By J.R. Jowett reporting well back from ringside: Having been one of the leading matchmakers on the East Coast, Renee Aiken has now turned promoter (Boss Lady Prom’ns) and kept Trenton alive. The NJ capital was once a flourishing fight town that gave the boxing world Ike Williams and Sammy Goss, but was dead for decades before a recent revival.
On 1/21/17, Boss Lady drew about a thousand fans to the Arena for a pro-am. The amateurs were good but among the pros there wasn’t an exceptional contest on the show. But so what? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Boxing needs shows and fighters need bouts. Ring announcer “Diamond Dave” Diamante hosted a plethora of extraneous entertainment that included a guy taking his pants off and doing acrobatics in the ring. The mayor spoke and there was a prayer for an end to gun violence. While some hard-bitten reporters may have rued the level of competition, the fans cheered their favorites and didn’t seem to care.
In the main event 10, Zab Judah launched a comeback. But an accomplished professional of his caliber did not need this soft a re-entry. Judah, 143, Brownsville, Brooklyn, 43-9 (30), had a laugher with Jorge Luis Munguia, 142, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 13-8 (4). Munguia didn’t belong in the ring with Judah, and Zab dispatched him like a wedding crasher. Judah rocked the underdog with a ripping combination in immediate trading that had Munguia clutching desperately like a missed tackle. Zab tossed him down and referee Robert Ali Bashir ruled no knockdown. In the next exchange, the southpaw favorite drilled an obvious right to the groin that crumpled the Honduran to the floor. Bashir ruled a knockdown. Then in a wide-open scramble, Judah landed another right that had the underdog clutching with both arms around his neck like a new bride. Semi-miraculously, Munguia lurched his way out of round one. But when Zab dropped him with a clean right and left in the second, Bashir ruled Popeye time…”enough is too much”…at 1:27.
The co-feature 10 was a terrible contest interrupted by a few flashes of activity. Tall, lanky southpaw Derrick Webster, 168 Paulsboro, 22-1 (11), faced Thomas Awimbono, 168, Accra, Ghana, 25-6-1 (21). Awimbono followed in the dance all night as Webster circled away to the right. The African tried to reach him with right leads…accepted practice against a lefty…but couldn’t make the cutoff or get close enough to score. The best punch of the fight was a spectacularly low blow that crumpled Webster early in the eighth and spurred the underdog to a brief period of frenzied homerun shots before lapsing back into pattern. Webster had one big volley in the ninth, but was satisfied enough with his performance to throw his hands in the air at timekeeper Earl Curry’s final tap in the tenth. Kason Cheeks scored it a shutout for Webster while Lindsey page and Pierre Benoist had a more realistic 98-92. Ricky Gonzalez refereed.
A scheduled six after the main event wasn’t a bad fight even though one-sided. Popular Mike Hilton, 200, Trenton, 5-0 (5), faced Eric George, 199, Niagara Falls, NY, 4-14, in a physical struggle at close quarters. George’s tactic consisted mainly of throwing his whole body into the fray rather than individual punches. Hilton managed to tag him with two or three shots as he lumbered in, then got the better of rugged mauling when he could get his hands free. The physical contest took a toll on George, who lost his mouthpiece for the third time and was penalized by Bashir in the fourth. Solid combos to the body then dropped the exhausted underdog twice in the fifth for a TKO at 2:33.
In fours, then best effort by an underdog came from Damian Lewis, 196 ½, Niagara Falls, 0-3, against Bryan Daniels, 199 ¾, Worcester, 3-0 (1). In a Mutt ‘n’ Jeff pairing, the tall, muscular and rangy favorite used his jab and reach to hold off the squat, stocky underdog into late in the third when Lewis stepped in with a short right that stunned Daniels and had him wobbly to the bell. The fourth was a bit ragged and close, with Daniels winning a fair unanimous decision. Lawrence Layton had the correct score at 39-37, while Eugene (Henry) Grant and Mark Constantino had shutouts.
Popular Jimmy Kelleher, 161 ½, Scranton, 3-0 (3), could do as he pleased against willing but inept Courtney McCleave, 163 ¾, Kannapolis, NC, 2-6 (1), in a scheduled four. The underdog was battered all over the ring and down once in the first, with referee Mary Glover rescuing the wobbly McCleave at 2:26 of the second.
Andy Gonzales, 152, Worc., 5-1 (5), promptly got rid of hopeless Jason Wahr, 151 ½, VA Bch, 4-14-3 (1), in 32 seconds of the opening round of four. Mixing it up, Wahr folded from a right to the body.
By contrast, Brandon Robinson, 173 ¼, Bristol, PA, 1-1 (1), demolished Jermain Corley, 167 ¼, NYC, 0-5, at 2:59 of round one, scheduled four. The two traded in wide-open fury, with Corley first dropped by a sweeping left, then the two tangling up in reckless trading and crashing to the canvas before Robinson settled it with a crushing left hook that planted Corley for the count.
152 Novice – Quadell Everett, Gleason’s Jersey Shore, Long Branch, dec Tyree Arnold, ABC Rec, Phila., 3.
141 Sub Nov – Isaiah Rios, Middletown PAL, dec Connor Daniels, unattached, 3.
141 Nov – Tavajah Gerald, Long Branch PAL, dec Sheldon Devertevill, ABC, 3.
141 Youth – Shinard Bunch, Primal Gym, Hamilton, dec Nafear Charles, Kingsessing Rec, Phila., 3.
178 Open – Vladimir Dalton, Elizabeth Rec, dec Brandon Mullins, Straight 23, Oxford, PA, 3.
In memory of K.O.J.O.