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Webster Wins Controversially In Philly

Derrick Webster
Derrick Webster

J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside:


The third of promoter Joe Hand Sr. & Jr.’s fine pro-am cards added key sponsorship from Parx Casino but took place at the usual venue, South Philly’s 2300 Arena, on 11/25/14. A good crowd nearly filled the venue for matchmaker Will Ruiz’ bouts. Everything went well until the main event, which had a rather abrupt ending. The fans didn’t seem to mind, though.

 

The main event after a good undercard was a six between Derrick Webster, 163 ½, Magnolia, NJ, 18-0 (9), and Obodai Sai, 162, Accra, Ghana, 23-2 (17). By the numbers, this looked almost too good to be true for a modest local club show. It wasn’t. Despite the impressive record, Sai’s wins had all come in Ghana against mostly winless opposition, while losing the only bout outside of country. The quality of boxing in Ghana might be suspect after Sai didn’t make it past the first exchange of punches with Webster. The southpaw favorite did land a clean left, with Sai going limp, turning half sideways and stepping more than stumbling a few paces back to the ropes. Webster charged and fired a finisher that missed, but Sai folded to the canvas and showed no interest in rising as referee Shawn Clark counted him out in just 22 seconds. Despite the record, Obodai looked for all the world like he just wanted out. But Webster’s fans weren’t complaining.


In the fours, Avery Sparrow and Antonio Dubose added to their luster as promising locals with upward-bound careers. Sparrow, 131 ½, Phila., 3-0 (1), gave an uncommonly adept boxing lesson to willing but totally outslicked Jesus Lule, 127, Ft. Myers, FL, 6-10 (1). The underdog entered the ring like he meant business, decked out in a costume and cavorting to the music. He did try, and gave fans an entertaining fight, but he was playing straight man to the favorite’s boxing skills. Sparrow took the early command with a jarring lead right, picked Lule apart with precision punches, and stayed within punching range so that the fight never lacked for action. But though Sparrow was right there, Lule couldn’t reach him through Avery’s defensive skills, ducking and slipping shots in a manner not seen much anymore. By the second, the determined but frustrated underdog was swinging wildly and fanning the first couple rows. Jesus got a rest from referee Clark in the third after a low blow, as Sparrow worked a body attack into his mixed bag. The only thing wrong with the unanimous shutout was that it was too close, as a couple of the rounds were so dominated that they should have been two-pointers.

 

Dubose, 131, Phila., 7-0 (2), took a more workmanlike approach to his four with Arturo Santiago, 129 ½, Lajas, PR, 7-10-1 (4), while substituting punishment for points. The solidly-built favorite stayed flat on his feet and walked his foe down, slipping inside Arturo’s ambitious swings to bang him with short punches on the inside. As did Lule, Santiago tried hard but was outgunned. He was also outshone, as flying sequins from Antonio’s flashy trunks ended up pasted all over Arturo’s body. That wasn’t all that was getting pasted. After two rugged rounds of mixing, Santiago was wilting in the heat. He crumpled to the canvas in the third, evidently from fatigue, but referee David Franciosi rightly did not rule a knockdown. By the fourth, Arturo was just surviving on nerve as Dubose gained the unanimous verdict after a good workout.

 

An ever-so-slight upset was scored by Piotr Apostol, 133 ½, a Moldovan fighting out of Atlantic City, 2-0, over Jerome “The Conqueror” Conquest, 135, Phila., 1-1, in a good four that was not quite up to the skill level of the Sparrow and Dubose sparklers. After a feel-out first that could have gone either way, the southpaw Conquest hit a rhythm with circling and countering the resolute but straight-forward Moldovan to take round two. Apostol responded by turning up the heat in round three, attacking more vigorously to keep Jerome from countering and dodging. Conquest appeared to have gotten his game back in the fourth as he landed some combos to take an early lead. But Piotr reached him on the end of a long right lead, rocked him, and took over to finish strong. All scores 39-37.

 

An earnest but at times amateurish contest was a four between Blair Cobbs, 143, Phila., 4-0 (3), and Julio Sanchez, 142 ½, Houston, 1-1. The much bigger southpaw favorite spent much of his time dancing, moving his hands and posturing, but did throw and connect enough punches to dominate. The befuddled visitor couldn’t get past the smoke screen, save one clumsy flurry in round three when he had Cobbs on the ropes. Blair regrouped in that round with the more telling blows, cutting Julio’s right eye. A couple good body shots took a dull fourth, as Cobbs won by 40-36 from Dave Braslow and 39-37 from George Hill and Allen Rubenstein.

 

Amateur results:

95 – Sharif Owens, Joe Hand Gym, dec. Vito Melnicki, Elite Heat, Newark, 3 rds

112 – Dylan Price, Baby D Boys, Phila., dec. Andrew Literal, 304 Gym, Huntington, WV, 3 rds

170 Open – Michael Rauchut, Front St. Gym, dec. Justin Bell, No X Cuse, District Hgts., MD, 3 rds

132 – Devin Haney, Hit Factory, Oakland, CA, dec. Nick Chandler, Rosati’s Gym, Phila., 3 rds

130 – Joseph Adorno, Allentown BC, dec. Zach Bartram, 304, 3 rds

145 Open – Jaron Ennis, Bozy’s Gym, RSC2 Mark Dawson, Baby D Boys.

114 Open – Christian Carto, Rosati’s, DQ3 Jordan White, Pound 4 Pound, Waldorf, MD

Hvy Open – Khalil Miller, ABC Rec, dec. Tom Hogan, Fight Farm, Toms River, NJ, 3 rds



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