J. R. Jowett reporting: Russell Peltz reopened the multi-named venue in S. Philly now known as the 2300 Arena. Each promoter has given the place a new name, but club-style boxing has been an attraction here for decades. Peltz presented eight bouts with co-feature eights. All bouts were competitive and, amazingly, there were no bad decisions!
Naim Nelson, 139 1/2, Phila., 12-0 (1), and Jerome Rodriguez, 140 1/4, Allentown, 6-1-3 (2), put on a scrappy contest that was two bouts in one. The southpaw Rodriguez held Nelson at bay in the first with a busy jab. Naim got the lead right working in the second and brought the contest to closer quarters. Jerome began dropping the left behind the jab to come back in the third. Nelson caught him on the ropes late in the fourth to pull out a close round.
But the second half was all Nelson. Rodriguez was merely evasive in the fifth while Nelson controlled the action. Naim began working him on the ropes in a strong sixth and then jolted Rodriguez with potshots from long range in the seventh. Rodriguez tried to regain control in the eighth and cut Naim’s left eye. Nelson has had trouble with cuts but seems to fight through them. He came back in a fast-paced finish to pull out the round and gain the unanimous decision. Allen Rubenstein scored 77-75, Lynne Carter 79-73, and Pierre Benoist 80-72. Steve “Sextuple S” Smoger refereed.
The contest between Joey Dawejko, 240 3/4, Phila., 10-3-2 (3), and Mark Rideout, 238, Phila., 4-1-2 (1), was also two in one. But this time the first half was a good fight while the second was a mauler. The roly-poly Dawejko has good technical skills despite his rotund appearance. In the first half, he faded back, slipped punches, and popped short left hook counters. In the third, he began teaming the hooks with rights over the top as Rideout tried to lean away, and won the round big. In the fourth, he went back to carefully selected left hooks.
But beginning with the fifth, Dawejko started to lose his sharpness while the disinterested Rideout did little to turn the fight around. It became punch-and-grab, with little action beyond one at a time in the second half of the contest. Fans were happy anyway, and a "Joey! Joey!" chant regularly burst forth. Mark did a lot of talking in the seventh, but wasn’t doing much else. Evidently Dawejko’s surprisingly slippery style for a guy who’s built like a beach ball was too much for Rideout to deal with and he looked bemused at the unanimous verdict in Joey’s favor. Carter scored 78-74 and Benoist and Eric Dali both 79-73. Shawn Clark refereed.
In the night’s most dramatic bout, a pyrotechnic four, flashy Nathaniel Rivas, 147 ½, Lindenwold, 4-0 (1), started fast, then withstood a stubborn comeback by Jovan Sosa, 145, Bronx, 2-1, to hold onto the unanimous win. The lanky Rivas came out firing sharp and punishing blows, and it wasn’t long before Jovan found himself on the floor. The jab had Sosa’s head snapping back, and when Nat put a glancing right behind it, Jovan went to the canvas. Shortly after, in a blistering exchange, a left hook rocketed him to the deck again. It looked like Sosa had a short future, but he hung tough, managed to force the fight to closer range, and worked a steady tattoo of push-punches that kept him in it. Starting the second, Jovan was quickly dropped again after walking into a left hook. But from that point on, the seemingly beaten underdog would not relent. In the final two, the bleeding favorite gave ground and got pummeled whenever Sosa could walk him down. All 38-35.
Well-regarded Anthony Burgin, 135 ½, Phila., 7-0 (1), got good rounds and almost a little too much from trialhorse Ramon Ellis, 137 ¾, Phila., 4-11-2 (2), in a lively six. Ramon trudged forward with scarcely a backward step, but for the most part, the circling favorite was too fleet, too quick, too good. Except for when he tried to move out of a crisp exchange in the second round and Ramon caught his chin with a long left hook. Anthony was rattled and an upset was hanging in the balance. But he kept his composure enough to slip, dodge and grab his way out of it, and by round’s end was back giving as good as he took. In the third, the switch-hitting Burgin showed he wasn’t gun shy, started letting his hands go, and for the rest of what remained an entertaining contest it was all Burgin; all 59-55.
Highly touted Milton Santiago, 143 ¼, Warminster, 5-0 (3), was the only one fighting in a listless six against a guy who’s been around, Josh Beeman, 146, Providence, 5-17-3 (2). The switch-hitting Santiago showed flashy hands and that’s all it took versus the shopworn roadie.
Lack of size didn’t hinder Hector Perez, 214, Pleasantville, NJ, 2-0 (1), from chopping down the bigger Aaron Leonard, 215 ½, Phila., 1-3-1 (1), in 0:23 of the third of four. The first two rounds were close in a good contest. The compact Perez landed one booming overhand right in the second and mounted a volley of short punches to the bell. He must have sensed it was his as he came out for the third firing on all cylinders. The tiring Leonard was stopped on his feet when referee Clark gave him the quick thumb.
In a dreadfully inconsequential four, David Gonzales, 142 ¾, Phila., 5-0 (1), took the unanimous win from Omar Brito, 142, Vineland, 2-2 (1). Unable to find each other on the end of a punch, they lurched, missed and wrestled. The slightly sharper Gonzales managed to land enough counters to win by shutout, as his opponent wasn’t scoring much at all.
The long evening closed with a barn burner! Debuting Sharif Jones, 160, Phila., bounced into the ring flamboyantly decked in leprechaun garb, looking like it was the opening four instead of the closer. That’s about as far as he got. Stringbean Vincent Floyd, 158 ½, Phila., 1-0-1, beat the begorrah out of him. The cut and athletic Jones just couldn’t deal with his opponent’s towering height, getting clocked as he tried to move inside. Early in the first, he was on the floor. Trying to throw a lead right, he paid the price of distance as he got caught by a short right hook from his southpaw foe. A late second round rally had Sharif bleeding profusely from the nose, and the doctor was a long time letting him answer for the third. Jones was game, though, even while continuing to take a brutal drubbing. Dali scored 40-35, generous to Jones, while somehow Benoist and Carter gave him a round, 39-36. Now if he’d only pick on someone his own size…
The show was promoted by Peltz Boxing & BAM Boxing, and didn’t quite fill the 1100 seat arena. Has anyone noted the relative lack of KOs on the records? That’s not because these guys can’t fight and it’s not because they can’t punch. It’s because when you fight for Peltz, you don’t get a bum. Everybody has to earn their Ws. The show had one sad note, the final local appearance of long-time popular and polished ring announcer Larry Tornambe (a/k/a “Torma”). He’s not committing suicide; worse, he’s moving to Arizona.
MAY 16, 204