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26 APRIL 2018

Where am I? Home Fight Reports

Quinones-Ellis Tops York Club Card

J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Too bad, this may have been the finale for boxing at this great little venue, Valencia Ballroom in York, PA, on 11/23/13. The comfy, wood-paneled early 20th-century hall in an old-fashioned small town business district has played host to virtually all the big musical names of the Swing Era, and held great small club boxing in this century.


Whether it be major fights on cable, none of the big three local attractions (Bowman, Nemo, Weimer) on the show.who knows? But only about a hundred fans turned out, and promoter Julio Alvarez (A&D Prom’ns), who has done a great job keeping boxing alive in South Central PA, was not a happy camper.


Those who showed up couldn’t have had a better example of a humbly-conceived card producing sensational contests in terms of action, and the fans were going crazy! Matchmaker Chuck Bayley provided four pro bouts, three of them wars and one comic relief, with no bad decisions.

After a spirited exhibition between Terrance Williams and Ryan Forbes, the pros opened with a slam-bang four! In an odd pairing (for PA) of Ohioans, Julius Leegrand, 129 ?, Cleveland, 4-1-1, faced Micah Branch, 129, Columbus, 2-8-1. Leegrand took the opening round by being a little busier in semi-cautious but energetic boxing.


Micah dug in his heels and started firing with bad intentions to take the second as action increased, but Julius finished stronger to make it close. Leegrand continued the rally into the third, starting fast and peppering Branch with long-armed shots. This time it was Micah’s turn to come back late, digging some good body and body-head shots to close the session.


It was anybody’s fight into the final round, but Branch let everything go, bombarding the overwhelmed Leegrand throughout the round and rocking him late in the session. Bernard Bruni scored 38-38, but Dave Greer and Mike Somma tilted the majority win to Branch, 39-37.

Comedy time was next as promising Khalib "Bigfoot" Whitmore, 183, Phila., 3-0 (1), took on unschooled but willing Martez Williamson, 185, Alliance, OH, 1-4. The innovative Whitmore has a tendency to spice up his act for the fans, but against Williamson, he didn’t need to. Martez hurtles his body into the action, head down and hands flailing maniacally.


The skilled Whitmore tried to garner some order out of this but it wasn’t easy! Getting tied up, Williamson kept hitting as referee Gary Rosato (all bouts) tried to separate them. Bigfoot then threw Martez to the canvas and was pulled down with him.


Rosato stopped the playground fight and chastised them both. It didn’t do much good. The two careened around the ring, punching like windmills and wrestling, with Williamson thrown down again. Into the second, it remained mayhem. Martez wasn’t landing anything cleanly, but his punches were flying around like flak. Whitmore was trying to draw a bead, and twice more shoved him to the canvas.


At last, a knockdown! Khalib managed to put three or four shots on target during a wild melee, and down went Martez. He tried to beat the count by a split second, and did, but Rosato had had enough and called a TKO, at 1:55. Williamson stormed around the ring, vocalizing in protest. It couldn’t be discerned whether that was in earnest or a face-saving act. Stylistically, the bout was garbage, but had an odd entertainment value on its own terms.

The last of the fours was back to a good fight, and ended with the right outcome, a split draw. James Robinson, 154, York, 1-0-2, matched tactics with Malik "The Freak" Jackson, 152, 0-1-2, in furious trading. Both fighters bailed out full-tilt on nearly every punch, but there was method to the madness.



Malik was the aggressor, but his full swings enabled the swivel-hipped Robinson to duck, slip or partially block most of it. Meanwhile, Robinson’s counters were cleaner. With the corner screaming frenziedly, James would dig the right underneath as Jackson tried to move inside from a crouch, and landed some body blows and uppercuts with noticeable effect.


But Malik remained undiscouraged, and by the third round of frenetic action, Robinson began to lose it, fading back and getting tagged with some of Malik’s long punches. The final round was total madness, with both going all out, but the stronger Jackson battering the tiring Robinson even though James landed many clean counters.


The verdict could go either way, but a draw seemed the best call, with James taking the first two and Malik coming on in the second half. Greer had it 38-38, with the others 39-37 both ways, Bruni for Robinson, Somma for Jackson. Good verdict, great fight!

The main event was a rematch between Sammy Quinones, 137, York, 4-2 (1), and Ramon Ellis, 135 ?, Phila., 4-10-2 (2), six. Ellis had embarrassed Sammy by stopping him in his debut. But Quinones has come back since then, losing only to all-star prospect Damon Allen. Like the war that preceded it, this one left nothing on the table!


Sammy put sharp combinations together and showed better hands to take the first. He turned the second into a tour de force, putting punches together sharply and nearly taking the willing and aggressive Ellis apart! Ramon couldn’t get off his punches moving in, but wanted to manhandle Sammy on the inside. In the third, he got into the action, and a clash of heads produced a nick on Quinones’ right eye. It did not prove a factor.


Torrid exchanging continued through the rest of the fight, with the action edging ever more to the inside. But even at close quarters Sammy’s hands and combos consistently got the better of the mixing, with Ramon’s right eye puffy in the latter rounds. The final round was WWIII as Ellis would not give up, but Quinones was just plain too good this time around. Two cards were shutouts and one 59-55. 

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