Exciting show from The Parx Casino
J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside
Joe Hand Sr & Jr (Joe Hand Promotions) and Brittany Rogers (BAM Boxing) ran an excellent club show on 6/15/19 at Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, just north of Philadelphia. The fabulous J. Russell Peltz made the matches and that says it all. The show was good bottom to top, with all competitive bouts, no record builders, no paid-for setups, and two crushing upsets.
It started on time, with no delays and no interminable commercial announcements for sponsors preceding every bout. A good crowd was on hand, the house looking about 80% full in a circa 1500 arena. Alex Barbosa was ring announcer and Alice Grady timekeeper. Deputy Mike Arnese ran the show for the PA State Athletic Commission in the absence of the legendary Greg Sirb.
The main event was an eight between Miguel Cartagena, 109 ½, Phila., 15-6-1 (6), and Arecibo, PR’s Jesus Soler, 110 ½, 11-1-1, (5). The visitor was introduced as “Chiquito”, getting the Spanish masculine form of the nickname correct. The contest was a humdinger from bell to bell! Soler attacked vigorously with no letup, never letting Cartagena, a storied local amateur and once a highly regarded prospect, get untracked or find his rhythm. Soler ripped into Cartagena, a classic-styled boxer, out of a squared stance, with both hands pumping under and over. Miguel tried moving back to get room and countering the charges with left hooks. In the second, he landed some clean shots, but Chiquito was unfazed. The third reached a crescendo, with Miguel being trapped on the ropes and pummeled while the fans went crazy. The fourth slowed some, with Cartagena boxing in reverse while yielding ground. What ebb and flow there was for the rest of the bout was between solid action and torrid. It crested again in the sixth, with Miguel trapped in a neutral corner, rocked with a sweeping right and then blistered at close range. Getting free, the game Cartagena landed some clean left hooks on the charging underdog, but was never able to turn the flow of the fight. The major flaw with a plan like Soler’s is to run out of gas, but that never happened to Jesus. He kept constant pressure on the fading favorite through the final two rounds. Jimmy Kinney scored 78-74, Dave Braslow 79-73, and Lindsey Page 80-72. Benjy Esteves refereed.
While the main event was action packed, the co-feature eight was for the scholar of boxing. Fortunately Philly has educated fans and the crowd appreciated the drama between Frankie Trader, 133 ½, Phila., 12-3-1 (3), and Jerome Conquest, 134 ¼, Phila., 10-4 (1). The smaller Trader did a textbook job of moving and countering on the bigger, long-armed southpaw Conquest. Jerome forced the action and set the pace, but was constantly beaten to the punch as he stepped in and got tagged with right leads. It was an awkward physical contest, but that was because Trader knew enough not to stand and trade. He’d make his mark and then tie Jerome up. Referee Eric Dali issued an odd caution in round two, on the lefty Conquest for stepping on Trader’s lead foot. At least four times in the fight the two would tie up and Frankie would be tripped to the canvas. In the third, he suffered a cut right eye from a clash of heads, which looked worrisome at the time. But “Vic the Cutman” skillfully closed it between rounds. Frankie moved on his toes, popped the right leads, and tied Jerome up on the inside in a constant pattern that carried the otherwise close rounds. The two would inch into range, Trader would beat Jerome to the punch with a straight shot, and then deftly step away. The final two rounds became a little ragged, but Trader maintained control as the crowd enjoyed the heightened action, whether effective scoring or defensive shutdown. This one would have been blown by incompetent judges who don’t understand boxing. But the PA officials did a fine job awarding the unanimous decision to Trader. Braslow scored 78-74, the others 79-73.
The scheduled six was a stunning upset, as Evincii Dixon, 147 ½, Lancaster, 8-23-2 (3), demolished unbeaten prospect Marcel Rivers, 145 ¼, Phila., 7-1 (4), in 2:11 of the second. The favorite took charge in the opening action, but partway through round one, Dixon’s size advantage seemed to be bothering Marcel as he looked confused and his offense cooled. In round two, it became target practice for Evincii. The compact Rivers attacked vigorously in a blistering exchange at close range, but a short right uppercut buckled his knees, they gave out, and he went to the canvas. Then Dixon tagged him with a long right and followed with a sweeping left as Rivers fell away, scoring a second knockdown. When Marcel went down a third tike from a poking short right, Benjy decided it was Popeye Time, “Enough is too much”, and stopped it.
Tyhler Williams, 141 ¾, Phila., 3-0 (2), gained a unanimous shutout from Tyree Arnold, 143 ¼, Phila., 0-2, in a good four. The two had similar builds and styles; short, stocky and fighting out of shallow stances. But the promising Williams had the better hands, mixing at close range with hooks to body and head around a high and tight guard by the game Arnold.
Daiyaan Butt, 141 ¾, Phila., 4-0 (2), did a masterful job taking out Tivan Young, 142 ½, Charlotte, 1-3-1 (1), in a scheduled four. The tall, standup favorite showed good fundamentals, closing round two with a knockdown as a big right rocked Young, followed with a left hook to the ribs that sat him down just before the bell. In the third, Daiyaan missed a big right over the top but brought up a left hook to the ribs that sat Tivan in a neutral corner. He arose slowly, seemed not to want to continue, then muttered a mock protest when Benjy called it off, at 1:25.
Shinard Bunch, 147 ½, Trenton, 2-0 (2), left debuting Tyrone Lewis, 149 ½, Phila., inert in 30 seconds of the second of a scheduled four. The first was mostly sparring until the closing seconds when Bunch missed a short right but followed with a sharp left hook that dropped Lewis just before the bell. In the second, Tyrone was buried when a left to the ribs propelled him into a booming right to the head that corkscrewed him into the canvas face down, Dali not bothering to count.
A rare bout between guys with losing records provided a good scrap between Osnel Charles, 139, Atlantic City, 13-19-1 (2), and Laquan Lewis, 140 ½, Brooklyn, 2-11 (2). Osnel let hands fly full tilt in a showboating first. The stolid Lewis came back in the second by positioning himself just right on the outside. Charles then circled wide on his toes and took potshots to regain the lead in the third. The final round was hard fought with the fight on the line, but Osnel on his toes had the better pair of hands from outside and deserved the close unanimous win. Page had a shutout but the others scored 39-37. The two were very congratulatory of each other, as it was a crowd pleaser.
Two debutees opened the show in a good action competitive four. Jan Czerklewicz, 174 ¾, Warsaw via Berlin, NJ, faced Angel Vazquez, 175 ¼, Springfield, MA. The two immediately began mixing flat footed from medium range, trading back and forth, but Czerklewicz seemed to be landing the more solid blows and Angel began retreating from the hand-to-hand before the end of the first. A prolonged rally by the Pole seemingly had Vazquez in trouble in the second, but Angel gamely fought out of it and battled back into the fight. Solid trading continued through the third, but Angel tended to initiate the exchanges but let his left drop, enabling Jan to send the right straight down the pike and spinning him sideways several times. The final round was equally hard fought, with Czerklewicz stealing it with a big closing rally with Vazquez trapped in a corner. Page scored 39-37, the others 4-36, all for Czerklewicz.