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Philly Fighters Have Hart

Photo © Chris Robinson/
Photo © Chris Robinson/

By Bill Tibbs

When you think about Philadelphia and its history of great fighters, names like “Smokin“ Joe Frazier, Joey Giardello and Sonny Liston come to mind. The “City of Brotherly Love” also boasts a long list of fighters who certainly would be put in the category of great fighters in their era. That list would include 1970s middleweight contenders like Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Willie “The Worm” Monroe, “Bad” Bennie Briscoe and Eugene “Cyclone” Hart. Currently, another Philly fighter is looking to jump into the queue of great “Broad Street” scrappers. And he has a close connection to former the former Philly middleweight “Cyclone”: his son, undefeated super middleweight Jesse “Hard Work” Hart.

Jesse turned pro after an excellent amateur career that saw him win a United States National Golden Gloves Championship in 2011 and an Olympic Trials gold medal in 2012, becoming an Olympic team alternate in the same year. He then signed with Bob Arum’s Las Vegas-based Top Rank Promotions and kicked off his pro career. Hart speaks of career aspirations that will leave a mark in Philly boxing history not unlike father Eugene, who battled the likes of “Sugar” Ray Seales, Briscoe and champions Vito Antuofermo, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Marvelous Marvin Hagler in his career.
The younger Hart turned pro on the undercard of Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas but has fought predominantly on the East Coast. Since turning pro, Hart has rung off 11 straight victories and will look to make it a dozen in his first fight of 2014. He’ll tangle with Chicago-area tough guy Derrick “Superman” Findley. Findley will be a major step up in experience as “Superman” has been in the ring with the likes of Curtis Stevens, J’Leon Love, Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell. Findley will be used to facing a tough, up-and-coming young gun as Hart will be 11th undefeated fighter he has faced in his 33 bouts. Going into the fight, the combined records of Findley’s last three opponents - including Hart’s - will be 47-0. If Hart can beat the tough, experienced, Gary, Indiana based Findley, he will be showing early signs that 2014 could be a promising year. Hart, a classic boxer-puncher, has recorded 10 stoppages in his 11 fights but as he steps up his competition, he knows he will have to rely on his boxing skills as much as his power.
While Hart is still in the learning stages of his career, at age 24, he clearly knows that hard work and self- belief are key components to his career aspirations. In a recent interview, he spoke of his need to remain focused on “just what it says on my trunks: hard work.” He also spoke confidently about wanting to be “as great as Sugar Ray Robinson. When people talk about a great like that, I want to be thought of like that. I want to be champion of the world so bad. By the time I’m 28, I want to be champion of the world. That’s my goal.”
It looks like the name of “Hart” in Philly boxing wasn’t going to go away with the “Cyclone” as “Hard Work” is keeping it alive and well.
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at
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