By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Several hundred fans traveled through the bitter cold, with temperatures reaching the single digits on Friday noght, to witness a highly entertaining five-bout card at the New Alhambra in South Philadelphia, PA. In the main event of the card promoted by Greg Robinson’s Xtreme Productions, welterweight prospect Derek “Pooh” Ennis (17-2-1, 12 KOs) proved once again he is ready to take the step back into a national picture with a well fought unanimous decision victory over dangerous veteran Clarence “Sonny Bono” Taylor(13-20-3, 6 KOs).
Ennis, normally a slick fighter, had to weather many awkward battles in the clinches from Taylor who was a late replacement as several possible fights against former “Contender” series stars fell through.
Ennis had his best moments early, spinning off the ropes with right hands and some good bodywork. Late in round two, a right hand from Ennis opened a huge cut over the left eye of Taylor. The cut seemed to infuriate Taylor, who began to swing away with a couple of good combinations as the round came to a close.
Taylor, who just over a week ago lost his Trainer, Derrick Hoey who was murdered in Wilmington Delaware, fought like a man on a mission to make him proud as he continued on, in spite the bad cut which was clearly bothering him.
Veteran cut man, Joey “Eye” Intrieri was able to temporarily stop most of the bleeding of the two-inch cut, which was in very dangerous position, and only bled only in spots throughout the fight.
Ennis set down on his punches with some nice bodywork in round three and continued with a big flurry in round four. Derek would also occasionally land a big right hand. Each time he landed it, Taylor would get angry and press the attack, getting a few single shots through the tight defense of Ennis.
Taylor began to wear down in rounds five through seven from the pinpoint combinations of Ennis. The Delaware native switched in and out of the southpaw position throughout round seven to gain a rest. Ennis’s superior hand speed showed as he peppered Taylor’s face, who could only offer single shots in return. Taylor did appear to stun Ennis for a moment in round seven, but Ennis returned fire and moved out of harms way.
Knowing he was ahead on the scorecards, Ennis played it safe and boxed his way throughout the eighth and final round to send it to the scorecards. All three judges had it in favor of Ennis by scores of 78-74, 78-74 and 79-73 respectively.
“I really needed the rounds. Taylor is a crafty veteran, and I had to box and move on him,” said Ennis afterward. “I hurt him several times, but I couldn’t jump on him because he was throwing wild hooks and right hands, so I kept my composure and boxed and moved.”
Look for Derek to break back on the national scene in the very near future. As for his future opponents in the upper echelon of the division, the ever improving Ennis issued a stern warning “Look out junior middleweights, I am coming.”
In the co-feature of the evening, Wilmington Delaware’s Ryan Belasco (9-2-3, 3 KOs) may have earned himself a possible shot at local favorite Tyric “Too Sweet” Robinson with a one sided second round knockout of Philadelphia warrior Lenny “The Hitman” DeVictoria (11-13-1, 3 KOs).
Belasco opened up early with hard two and three punch combinations behind sharp jabs, never letting the dangerous DeVictoria in the bout.
At the urge of his corner, the normally slow starting DeVictoria tried to press forward let go with a couple of right hands in round two but a couple of well timed hooks to the body sent him on retreat. Belasco trapped DeVictoria in the corner and unleashed a left to the ribcage and followed with a straight right on the nose that sent “The Hitman” to the canvas. DeVictoria rose to his knees, but grabbed his nose and stayed down for the ten count. The time of the stoppage occurred at 1:29 of the second round.
“It was a big win for me,” said a joyous Ryan Belasco afterwards. “Lenny was a really tough fighter and I had to fight small and keep my jabs up. In the first round he dropped his hands from two or three body shots and then I looked for openings. A left hook to the body in round two, set up my straight hand, which dropped him for the count.”
Cruz cruises to victory over Rios!
In a battle of local Philly welterweights, Ronald Cruz captured a hard earned victory in his professional debut over a game but outgunned Joel Rios (1-5).
Cruz was the stronger fighter and battered Rios with hard two and three-punch combinations throughout the opening round. The onslaught showed on the face of Rios who’s left eye was swollen and cheek was reddened.
Rios was game and pressed the forward throughout the final three rounds as his strong contingent cheered whenever he landed on the inside with a good right hand. Cruz however, just had two many weapons and kept Rios at bay throughout most of the final three rounds with uppercuts on the inside and various combinations while on the outside.
All three judges scored the bout 40-36 for Ronald Cruz, for a hard fought and highly deserved victory in his debut.
Pasley stops Rogers in three!
Philly’s own Kamarah Pasley (1-3, 1KO) stepped up to the heavyweight division and captured his first victory of his professional career with a 3rd round stoppage of journeyman Cullen Rogers (9-23-2, 5 KOs).
Rogers did not look to be in the best of shape as he entered the ring and Pasley went after him with combinations from the outside.
Roger’s game plan was to clutch, grab and fight in clinches whenever available, but his balance was not good and Pasley took advantage by dropping him with a right hand in an exchange late in round two for a flash knockdown. Pasley also bloodied the nose of Rogers as the round closed.
Rogers appeared exhausted from trying to clutch and grab the taller and stronger Pasley, who continued to land two-punch combinations early in round three. The end finally came when Pasley trapped the exhausted Rogers in the corner and unloaded six unanswered punches. Referee Richard Clark had seen enough and called a halt to the bout at 1:37 of the third round.
Rodriquez out boxes Ellis!
It was a battle of debuting Philly welterweights in the opening bout of the evening as Lou Rodriquez swapped punches with Ray Ellis. Both fighters had their moments but the hand speed of Rodriquez appeared to make the difference in the fight.
Right from the opening round Lou Rodriquez took control of the ring with sharp jabs and short combinations. Ellis finally found his spots late in round two on the inside as both traded late. Both fighters continued to have good exchanges in a close round three. Late in the round Ellis actually caught his opponent with a short right, but Rodriquez finished the round with a good flurry to regain control. Rodriquez seemed to wear out Ellis in the fourth and final round to squeeze out a majority decision victory by scores of 38-38 and 39-37 x 2.
Counter Punches: The New Alhambra will now be the New home of Xtreme Productions as they continue to morph into one of the top promotional companies in Pennsylvania.
Several notable fighters were on hand to witness the exciting night of action, including undefeated IBF North American junior middleweight champion “Lightning” Harry Joe Yorgey (21-0-1, 8 KOs), WBF heavyweight title holder Marc “Oak Tree” Brown (14-1, 7 KOs) former IBF junior middleweight champ Robert “Bam Bam” Hines (25-3-1, 17 KOs) and highly touted featherweight Erik “The Outlaw” Hunter (10-1,4 KOs).