By John Disanto / Philly Boxing History (.com)
Germantown super middleweight Farah Ennis is familiar to Philadelphia boxing fans who have watched him develop over the past six years in local Philly rings like the Blue Horizon, National Guard Armory, and the South Philly Arena, as well as various Atlantic City casino ballrooms. His mix of boxing skill, size and power have made him a respected prospect. However his extreme calm in the ring and quiet nature outside it, have perhaps kept him from becoming a household name among fight fans in the City of Brotherly Love.
His serene and steady approach, in place of brash talk and showy antics, has earned him a nickname of “The Quiet Storm”. That name fits well.
Although you’d never guess it talking to him, the quiet Ennis is capable of creating havoc in the ring.
Ennis, 19-1 (12 KO), returns to the Jersey shore for his next fight on Friday, July 27, at Resorts Casino Hotel. But this time he won’t just be fighting in front of his loyal hometown followers. On Friday night, Farah Ennis gets the chance to fight for the first time before a live national television audience.
“I’ve been waiting for something like this,” Ennis said. “I mean, it’s my first time on national TV. So I’m just going to display all my skills. Hopefully (show) all my tools, bring them out of the tool box and put on a good show.”
Ennis will fight Richard Pierson, 11-2 (8 KO), of Paterson, NJ, in a 10-round contest for the vacant WBC FECARBOX 168 pound title. The fight will be the co-feature on ESPN2′s popular Friday Night Fight series. Philadelphian Hank Lundy headlines the card.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Ennis said. “Get us in the rankings,” he said about the chance to take a regional title belt.
Ennis grew up in his father’s gym along with the rest of his fighting family. That upbringing was based on hard work, family, and boxing’s tough, daily grind. It produced a humble and grounded man with a maturity level beyond that of most fighters you encounter. His calm inside the ring is nothing compared to his tranquility outside it.
His father, Derrick “Bozy” Ennis, a former pro fighter himself, is also unique, and unlike most boxing trainers you meet. Of all the trainers in Philly, Bozy is probably the only one who goes through a full boxing workout before he begins training his fighters. The moment he walks in the door of his barn-like gym located on the top floor of the Masjid Muhammad Center, Bozy zips from station to station, shadow boxing, punching the heavy bag, working the uppercut bag, and so on. By the time he starts slapping his son with Styrofoam noodles, his own shirt is drenched in sweat. It’s a visual clue to the energy of Bozy’s Dungeon, one of the best gyms in Philly.
Farah Ennis grew up training to be a boxer. Two years ahead of him was brother Derek “Pooh” Ennis, a junior middleweight prospect who won a PA state title, a USBA belt, and was world-ranked during his 23-3-1 (13 KO) career. Pooh is still active as a fighter, but it’s almost been a year since his last start. He’s nowhere in sight on this day at the gym.
Farah’s younger brother, Jaron, 15, is an amateur boxer, who is usually at the gym as well. Some say he may become the best of all in the fighting Ennis family. He’s that good. We’ll have to wait and see about that. These days it’s Farah’s turn to show Philly and beyond what he’s got.
“(This is) a step further,” Ennis said. “People that have never seen me, get to see me fight. You know, just getting out there. I just want to show I can be in there with some of those top guys. I just want to go forward.”
A year and a half ago, Ennis won the NABF title, but a subsequent decision loss to Alexander Johnson slowed his progress.
“I was sick going into that fight,” Ennis said of his only career setback. “That’s the only reason why I think I let that guy outwork me.”
Since that loss, Ennis took some time off to regroup and then rebounded with two more victories. He sees this opportunity for another regional belt as his chance to get back into the mix of the top 168-pounders. After all these days, Philadelphia boxing is blooming with champion Danny Garcia leading an impressive pack of Philly fighters like Hank Lundy, Gabriel Rosado, and Bryant Jennings.
“Hey, I’m excited,” Ennis said of his hometown’s sudden surge. “I would like to be among all that. I’m ready. I want to just keep winning, that’s all.”
He enters the ring for Friday’s fight – and the opportunity to grab win number 20 – without knowing much about his opponent.
“I don’t really know nothing about him. He’s a puncher, not a puncher, whatever,” he said with a laugh. He leaves the details for his trainer to sift through.
Richard Pierson has a history with Philly fighters, having dished KO losses to two of them. In his last fight, Pierson halted Charles Hayward of South Philly, and a few years before that, stopped Jamaal Davis, one of West Philly’s most durable fighters. So surely Ennis must be feeling a bit of pressure.
“It’s not really no pressure,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and handle my business. I want to look good, but I’m just going for the win. You know, if the knockout comes, it comes. I don’t really go out there trying to knock the guy out. Just the win.”
And how does he see this fight going?
“Working my jab,” he said. “You know, boxing. Great defense, not trying to get hit by too many punches or big shots. We’ll adjust when we get in there. I’m not in that much of a rush. I’m very patient.”
That’s about all you can get out of Farah Ennis as a fight approaches. He’s not one to predict the result or even assure you of a victory. He seems calm and confident and ready to fight.
A quiet storm isn’t about thunder. It just slides up when you least expect it and does its thing.