Shafikov Scores Upset, Szymanski Booed in Reading
J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Marshall Kauffman has been a two-faced promoter…in the good sense of the term, that is…promoting his own cards and fighters in Reading for years, and more recently, as the point man for Al Haymon anywhere in the area. On 7/2/16, Kauffman’s Kings Prom’ns combined both fronts in an extravaganza at Reading’s major downtown arena, the Santander. The off-TV portion started the evening and headlined local fighters in every bout, even defying Haymon’s PBC rules by having card girls. After the five-bout local show, ESPN and Teddy Atlas took over to top the card with matchmaker Nelson Lopez’ headliners.
The two top bouts were good fights. In the main event, a mild upset occurred between Jamel Herring, 134 ½, Cinc., 15-1 (8), and Denis Shafikov, 134 ½, Miass (Is someone kidding here?), Russia, 37-2-1 (20). Both southpaws, but with notably different styles, the two waged a ferocious battle. The crowd favorite Herring exhibited the typical flashy, flamboyant Cincinnati style out of an upright, mobile stance. The smaller and more proletarian Russian bore in relentlessly. But he made himself even smaller with a crouching bob and weave while constantly firing pistons that cleared the minefield. Herring kept up a steady patter of counters, but couldn’t plant himself well enough to halt the invasion in its tracks. By late in round two, Jamel was almost in flight when a right hook sent him spinning into the ropes where a short left nailed the momentarily fixed target and sent Herring to the canvas. He arose in time for the bell, but the fight was now in new territory with the favorite battling uphill.
Round three was brutal trench warfare. Jamel ripped resounding body shots underneath, trying to force Shafikov out of his crouch. The Russian responded in kind and the fight became a wild-west shootout. Denis was cautioned by referee Gary Rosato for hitting the back of the head, as well as cautions to both for beltline body shots. By round’s end, the indefatigable Russian had secured the high ground and was coming on. The withering pace continued unrelenting, with Herring reached by a long left and rocked in the fifth, but fighting back gamely. In the second half, Jamel began to show signs of yielding to the pressure. He began tying Shafikov up inside in round six and suffered a cut right eye in the seventh. It could have been a punch or a head clash; there were many of both in rapid succession.
Still, Herring was very much into the action, until the final two rounds nailed down the coffin lid. Early in the ninth, Jamel was trying to octopus, but Denis got a free left hand and whacked him, with Herring’s knees giving out and almost collapsing to the canvas. He took a withering beating in the round, but still fought back, when a weak punch was countered by a jarring right hook that wobbled Jamel a second time in the round. There was a lot of concern in his corner and a visit by the doctor, but he looked fit coming out for the final session. The Russian was all too ready, quickly nailing him with a clean, solid left. Herring’s corner jumped up to stop it as Commissioner Greg Sirb signaled to the referee that it was over, 36 seconds into the final round. Shafikov had a big lead on all cards, 87-83 from Steve Weisfeld, 88-82 from Tony Lundy, and 88-81 from Allen Rubenstein.
The semi-final 10 was a good fight, but antics by favorite Patrysk Szymanski, who had entered to spirited cheers from a Polish contingent, provoked boos at the final bell. Szymanski, 153 ½, Konin, Poland, 16-0 (9), gained a hard-earned unanimous decision from Wilky Campfort, 153 ½, Ft. Lauderdale, 21-3 (12). With Szymanski much taller and rangier, Campfort boxed out of a squared stance and edged forward, but was never able to close inside while walking into shots in the effort. In the explosive fourth, Szymanski put together an extended volley, stunning Wilky when he smartly doubled the right from an uppercut to a short right cross. But Wilky got away and fought back, landing a good right just before the bell. Wilky topped bitter exchanges in the fifth with one big right hand bomb, then styled to the crowd as if he’d won at the bell. But it wasn’t going to be that easy.
The contest got progressively ugly in the second half, with Patrysk keeping Wilky at bay with booming body shots that unabashedly drifted low, drawing boos and cautions from referee Benjy Esteves. Patrysk also bicycled around the ring with Wilky at times almost seeming to chase him, again not a tactic endearing him to the fans. Szymanski kept control of the fight but hardly nailed down a proud win by his antics in the final round. Patrysk hurt Wilky with a surprise right. Trying to capitalize, he raked the body with borderline shots again, and when Esteves stepped in to put the kibosh on this, sneaked Wilky with a cheap shot. Wilky dramatically went to a knee in a histrionic plea for sympathy, or perhaps a DQ, while Benjy bawled out the offender. Serious exchanging ensued, with Szymanski getting the better of it, but then breaking stride and bicycling to the final bell. The crowd had had enough and booed, all through the subsequent announcement of the scores; Weisfeld 98-92, Lundy and Bernard Bruni 99-91.
Popular local veteran Kermit Cintron, 152, Reading, 37-5-2 (28), excited his fans while continuing his comeback, with a unanimous decision over difficult Carlos Garcia, 154 ½, Aguada, PR, eight. The bout was conducted at long range, with Cintron stalking and picking his punches carefully while Garcia boxed a rear guard action. Good mixing in round four brought the crowd up for the first time in the evening, with the two getting tangled up and crashing to the canvas. Cintron jarred Garcia with a left hook. Action peaked in the fifth, with Kermit rocking Carlos with a long right. Garcia circled away as the fight calmed in round six, but they brought the crowd back with a rock-‘em, sock-‘em final session in which Kermit landed jolting rights at least three times while Carlos fought back. Adam Friscia scored 80-72, Bruni and Weisfeld 79-73.
Frankie DeAlba, 130 ½, Reading, 19-2-2 (8), TKO’d Jonathan Perez, 131, Barranquilla, Col., 35-15 (28), at 1:50 of the third of eight. After two cautious rounds, the two began to mix, until the underdog got set to punch and the southpaw favorite clipped him on the chin with a right hook, sending Perez to all fours. Jonathan got up and tried to flurry to the body but the same shot sent him down again. When he arose and stood with arms dangling, Esteves waved it over.
Prospect Stephen Fulton, 122, Phila., 9-0 (5), was much too much for skinny and hapless lefty Christian Renteria, 119, Tijuana, 5-3 (4), in a scheduled six. The underdog offered nothing but a body, being rocked repeatedly by rights in the first round. In the second, he was taking a beating when a double right pitched him forward onto hands and knees. In the third, he was dropped again, by a right in a neutral corner, and Rosato stopped it, at 1:38.
Amateur standout Christian Carto, 117 ½, Deptford, NJ, debuted and stopped Rahkeam Parker, 117, Laurel, MS, 0-3, who failed to come out for the fourth and final round. Parker was no stiff and moved well, but the experienced Carto kept up a steady, controlled pressure that discouraged the underdog into defeat.
Miguel Martinez, 156, Reading, 2-1, won a unanimous decision over Antonio Allen, 154 ½, Phila., 0-2, four. The towering southpaw visitor couldn’t keep Martinez at bay, as Miguel bulldozed him behind overhand rights. Allen seemed to ignite a chance to turn the fight in round two when he got uppercuts working as Martinez tried to bore in. But Miguel turned up the heat and nailed down a punishing round three, and won a shutout on all cards.
Kashon Hutchinson, 139, Deptford, debuted with a slick stoppage of game but outgunned Robert Ramos, 137 ½, Allentown, 1-5-1 (1), in 2:44 of the second, scheduled four. The southpaw Hutchinson jolted Ramos with a right hook in the first, dropped him with a sharp right hook and straight left in round two, then had him hurt on the ropes when referee Eric Dali stopped it.
A good evening of boxing ended strangely but fittingly in a terrible six between Erik Spring, 151, Reading, 7-1-1 (1), and James Robinson, 154, York, 3-4-3 (1). The crowd of about a thousand had emptied out, the TV cameras had shut down and Teddy left, but a vocal contingent of local loyalists remained in support of Spring. They made as much noise as the contest was bad (a mixed metaphor). Neither could land a punch in the first until Robinson scored a right counter at the timekeeper’s tap. Round two was highlighted by big misses, but the lanky southpaw Spring managed to reach Robinson a few times. Action escalated in the next two as Robinson hurtled his body into it, pinning Erik on the ropes in wild, flailing volleys that weren’t very effective but did score points. Then with James seemingly tiring from the undisciplined effort, Spring got enough room to land long, telegraphed punches in the final two. Round six was ragged and spirited, with the midnight fans going crazy. The verdict was a split draw. Bruni scored for Spring, 58-56, Rubenstein had Robinson, 59-55, and Weisfeld had the best card at 57-57.
In memory of K.O.J.O.
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July 2, 2016