Story by John DiSanto – PhillyBoxingHistory.com
Photos by Jano Cohen
In the main event at the 2300 Arena in South Philly, PA state junior middleweight champ Tyrone Brunson, 28-7-2, 25 KOs, stopped Jamaal Davis, 18-13-1, 7 KOs, in round nine to retain his state title belt Friday night. Davis fought tough, but Brunson was bigger and stronger, and controlled most of the exchanges beginning in round one.
Brunson set a tone for the bout in the opening round. Near a neutral corner, Tyrone landed a hard right that slightly wobbled Davis. He survived the attack, but that punch foreshadowed how the rest of the fight would unfold.
Brunson kept up the pressure in the second and gained steam as the rounds elapsed. There was no trench war in this fight, or big drama. Rather, Brunson used his power and size advantages to methodically wear Davis down while banking round after round.
It was a good plan for Brunson. He didn’t burn up too much gas along the way. He just kept punching Davis, absorbed whatever came his way, and stayed one step ahead all night. In the middle rounds, Brunson landed a bit more freely, but never swung for the fences. He just kept working and trusted that his constant attack would eventually pay dividends.
Brunson began to collect those dividends in round seven. During that three minutes, he landed a number of left hooks that made the gritty Davis begin to fade. The following round, Brunson stepped on the gas and dropped a winded Davis with a hard right.
The West Philadelphian (now living in the Harrisburg area), got up and wobbled toward his corner while referee Gary Rosato administered his 8-count. When Rosato reached eight, the bell sounded, and probably saved Davis, for the time being.
The wily old pro came out for the ninth, and Brunson met him with another volley of shots. Davis appeared sturdy until Brunson fired a combination that made Jamaal sag to the canvas for a second time. He rose once again and the referee allowed the fight to continue. Brunson jumped right on him, and after he landed a few more unanswered punches, Rosato stepped in and stopped the fight at 2:11 of round nine.
With Davis well behind on points and Brunson in high gear, the ref’s decision was a good one. Even though only one round remained until the final bell, Davis had taken enough punishment.
The win kept Brunson’s Pennsylvania belt around his waist and kept his train moving forward. Before participating in the most recent season of “The Contender” TV series, Brunson had been on a great roll with promoter Marshall Kauffman. Let’s hope tonight’s fight gets that roll back on track. Brunson is an entertaining local fighter, and his punch always keeps him in the hunt for bigger fights.
Houston’s Joseph George, 9-0, 6 KOs, remained undefeated with a dull unanimous decision over Mexican southpaw Oscar Riojas, 18-12-1, 7 KOs, in their eight-round super middleweight bout. The two fighters gave an honest effort, but it wasn’t pretty to watch. Southpaw Riojas, who over the past two years has lost bouts to locals Brandon Robinson, Christopher Brooker, and Derrick Webster, hung in there again, but failed to win a round on this night. George methodically tossed his punches, but set no activity records. Still he took every one of the eight rounds, and won by three official scores of 80-72.
Philly’s Nahir Albright, 6-1, 2 KOs, overwhelmed Roy McGill of Harrisburg, 6-2, 3 KOs, in round two with two knockdowns, and won by knockout, barely one minute into the round. Both knockdowns came from brutal combinations by Albright. McGill climbed to his feet after the first one, but the second time McGill hit the deck, referee David Franciosi ended the fight without a count. Still, he called it a KO. The time was 1:10. The fight was scheduled for six.
In a six-round welterweight fight between two Philadelphians, Rasheed Johnson, 5-2, 1 KO, edged Vincent Floyd, 4-6-1, 2 KOs, by split decision. The fight was an entertaining squeaker that could have gone either way. Johnson jumped out to an early lead before Floyd made his run in the middle rounds. However, down the stretch, Johnson rallied and did enough to claim the points victory by a narrow margin.
Judge Dewey Larosa scored it 58-56 for Floyd, but Kevin Morgan and Steve Weisfeld both favored Johnson, 58-56. I had the fight even, 57-57, giving Johnson round one, five and six, and Floyd the second, third and fourth. The fifth was the closest round, and probably the one that swung the fight.
Kendall Cannida, North Philly, 3-1, 1 KO, surprised previously undefeated Angel Rivera of Harrisburg, 4-1, 3 KOs, with a left hook near the end of the first round that dropped Rivera and ultimately decided the fight. Rivera struggled to rise, but stumbled back down a few times, and failed to beat the 10-count of referee David Franciosi. The time was of the knockout was 2:59 of the opening round.
North Philly junior middleweight, James Martin, 4-0, the son of former light heavyweight contender Jerry Martin, posted an easy points win over Rick Pyle of Harrisburg, 1-2, in their 4-rounder. Martin was the clear winner in every round and took the decision of all three official judges – Kevin Morgan, Rose Lacend, and Dewey Larosa – by one-sided scored of 40-36.
Southpaw junior featherweight Rasheen Brown of West Philadelphia, 3-0, scored a knockdown in the second, and pitched a shutout over Hugo Rodriguez of Monterrey, MX, 0-3, in their four rounder. All three official scores were 40-35. Brown, now 20, looked bigger and stronger, than in his pro debut last summer, and should be interesting to watch as he develops.
Wilmington, DE featherweight Weusi Johnson, 3-10, won a close 4-round split decision upset over Dominican Yeuri Andujar, 3-1, 3 KOs. Andujar appeared to have an edge going into the final round, but Johnson scored a knockdown in the final frame that pushed him ahead on two of the three official cards. All three judges scored the bout 38-37. Steve Weisfeld has Andujar ahead, but was overruled by Dewey Larosa and Kevin Morgan who favored Johnson. My score agreed with Weisfeld’s. In such a close fight, it was Johnson who came out and did exactly what he needed to do in the final round. He wasn’t expected to win, but he surprised everyone. So, good for him.
After 19 months off, West Philly featherweight Antonio Dubose, 10-2-1, 2 KOs, administered a six round beating against Mexico City’s Danny Flores, 15-15-1, 8 KOs. Dubose knocked Flores down in the fourth round and hurt him several other times, but had to settle for a decisive unanimous decision win. The three judges – Kevin Morgan, Dewey Larosa, and Steve Weisfeld – all scored the fight 60-53. Flores hurt Dubose with a double left hook in the third, but other than that, it was all Tony.
Philly junior welterweights Shamar Fulton Banks, 1-0-1, 2 KOs, 1 ND, and Christopher Burgos, 1-4-1, 1 KO, 1 ND, banged heads in round one, and Burgos came away with blood trickling from the bridge of his nose. Referee David Franciosi lead Burgos back to his corner, and after conferring with the ringside doctor, the fight was stopped at the 2:15 mark, due to the accidental head butt. Since four rounds were not completed, the fight was ruled a No Decision.
A quick welterweight fight opened the show. Houston’s Jerrico Walton, 11-0, 7 KOs, stopped Mexican Cesar Soriano (Beruman), 26-41-3, 16 KOs, in the first round. Walton whacked Soriano with a right that put him on the canvas. Soriano got up but limped his way back to his corner. Referee Gary Rosato followed him there, and when it was clear that Soriano didn’t want to continue, Rosato waved the scheduled 6-round bout to an end. The time was 1:39.
The 11-bout card was promoted by Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions. About 1,000 fans attended.
To read more about the Philly fight scene – past and present – visit www.phillyboxinghistory.com.