By Kurt Wolfheimer
The danger of an impending record setting snowstorm did little to deter the Philly boxing fans as the near sellout crowd at Legendary Blue Horizon came out to witness several local prospects take huge steps up in their career’s on Friday night. In the scheduled eight round main event of the evening, Philly junior middleweight contender Derek “Pooh” Ennis (20-2-1, 13 KOs) showed that he is ready step in with the best in the junior middleweights in the world, with an impressive fifth round stoppage of Edwin Vasquez (22-15-2, 8 KOs). In the co-feature of the eight bout card promoted by Vernocha L. Michael of Blue Horizon Boxing Promotions Inc., highly touted featherweight Eric “Outlaw” Hunter (12-1, 5 KOs) showed he has more than just hand speed with a dominant first round knockout of Roberto Bonilla (22-12, 13 KOs)
Ennis, who recently captured the USBA light middleweight belt with a hard fought unanimous decision victory over Eromosele Albert on October 16th, looked in top shape and it should as he effectively controlled the ring in the early going behind stiff left jabs and short two punch combinations which frustrated Edwin Vasquez. The normally slick Ennis gained the advantage with a big overhand right which seemed to temporarily stun Vasquez in round two, but he recovered quickly. Seeing that his opponent was still not completely back, Ennis fired off several big combinations but Vasquez was able to land just enough to recover.
Vasquez tried to push Ennis to the ropes and throw flurries in round three, but “Pooh” used his ring generalship as he turned him and moved off the ropes with jabs and hard body shots.
The body work by Ennis was doing its’ work in round four even though Vasquez continually dropped his hands and smiled, before attacking with wild flurries, most of which were caught on the arms and gloves of his opponent. Ennis continued with his game plan with a couple heavy left hooks to the body.
Finally in round five, the body work by Derek Ennis showed its’ damage as he dropped Vasquez with a left hook under the rib cage. Vasquez rose to his feet and tried to fight back, but a right left combination to the body sent him back to the canvas for the second and final time. Vasquez was in no shape to continue and referee Shawn Clark waved the bout off at the 1:26 mark.
“I stuck with my game plan, which was to work my jabs and then go to the body and I finished with good body work,” said Ennis afterward.
Look for Derek Ennis to defend his USBA title in May if all goes as planned.
The Outlaw bombs Bonilla!
Erik “The Outlaw” Hunter (12-1, 5 KOs) moved one step closer to world ranking with a first round first round knockout of tough Nicaraguan Roberto Bonilla(22-12, 13 KOs).
Hunter clearly had the faster hands as he peppered Bonilla from the outside. Roberto had no answer for the hand speed of Hunter and was forced to fight on the retreat. Hunter gradually showed he has more than just lightning quick hand speed and reflexes by battering Bonilla with heavy combinations. The end finally came just moments before the bell sounded to end the round when Erik hunter banged a left hook to the ribcage, which put Bonilla to the canvas. Bonilla would not beat the count. The time of the knockout was three minutes of round one.
Cruz Manhandles Martinez.
Undefeated welterweight Ronald Cruz (8-0, 5 KOs) took a huge step up in competition, looking impressive in his third round stoppage of wily veteran Martinus Clay (13-24-4, 5 KOs) in their scheduled six round clash.
Clay has swapped punches with some of the best of the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions including WBC champion Andre Berto, USBA welterweight champion Mike Jones and Junior middleweight contenders Harry Yorgey and Jessie Nicklow. Cruz knew this was a big step up and looked tentative in the early going. Martinus took advantage of his tentativeness with several crisp jabs and sharp combinations which Ronald on the defensive throughout the opening round.
Cruz’s corner implored him to let his hands go and he began to listen to the corner in round two as he banged away at the body. He seemed to gain confidence and forced Clay to box on the retreat. As the round progressed Clay withered as Cruz started to find his spots with heavy combinations on the inside.
Clay looked like a tired fighter caused by the taken from the previous round as Cruz stepped up the pace in round three, leaving him no quarter. Clay was finally cornered and Cruz unleashed a picture perfect uppercut. The shot landed right underneath the chin and sent Martinus to the seat of his pants. It was clear that Clay would not beat the count and referee Benji Esteves Jr. waved the bout off at 1:57 of the third round.
Davis and Perez Brawl in possible PA fight of the year!
Undefeated female welterweight sensation Jackie Davis put on quite a show as she went toe to toe in a brutal war with Melisenda Perez that is definitely an early nomination for the PA fight of the year.
Davis was the heavier puncher and she showed that in the opening round with several quick right hands. Perez took everything she threw and even dished out some of her own. Late in the round Melisenda was backed into the corner with a heavy combination. She would not quit though and continued to swing away as the opening round came to a close.
Davis continued her heavy exchanges, but seemed to tire as round two. Melisenda seized the opportunity and backed her to the ropes with short shots up the middle.
The fight went on the inside in round three as both fighters went toe to toe as the crowd cheered them on. Davis would land the heavier counters, but Perez was much busier.
The bout appeared to be on the line as both fighters though tired, went for broke in the final round. Perez tried to press the attack throughout the round, but Davis kept her off balance with several looping right hands. Both fighters knew they had to impress the judges and squared up, and banged away until the final bell sounded. The near capacity crowd rose to their feet and cheered the final moments as if it were a world championship fight in appreciation of the efforts of both fighters.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Jackie Davis by scores of 40-36 x 2, and 39-37 respectively.
Jackie Davis ups her record to (4-0, 1 KO) while Melisenda Perez falls to (6-2, 4 KOs).
Dawejko clobbers Johnson.
Highly touted Philly heavyweight prospect Joey “Polish Thunder” Dawejko (2-0, 1 KO) needed just forty-seven seconds to hand Ohio native Ricardo Johnson his first loss.
Dawejko a former 2008 junior world champion, unleashed a vicious body attack in the early going that put Johnson immediately on the defensive. Seeing his opponent was tentative, Joey unloaded the Polish Thunder with a heavy straight right on the button and put Ricardo Johnson on the seat of his pants. Johnson rose to his feet, but was in no shape to continue and the bout was waved off at forty-seven seconds of the opening round.
Gustafson looks impressive in American debut.
Swedish heavyweight Andreas Gustafson (4-0, 2 KOs) looked impressive in his first fight on American soil scoring a 2nd round technical knockout of Levay King (0-2).
The heavy handed Swede controlled the fight right from the opening bell as Levay King had no answer for his heavy left hands. To keep his opponent off balance, Andrea Gustafson began to switch in and out of the southpaw stance, and peppered him with left hooks and left hands. King tried to fight back and opened up, but a Gustafson one-two combination stunned him and he had to clinch. Referee Benji Esteves gave him crucial seconds to recover as he warned him for holding. Andreas once again found his mark; this time with an overhand right on the side of his opponent’s face and followed up with two more heavy shots on a badly hurt King.
King tried to stop the onslaught early in round two with a quick flurry right out of the corner, but Gustafson remained unfazed and continued to find his mark with heavy blows. King made one last wild attempt in mid round as he swung for the fences. Gustafson looked like a seasoned pro and just stepped out of the way, as King fell awkwardly into the ropes. After a break, Gustafson went to the body with a right hook and followed up with a left up top, which forced the mouthpiece to fall from Kings’ mouth. The end would come just moments later as followed a four punch combo with a big right on the button and King dropped into the corner. Referee Benji Esteves waved the fight off at three minute mark of round two as King could not continue.
Bethea squeaks by Northan.
Local Philly welterweight had Clement Bethea was given all he could handle in his professional debut against fellow Philadelphian Henry Northan (0-2), but he was able to escape with a hard fought split decision victory.
Northan was making a comeback of his own, returning to a ring after a seven year absence. Right from the opening bell Northan showed no ring rust as he put the pressure on with several one-two combinations and light flurries. Bethea was able to weather the storm though and catch Northern with a nice counter right in the final moment of the opening round.
Round two was more of the same but Northans’ punches were coming from further on the outside. Clement found his range again late with sharp counters that kept Northan on the outside.
The key to the fight seemed to happen in the closing moment of the third round when Bethea forced Northan into the corner with a perfect left hook on the button. Northan tried to fight back but a right hand snapped his head back in the corner. Bethea jumped on the stunned Northan with four unanswered shots but the bell sounded before any further damage could be inflicted.
Northern recovered in the corner, and came out with small combinations. Bethea seemed tired from the onslaught in previous round as he returned fire with several arm punches. Neither fighter gained a clear cut advantage in the final round.
One judge scored the bout 39-36 in favor of Henry Northan but was overruled as the other two officials saw it in favor of Clement Bethea by scores of 39-37 x 2 for the split decision victory. Fightnews had the bout 38-38 even.