A press conference was held on Wednesday at Philadelphia’s Sugarhouse Casino for their upcoming show on Friday, 12/16, promoted by Hard Hitting Promotions. Although the new venue on the club scene is a fine site for boxing, for a press conference it falls a bit short of the familiar Local 57 Labor Union Hall on N. 6th St. Kurt Wolfheimer conducted proceedings as PR man. As usual, there was no free food. Also as usual, ring announcer Patrick Michael Fattore did a fine job hosting the affair, despite a horrendously poor sound system and brutally distracting noise from the jubilant winners on the adjacent casino floor.
The 8-bout card aims at developing local talent. The featherweight main event features Luis Lebron, a Puerto Rican now fighting out of Philly, versus Roberto Rodriguez Corea, a Nicaraguan at 9-11-4 (4) coming off two big wins in Mexico. Lebron, 6-0-1 (3), struggled in his debut here, falling victim to the slap-dash style of local spoiler Tyrone Luckey and ending with the only blemish on his record. Commented Lebron through promoter Manny Rivera as interpreter, “My last event, I wasn’t happy with the decision and it made me more mentally focused for this fight.” Luis had been scheduled to fight 10-2 Raul Lopez, but Lopez fell out. Rivera commented that no matter who they tried to get as a replacement, Luis was up for it. “We’ve been having a hard time with opponents, but I’ll take on all comers,” Lebron averred. The bout is scheduled eight.
At welter, Jaron Ennis is scheduled six with Marcus Beckford, 3-4-3 (1), of Lafayette, LA. Out of a famous fighting family, Jaron, at 7-0 (6), observed, “I learn from everybody, both my brothers and my dad.” Rivera advised, “You don’t want to go buy popcorn because you’re gonna miss the fight!”
Another top local prospect, Emmanuel Folly, 8-0 (6), should have a laugher at bantam versus Chicago’s Angel Carvajal, 2-5, who has been stopped previously by Folly and also by another fighter on this card, Christian Carto. “I never go into a fight thinking I’m going to lose…I’m just doing my job, so that’s not on my mind,” the understated Folly observed drily. Rivera expounded, “He’s a warrior for us in the streets,” a reference to Emmanuel’s occupation as a Philadelphia police officer.
Speaking of Carto, the 5-0 (5) bantam meets globe-trotting Puerto Rican Harold Reyes, 2-6-1, who is not an easy KO victim. The matter-of-fact Carto had no elaboration, but Rivera offered, “The man has few words but you gotta come and see him fight!” Manny added, “He’s a throwback fighter to the Old Days in Philadelphia.”
A light heavy six is a daring match for nearby Wilmington’s David Murray, 5-1 (4), who risks unbeaten (3-0) Kenmon Evans, from the boxing hotbed of New Smyrna Beach, FL. After a recent opponent fall-out, Murray casually observed, “Getting back in there was easy for me because I train all year ‘round.”
At lightweight, another high-risk match pits 1-bout prospect Branden Pizarro (1-0, 1 KO), against one of the toughest undercard opponents to campaign in Philly recently, Florida’s Jesus Lule, 9-19-1 (1). What he lacks in punch, the underdog more than makes up in relentless attack and represents a possibly premature step up for the popular local. The confident Pizarro promised, “”It’s a rough-&-tough training camp and Friday night I’m gonna put him away.He’s been in with a lot of people but he hasn’t been in with me!”
Another popular local, Jeremy Cuevas, 1-0 (1), goes against not-too-threatening Tom Mills, 1-6, at jr. welter, in Mills’ first fight outside of FL. Cuevas observed, “Fighting on my 21st birthday, I feel that’s just an early birthday present because I know what I’m going home with.” Rivera elaborated on Jeremy’s drive, “There are fighters who come to the gym and train, but there are few warriors.”
At welter, debuting Kevin Johnson, of Las Vegas, meets 0-2 Austin Ward, Kansas City.
Main eventer Lebron summarized the local scene: “I felt at home. The Latin community here in Philadelphia supports boxing and the fans know boxing.” Without realizing it, he outlined why Philly is a great sports city, not just for boxing. Fans understand what they’re watching. And Friday night should put them to the test.