By Rick Scharmberg
This Saturday night at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, world-rated “Lightning” Harry Joe Yorgey (22-0-1, 10 KOs), of Bridgeport, Pennsylvania will face fellow contender Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (16-1, 13 KOs), of Mexicali, Mexico, and now Coachella, California. They will box twelve rounds for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental junior middleweight title. The winner will also establish himself as a top title contender in the wide-open junior middleweight division. Yorgey is coming off an impressive ninth-round knockout of Ronald Hearns, while Angulo most recently stopped Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado in two rounds. FightNews caught up with Harry at his training camp in Youngstown, Ohio.
Harry Yorgey is one of those “blue collar” fighters that you read about every now and then. A construction worker by trade, Harry has built a huge fan base in the Philly area not only with his boxing style, but with his availability to members of his community, especially children. He recently made some moves that allowed him to take his game to the next level.
Sometimes, fighters have to take their careers in their own hands, so after a bitter split with his former manager and promoter, Harry did just that. First, he hooked up with Banner Promotions.
The next move he made was to change trainers and go to camp in Youngstown under the guidance of Jack Loew.
“I met Jack’s son when I was in Saint Louis, at a Cory Spinks fight. After that, Jack read on the Internet that I was looking for a trainer, and he approached me. Everything is perfect, better than I thought,” said Yorgey.
“With being away at camp, I can focus just on boxing. I am increasing my punch count, throwing more punches while working on my strength and conditioning. That was added. They saw that I was slick and had movement, so we are not changing that, just adding to it,” he continued.
While in Youngstown, Harry has struck a friendship with Jack Loew’s other charge, Kelly Pavlik. “We have a friendship. We do things together and joke around, but we don’t really talk boxing. We went to the grand opening of his new restaurant. We’re friends, but we train separately,” said Harry.
Like many Philadelphia-area fighters, Yorgey came up the hard way, fighting on club shows and taking on all comers. His toughness was proved by fighting eight times at the legendary Blue Horizon, and winning all eight bouts, including an early fight against heavy-handed Larry Brothers where he fought most of the bout with a broken jaw. Nearing thirty years of age, Harry knew it was time to make his move to the next level.
“In those early bouts, with those types of fighters, you see everything, different styles,” recalls Harry. “The punches came from all over the place. It may sound weird, but it is easier fighting better fighters. With a technically sound fighter, you know what to expect – clean shots,” he said.
Yorgey has been watching fights and dissecting styles with his father since he was nine years old, so it is a given that he studied those early fights and learned from them. “We tape everything,” said Harry. “We have over 2000 fights on VHS tape.”
In spite of his early accomplishments, the fight that made people take notice was with Ronald Hearns, the son of hall-of-famer Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns. Nicknamed “The Chosen One”, high expectations followed Ronald into the ring on March 28, 2009. The problem was, Harry Joe Yorgey forgot to read the script, and brutally knocked Hearns out in the ninth round.
“Originally, my plan was to bust him up on the inside,” recalled Yorgey. “He wasn’t as strong as me, but he was real good at using his arms. In the second round I adjusted my game plan to beating him to the punch, and when I did get on the inside, use my speed and land bone crunching shots. I was countering, and pitching the perfect game.”
Yorgey will need to be perfect against Angulo, just like his close friend Kermit Cintron was last May, when he boxed smartly over twelve rounds to hand the hard charging Angulo his first and only defeat to date.
“I know they’re looking at my record with ten or eleven knockouts. I know he will put pressure o me immediately with his foot on the gas pedal,” said Yorgey. “He fights the same way. He will come at me looking for a war right from the beginning. I have to box this guy and be myself. On paper, this looks like a possible fight of the year.”
Angulo is the favorite in this fight, even though Yorgey is the unbeaten fighter. “I don’t even care. I don’t look at the odds, and I never did. I treat every fight like it is a world title fight at the MGM. The people who make the odds probably never stepped in the ring,” stated Harry.
Outside of the ring, Harry likes to relax with his family and spend time on the links. “I love to golf. I go three or four times a week. I brought my clubs up here. I also have a knack for home repair and remodeling,” he said.
Harry concluded by saying, “I would like to thank all my fans. They mean so much, and are always there for me. I want to thank Artie Pellulo for his friendship, and I wish everyone on the card good luck, and pray that everyone comes out healthy.”