By Rick Scharmberg and Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Former Cuban Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas (14-1, 7 KOs) needed just 40 seconds to take out journeyman Adan Hernandez (15-8, 6 KOs) in the scheduled ten round welterweight main event at The Deck in Essington, PA. The under card was highlighted by a six round middleweight slugfest, with Lekan Byfield (4-4-2) handing Isiah Seldon (7-1, 3 KOs), son of former heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon, his first defeat with an impressive unanimous decision. The seven-bout card marked the successful promotional debut of Champions of Tomorrow, whose partners include Marty and Damon Feldman, Michael G. Davis, and former Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion Meldrick Taylor.
Boxing in front of a packed house that included a “who’s who” of Philadelphia boxing royalty, 2008 Beijing Olympian Yordenis Ugas appears to be another fine product of the superior Cuban amateur boxing program.
Tall and lanky, Ugas introduced himself last December with a convincing ten round unanimous over former world title challenger Cosme Rivera. The technically sound Cuban has terrific hand speed and appears to punch through his opponent.
Two power jabs from Ugas snapped the head of Hernandez back and send him backpedaling. Ugas then followed up with a right hand to the body that dropped Hernandez for referee Blair Talmadge’s full count. Hernandez remained on the canvas for several minutes before being able to walk it off.
Byfield upsets Seldon
Isiah Seldon came in with the pedigree and the unblemished record, but his opponent Lekan Byfield was not impressed. Seldon can punch, but his straight-ahead attack seemed to be predictable to the lanky and relaxed Byfield.
The first round was close, with Seldon landing a big right in the opening seconds. Byfield returned fire with some bombs of his own, while establishing his excellent jab in the second half of the round.
The second round could have gone either way, with Seldon landing several overhand rights and left hooks, one of which knocked out Byfield’s mouthpiece. Byfield came right back with an overhand right and a left hook of his own.
Byfield controlled the third round with his popping jab and solid right hands, while Seldon landed a hard right to the body. Seldon lost his mouthpiece for the first of four times in the fight.
Byfield put on a jabbing clinic in round four, using it to keep the pressing Seldon at bay. Isiah worked the body and landed some hard right hands, but Byfield took his measure and unloaded on Seldon with a five-punch combination along the ropes in the final seconds of the round. Seldon lost his mouthpiece for the second time, and was officially warned by referee Blair Talmadge.
Seldon had his best round in the fifth, taking it with body shots and big left hooks, as Byfield seemed to take a well-deserved rest. Seldon handily won the round, but was docked a point for losing his mouthpiece for the third time.
Byfield went to work with his jab in the last round, doubling it up and weaving himself out of the way of all but a few left hooks from a pressuring Seldon, who lost his mouthpiece for the fourth time in the fight.
The final scores were 58-55 (twice) and 57-56 in favor of Byfield.
Witherspoon Jr. handles Beeman
Not only did Tim Witherspoon Jr. (10-3-1, 2 KOs) have superior speed and technique in his four round welterweight bout with Josh Beeman (4-12-4, 2 KOs), he also had the advantage of having his dad, two-time world heavyweight champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon giving him advice between rounds.
Witherspoon Jr. had too many guns for the game but slower Beeman. He easily won the first two rounds, applying an impressive body attack and movement which kept Beeman guessing.
Round three was closer, with Beeman possibly having the edge with his left hooks and body shots, but Witherspoon Jr. came right back in round four to win the fight by the scores of 40-36 on all three cards.
Crawley Jr. dominates Steele
Tyrone Crawley Jr. (4-0), son of former world title challenger Tyrone “Butterfly” Crawley, used a slick, switch-hitting style to win a unanimous decision over Chris Steele (3-6-1, 1 KO) in a six round lightweight grudge match.
Steele relied too much on his right hand, which he used as a lead when Crawley Jr. worked in is natural southpaw stance. Other than that, Steele allowed Crawley Jr. to out-work him while waiting to counter his awkward style. Crawley Jr. continually beat him to the punch.
Crawley Jr. swept the first four rounds off before Steele finally got on the board in round five. Crawley Jr. went back to work in round six, and took the decision by the scores of 60-54 and 59-55 (twice).
The “Butterfly” worked his son’s corner.
Selby escapes Albino test
Dante Selby (2-0-1) withstood a late surge from rugged veteran Zeferino Albino (4-18-3, 2 KOs) to take a majority decision in a four round heavyweight bout.
Albino, in spite of his record, can be a handful when he is motivated and in shape. Trained by former world light middleweight champion Robert “Bam Bam” Hines, Albino was both on this night. His problem was, he only had four rounds to work with.
Selby towered over Albino and took the first two rounds with his activity. Albino landed a sneaky left hook followed by a crunching right hand at the end of the opening round, but it wasn’t enough to win it.
Round three was close, with Selby winning the first two minutes before Albino landed a big left and then surprised Selby with a hard overhand right at the bell. Once again, Albino did enough to make the round close, but not enough to win it. To his credit, Selby held when he had to, and took the shots well.
The fourth round was all Albino. He rocked Selby with a big four-punch combination and a solid left hook that forced the bigger man to hold. Albino then came on with a big left hook-right hand combination, but he ran out of time in his attempt to finish the job.
The scores were 39-37 (twice) for Selby, and even at 38-38.
Jackson Jr. overpowers Thompson
Lonnie Jackson Jr. (2-0-1, 1 KO) overwhelmed an outgunned Travis Thompson (4-11-2, 3 KOs), stopping him at 2:36 of the first round of a scheduled four round lightweight bout.
Likable and possessing the heart of a lion, Thompson was no match for the package of speed, power, and combination punching that Jackson Jr. brought to the table.
Jackson Jr. opened with flashy three-punch combinations, before unloading a big right hand that forced Thompson to take several steps back. A right hand followed by a left hook dropped Travis moments later.
Thompson pulled himself up, and referee Blair Talmadge let him continue, but he stayed very close to the action. After Jackson Jr. landed a right-left-left combination, ref Talmadge waved it off.
Based on what he showed tonight, Jackson Jr. may be a fighter worth watching.
Gonzales decisions Dixon
In the opening bout, David Gonzales (2-0) took a unanimous decision over debuting Evencil Dixon (0-1) in a four round lightweight bout.
Dixon had the height advantage, but Gonzales fought within his means, landing left hooks and right hands to the head and body of the overly cautious Dixon, easily taking the first two rounds.
Dixon got warmed up, and fought better in round three, landing several lefts to the body and countering right uppercuts to the head of Gonzales. It was a close round, with Gonzales landing his own body shots over the first half of the round.
Dixon seemed to take round four, outworking Gonzales, who was able to land several counter left hook power shots during the round.
The scores were 40-36 and 39-37 (twice) in favor of Gonzales.
In addition to the former champions working their fighter’s corners, the card was attended by former bantamweight champ and hall of fame member “Jolt’n” Jeff Chandler, Ivan “Mighty” Robinson, former world light middleweight champion Buster Drayton, and former world cruiserweight champion Nate “Mr.” Miller, who looks like he could challenge for a cruiserweight title today.
Current fighters present included super middleweight contender Farah Ennis, the Mitchell twins, Eric and Allen, cruiserweight contender Garrett Wilson, and highly ranked heavyweight contender Bryant “B.Y” Jennings.
Also in attendance was Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo, who represents the worthy organization “Teach Anti-Bullying, Inc.”
Promoter Damon Feldman made a name for himself promoting celebrity boxing, but is very happy to be returning to his first love. In addition to presenting a full card of boxing, Feldman entertained the crowd with the microphone. He did a great job of personally handling the ring announcing duty. In fact, his voice could still be heard long after the last fighter left the ring.
“Champions of Tomorrow” has an aggressive schedule of shows planned, and has even established a catch-phrase: “Evolution of Boxing – A New Beginning”.
Partner and business advisor Michael G. Davis stated that the company has applied for a license to promote shows in nearby Delaware, and plans to put on shows every six to eight weeks.
Their next show will take place on August 15 at Club Bamboo on Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia.