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18 NOVEMBER 2018

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Main Event Fallout Doesn’t Kill Harrisburg Show


J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside (more or less): The best laid plans of mice and boxing promoters may go astray. But boxing promoters can land on their feet. The sport in Harrisburg, PA, has always run hot and cold, and presently, with three local gyms and a steady promotion, the scene has been upbeat and hopeful.

 

On 4/21/18, promoter/matchmaker Andrew Foy (Titans Boxing Prom’ns) had planned an excellent card around the comeback of talented in-&-outer Josh Bowles. But the star hurt his shoulder in training and the main event had to be canceled. But not the show! Instead, the intrepid promoter went ahead with the undercard and put on a fine, though modest, event. Young local talent got work. Without the main event, only a small crowd of perhaps 350 showed up, but they got their money’s worth! The show was at the Zembo Mosque, an absolutely beautiful old lodge hall that has hosted boxing, on and off, for decades. Sheriff Nick Chimienti Jr did the ring announcing, and Madra Clay was timer.

 

Promoted to the top of the card was a good six between local talent, Shakeem Hodge, 163 ½, Reading, 5-1-1 (4), and Terrance Williams, 163, York but now out of Harrisburg, 4-2-1 (1). After extensive local campaigning as an amateur, Hodge had built a pro record against nonentities in the South, with this his first local appearance as a professional. Williams’ amateur career was primarily in collegiates at Shippensburg U., and he has been a difficult opponent on the pro level. After nothing much happened in the first, Shakeem began to force the action in the second. He relied primarily on the sneak right, as opposed to the lead right, the weapon of choice versus a southpaw. Terrance tried to establish a countering game, but wasn’t scoring. A sneak right wobbled Terrance early in the second, as the spirited Hodge had a good round, but Williams used a long right jab to break up Shakeem’s attack. The fourth was a tight and tense round, fought mainly at closer range, which favored the less mobile Williams. It continued as such through the fifth, with Williams having a good flurry where he worked Shakeem over on the ropes. With the fight on the line in the final round, it was a wide-open session with neither gaining an advantage. The more sturdy Williams muscled Hodge on the inside, but Shakeem came back with long punches when he had range, with a left-right sending Terrance’s mouthpiece flying.

 

As the fans waited anxiously, no one had an idea who was going to win this one, and the air was electric. Bernard Bruni scored 58-56 Williams, Robert Rubnitz had Hodge by the same score, and Adam Friscia tied it at 57-57, a split draw. Given the tight action throughout, none of the scores were out of line and a draw seemed a fitting outcome.

 

Promising Roy McGill, 139 ½, Harrisburg, 4-1 (2), was able to thrill his fans at will against debuting lefty Nyrome Lynch, 146 ½, Phila., in a scheduled four. The short, stocky visitor was never able to get within range against the standup, long-armed favorite. Roy tattooed him freely with long punches over and under until a long right sent Lynch down. Nyrome tried gamely to get back into the contest, but could get no offense going under bombardment. When a left hook to the ribs froze the belabored underdog on the ropes, referee Gary Rosato stopped it, at 2:28 of round one.

 

The best action bout on the card was a slambanger all the way between Jeftef Rodriguez,140 ¼, Lebanon, 1-1-1, and debuting Eric Hernandez, 140 ½, H’bg, four. The tall, standup Rodriguez circled and countered in the opening round while the local favorite stalked. But in the second, the flow changed markedly. Hernandez bored in, but held hands high and tight and couldn’t get shots off. Meanwhile, the loose and long-limbed Jeftef was letting both hands go full tilt and tattooing him with sweeping punches. In the third, Rodriguez gave up his reach advantage and turned to solid inside trading to dominate the gritty but outgunned Hernandez, who continued to battle determinedly through the final round. All 40-36 for Rodriguez.

 

The show opened with a good scheduled four between Carl Murphy, 172 ½, H’bg, 1-1 (1), and Mike Anderson, 171 ¼, Phila., 0-2. The local favorite had an ever-so-slight advantage in size, but fought carefully as the first two had steady action but little to distinguish either boxer. Late in the second, Anderson seemed to begin showing signs of tiring and the message evidently wasn’t lost on Murphy. Carl came out with new purpose in the third, setting Mike up with the jab and whacking the body with rights. When Anderson began to give ground and cover without answering, Murphy poured it on with both hands until referee Tim Shipley was forced to stop it, at 1:59.

 

Javier Oquendo, 129 ¾, Phila., 3-0 (1), stopped debuting Hakim Smith, 130 ¾, Phila., at the end of the first of four. Smith came out ambitiously but the calm and rangier Oquendo assumed control after the initial burst with his reach advantage. Nonetheless, the round was close until the timekeeper’s tap, when Oquendo attacked with Smith trapped in his own corner. Hakim tried to escape along the ropes, but in the confusion, his feet got tangled and he was more or less pushed over by a left for a round-ending knockdown. Although it didn’t look like a damaging blow, Hakim had had enough and quit in his corner. Shipley refereed.




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