By J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Thank goodness for Chris Middendorf. The veteran matchmaker from the Balto-DC area has turned promoter and landed among the multiple small club enterprises lighting up Philadelphia.
On Friday, Middendorf’s Victory Boxing Prom’ns ran their second card at the hyperactive 2300 Arena. And bless him, he held the card to a reasonable five bouts despite a brouhaha kicked up by squawking writers who want mind-numbing stiff marathons spanning over two days. A nice crowd of about 500 showed up. The underdogs dutifully took their beatings but didn’t lay down and gave the heroes work. A Maryland favorite, “Discombobulating” Jones, announced the show.
The latest of the productive Ennis family, fighting out of Bozy’s Dungeon gym, Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 147 ¼, Phila., 10-0 (8), headlined in a six against James Winchester, 147 ¼, Reidsville, NC, 20-13 (8). The visitor has the unusual record of winning all his bouts at home and losing them all on the road. He didn’t break form. The most threat he offered was in round two when the stocky underdog and the lanky favorite tied up. Winchester picked Ennis up and hurled him to the canvas, then fell on top behind a deliberate right to the head of the prostrate Ennis! For seconds, it looked like a riot might break out, but referee Shawn Clark took control quickly and penalized the offender. He could justifiably have been DQ’d, but that would have robbed fans of what they’d come to see, their favorite in a fight.
For the rest of the physically rugged but awkward contest, the underdog hung tough in a clamshell defense, with the southpaw raking the left like an oyster shucker. In the fourth, Ennis switched orthodox, landed an awkward right but teetered backward and fell. Winchester ran at him like he was going to pounce again, but didn’t. The favorite went back to southpaw in the fifth, and a left cut Winchester’s right eye. Jaron tried hard to get him out of there in the final round, mixing a withering attack to body and head. Winchester was tough, took the beating, and survived, though hurt. Bernard Bruni, Jimmy Kinney, and Rose Vargas all scored 60-53, a score generous to Winchester.
A fine local prospect, Emmanuel Folly, 122, Phila., 10-0 (8), met Luis Hinojosa, 126 ¼, Santo Domingo, DR, 30-11 (17), in the co-feature six. Not for long. The visitor oddly suffered most of his losses at the start of his career, but came in on an extended roll at home. But the skilled local favorite had no problem taking him apart. Three knockdowns in the opening round, and it was a TKO in 2:18. Action and trading were brisk, but it was all Folly. A body shot on the inside sent Hinojosa down the first time. Then trading at mid-range, Folly executed a beauty of a move, stepping to the right and drilling Luis with a right to floor him. When a glancing combo immediately dropped the visitor on his seat for a third knockdown, referee Eric Dali had seen enough.
Popular Darren Goodall, 168 ¼, New Milford, NJ, 5-0 (4), delighted fans as he took the measure of Juan Zapata, 168 ¾, Trujillo, Honduras, via The Bronx, 4-11-2 (2), in a scheduled four. The muscular visitor looked like trouble but couldn’t stand the heat whenever he got trapped in his own corner. The first started awkwardly, with a lot of misses, until Goodall trapped his man and dropped a nice right over Zapata’s high guard. Down he went, but managed to fight his way out of round one. In the second, in his own corner again, Zapata couldn’t step to his side and got nailed by a left hook and down. He barely beat Clark’s count, but showed little life, and the referee waved it over, at 1:51.
Brandun Lee, 143 ¼, Pasadena, CA, 2-0 (2), attacked fearlessly with sweeping punches and debuting kick boxer Seth Basler, 143 ¼, Marion, IN, never had a chance to get started in a short but explosive scheduled four. Basler has his mouthpiece knocked out, then went down in Lee’s corner, more by way of escape than from a clean punch. He got up favoring his left leg and was checked by the doctor. As soon as action resumed, the game but outgunned Basler was battered at length until shaken by a solid right. Ref Dali had seen enough, and stopped it at 2:12 of round one.
Joshua Jones, 136 ½, Phila., 4-0-1 (2), defeated Dustin Arnold, 135, Coral Springs, FL, 1-1, in an earnest opening four. The southpaw Jones jolted Arnold with a lead left in a feelout first and dominated the second. Arnold came on in round three with a crowding attack that made it interesting, but when Jones started to let combos go, he may have stolen the round. Joshua started strong with pinpoint punches to take the high ground early in the fourth, and nailed down the unanimous win. Bruni had 39-37, the others 40-36.
In memory of K.O.J.O.