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19 JULY 2018

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Webster Headlines Bristol Return

By J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Where do they all come from? The Philadelphia area has no “big” fights, but small promotions abound in such profusion as to require a scorecard. Rumor had it that D&D Prom’ns (“Doc” Nowicki & Dave Price) were about to revive Grundy Arena in nearby Bristol when the hockey season ended. But one of their headliners, Derrick Webster, evidently jumped ship. So out of nowhere there came Deuce Prom’ns (Ofa Donaldson) and Kane 5 Prom’ns (Bill Kane), aligned with Sacred Downing’s MIS Downing Prom’ns, to reopen the Grundy to boxing on 5/13/17. Coupled with an unseasonable cold snap, the hockey arena was a refrigerator! Nonetheless, some 500 fans showed up, braved the arctic interior, and seemed to enjoy the hero-villain show. There was no booing or projectiles, though the pneumonia toll has yet to be reported. Donaldson did the matchmaking, with help from Renee Aiken, and all the favorites won with relatively slight danger. Mark Fratto, provided with adequate information, did a fine job as ring announcer.


In the main event 10, the aforementioned Derrick Webster, 167, Glassboro, 23-1 (12), faced rugged Frankie Filippone, 166 ½, Norfolk, 22-6-1 (7). It was a bad fight for five rounds and then exploded! In a match of southpaws, the bruiser Filippone showed good footwork in circling away, but hadn’t a clue how to move inside or make the cutoff on his tall and rangy opponent. Frankie didn’t work for points but threw mostly bombs. Webster, for his part, was a virtual opposite, staying behind the long jab and just scoring points in a cautious encounter. Frankie kept it interesting by reaching him on the end of long rights now and then, but Derrick would fall away and his height would take the sting off the end of the punch. The two brought up the crowd in the fourth with a lot of posing, trying to call each other’s bluff. It didn’t work and action virtually died in the fifth. Finally, Webster opened up seriously in the sixth, at last using his left (remember, he’s a southpaw). But action fizzled. Then late in the round, with Derrick on the ropes, Frankie tried over the top with a right, Derrick brought up a crushing short right from the floor, and Filippone folded to the canvas like a paper bag. The crowd went wild, but the round ended. Webster immediately picked it up in the seventh, punishing Filippone in a wild melee, until a long left sent Frankie down. When a glancing flurry quickly dropped the underdog again, referee Eric Dali (all bouts) stopped it, at 0:32.


It wasn’t a barnburner, more a study in boxing, but the best all-around bout on the card was the lone six, between Mikkel [sic] Lespierre, 145 ¾, NYC, 16-0-1 (7), and Jerome Rodriguez, 143 ¾, Allentown, 7-9-3 (2). Again, this was an all-southpaw event. Lespierre was bigger, stronger, and had more sock on his punches, and that defined the contest. Rodriguez tried to be busy and set the pace, though deft circling by Lespierre considerably cut down his output. Jerome never stopped trying to turn it around, stepping up his attack in the fourth until a sweeping right put him back in his place. He was back with a pepped up attack in the fifth, and kept it going through the final round, but Lespierre was clearly deserving of the unanimous nod. Steve Weisfeld scored 58-56, Lindsey Page and Anthony Lundy 59-55.


Talented but too-inactive Vidal Rivera, 132, Camden, 5-0 (3), got the win but little else against Jesus Salas, 132, parts unknown, PR, 1-1 (1), 4. Nobody seemed to know where the underdog hailed from, and his weight probably wasn’t right either, as the late sub towered over Rivera. A stringbean lefty, Salas gave Vidal a tough time getting adjusted in the first, winning the round almost by default. Vidal began to step in and throw lead rights in the second and was able to do just enough in three more dull rounds to pick up a majority win. Weisfeld scored 38-38, while Page and Dewey LaRosa had 39-37. Not a bad call, but too close for a prospect.


Tough Mike Hilton, 199 ¼, Trenton, 6-0 (6), had little trouble getting rid of gangly and awkward Eric Cason, 187, Davenport, IA, in a scheduled four. The solidly built Hilton whacked the underdog to the body, doubling him over like a hairpin. Cason was not officially down, but went to the canvas as an escape, being ruled a slip. He got brief respite for his mouthpiece, but then was crouching and covering his head while Hilton whacked away at will, Dali rightly stopping it at 2:51.


Brandon Robinson, 166, Upper Darby, 2-1 (2), didn’t get much of a challenge but still managed to look good against switch-hitting (that is to say, if he had thrown any punches!) Phillip Legrand, 168 ½, Atlanta, 1-5 (1). The brief struggle had plenty of action, but entirely of the favorite chasing, catching, and bombarding the underdog. Phillip ran and grabbed. That would be enough to shut some fighters down and produce a dull decision. But the spirited favorite was having none of that, going full tilt and firing. Finally, Legrand threw a weak, swiping right and got nailed by a nice, solid right, going down, pulling himself to his knees on the ropes, and seeming to surrender to the ref’s count, a KO at 0:45 of round two of four.


Gorwar Karyah, 125 ½, Monrovia, Liberia, via Upper Darby, debuted and looked good in a lively contest with Jose Homar Rios, 133, Moorhead, MN, 1-5 (1), scheduled four. Brisk trading highlighted a good opening round. But Karyah had the better hands and body shots began to tell on Rios in the second. Dali stopped the contest abruptly at 0:29 of round three, feeling that the underdog was spent and had nothing left to defend himself.


In memory of K.O.J.O.

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