J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: You have to hand it to Hand. A legend on the Philly fight scene, the Hall of Famer who was a founder of the Cloverlay team that launched the career of Joe Frazier and forever changed the style of boxing management has embarked on a new series of grass roots development shows for the lively but struggling local fight scene. Joe Hand Sr. and Joe Hand Jr. inaugurated the ground-breaking program at the nicely refurbished and revived 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, the same venue that has hosted boxing under a variety of names, including the New Alhambra, for decades. The inaugural on 7/29/14 drew an encouraging crowd for a show that lacked headliners, the 1100-seat arena about half full for a rare Tuesday night card. The show was good, with matchmaker Renee Aiken’s pro bouts topping an amateur portion under Mid Atlantic Ass’n Chief of Officials Jamil Ali.
The top bout was scheduled six between Fred Jenkins, Jr., 156 ½, Phila., 8-1-1 (3), and Jeremy Trussell, 160, Balto., 8-2-1 (6). Despite the weights, the local appeared notably bigger and set the pace in a close and hard fought first round. In trading at mid-range, Trussell landed some solid counters but was slightly outworked. The contest continued tight into the second, with Jeremy trying to take over on the offensive. A solid pairing of “live” prospects, it was shaping up as a close struggle all the way when, out of nowhere, the roof fell in! Jenkins lashed back with a left hook that bounced Trussell hard on his seat. He arose wobbly and was battered by a withering barrage, finally crumbling to the canvas again after four of five clean shots. Jeremy struggled up gamely but couldn’t regain solid footing before referee Hurley McCall’s ten count, at 2:52.
Popular Avery Sparrow, 131 ½, Phila., debuted in a four versus Antoine Knight, 134, Chi., 3-9 (1). The visitor offered little but a mobile punching bag, to the delight and entertainment of the experienced amateur’s noisy fans. Sparrow was able to free his wings with a good two-hand mix to body and head, and when Knight tried to crouch, ripping him underneath. Antoine’s wild swings could do little and he was soon reduced to merely surviving. The final round saw Avery attacking freely while fans chanted his nickname, “A-Plus!” The judges were extremely generous to Antoine in awarding a unanimous 40-36 shutout to Sparrow, as Knight was not in the fight and should have suffered some two-point rounds.
Keith Downs, 155 ½, Willingboro, NJ, via Killeen, TX, went to 3-0 (1) with a majority win over Robert Sweeney, 156 ½, Sicklerville, NJ, 1-2, in a vigorously contested four. The southpaw Sweeney took the first with a muscular attack, one counter right hook stunning Downs. But the tall, standup Texan’s long reach began to punish Sweeney in the second and a right had him hurt at the bell. The last two continued non-stop mixing, with Downs consistently getting the better of it. Lynne Carter scored a draw, but fortunately Dave Braslow and John Poturaj turned in slightly sharper scores of 39-37 in a good fight.
120 – Zahir Owens, Joe Hand Gym, dec. Raul Serrano, Marion Anderson Rec, Phila., 3-0, 3 rds.
112 – Ray Ford, Baby D Gym, Sicklerville, dec. Adonis Camacho, Reading Inner City, 3-0, 3 rds.
125 Women – Jackie McTamney, Joe Hand, dec. Kayla Hracho, DC Bxg, Reading, 3-0, 3 rds.
123 – Johnathan Padilla, Reading Inner City, dec. Jesse Morrell, Costello BC, Phila., 3-0, 3 rds.
141 Open – Nahir Albright, ABC Rec, Phila., dec. Brian Walton, Camden BC, 2-1, 3rds.
110 Open – Christian Carto, Gray’s Ferry BC, Phila., dec. Demetrious Young, Wash., DC, 2-1, 3 rds.
July 29, 2014