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Chinese Heavyweight Invades AC/Webster Defeats Harris

J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: The Philly-AC area is infested with promoters, and on 8/5/17 Sacred Downing (MIS Downing Prom’ns) moved from Bristol, PA, to The Claridge in Atlantic City, and teamed with Roy Jones’ Square Ring Prom’ns for her second card. It was a somewhat mediocre show of quick blastouts and one-sided drudge decisions, but nonetheless a nearly full house in the circa 600-seat Celebrity Theatre thoroughly enjoyed the evening, which included a bristly rap performance for intermission. Renee Aiken was matchmaker, Jason Robinson kept time, and Mark Fratto did a nice job as ring announcer.


Philly-area Chinese fans haven’t had a local hero since Jimmy Soo (who wasn’t even genuinely Chinese) fought in the ‘50s. And they don’t have one yet, as Zhang Zhilei, 254 ¾, Zhoukou, China, 17-0 (13), didn’t get much of a chance to impress in an abbreviated 10. Zhang got next to nothing from Nick Guivas, 238, Topeka, 13-8-2 (9); even “Rocky” Kansas wasn’t from Kansas. Dwarfed by the gigantic and rangy Zhang, the underdog never got off a serious punch. The southpaw favorite maneuvered him around the ring behind the right jab, got him into Guivas’ own corner, and unloaded. A straight left set him up and a right hook folded him to his knees. Guivas got up but never got out of the corner, as Zhang promptly landed another hook to send him down again, where he showed no indication of wanting to continue and referee Shadá Murdaugh ruled a TKO, at 2:43 of round one.


In what was billed as the main event, a scheduled eight, the house fighter, Derrick Webster, 167 ¾, Glassboro, NJ, 24-1 (13), was introduced to a raving crowd by a rap performance from Roy Jones, and faced Lamar Harris, 168, St. Louis, 9-14-4 (5). With the excitement of the buildup, the fight took no time getting off the ground and immediately erupted as a wild and undisciplined life-&-death shootout. The hopelessly small underdog attacked bravely but had no tactic for getting inside the lanky southpaw’s long reach. With fans going crazy, the action, heated to begin with, escalated into a free-for-all! Harris was spun full circle by a punch, came out of it reeling, and was popped by a short left that sent him to the canvas just before the end of round one. The fans were hot for a KO as the second started, but they got some help from the referee. Webster drove Lamar into his corner and started to go for the finish, but Murdaugh abruptly stepped between them and signaled the fight was over, at 0:28, a bit of a quick thumb as Harris’s corner screamed from across the ring.


An eight saw the return of Prince Badi Ajamu, 191 ½, Camden, 28-3-1 (15), who won one round in going the distance in a title fight with Jones in ’06 and had been inactive for eight years. Working with kids in the gym, he decided to get back in there himself. He needed a soft landing, and got it from trial horse punching bag Edgar Perez, 190, Arecibo, PR, via Chi., 7-22 (3). The roly-poly Perez doesn’t offer much offense beyond sneak counters, but is tough and somehow manages to hang in. Which he did with Prince Badi. The favorite opened predictably ambitious and easily took the first. But by the second, it had already become a grueling battle of attrition. Prince Badi whacked the body effectively in the third, but couldn’t break Edgar down. In the fourth, Prince’s mouth was open and it looked briefly as if Perez might be able to get into the fight. But Ajamu did a workmanlike job to body and head in a good fifth. Edgar threw his hand up at the end of the sixth, as if lasting the round was a Pyrrhic victory. But it was all Ajamu in the last two and Perez was just intent on lasting. Debra [sic] Barnes scored 79-73, Joe Pasquale and Lindsey Page 80-72, unanimous for Prince Badi, of course.


Popular Mike Hilton, 198 ½, Trenton, 7-0 (6), has shown promise, but the bloom is off the rose after he struggled to his first decision win in an ugly, mauling six with spoiler Willis Lockett, 194 ½, Takoma Park, MD, 14-21-6 (5). After a predictably vigorous opening round in which Hilton tried to take Lockett out, missing telegraphed rights and laughing, the contest spiraled down into a lunge-shove-&-punch mélange. Lockett held his own for a few rounds, at times backing up the stocky and rugged favorite. But by the last two, the underdog had nothing left and was being routed, seeking sympathy by twice going down from low blows in the final round. Hilton won the unanimous decision, 58-56 from Page, 60-54 from Barnes, and 60-53 from Pasquale. Mary Glover refereed.


Shady Gamhour, 163 ½, a Roy Jones protégé from Sweden fighting out of Pensacola, 3-0 (2), made quick work of Jessie Singletary, 167 ¼, Wash., DC, 0-3, in a scheduled four. Trading was brisk and clean, but Gamhour looked well-schooled and sharp while Singletary tended to slap. As a result, Shady was finishing off the exchanges and getting the better of it, until he put over a straight lead right that jolted Jessie. Gamhour quickly backed it up with another, folding Singletary to the canvas for ref Ricky Gonzalez’ count, at 1:43 of round one.


The show opened with a bang…and the lone upset. Ticket seller Lamont McLaughlin, 167 ¼, Phila., 0-2, met Tahlik Taylor, 172 ¾, Freeport, LI, 2-7, in a scheduled four. The monumentally muscular southpaw McLaughlin exploded out for a quick finish…and got it! Flailing wildly with both hands, he drove Taylor to a corner and tried to bury him in a blaze of flying leather. But somewhere in the blur, Tahlik lashed back with a desperation right cross and the roof fell in, with Lamont crumbling face down for Glover’s count, at 0:31.

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