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20 JULY 2018

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Farmer Wins for Urban League

J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Hard Hitting Prom’ns ran the 2nd Annual Urban League celebrity boxing fund raiser on 4/29/17 in Philadelphia. They may be the last, at least of its kind, as it didn’t appear there were many over a thousand fans in the spacious Liacouras Center at Temple University, which holds over 10k. All the same, promoters Manny Rivera and Will Ruiz, trading roles with Rivera doing the matchmaking, put on a good card. While all the “heroes” won, none had it easy and all bouts were competitive in one way or other. Fred Blumstein kept time, Kurt Wolfheimer was publicist, and Patrick Michael Fattore provided his usual expansive coverage of the announcing chores.
The main event was a rare 10, between local hopeful Tevin Farmer, 132, Phila., 25-4-1 (5), and rugged Arturo Santos Reyes, 129 ½, Nogales, MX, 19-8 (5). The skilled but light-hitting favorite is a throwback to Philly boxers of the ‘50s in terms of ability to slip, dodge, and in general muffle an opponent’s offense. Unfortunately, judges often consider a punch thrown as a punch landed and favor busy workmen over stylish boxers. Hence the number of boxers we now see brain-damaged after their career has barely gotten rolling. Secondly, Tevin tends to be his own worst enemy, in that he doesn’t settle into a game plan but alternates long-range circling and countering with standing and trading. Makes for an interesting contest but hard to keep score.
The aggressive Mexican gave Farmer all he wanted and there was rarely a lull in the trading, although not always effective. The southpaw Farmer appeared to hurt his right arm with a body shot in the second and fought orthodox in a hectic and punishing third. Heated infighting continued, with Farmer getting all he wanted into round five, when Tevin switched back to lefty and regained composure. Arturo went all out in the sixth, while Farmer responded with some flashy defense, so that it was anybody’s contest after six. But the favorite rose to the challenge in the last four. His jab and boxing kept Santos at bay in the seventh, but Tevin chose to stand and mix at close range, bringing up the crowd in the eighth. The final two were still competitive, but Farmer’s skills were in evidence, gaining Tevin a fair unanimous decision. Lindsey Page scored 98-94, Mark Werlinsky 97-93, and George Hill 96-94, all reasonable scores with a lot of close rounds. Shawn Clark refereed.
Promising Christian Carto, 118 ¼, Phila., 9-0 (9), put on a sweetheart of a performance against no slouch in Samuel Gutierrez, 117 ¾, Saltillo, MX, 14-19-5 (5), in a scheduled six. The underdog came out aggressive but was quickly tagged by a beauty of a short, inside left hook that stunned him and took him out of the action, with Carto romping in round one. However, Samuel was rejuvenated with a spirited attack that had the favorite giving ground in round two. Then between the second and third, Carto’s corner met the challenge, as Christian came out with counters working in round three to dominate the rest of an all-action contest. By late fourth, the game Mexican was feeling the punishment and yielding ground. Carto went to the body in round five and after taking a prolonged beating, Gutierrez finally slumped to all fours from a right-left-right combo. The underdog made it out of the round and had fans expectant about Carto’s perfect KO record going into the final, but Gutierrez failed to answer the bell.
David Murray, 175 ¾, Wilmington, 6-1-1 (5), and Sam Horowitz, 178 ½, Chi., 6-3-1 (5), opened the show with a sensational slam-bang scheduled four. The smaller but lithe Murray and the granite-like but slow visitor were having a cautious but still hard-punching first, trading mean shots, until just before round’s end. Murray tried a sloppy left hook and Horowitz sat him on his pants with a short, solid right. He bounced up and got out of the round. The second started with serious trading, trying to break each other down ad both getting nailed by turns, until the underdog suffered a cut left eye and began puffing. Murray appeared to control a tiring Horowitz in the third, reaching him with a big, sucker right that nearly felled him. With the “Russian Concussion” a tottering target, the favorite went for the finish. But Sam lashed out with a glancing right that scored another flash knockdown! Murray was up unhurt and won the rest of the round. In the final session, David put over another big, sucker right, and this time Sam’s legs went in all directions at once while he teetered around the ring like a bowling pin that refuses to drop. Murray caught him on the ropes with a succession of clean bombs until referee Clark had little choice but to stop it under the basic rules of humanity, at 1:26. Once his head cleared, Sam protested vigorously, “That’s all I want, was a fair shake,” until Commissioner Sirb escorted him from ringside.
Sam Teah, 140 ½, Phila., 10-1-1 (4), and Efrain Cruz, 139 ¾, Vieques, PR, 4-4-1 (1), carried a fine contest into a fateful final round of a scheduled four. The compact Puerto Rican took the fight to the bigger, slicker favorite in constant close trading. But it wasn’t a street fight; rather a skilled inside battle. Cruz set the pace but Teah was more than a match with sharp, short punches. Efrain came out for the final round in high gear, trying to pull it out, but Sam outfought him on the inside until the underdog at last gave ground. With more punching room, Teah began to punish him, until a booming right uppercut buried him! Referee Eric Dali stopped it without a count, a TKO at 1:40. Thankfully, the gallant loser left under his own power, but was still wobbly.
It wasn’t exactly a competitive contest in terms of sizzling action. But popular star Branden Pizarro, 136 ¾, Phila., 5-0 (2), got more than he wanted from spoiler Chris Gutierrez, 137 ¾, Greenville, TX, 0-3, four. To keep some luster on the win, the fan-conscious favorite had to pull out all stops with a flashy final round after the switch-hitting junk artist had made him look less than a world beater. Pizarro won the unanimous decision, Werlinsky scoring 39-37 while Hill and Myra Grant had shutouts.
Many of the pure boxing fans had left, but much of the crowd stayed to see personal favorites in celebrity three-round exhibitions, headlined by the ever-popular Bobby Keyes, of the Urban League, against Shumpert Caldwell, of the Mayor’s Office. The highlight was a rousing and rugged 270-pound battle between Big Brothers/Big Sisters director Marcus Allen and chiropractor Dr. Lenny Roberts. Hope they’re back next year.
In memory of K.O.J.O.

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