Toledo honors 100-year anniversary of “Day In The Sun” with Saturday night bouts
Report and Photos: Brad Snyder/The Undercard
100 years ago, the world was introduced to Toledo, Ohio. An event landed in their city that was bigger than a modern day Super Bowl. Toledo constructed a temporary outdoor arena to hold up to 97,000 spectators to witness what was dubbed the “Fight of the Century,” Jess Willard vs. Jack Dempsey, which took place on July 4, 1919 in 100-degree weather. Defending championWillard at 6’6 was a lot bigger than his challenger Dempsey. After three rounds, Dempsey dropped Willard multiple times and was crowned heavyweight champion. Dempsey managed to hold on to the heavyweight title for seven years and became a household name.
Present day, July 4, 2019, with a mayor and sponsors who wanted to honor Toledo’s “Day In The Sun”, they had a re-enactment of the fight. The closing of the month-long celebration was a boxing card at the Seagate Convention Center , which put on display modern pugilists trying to make their mark towards history.
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz grew up a sports fan. He knew the significance of the 100 year anniversary of the Willard vs. Dempsey to the city. Before the main event, the Mayor took time to honor Albert “Prince” Bell (15-0, 5 KOs) with a proclamation for his WBC Continental Americas Super Featherweight belt. He, also, recognized USBA Super Lightweight champion Sonny Fredrickson (21-1, 14 KOs) along with NABA USA and WBC Continental Americas Super Middleweight champion DeAndre Ware (13-1, 8 KOs) for their recent championships in the ring. He, also, honored former IBF Lightweight champion Robert “E-Bunny” Easter Jr., who was not in attendance.
Saturday’s main event featured a 6-Round bout in the Super Welterweight division. The main event lacked the excitement that some of the undercard bouts brought, as Wesley Tucker fell to (14-3, 8 KOs) by losing to Jose Abreu (10-4, 7KOs) by UD (59-55, 59-55, 60-54).
The co-main event of the evening had Rocky Rasheed vs. Elias Moreno in a 4-Round Welterweight contest. Round 1 had Rasheed all over Moreno. Moreno survived the onslaught as he began to box. Round 2 featured close toe-to-toe action, causing Rasheed to be hurt from power shots by Moreno, as Referee Jamie Howe waved off the fight with 2 seconds left in the round. Moreno improved to (3-2, 2 KOs) with a TKO win at the 2:58 mark of the 2nd Round. Rasheed fell to (0-3).
Super Welterweight John Oliver (0-1) lost his pro debut to Norfleet Stitts (1-2) by UD (39-37, 40-36, 39-37). Oliver came out strong using his left cross that found Stitts in the early minutes of the 1st Round. Norfleet, even had stumbled twice, hung on to survive, then began to win the round in the final minutes. In the last three rounds, both fighters looked completely different than the 1st Round. Stitts was able to land powerful shots, while Oliver looked hurt or gassed.
In the Fight of the Night, Maurice Winslow III faced tough Clay Collard in a Super Middleweight 4-Round bout. The very exciting 1st Round had Collard landing more of the scoring shots. The next three rounds produced back to back action, as both fighters stood toe-to-toe and landed impressive blows. The fight could have went either way, as the judges decided to award a Split Decision victory (39-37-Collard, 40-36-Collard, 40-36-Winslow) to Collard (2-1-3). The loss set back the previously undefeated Winslow to (2-1, 2 KOs).
The first fight of the night had Ferris Golden (1-0) winning his pro debut vs. VonKair Stevenson (0-3). Golden, who almost finished the fight with a KO having knocked down Stevenson in the 4th Round. The Middleweight contest ended in UD (40-35, 40-35, 40-35).
The show was promoted by Pulse Boxing-Vick Green and matchmakers included Vick Green and Aaron Rodriguez.
The events over the week raised nearly $15,000 for PAL (Police Athletic League) and eight other local boxing gyms.