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26 MAY 2018

Where am I? Home Fight Reports

Boxing Returns To Scranton

J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: New promoter and former ring announcer Chris Coyne abandoned the time-honored Genetti Manor which has hosted local boxing for decades in favor of a new venue, the Hilton Hotel & Conference Center in downtown Scranton. An SRO crowd of about 600 packed the room on Friday. Renee Aiken made the matches.


The main event turned out to be a dull six between sleeper Robert Sockwell, 162, E. Stroudsburg, and Antonio Liles, 166, Charlotte. Sockwell can fight, but you have to make him. Liles didn’t. The first round was a feelout session. So were all the rest. The southpaw Sockwell waits and waits and waits to land the perfect punch. The stylish but cautious and inoffensive import gave him little chance. As a result, all the rounds were punch counters, with the favorite edging by three or four. There was no sustained action. Somehow the cat-&-mouse game held the crowd’s attention and no one seemed to mind. The third turned into an interesting grinning contest if nothing else. Both played chicken, standing and egging the other on to commit. Finally, at the ten second tap, Liles landed a good right lead, his best punch of the fight. Robert found this somehow amusing and smiled. Antonio smiled back. They continued smiling to the bell. The underdog failed to try this again, showing no offense through the fourth. Sockwell mounted a slight rally to close the fifth, then finally took control and showed clear dominance in the final session. Bill Nealon scored 59-55, Pierre Benoist and Jack Castellani 60-54, unanimous for Sockwell.


The co-feature six was the exact opposite. Bang! You’re outta here! Local favorite Jason Gavern, 246, Scranton but fighting out of Kissimmee, FL, had an eye-catching match with Joey Dawejko fall out, and ended up with another Philadelphian, Robert Dunton, 239 ¼. The underdog had no intentions of losing, and the two mixed it up furiously in a slugfest. Dunton got a little too ambitious on the attack, left himself open in a crackling exchange, and got drilled by a short right counter. Tottering back, he fell onto the ropes and tried to cover up under a bombardment. Referee Gary Rosato (all bouts) gave him a chance to fight his way out, then stopped the contest, at 2:22 of the opening round. Dunton protested plaintively. Many losers under such circumstances are glad the fight’s over and only putting on a show. But Robert seemed genuinely incensed, even protesting to the promoter at ringside.


Best all-around contest on the card was a sizzling four between Stephon Burgette, 155 ¾, Scranton, and Travis McClaren, 152 ½, Danville, VA. Round one was nearly one long exchange. And they never let up! They landed more punches in one minute than there were in the whole main event. Burgette seemed to hold a slight edge with some solid body work. Stephon switched to making wide circles in round two, but then closed in for a prolonged rally to the bell as he punished the Virginian on the ropes and brought up the crowd. The game underdog had plenty of fight, but in a punishing third, McClaren got too wild and lunged into a right that spun him around. Stephon poured it on at length, then settled into relentless punishment on the inside as Travis was losing steam. But in the final round, the never-say-die opponent was still there fighting and actually winning the round against a slightly tiring Burgette, although a late rally to the bell stole the round for Stephon on two cards. Nealon scored 39-36, the others 40-36, unanimous to Burgette.


A seriously contested but overly crude contest was the four rounder between Rex Harris, Wilkes Barre, 192, and Jose Torres, Springfield, MA, 190. The solidly built southpaw visitor started purposefully and had Harris grabbing and mauling in the first. Harris began moving just enough to land a few counters in round two. Torres was charging menacingly but unable to score. In a weird third, Torres went down after Harris pushed his head down with the left arm and then threw a short right. The crowd got up thinking a knockdown, but Rosato only penalized Harris for riding Torres’ neck. Harris rallied late in a sloppy fourth and pulled out a unanimous win, 39-37 from Castellani and 38-37 from the others.



The opening four didn’t offer much, as Eric Newell, 255, Bethlehem, belted out the smaller Moses Marshall, 224, Springfield, in 1:56 of round one. Marshall was never in the fight, just fading back, ducking and covering. Newell dropped him with a short right which was clean but didn’t look like a knockdown blow. A right to the body sent Moses down again, and finally a right-hand rabbit punch for the finish. Moses motioned to the back of his head in protest to the referee, but Rosato only called a KO.


The opening amateur bouts were marred by chaos, as boxers consistently ended up in the wrong corners, confusing the scoring and resulting in announcer Dave Mehall at one point announcing the wrong winner. Be that as it may, seven bouts took place.

Amateur results:


120 – Fabien Mills, Bunoy Boxing, Scranton, dec. Elijah Pintabone, Pintabone Boxing, Easton, 3.

130 – Rafer Marzan, Jim of Gyms, Pittston, TKO Mike Murrey, Nye’s BC, Lancaster, 3rd.

152 – Rasheed Johnson, Hatfield BC, dec. Chase Wood, Jim of Gyms, 3.

125 – Jesse Morell, Costello BC, Phila.,  dec. Vinny Scarantino, Jim of Gyms, 3.

165 – Howard Sweeny, Scranton BC, dec. Will Feliciano, Jim of Gyms, 3.

139 – Pablo Bonilla-Guerra, Inner City BC, Reading, dec. Davri Aquino, Jim of Gyms, 3. (This was incorrectly announced as a win for Aquino.)

160 – Brian Gibbons, Swoyersville BC, dec. Abrarb Fatta, Tobyhanna BC, 3.


August 2, 2013

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