J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Prom’ns and David Feldman ran a more-than-your-money’s-worth 9-bout card on 6/15/13 at the Valley Forge Casino in King of Prussia, PA. This venue had hosted numerous shows when it was the VF Convention Center, but this was the second as the new casino and under the new franchise. Matchmaker Kauffman brought back a popular rivalry for the main event and studded the undercard with prospects worth watching, in matches that did not pair them with fall-down stiffs. A bang-up effort!
A little background is in order. On the inaugural show, popular localite Harry Yorgey (a/k/a “Lightning” Harry Joe) met tough-as-nails spoiler Julius Kennedy in a last-minute undercard six. It was a war, with Harry Joe emerging with a controversial split decision, making for a perfect rematch. This time it was a 10, with both at 160 ½; Yorgey, from nearby Bridgeport, finishing at 26-2-1 (12), and Kennedy, Windsor Mill, MD, 7-6-1 (3). Fed up with the previous verdict, Julius had predicted that Harry would go out on a stretcher. Harry disagreed, indicating he’d show Julius angles and footwork. Neither happened.
Harry did live up to his promise in the first two rounds. He kept Julius at bay with a constant sharp jab, completely dominating the action with skill. Kennedy began to penetrate in a close third, with Harry showing a deft matador move to escape being corralled in a corner. But Julius is nothing if not persistent, and he began to force the action to the inside in round four, taking the round. In the fifth, Yorgey answered back by outfighting Kennedy on his own terms. A solid right established command early, action remained hectic at close quarters, and the favorite rallied to the bell. The next two were even more bruising on the inside, with the visitor having possibly his best round in the seventh. For Kennedy, it may have been a last hurrah. Action slowed only slightly in the eighth, then escalated to a big finish. Trading stayed at close range, but Yorgey showed the better pair of hands and outworked his foe. Kennedy took to clowning when he got tagged cleanly to make it look like nothing. He clowned several times. In the ninth he was stunned with a right, and in the final session Harry wowed his fans with an exciting rally to the bell.
If this were Denmark, Germany or Argentina, and Kennedy was from Denmark, Germany or Argentina, Julius would have won. But this was not a hometown decision. Yorgey won by a slim margin, 96-94 from Allen Rubenstein and Dave Greer, while Lynne Carter had it even at 95. Julius was visibly miffed, but it was not a bad call. Benji Esteves was the referee.
The semi-final eight was a local showdown between a boxer and a banger, and the boxer won. Tevin Farmer, 133, Phila., 11-4-1 (1), met Victor Vasquez, 136, Phila., 16-8-1 (7). In a good contest, the slick southpaw Farmer managed to keep just a step away from letting Vasquez make a brawl of it while steadily tattooing Victor with nifty counters. After Victor failed to close the gap for three rounds, Tevin stood and banged with him in the fourth, while still showing the better pair of hands. Farmer was back at long distance in the fifth before Victor went all out to turn it into a brawl in the next two. Farmer removed any doubt as to who was on top with a dramatic final round. Instead of safely boxing to the bell, Farmer mixed it up in the most exciting round of the fight, beating Vasquez to the punch consistently before hurting him to the body. With Victor doubled over, Tevin kept banging away down below until referee Blair Talmadge called a surprise TKO at 1:58. Farmer led on all cards, 70-63 and 69-64 twice.
In a battle of southpaws, Frankie Santos DeAlba, 131, Reading, 8-1-2 (3), won a sizzler from no-quit underdog Jamell Tyson, 131, Rochester, 3-10-2 (1), six. Frankie set the pace and forced the action, but Jamell was always right there, answering back. By the fourth, the favorite was beginning to give ground and the contest was even. Round five was a revelation as DeAlba changed tactics, stayed at long range and picked his shots well to establish control. Then, to punctuate his comeback, he caught Tyson coming in and dropped him late in the round with a left. Nonetheless, Jamell was still scrappy in the final round, giving fans all they wanted. DeAlba won a fair verdict, 60-53 from Greer and a better 58-56 from Rubenstein and George Hill.
One spectacular short left uppercut late in round four gave returning Kamarah Pasley,198, Phila., 6-6 (2), a deserved majority win over house fighter Jeremy Stauffer, 191, Reading, 7-3-2 (6), in an all-southpaw six. The contest was grueling but not especially aesthetic, as Stauffer applied crude, physical pressure while a confused Pasley circled and shut him down by holding, for which he was penalized in the third by Benji. Stauffer barely made it out of the fourth as Kamarah battered him and bloodied his nose. Still, he kept trying and kept it close, suffering a bad cut on the right eye in the sixth. Hill scored 56-56, while Carter and Greer had 57-55.
Todd Unthank-May, 179 ½, Phila., 7-0 (2),got little challenge from lefty Mike Wilmer, 174, Huntington, WV, 4-6 (3), in a boring six. The rangy May needed only to use his reach, while the reluctant Wilmer threw only occasional counters, usually after being hit. Scores: 59-54, 60-54 twice.
In an earnest but unexciting contest, Javontae Starks, 151 ½, Minneapolis, 7-0 (5), defeated George Sosa, 150, Reading, 7-4 (6), by unanimous decision, six. Sosa tried to force the action but had trouble getting past the reach of his rangy, cautious opponent. Starks landed some hard body shots, and the fight was even through four. Javontae proved his mettle in a big fifth, boxing and snapping the jab repeatedly. He held the game Sosa off in the last round, whacking him with a jolting right in early trading and then holding the edge despite a game try by the eventual loser. Greer scored 58-56, Carter and Hill 59-55.
Three interesting prospects appeared in fours, with two crackling good bouts and one stinker. The latter was the debut of national amateur champion Khalib Whitmore, 181, Phila., versus Lamont Capers, 184, Hawley, PA, 1-2. The favorite entered the ring in a fright wig and enough fanfare to herald Caesar crossing the Rubicon. Out of action for over two years since winning the amateur crown, and with famed trainer Nazim Richardson in his corner, the stocky southpaw did just enough to win, not enough to impress. In fairness, the lanky Capers showed little inclination to mix, and appeared more focused on octopussing and not getting hit. Whitmore won a unanimous shutout.
By contrast, smooth boxing Damon Allen, 137, Phila., 2-0 (1), got a heck of a battle out of outclassed but unintimidated Travis Thompson, 139, Pottstown, 4-10-2 (3). Travis did the right thing and tried to make it a street fight against the more skilled Allen. But the switch-hitting favorite got room enough to let his hands go and rake the underdog with combos. Brisk action built to a crescendo, as Damon started the final round with a volley, but relaxed and got caught by an overhand right that rocked him and forced him to grab the top rope. After regrouping, Allen paid Travis back in trading to the bell. Hill scored a shutout, while Rubenstein and Carter had 39-37. When ring commentator Marc “The King” Abrams asked him how it felt to get tagged, Damon responded, “It felt good!”
Phew! Finally, experienced Philly amateur Antonio Dubose, 126, looked sharp in his debut against also debuting John Portillo, 123 ½, Lancaster. Dubose caught a lunging Portillo with a swiping right behind the ear for a flash knockdown to take round one. The feisty but less skilled Portillo attacked through round two, but was nailed and dropped hard by a counter left hook. Shortly after, another hook felled him again and he was in trouble to the bell. Undiscouraged, Portillo continued taking it to him until his glove touched during a scrambling exchange at the final bell and Talmadge gave him a third count. Scores: 40-33 and 40-32 twice.
With a nearly full house, good show and noteworthy prospects, this venue and promotion have a bright and intriguing future!