By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Photos by Gary Purfield
Friday night at Harrah’s Philly Casino and Racetrack in Chester, PA, Mike The Machine” Oliver (26-5, 8KOs) captured the vacant NABA featherweight title in odd fashion, by getting floored by Eric “The Outlaw” Hunter (17-3, 9KOs) less than a minute into the opening round and winning by disqualification. In the co-feature of the evening, Philly welterweight prospect Hassan Young (4-1-1, 2KOs) scored a fifth round TKO victory over Chester’s own veteran slugger Julio Dejesus (8-4-3, 4KOs), when he couldn’t come out of the corner due to a cut that caused him vision problems from the third round on.
The main event was to be the gateway to bigger paydays for Eric “The Outlaw” Hunter and an opportunity to gain a belt and a world ranking in the process as he faced a big test in Mike “The Machine” Oliver in the ten round main event of the evening.
Hunter almost didn’t even have a fight, but Mike “The Machine” Oliver stepped up to the plate and took the fight on less than a weeks’ notice. Oliver entered the ring on a three fight losing streak but had beaten some of the top prospects on his way up, which included Gary Starks, Cruz Carbajal and Al Seeger and one of the losses was to former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez.
The much heralded Hunter scored the biggest win of his career in his last fight on December 8th, easily out boxing formerly undefeated Jerry Belmontes and looked primed to move into the national spotlight with a victory over Oliver, but it wasn’t to be.
Both combatants looked to be taking their time as the round began, probing each other defenses for holes with snapping jabs. Hunter was the first to land a good one-two combination. Oliver tried to play it safe and backed out before clinching in an attempt to avoid and further damage. Hunter looked to get his hand free and in the process Oliver was tossed to the ground. Oliver’s knee hit the canvas but he immediately jumped up and lunged forward right into the punching range of Hunter. Referee Benjy Esteves Jr., tried to step between the two combatants to wipe off the gloves of Oliver from the slip to the canvas, but he was not quick enough. Hunter reacted to Oliver coming at him and uncorked a vicious left hook. The left hook landed right over the shoulder of Esteves Jr., and on the chin of Oliver, who crashed to the canvas. Oliver’s head had bounced off the canvas and he was on his back for fifteen seconds. Esteves Jr., immediately called it a foul. Oliver rose to his feet and was given five minutes to recover in an attempt to continue the fight. Oliver walked around the ring while holding the back of his neck before he declared he was unable to continue. Referee Benjy Esteves Jr., had called it a foul and Oliver was declared the winner by disqualification at the fifty second mark of the opening round and captured the vacant NABA featherweight title, much to the dismay of the pro-Hunter crowd who booed vociferously.
It was a much anticipated battle of the hometown veteran slugger versus the talented young boxer in the six round welterweight co-feature of the evening as Chester’s own Julio Dejesus took on Philly’s Hassan Young.
Dejesus came out quickly, looking to stop young as he pressed the attack with big hooks from the opening bell. Young chose to back away and pick his spots with jabs. Dejesus was determined and forced the action, but a well time hook, wobbled him in mid round. It only angered Dejesus, who closed the opening round with a hard four punch combination.
The fight turned in the second as Young boxed effectively throughout, by moving in and out of the pocket with jabs and straight combinations. The pinpoint shots did some damage as the area around the Chester sluggers’ eyes began to puff up. Dejesus would not back down and continued to press forward with hard hooks to the body. An accidental clash of heads of heads opened up a cut just to the right of Dejesus’s eye. Young began to target the cut forcing the blood went into the eye and it was clear Dejesus was having trouble seeing as the round came to an end.
Young was in control in round three and he unleashed his arsenal as Dejesus blinked, having seeing them coming. He wouldn’t back down though and kept moving forward, swinging away throughout the third.
Young stepped up the pace in the fourth and sent the desperately advancing Dejesus to his hands and knees with and upper cut. He would rise to his feet, but was again wobbled just as the bell sounded to end the round.
Dejesus showed his warrior mentality and came out strong in the opening minute of the fifth as he pounded away at Hassan Young who began to find himself with his back to the ropes. Young would eventually spin off the ropes and get back into his comfort zone with hard one two’s, while stepping in and out of the pocket. Dejesus could barely see and was getting picked apart when on the outside. In the closing seconds of the fifth, Young staggered Dejesus and battered him as the round came to a close.
It was clear that Dejesus was having trouble seeing and the bout was waived off in the corner, giving Hassan “Hitman” Young the TKO victory. The official time of the TKO was three minutes of the fifth round.
Hass Young ups his record to a deceptive 4-1-1, 2KOs, while Julio Dejesus falls to a respectable 8-4-3, 4KOs.
Local Philly featherweight Richard Irrazary looked good in his debut, but seemed to get the raw end of the stick in an unfortunate draw with Vineland, New Jersey’s Joshua Arocho (3-7-4, 2KOs).
Irrazary seemed to jump to an early lead, by slipping many of Arocho’s punches, while landing good combinations of his own.
Arocho turned the tide in the third as Irrazary tired, landing hard volleys. Irrazary wouldn’t back down and made the round close with several good hooks up top as the third stanza came to an end.
Irrazary founds his second wind in the fourth and final round as he consistently beat the slower veteran to the punch. Both traded away as the final bell sounded with neither landing the telling blow, sending the fight to the scorecards.
Incredibly, one judge saw it 39-37 in favor Joshua Arocho, while the other two official saw it 38-38 even, for the majority draw.
Allentown PA welterweight Jesus “The Punisher” Barbosa (4-4-1,3KOs) returned to the ring after a five year layoff hoping to get back on the winning side of the ledger after four years inactivity, but it was not to be, as he was stopped in the first by Philly’s Josue Rivera (2-2, 2KOs).
Barbosa came out like a house afire, slugging away at the defensive Rivera who was backed into a corner. It would change on a dime as Rivera spun the Allentown native in the corner and began to batter him with a series of punches. Barbosa tried to weather the storm, but Rivera continued to land. Barbosa wobbled for a second in the corner before clinching. Barbosa covered and slid along the ropes as Rivera continued swing away. Barbosa leaned in and out as to avoid many of the arm punches, but two big shots found their marks up top and his knees buckled for a moment. Referee Hurley McCall had seen enough and called a halt to the contest at 1:48 of the opening round, giving Josue Rivera the TKO victory.
In the opening bout of the evening, Cherry Hill, New Jersey welterweight Anthony Prescott (2-2-1,1Ko) moved to the .500 mark with a scrappy, but convincing four round unanimous decision victory over debuting Virginian Carlos Moore by scores of 40-36 x 2 and 39-37 respectively.
Joey Eye Promotions and David Feldman are set to bring another card back to Harrah’s Philly Casino and Racetrack on November 15th and if the action was anything like this card, you won’t want to miss it.