By J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: “Doc” Nowicki and Dave Price (D&D Prom’ns) ran their second show in Bristol, PA, north of Philly on Saturday, this time teaming with Chazz Witherspoon & Chris Cappella (Silver Spoon Prom’ns), who have been running sporadic small cards around New Jersey for years. Once again, only a small turnout, about 250, saw the show at Grundy Arena on 8/6/16. For the pure fan, who doesn’t care who’s fighting, who won, or any other information, this place is ideal. The non-existent “sound system” had ring announcer Nino Del Buono valiantly struggling to be heard and bravely apologizing to the fans as the sound echoed to its death in the cavernous ice hockey arena.
The paid-for bouts were all record-builders, as the favorites went 8-0 and most weren’t seriously challenged. Dave Price was listed as matchmaker, with Renee Aiken, Zach Pomilio, and Chris Middendorf all seen on the premises. All considered, there was a lot of action and fans weren’t disappointed, even to the extent of not being forced to abide until after midnight as on many small shows which attempt to cover lack of contests with various forms of time-filling nonsense.
The top bout was a scheduled six featuring one of the promoters, Chazz Witherspoon, 235, Paulsboro, NJ, 35-3 (27), against Mike Marrone, 243 ¼, Vero Beach, FL, 21-6 (15). It wasn’t much. The visitor was once a promising heavyweight prospect, seriously trained by the iconic Lou Duva. But that was ’07. After the Atlantic City judges gave him a bad decision in a good fight against unbeaten Malachy Farrell, he went to Italy against another unbeaten, was stopped, and hasn’t been a threat since. Nor was he this night. Marrone easily went down twice from poking rights in the first round, neither of which appeared as genuine knockdown punches. He did jolt Witherspoon with a counter left hook when Chazz went to finish him after the second knockdown. That got him as far as round two. This time, the favorite landed a solid overhand right, a clean blow, sweeping Marrone’s feet out from under him and crashing him horizontally onto the canvas. He did beat referee Hurley McCall’s count and was ready to resume, but a handler surprised everyone by jumping onto the apron and waving towel. It was 1:31.
Trying to regain his old polish and restart his career, once-promising Emmanuel Taylor, 140 ¾, Edgewood, MD, 20-4 (14), took out Carlos Aguilera, 137 ½, somewhere in Chiapas (Chiapas is a state, not a city), MX, 10-18 (4), in the third of a scheduled eight. Aguilera was scrappy and threw punches but without much on them, while the coolly stalking Taylor settled down on his shots and made them count. It was only a matter of time, and in the third, Emmanuel fired combos to the head, bringing up Carlos’ guard, then ripped a left hook to the ribs that folded Aguilera to his knees for the count, at 2:07.
For purists, the best bout on the show was a four that went the distance between promising Sam Teah, 139, Phila., 8-1-1 (2), and Sam Amoako, 138 ½, Silver Spring, MD, 21-13 (15). Teah was composed and resolute, applying a constant low flame that kept Amoako on defense and unable to mount more than an occasional unsuccessful attempt at fighting his way into the contest. A broken rope briefly delayed the start of the final round, giving Teah the chance to play up his impending victory to his fans during the wait. It was a unanimous shutout.
But for action, the best contest was an all-out shootout between Elijah Vines, 152 ¼, Phila., 3-0 (3), and game but wide open Julian Valerio, 155 ¼, Brooklyn, scheduled four. The underdog came in primed to win and had no problem letting his hands go. He did have a problem on defense, though, and got hit square with nearly everything that the sharper favorite threw back. In a wild opening round, Vines went to the canvas during an exchange and Hurley ruled no knockdown, eliciting some gestures of protest from Julian. Elijah immediately charged him, threw a sweeping overhand right that landed behind the ear, and Julian was now the one on the canvas. This one Hurley did rule a knockdown, again drawing protest from the victim. The subsequent battle was torrid trench warfare, culminating when Vines was dropped by an inside left hook during an exchange. He smartly got out of it, though, and by round’s end was hanging Valerio out on the ropes. As the violence escalated, Valerio went down from a clearly low blow early in round two, with Hurley giving him an extended rest. The remainder of the round was take-no-prisoners trading at close quarters, but Vines was landing the more punishing shots and Valerio was visibly weakening. Early in the third, a straight right snapped Julian’s head back like a paddle ball and Elijah poured on the punishment with both hands. But Valerio would not yield and fought his way out of it. Finally, when the underdog’s whole body sagged from an inside left hook, everyone but Julian knew it was Popeye time, enough was too much, and Hurley stopped it, at 2:30. The no-quit loser protested so vigorously that he had to be restrained so that the doctor could check him.
By contrast, popular Jaron Ennis, 144 ¾, Phila., 5-0 (5), won in a showpiece performance over Matthew Murphy, 143 ½, St. Louis, 1-3 (1), scheduled four. The compact visitor tried to bob-and-weave inside against the rangy southpaw favorite. But the classy Ennis had no trouble stepping around and taking shots as he pleased. Murphy finally folded under a blur of punches in the second, and when a right to the body dropped him again, referee Blair Talmadge counted him out at 2:52.
And in another contrast, it was ugly, but touted Michael Hilton, 196, Trenton, 3-0 (3), wore down and stopped a desperately clutching Cortez Reed, 197, Atlanta, 1-3 (1), in a scheduled four. The stocky favorite had trouble penetrating against the tall, standup foe in round one. But by the second, Reed was ducking right leads, falling inside, and grabbing. The wrestling got worse into the final round, with Hilton battering Reed to head and body whenever he could get a free hand and Cortez doing nothing but holding, until Hurley got fed up and justly called a TKO at 1:57.
LeShawn Rodriguez, 160 ½, Shirley, LI, 4-0 (3), got a win and nothing else out of glad-to-be-here Jason Wahr, 153 ¾, Virginia Beach, 4-13 (3), in a scheduled four. Wahr offered no challenge and folded meekly in 1:55 of round one. A left hook to head and right to the body accounted for the first knockdown, the same combo in reverse for the second, and when Jason flopped a third time from a glancing left hook, Hurley had seen enough.
It was a crude but spirited contest between Luis Perozo, 132, NYC, 2-1 (1), and Alberto Martinez, 134 ½, Tifton, GA, 0-2, in the opening four. After Perozo lost the first while moving away, most of the remainder was fought with the two leaning on each other and whacking away. Double lefts to the body dropped Martinez in the second and the stronger Perozo generally dished out more punishment. But the underdog hung gamely and extended the favorite the distance, with Perozo winning 39-36 on all cards (Lynne Carter, Gail Jasper, and Bernard Bruni).
In memory of K.O.J.O.