By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Andre Kut’s KEA Boxing Promotions made its initial foray into the “City of Brotherly Love” with a highly entertaining eight bout card at the Arena on Friday night, featuring some of the area’s finest prospects against local and regional competition. Even a threat of a possible snowstorm couldn’t keep the locals away as almost eight hundred and fifty people made their way to see their local star Victor Vasquez attempt to defeat the always tough Ecuadorian, Carlos Vinan in the six round main event of the evening. Carlos Vinan (9-8-3, 1 KO) a tough Ecuadorian, who now resides in North New Jersey, had other ideas and pulled out a razor thin split decision victory over Victor Vasquez (11-4, 6 KOs) which sent the pro Vasquez fans into a state of shock.
Vasquez, a local barber in North Philadelphia, looked to control the bout early with some big right hands on the button but the slick Vinan showed why he is such a dangerous veteran as he slipped the punches and began to work on the inside. By round two Vasquez had abandoned his jab and it enabled Vinan to get inside and work well in the clinches. Vasquez tried to turn away when in the clinch which forced referee Blair Talmadge to warn Vinan for a rabbit punch in the second. Vasquez caught Vinan with just seconds to go in the round with a nice straight right. Vasquez constantly turned away in the clinches as Vinan threw hooks on the inside which looked like rabbit punches but couldn’t be helped by Vinan and Referee Blair Talmadge recognized that and didn’t take a point throughout the fight.
Vinan knew his key to victory was to stay busier and continued to flurry away on the inside in round three. Vasquez’s big blows were smothered for most of the round, but when they did land they were cleaner and kept rounds four and five almost dead even.
By round five, Vinan was bleeding from the nose. He showed his grittiness as he began to find the mark continually up top and it showed as Vasquez began to puff up under both eyes. The momentum turned again in round five as Vasquez found his distance and landed several big overhand rights that rocked the tough Ecuadorian.
The bout appeared in the balance entering the final round as each fighter tried to pull one last effort to squeeze out a victory. Vasquez reestablished his jab which led to several straight rights and apparently the edge in the final round and the fight.
There were several tense moments as the scorecards were tallied. Finally renowned ring announcer Henry Hascup read the numbers. Victor Vasquez captured every round on one Judge’s scorecard, but was overruled as the other Judges two scored it 58-56 and 59-55 for Vinan as the crowd went silent. Fightnews score the bout 58-56 for Vasquez, though several rounds could have gone either way.
“I thought I was the busier fighter and I won the bout with my work on the inside,” said the satisfied Vinan.
It was big win for the hard-nosed veteran who had been through several wars during his professional career. “I thought it was a good victory for him after two disappointing defeats,” said his manager Jose Rosario “The record of Vinan clearly does not represent the level of fighter that he is. Of his eight defeats, all but two were undefeated at the time he fought them.”
In the other dressing room, a stunned Victor Vasquez sat silently, shocked by the decision. “We landed the more effective and cleaner shots,” said his trainer and manager Chris Rotella.
Could a rematch be in order? If both fighters want to settle the score, then a rematch could be in order.
In an unfortunate circumstance, the original six-round co-feature between two evenly match junior middleweights, Ardrick Butler (4-1, 1 KO) and Norman Allen (6-3, 3 KOs) was cancelled due to an injury as Ardrick Butler as he was hit by a hit and run driver, while jogging. Butler is still being checked out but if everything comes out okay, he hopes to be back in the ring as soon as possible.
Into the spotlight stepped highly touted super featherweight prospect Kareem “Cool Breeze” Cooley (pro debut) as he faced Sidell Blocker. Cooley looked stiff and dry early in the fight, which made the first two opening rounds competitive, but he eventually found his rhythm and began to take control. Blocker tried to turn the tide in round three and opened up with a flurry, but a picture perfect uppercut pierced his defense and sent him to the canvas. Cooley couldn’t tell if he was down and landed another shot. No foul was called. Blocker rose to his feet, but Cooley, attacked like a hurricane and not a “cool breeze” as he unleashed five unanswered shots. Referee Eddie Cotton had seen enough and immediately stepped in and called a halt to the proceedings at 1:12 mark of the third round.
Kareem Cooley of Philadelphia, PA moves to (1-0, 1 KO), while Pleasantville, New Jersey’s Sidell Blocker slips to (0-2).
Rodriquez dethrones King.
Undefeated Union City New Jersey welterweight prospect Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez raised his record to (2-0, 1 KO) with a harder than expected four-round unanimous decision victory over Cumberland, Maryland’s Dontre King (1-6-1).Rodriquez, a dangerous southpaw, had trouble with the nimble King early, but eventually began to wear him down as the opening two rounds progressed. In round three, “The Beast” was unleashed and almost put a close to the show with a right hook that sent King to the canvas. Juan also hit him while he was down but it was not clear from his view that his opponent had taken a knee according to Referee Blair Talmadge. King rose to his feet and survived the round and the fight, but it was to no avail as all three judges saw it easily in favor of Juan Rodriquez by scores of 40-35 x 3.
Sherman overpowers Dulin.
South Philly fan favorite Liz Sherman (2-0) of Raritan New Jersey, now residing in Philadelphia, showed her will and determination with an impressive four round unanimous decision over the more experienced Karen Dulin (1-5, 1 KO). Sherman with little amateur experience, looked raw at times, but her grit and determination allowed her to take away the will of Mystic Connecticut’s Dulin, who appeared to throw the sharper punches. Sherman was recently awarded Philadelphia Weekly’s “personal trainer of the year,” just continually pressed forward and bombarded Dulin with wide punches throughout. Dulin tried to back her off with several straight shots, but Sherman just wouldn’t relent throughout the fight. All three judges saw the bout 40-36 x 3 in favor of Sherman.
“She was a really tough fighter,” said Sherman afterwards. I know I am a work in progress, but this feels really great to win in front of my fans. I will work everything out in the gym with my trainer Joey “Eye” Intrieri and will continue to improve with each fight.”
It was a good moment for Sherman early in her career as her first three schedule fights in her new hometown of Philadelphia, PA were cancelled (One turned into an exhibition) at the last moment. KEA Boxing was proud to make sure this bout came through as planned, even with the two day snow storm. “I would like to thank my fans for staying with me even with all those fallouts,” said Sherman. “I will do my best and always put on a good show for them.”
Harvell silences the Rattler!
In a battle of unbeaten light heavyweights, Lavern “Baby Bowe” Harvell of Atlantic City, New Jersey, raised his record to (5-0, 2 KOs) with a first round TKO of Bowerston, Ohio’s Randy “The Rattler” Campbell (3-1, 2 KOs).
It was clear from the opening bell that Campbell just had no answer for the bigger combinations from Harvell. By the middle of round one, “The Rattler” was forced to trade, but that would be his undoing as a Harvell straight right hand on the button sent him to a knee. Campbell rose to his feet, but another four-punch combination had him crumpling against the ropes. Referee Blair Talmadge had seen enough and called a halt to the contest at the 1:52 mark of the opening round.
Ocasio wins thriller over Charles!
North Philly lightweight Angel Ocasio (2-0) showed why he was a two time PA Golden Gloves champion as an amateur, dropping Atlantic City New Jersey’s Osnel Charles (1-2) once en-route to an impressive four round unanimous decision victory.
Both fighters showed skills way beyond their records as they mixed up a wide array of combinations in the opening round. Ocasio set his over two hundred plus fans in attendance to their feet with a picture perfect uppercut and a wide variety of combinations that backed up Charles in round two. Angel saw an opening and dropped Charles with a straight right on the button. Charles rose to his feet and looked about to go down again as Angel rocked him around the ring with a couple of big right hands, but the bell sounded before he could put him down again.
Charles recovered well in the corner and tried to turn the tide as he upped his work rate in round three. Ocasio was not deterred and continued to steadily find his spots with sharp tight combinations and uppercuts to win the final round and the fight.
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Angel Ocasio by scores of 39-36 x 2 and 39-37 for the unanimous decision victory.
Yoder overcomes Portillo!
Vineland New Jersey’s Anthony “TJ” Yoder, JR (Pro debut) won a hard fought four round unanimous decision over West Virginia’s Francisco Portillo.
Yoder was the aggressor throughout, pressed forward with combinations, but Portillo landed big counters in rounds two and three to make things close. Yoder would not relent and finally wore him down in the fourth to capture the four round unanimous decision victory by scores of 40-36 x 2and 39-37 respectively.
Francisco Portillo falls to (0-2).
Jennings wins debut
PA heavyweight Golden Gloves champion Bryant Jennings eased his way into the professional ranks with a four round unanimous decision victory over wily veteran Zeferino Albino in the opening bout of the evening featuring a pair of Philadelphians. Albino, a late replacement, tried to swap punches with Jennings early, but it was clear by round two that Jennings was wearing down Albino who chose to fight on the retreat. By round three, Albino was in survival mode as he spent most of his time trying to escape the ropes and Jennings consistently mounted his attack. Albino though exhausted, showed his vast experience as he survived the fourth round and sent the bout to the scorecards. All three judges gave every round to Bryant Jennings for the one sided unanimous decision victory. Zeferino Albino slips to (3-10-2, 1 KOs).
“The Final Bell”
Several notable fighters were in attendance including 14th ranked junior middleweight contender “Lightning” Harry Joe Yorgey (24-1-1, 10 KOs) and former Contender series star Ahmad Kaddour (21-2-1, 9 KOs).
Also on hand was Flashy Philly former cruiserweight Simon “One Punch” Carr, who now has his on clothing line called “Punchline.” His fashionable trunks and robes have been worn by several notable fighters over the last few months.
Also working a corner was former USBA title challenger “Classy” Clarence Coleman (19-18-1, 7 KOs).
KEA boxing looked plans to come back with another exciting show at the Arena in South Philadelphia on April 30th.