A night of boxing in Delaware
By J. R. Jowett at ringside
Diane Fisher (Dee Lee Prom’ns) with matchmaker Nick Tiberi kept Delaware boxing going with a show on 10/5/19 at their usual location, the Hockessin PAL. About 500 fans came out for a fine card, but with some new twists. The show was highlighted not by a particular fighter but the return of the Pennsylvania Commission to run the card.
Delaware has none of its own, so various other states have exercised oversight of the local shows. PA Commissioner Greg Sirb held sway over a long and successful program at Dover Downs, only to be replaced. First Virginia and recently Alabama were the supervising commissions. Now Pennsylvania is back, which is good news, as they always do a fine job. Sirb had a kung fu card in Pennsylvania simultaneously so Deputy Commissioner Mike Arnese was in charge of the event in Delaware.
Secondly, the show didn’t feature so much local talent but highlighted veteran contender and multi-titled “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy, of Phila. Lundy’s had a checkered career of ups and downs, and launched another (and final?) title run with his performance this night. Hank won as expected, but three big upsets on the undercard made it a signature evening. Joe Divon kept time while Nino DelBuono did the ring announcing.
Hank Lundy, 138, Phila., 30-8-1 (14), got just about everything he wanted but a knockout from willing and stubborn veteran Robert “Red Hot” Frankel, 138 ¼, Denver, over eight rounds. Action was brisk from medium range throughout, and Lundy got a hard workout while looking good. He blocked punches smartly, getting hit with few clean shots although there were plenty thrown. It was a good action fight throughout, but completely dominated by the favorite. Lundy established control with quicker hands and defense in the first, while the game underdog kept up a steady pressure of glancing blows. Hank switched southpaw in the second, trying to corner Frankel who kept up a steady patter of snappy short punches. Just before the bell, it almost worked, as Robert was jarred by a right in his own corner. Lundy went back to orthodox in the third and again scored a big right just before the bell.
In the fourth, both hit the canvas, but not from knockdowns. Lundy ducked a shot and Frankel fell onto his back, with both collapsing in a pile. Action remained steady, one at a time with no one putting together combinations. But Lundy was beginning to dish out punishment instead of just points. Hank was hurting Frankel with lefts in the fifth, one at a time, until a big miss almost spun Henry to the canvas. Late in the round, however, Frankel was in trouble from the steady tattoo, but the bell came to his relief. In the sixth, the visitor had begun to fight defensively while Lundy coasted. Frankel revived his offense in the seventh, which may have been his only winning round. Lundy just played ‘possum at southpaw, but action warmed to a big finish in the final minute. This continued through a heated final round, as the banged up underdog still fought hard while Henry tried to take him out. The two exchanged seriously throughout, with Lundy gathering momentum, but couldn’t stop the game foe. Marc Werlinsky and Adam Friscia scored 79-73, Jimmy Kinney 80-72, unanimous for Lundy, of course. Shawn Clark refereed.
The semi-final eight was dreadful in terms of execution but a crowd pleaser in terms of vigorous physical action and the drama of the contest. Chris Thomas, 173 ¼, Toms River, NJ, 13-1-1 (8), took on Roy “Mr Bang Bang” King, 172 ½, Johnson City, TN, via Brooklyn, 12-4-1 (6). The contest changed direction several times, so who was winning at any given moment was not evident. Action was good at the start, with Thomas pressing and King countering. By late in the round, King was finding the range and a solid left rocked Thomas, too late to finish. This led to a reversal of momentum in the second, King now coming forward with Thomas backing up, while action remained good and close. King was forcing the fight in the third and scoring the cleaner blows, but not taking control. Thomas seemed to be unraveling, as he lunged with his whole body while throwing punches, yet kept it close. Chris continued the lunging in the fourth while Roy tried to pinpoint the lunges. Thomas rallied late and had a prolonged two-hand volley that brought up the crowd. Wild action became more ragged, and more crowd pleasing, in the fifth. King finally broke out of even trading with a three-punch combo. Chris’ left eye swelled and he was in some distress until between rounds, when cutman Joey Eye repaired it.
The final three were ugly but still dramatic. Chris continued vigorous mauling that smothered much of King’s attempts, as Roy almost retreated into a shell. It could have been anybody’s fight and the tension was palpable awaiting the decision. Neither had commanded the action. But after all, the sport is called boxing, not wrestling, and the judges rightly went with cleaner punching. Friscia had 77-75 and the others 78-74 for an elated King. A disconsolate Thomas immediately left the ring. They do not automatically score for crowd favorites in Pennsylvania, and not in states under that jurisdiction either. Clark refereed.
Tragedy struck the undercard as huge and hugely popular Stefan “The Freak” Talabisco suffered his first, and possibly career-ending loss. In a scheduled four, Talabisco, 264 ½, Elsmere, 4-1 (4), took on Antwaun Taylor, 216, Cinc., 4-12 (1). The bell rang, the fans went crazy, and Talabisco charged like a raging bull. This was not boxing, but somehow it was exciting. Stefan crashed into the underdog and rammed him into a neutral corner with Taylor clutching him in a crab hold for want of anything better to do. The two wrestled vigorously and fans loved it, but little did they know that it was tiring the favorite. Once a puffing Talabisco let Antwaun out of the corner, the contest swung dramatically. The underdog began to throw punches, but late in the round walked into a swiping right hook counter and went down. Fans went crazy, but it was late in the round.
Bent on making up, the visitor exploded out for round two, caught Stefan before he was barely out of his corner, and battered him on the ropes until a left-right sent the popular behemoth to the canvas, flat on his back with belly heaving for a 16 second KO. This could be a huge loss to the local scene.
The decision was a head scratcher in a four between popular Vinnie “Hollywood” Kirkley, 144 ¾, New Castle, 3-1-1 (3), and debuting Zaymar “The Hybrid” Brothers, 148 ¾, Phila. All Zaymar did was circle widely away to avoid contact while Kirkley ineffectively stalked after him, trying to pin him on the ropes. Maybe that’s grounds for a draw. Zaymar was trapped on the strands in the second and Vinnie unloaded, but Brothers did manage a nifty inside left hook to enable him to sidestep to safety, then ran for the rest of the round. The underdog ran through the third, then threw more punches in a decent final round. It appeared to be the favorite’s fight, and Friscia scored it 39-37 Kirkley. But the others each had 38-38, making it a majority draw. They evidently gave Brothers style points, but defense should be to set up offense, and Zaymar had virtually none.
In a Mutt ‘n’ Jeff six, Fanlong Meng, 176 ¼, Chifeng, China, 16-0 (10), TKO’d Gilberto Rubio, 181 ½, Los Mochis, MX, 9-9 (6), in 1:36 of round two. Meng was an elongated southpaw with a deep stance while Rubio was short and pudgy…and hadn’t a clue how to pressure inside. Fanlong was doing a nice job of keeping Gilberto at arm’s length and controlling the action until reaching him on the end of a long left late in the first. Gilberto flopped to his knees and seemed ready to quit, but got up and made it out of the round. In the second, Rubio was plastered with another long left, this to the puss, and went down again. He got up but was stumbling and getting hit when the referee, Vic de Wysocki, “The Arthur Mercante of DE”, stopped it.
Women opened the show in a good four (two minutes) between Unique Harris, 121 ¾, Phila., 1-3, and veteran Karen Dulin, 119 ¾, Providence, 3-21-1 (1). At the very start, Harris worked her left, then dropped Dulin with a beauty of a right. Karen was in trouble but fought her way out of it, then boxed well to make a good fight of it for the next three rounds. Nice one-twos won Karen the second while Unique was strangely quiescent. Harris revived with a solid rally to take charge in the third, but then Dulin came back and battled to a close round. Unique was stunned once by a good right in solid trading throughout the final round.
Again the decision was up for grabs.
Friscia scored 38-37 Dulin but the others had 39-36 to give
the split decision to a jubilant Harris.