J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Diane Fischer-Cristiano’s Dee Lee Prom’ns has kept the once-active state of Delaware alive since the demise of the once-significant Dover Downs boxing program years ago.
J.R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Diane Fischer-Cristiano’s Dee Lee Prom’ns has kept the once-active state of Delaware alive since the demise of the once-significant Dover Downs boxing program years ago. On 3/30/19, Dee Lee promoted to an SRO crowd of a good 800 at Hockessin PA Center, just south of the PA border in Hockessin. This has been the site of a regular program of grass-roots shows providing opportunity for local boxers, but has been kept off the radar due to constant competition from cards in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, as there was this night. Select bouts were shown on HigherThan7, a fledgling ‘netcast that promises to challenge DAZN and Netflix. “We don’t have the dollars but we’ve got the will,” threatens ringside analyst Anis Taylor. The Alabama Commission ran the show. Nick Tiberi was matchmaker, Nino DelBuono ring announcer and Fenton Lemmon kept time.
The main event was a brisk scrap in which Ismael “Tito” Garcia, 155, from right across the mighty Delaware River in Vineland, NJ, 11-0-1 (4), faced African journeyman Fabian Lyimo, 152 ¾, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, 23-9-2 (15), eight. Garcia was a flat-footed stalker, using his left well, while Lyimo was up on his toes, moving all around the ring. Fabian had the odd habit of breaking away, dropping his hands and bending toward the canvas as if he was taking a knee, and then straightening back up. By the second, Garcia was slipping long punches and countering smartly. The third was long range windmilling, highlighted by one sharp right by Garcia. The African was peppering him with punches in the fourth but Tito slipped and countered well. The second half was fought at closer range, as Lyimo may have been slowing after all the footwork. Fabian was in the mix in the fifth, but Tito had a good sixth by pulling back just enough to allow punching room and then putting over clean shots. The final two had them showing signs of fatigue and leaning on, but whenever Garcia maneuvered some room, Lyimo paid. The contest wasn’t a barn burner, but had steady action and held the crowd’s interest. Marc Werlinsky and Robert Rubnitz scored 79-73, Gail Jasper 80-72, unanimous for Garcia. “The Arthur Mercante of Delaware”, Vic de Wysocki, refereed.
In a barn burner and crowd pleasing women’s brawl, popular Schmelle Baldwin, 170, Newark, DE, 3-0-1 (2), and Kayla “Lady Beast” Williams, 167 ½, New Iberia, LA, 0-2-1, battled to a split draw, four (two minutes). The first round was solid banging from flat-footed stances, with the better hands of Schmelle dominating but Williams gamely answering. In the second, the short, tank-like visitor changed tactics, used her weight to bulldoze inside and battered away to the body. With momentum shifting in a hectic struggle, Williams started the third with an all-out body assault until Schmelle drove her back with a clean left hook. Baldwin then protected her ribs with a tight guard, many of Kayla’s non-stop body shots caught on elbows, but still enough getting through to make it anybody’s fight. The withering inside banging continued to the final bell, anybody’s fight. And so it was, as Rubnitz scored 39-37 for the local favorite, Werlinsky had the visitor by the same score, and Jasper tied it at 38-38.
Joey Tiberi, Jr, 139 ½, Bear, DE (the one-time home of vaunted matchmaker Eric Bottjer), 17-3 (9), battled out a nice win over game Benjamin Borteye, 137 ¾, Silver Spring, MD, 4-6 (4), in an action four. Both fighting out of shallow stances, Borteye pressed the action and bailed out while Tiberi stepped in and tattooed him with left-rights as he came in. Borteye upped the ante with haymakers in a hectic third, missing and getting countered until a left-right and left jarred Tiberi along the ropes, just before the bell and too late. Borteye was checked by the doctor after a clash cut his left eye in the fourth, with Tiberi getting the unanimous decision, 40-36 from Rubnitz and 39-37 from the others.
Popular Justin Riley, 135, Hockessin, 0-1-1, and Hakim Smith, 136, Phila., 1-1-1, put on a brisk battle to a rare unanimous draw, four. Hakim took a feelout first, moving smartly behind the jab. The two began exchanging in a close second before Justin’s aggressiveness and a good counter right late in the round brought the crowd up in the third. With the fight on the line, the fourth was a wild scramble, dominated by misses, but Riley was on the attack and Smith giving ground.
Vinnie Kirkley, 146, New Castle, 3-0 (3), fought a crowd pleaser and emerged with a TKO over debuting Joshua Underwood, 139 ¾, Phila., in a scrappy scheduled four. Action was fast form the start, with Kirkley showing good poise in flat-footed stalking while Underwood provided an elusive target on his toes. Kirkley effectively walked him down in a heated second, rallying to the bell with full swings while Underwood fired back and the fans went crazy. But in the third, Josh was giving ground and being routed when he went down in his own corner, claiming he couldn’t continue from a leg cramp. Ref de Wysocki ruled a TKO at 0:55.
One big overhand right was the whole fight as debuting Jerome Morris, 204, Phila., nailed debuting Brian Haneschlager, 229 ¾, Kingsville, MD, in the first of a scheduled four. The dazed Haneschlager stumbled sideways and grabbed the top rope, more or less out on his feet, and referee Bill Clancy (NC), smartly stopped it, preventing Brian from becoming a sitting duck, at 0:49.
In a fast-paced women’s scrap, Natalie Gonzalez, 112 ¾, New Rochelle, NY, 5-0 (1), took the unanimous verdict over well-traveled Karen Dulin, 117, N. Kingstown, RI, 3-17 (1), four (two minutes). The tall Dulin moved well and pressed the contest, but couldn’t get much going with her hands. The shorter Gonzalez let her come in and then brought rights over the top to dominate the lively contest. Werlinsky scored 39-37, the others 40-36.
Brandon Mullins, 162 ¼, Newark, DE, 4-0 (2), rolled over hapless Hassan Hagler, 168 ½, Huntington, WV, 1-3 (1), for a TKO at 2:16 of the first of four. The rugged Mullins was battering Hagler, who had little boxing skill despite three previous fights, at will. Hassan scrambled for his life with hands high and protectively encircling his head before referee Clancy wisely rescued him.
Hard to say what happened in an otherwise good opening four, as Dillon Kasprzak, 171, Phila., 1-2 (1), got a TKO over reluctant Mike Anderson, 173 ¾, Phila., 0-4, at the end of the first of four. The lone round was good action and solid bombing with little to choose between them until Kasprzak landed some good body shots and the two wrestled and crashed to the canvas. Anderson refused to come out for round two. Ref, Clancy.
A special added attraction was a novelty four between two old fat guys, immensely popular Stefan “The Freak” Talabisco, 269 ½, Elsmere, 3-0 (3), and bald Mike Shanks, 289 ½, Kokomo, 6-32 (2). The 45-year-old favorite is a local tough guy with a huge fan base. He hasn’t a lot of boxing skills, but comes to fight. The veteran Shanks had lost 13 in a row, dating back to ’04, and hadn’t fought since 2012. The only question was how long it would take for Shanks to be gone. With Clancy refereeing, Mike immediately began looking for a way out. A double left by the southpaw favorite to the bulging belly quickly had the underdog collapsing to his knees. He then stumbled into the ropes and Clancy ruled they’d held him up, for another official knockdown. Totally gassed and puffing desperately, Shanks made it out of the first. He came out for the second and huffed and puffed until dropped to his knees by a swiping left cross, and Clancy stopped it, at 1:35. Much of the success of this promotion revolves around Talabisco, but it will be tough keeping him supplied with opponents.