbling to the canvas. While on his hands and knees, Jones appeared to be thinking about staying put. However, he made it to his feet by referee Eric Dali's count of nine.

The action resumed, and unfortunately for Jones, Dawejko was there to meet him, and was apparently in a hurry to end the fight. The Tacony Tank missed a hurried left hook before a looping right landed and sent Jones down again. Dali waved an end to the bout the moment Jones hit the floor. Jones complained, but the fight was over. The time was 2:50 of the first round. Dawejko's return was his first Philly appearance since 2018 and showed that he has plenty of fight left in the tank (small "t"). Dawejko also has the local fight fans firmly in his corner. He'll always be an attraction in Philly, as long as he keeps his friendly persona and that sudden burst of power.

The win improved Dawejko's record to 21-8-4, with 12 KOs. Dawejko weighed a career-high of 264, while Jones, 11-4, 8 KOs, scaled 211 in this, his first heavyweight fight, and third straight defeat. After the bout, Dawejko told interviewer Marc Abrams that he was ready to fight anyone and wanted to face Andy Ruiz. We'd all like to see him get an opportunity like that.

Lightweight Nahir Albright scored a third round TKO of Dante Cox in the scheduled six-round co-feature. Albright looked strong, dropping Cox twice near the end of round two. The first knockdown came from a right hand, and once Cox regained his feet, Albright chased him down and dropped him again with a flurry, as the round came to and end.

In the third, Albright staggered Cox with a right hand that popped his mouthpiece out of place. As Cox pawed at the mouth guard and backed to the ropes, Albright jumped on him and let several punches fly. Most of them hit their mark and Benjy Esteves stepped in to stop the fight at 2:53 of the third.

Albright 11-1, 5 KOs, won for the tenth straight time. Cox ended a three-bout winning streak and wound up 6-2, 4 KOs. As he has after his last several bouts, Albright performed the National Anthem, still in his robe and hand wraps, before the main event. His singing ability matches his fighting skills.

Trenton cruiserweight Mike Hilton was extended to the six-round limit by Twon Smith of Oklahoma City, but remained undefeated with a unanimous decision points win. Hilton clearly won the fight, but one isolated moment in the fight made the official scores closer.

After Hilton won the first two rounds, Smith landed an awkward but jolting left jab in round three that sent Hilton down on the seat of his pants. Referee Eric Dali correctly called it a knockdown. Hilton immediately got up and did not seem affected by the punch. He resumed control in the fourth and swept the final three rounds. All three judges, David Braslow, John Poturaj, and Robert Rubnitz, scored the fight 58-55 for Hilton, 11-0, 7 KOs. Smith's record receded to 3-5, 2 KOs.

Light heavyweight Benny Sinakin lost for the first time in his pro career in a bruising bout with Bronx-based Nigerian Afunwa King. Benny, who struggled to make weight, fought well but his usual intensity only came in spurts during this fight. By the third round, he looked winded, breathing out of his mouth. Still the fight was competitive throughout and remained difficult to score. Both fighters were landing, but the pace of the bout slowed in the second half.

By the final round, the result still felt within reach for Sinakin, but King was busier and more accurate. At the end, King had a very narrow lead. Judge Robert Rubnitz saw it even, 57-57. However, judges Dewey LaRosa and John Poturaj overruled with identical scores of 58-56 for King.

King improved to 3-1, 1 KO, while Sinakin fell to 6-1, 3 KOs. Despite losing his first, it appeared to be a good learning experience for Sinakin, who figures to learn on the job as his career progresses.

In a six-round welterweight fight, Brooklyn southpaw Mathew Gonzalez pushed his undefeated record to 12-0, 8 KOs, with a fifth round TKO of Luis Florez. The experienced Columbian was taller and posed a number of problems for Gonzalez in the fight. However, the rising prospect handled his constant pressure. Gonzalez landed a sharp uppercut in the second, but Florez fought back with punches to the head and body.

The pattern of steady back-and-forth action continued as the fight progressed, but Gonzalez' heavier punches kept him in the lead. Florez bloodied Gonzalez' nose in the third, but Mathew staggered Florez with a body shot at the end of the round. He continued to hurt Florez in the fourth and had him pinned against the ropes where he landed an extended volley. However, Florez again countered with a power shot that backed Gonzalez up.

Finally in the fifth, Gonzalez dished out punishment through most of the round before referee Eric Dali suddenly stepped in to stop it, with less than one minute remaining in the round. Despite the heavy shots landed by Gonzalez, the stoppage felt a bit quick. The time was 2:13 of the fifth. Florez fought well, but lost for the fourth time in a row, and left with a record of 25-19, 21 KOs.

Featherweight Rasheen Brown remained undefeated with a third round TKO of Louisville's Christopher Nelson, in their scheduled four-round battle of southpaws. Brown glided in and out, peppering Nelson with shots from every angle. Brown's work to the body was impressive, but he took his time, despite being a much better fighter. In the third round, Brown cracked Nelson with a hard jab that backed him to the ropes. Rasheen swooped in and landed three body blows that crumbled Nelson to the canvas and prompted referee Benjy Esteves to stop the fight at the 1:50 mark.

With the victory Brown raised his record to 7-0, 4 KOs, and joined the club of local fighters - including Christian Carto, Donald Smith, and Dylan Price - that have all knocked Nelson out. It was Nelson's second straight loss, but he's only won one of his last fourteen. He went home 3-18, 1 KO.


Welterweight Tahmir Smalls of Philadelphia won his third straight bout as a professional, but went the distance for the first time. Smalls went right at his opponent, Andres Abarca, of Normandy Park, WA, from the opening bell. He used a steady jab and numerous looping rights to set the tone of the fight, and was clearly gunning for another knockout.

By the end of the first, Smalls was mixing in a body attack that helped him control the action. He continued dominate the fight, but Abarca was awkward throughout. He was penalized two points in the second for hitting behind the head, but Smalls did not let it slow him down. Tahmir closed the show by hurting Abarca near the final bell and went on to take the decision. Judge Dewey LaRosa scored it 39-35, while John Poturaj and Robert Rubnitz both had it 40-34. With the win, Smalls improved to 3-0, 2 KOs. Abaca slid to 2-3.


Jahdon Ervin won his professional debut with a four-round unanimous decision over Kareem Gladney of PA. It was a closely fought middleweight bout with sporadic action. In round four, Benjy Esteves penalized Gladney one point for holding which widened the margin for Ervin. The scores were 40-35 (David Braslow) and 39-36 twice (Robert Rubnitz and John Poturaj). Gladney fell to 0-4.

A crowd of 225 attended the show. Ticket availability was limited due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. All nine bouts were also streamed on, on a Pay-Per-View basis for $14.99.




John DiSanto - South Philly (via - April 03, 2021