Sunday, July 24, 2022

Philly Prospects Headline Hard Hitting Promotions Show

By Frank BartoliniRingside

Philadelphia: This past Saturday Hard Hitting Promotions delivered a seven bout fight card filled with young Philadelphia prospects. 

Headlining the main event, Avery Sparrow, Philadelphia, dropped a very close eight round decision to William Foster III, New Haven, CT. The tides of momentum changed throughout this battle, due to Sparrow's ability to adapt. 

Foster's four inch height advantage made it hard for the usually counter punching Sparrow,129.1 lbs., to score. Utilizing his natural physical assets, Foster, 128.7 lbs., pumped his left jab while moving forward and snaking in right hands. After three rounds, Foster seemed to be in full control and was able to slip Sparrow’s attempts at counterpunching. Unable to close the gap, Avery did not get frustrated. Instead, Sparrow implored a new fight style by moving his head and being aggressive to get inside. Once Sparrow found himself inside Foster’s wheel house, he was more effective landing overhand rights to the head and blows to the body. Several times, Foster found himself in a corner or back to the ropes and could do nothing but grab his foe. 

Getting caught with punches moving inside, Sparrow did not relent and fought every second of the remainder of the contest, including very strong efforts in rounds six and seven when he snapped back Foster’s head with right hands. 

During the final three minutes, Foster committed to staying away from the shorter Sparrow and moved non-stop. Darting in scoring shots and running away, Foster won the last round and the fight on all three judges' scorecards 77-75. 

Foster remains undefeated 15-0, 9 KOs, while Sparrow drops to 10-4, 4 KOs. 

Sparrow had Foster figured out, but ran out of time. If a rematch was scheduled for ten rounds, this scribe would wager heavily on Sparrow. 

The semi windup matched two junior lightweights, Christain Tapia, Coamo, Puerto Rico, with completely outclassed late replacement Mario Sayal Lozano, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Possessing too much talent and skill, Tapia,131.5 lbs., nearly pitched a shutout. Lozano, 132 lbs., was a tough opponent who never quit trying. 

The final tally favored Tapia 78-73 across the board. Tapia rises to 15-0, 12 KOs. Lozano is now 18-8-1, 9 KOs.

Stepping into the ring for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic, Jeremy Cuevas, Philadelphia, did not miss a beat. Showing zero effects of being laid off for two years, Cuevas knocked the tar out of Nicolas Pablo Demario, Buenos Aires, Argentina, over six rounds. Punctuating a solid performance, Cuevas, 144 lbs., dropped Demario,143 lbs., with a right to the chin in round five. All scorekeepers saw it 60-53 for Cuevas. Cuevas is now 14-1, 10 KOs. Demario's heads home with a record 16-7, 10 KOs. 

Interestingly, Demario entered the ring to the theme of the movie The Godfather. In all my years around the sport, I have never heard that melody used by a boxer. Veteran cutman and mob historian, Joey Eye, also stated it was also a first for him. 

The event was held at The Fillmore Theater. The Fillmore is a small venue that has a balcony and two bars serving booze ringside. Roughly just over six hundred spectators wet their beaks and enjoyed the night’s festivities.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Allen Loses Controversial Decision in Comeback

By Frank BartoliniRingside

Questionable scoring by the judges dampened Philadelphian Damon Allen’s comeback at the 2300 Arena last Saturday night (7/09). It was Allen’s first fight since the COVID pandemic struck; he had not been in the ring since October of 2019. Tough Oscar Barajas, Zamora, Mexico, fought hard but did not appear to earn the six-round decision.  

Looking a bit rusty, Allen, 131.5 lbs., still came out fast and managed to stay on his toes and moved well while landing blows to Barajas' head during round one. Although Allen’s timing may have been off, this pattern continued and he clearly swept the first three stanzas.  

Granted, the southpaw Barajas,136.2 lbs., pressed forward, fighting out of a half-crouch, and managed to score a few hard shots to the head and body during the first nine minutes.  

However, matters took a different course in the fourth and fifth rounds when Barajas’ awkward punches began to find their mark. Barajas tattooed Allen with combinations to the chin and had him buzzed during round five.  

Determined to win, Allen returned to life and stormed off his stool when the bell chimed to start the final session. Standing toe to toe both combatants unloaded bombs. It was give-and-take until the final gong, and Allen got the better of every exchange. The entire crowd of over nine hundred spectators were excited, and on their feet cheering the native Philadelphian.  

Following the fight's conclusion, the Philly boxing fans were smiling, shaking hands, and high-fiving, believing Allen’s heart and big finish had secured the victory. So, there was a collective gasp when ring announcer “Discombobulating '' Jones read the official scores: 57-57 and 58-56 twice, giving Barajas a majority decision win.

This was the second straight win for Barajas against a Philadelphia prizefighter at the 2300 Arena. In February, Barajas upset Philly fan favorite Jerome Conquest in the very same ring. Barajas' mark rose to 6-8-1, 2 KOs. Allen lost for the second time and is now 16-2-1, 5 KOs.

Allen vs. Barajas was the co-feature to an eight-round main event that pitted featherweights Edward Vazquez, Fort Worth, TX, against Jose Argel, Carolina, PR in a scheduled eight-rounder. Neither Vazquez,128.8 lbs., or Argel 127.2 lbs., packed a punch, yet both adhered to a slugger's fighting style. This made for a pitty-pat war for all eight heats. Vazquez won by shutout, 80-72 on all three cards, and improved his respectable record of 12-1, 3 KOs. Argel dipped to 8-4, 2 KOs.

OTHER RESULTS

Isaiah Johnson, 141.6 lbs., Sicklerville, NJ., winner TKO1 (1:57) over Rondale Hubbert,145.7 lbs., Duluth, MN. Johnson: 5-0, 5 KOs. Hubbert 14-23-3, 8 KOs.

DeAundre Pettus, 160.5 lbs, Columbia, SC won by unanimous four-round decision over Chukka Willis, 163 lbs., Emporia, KS. All three judges scored 40-36. Pettus, 7-1, 3 KOs. Willis: 4-17, 2 KOs.

Famous Wilson, pro debut, 160.5 lbs., Deer Park, NY, won by unanimous decision versus Vincent Randall, 157.9 lbs., Valparaiso, IN. The scores were 40-36 twice and 39-37. Wilson: 1-0, Randall: 0-2.

Boimah Karmo, 152.7 lbs., Sharon Hill, PA, won a unanimous four-round nod against Daniel Jiles, 151 lbs., Philadelphia, by scores of 40-36 and 39-37 twice. Karmo: 3-0-1, Jiles: 0-2.  

The night started with a battle of junior welterweight debutantes. Najeem Johns, 141 lbs., Philadelphia, cold cocked Darryl Chamberlain with the second punch of his pro career. The punch rocked Chamberlain to the core, and had him on queer street. John's follow up shot had Chamberlain falling face-first onto the ring apron. The fight ended after just 16 seconds into the action when referee Shawn Clark waved it off and the ring physician climbed through the ropes to provide medical care. Chamberlain was up on his feet one minute later and deemed in good physical condition. Johns: 1-0, 1 KO, Chamberlain: 0-1.

(Photo - BoxRec.com)

Sunday, July 3, 2022

WWE Money In The Bank 2022

By Steve Ward

WWE made their return to Las Vegas this evening as Money In The Bank emanated from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. One could make the argument that this has evolved into one of the most significant pay per views of the year simply for the massive ramifications it can have on the world championship landscape. For those unfamiliar with the long running event, the respective winners of each Money In The Bank Ladder Match (who are crowned by retrieving the briefcase suspended above the ring) are awarded a world title shot at any point for one calendar year. One note of interest was that the event was originally scheduled to be held at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Raiders, however, sub-par ticket sales lead to the venue change. This evening’s loaded card featured six scheduled matches including two Money In The Bank Ladder Matches, as well as, three title bouts.

Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Becky Lynch vs. Asuka vs. Liv Morgan vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Lacey Evans vs. Shotzi vs. Alexa Bliss

Winner: Liv Morgan


The women’s match offered a well rounded field of competitors as it combined many established contenders and former champions, as well as, a few dark horse participants with the winner in position to potentially take a shot at the winner of the Ronda Rousey versus Natalya Neidhart title showdown also featured on the card. In the final moments of the match, we witnessed Becky Lynch seemingly moments from retrieving the briefcase as she ascended a ladder in the center of the ring, however, Liv Morgan came out of nowhere and climbed another ladder right next to her. Morgan was able to dispatch of Lynch and transitioned over to her ladder with a clear path to the briefcase. Morgan retrieved the briefcase and will now be able to cash in an opportunity at the Women’s Champion for one year.


United States Championship

Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory (c)

Winner: Bobby Lashley via submission


After imposing his dominant strength upon Theory for much of the match, Lashley appeared in dire straits in the closing moments as Theory raked his eyes and executed a spear on The Almighty. Theory then hoisted Lashley up on his shoulders for the A-Town Down, however, Lashley used his speed and tact to slip out and promptly cinched in The Hurt Lock for the submission victory.


RAW Women’s Championship

Carmella vs. Bianca Belair (c)

Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall


Belair was originally slated to defend her title against Rhea Ripley until an injury left her unable to compete. Carmella was subsequently able to insert herself in the match after she won a five-way match recently on RAW. By championship bout standards, this was a relative squash match as Belair had an answer to every ounce of offense Carmella attempted to mount. In the end, Belair retained her title after she put Carmella down with the KOD.


WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship

The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits

Winners: The Usos via pinfall


The Usos put their historic 348 day title reign on the line this evening as they stood toe-to-toe with Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins, The Street Profits, with the Undisputed Tag Team Championship on the line. The Usos frustrated The Street Profits for the majority of this match as they couldn’t put away the champs regardless of the level of risk associated with their offense. In the closing moments, Dawkins was disposed of into the timekeeper’s area leaving Ford to fall victim to some heavy tandem offense at the hands of The Usos. First, he took duel super kicks on the chin and then fell victim to the 1D as The Usos retained their titles. Controversy surfaced after the conclusion of the match as the replay showed that Ford’s shoulder was never down on the canvas as the referee commenced with his three count - there certainly will be more to come of this in the coming days.


Smackdown Women’s Championship

Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Natalya

Winner: Ronda Rousey via submission


Ronda Rousey returned to the ring tonight to defend her championship against another technical wrestler in Natalya. There were not many highlights in the match although the key moment came when Rousey was propelled from the ring and “tweaked” her knee on the landing. Rousey was still able to overcome this and a Sharpshooter attempt from Natalya to lock in an impressive armbar for the submission victory.


Following the match, Liv Morgan rushed to the ring to immediately cash in her Money In The Bank contract as Rousey was hobbled.


Smackdown Women’s Championship

Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Liv Morgan

Winner: Liv Morgan via pinfall


Rousey was able to immediately cinch in the ankle lock, however, Morgan escaped as she targeted Ronda’s knee. Morgan then rolled up Rousey for the pinfall to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion.


Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Riddle vs. Seth Rollins vs. Omos w/ MVP vs. Madcap Moss vs. Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Theory

Winner: Theory


After all seven competitors entered the ring, WWE executive Adam Pearce made his way out to announce there would be an eighth competitor and he proceeded to introduce Theory who lost the United States Championship earlier. In the closing moments, Riddle disposed of Rollins as he executed an RKO from the top of the ladder before scaling it once again. With the briefcase at his fingertips, Theory met Riddle at the top of the ladder. The two combatants proceeded to exchange blows as Riddle was knocked off of the ladder leaving Theory alone to retrieve the briefcase in possibly the worst Money In The Bank Ladder Match I’ve ever witnessed.


Friday, June 17, 2022

Carlos Ortiz, the Last of a Breed

By Gene Pantalone, NJBHOF (Class of 2022) Writer/Historian

For me, the death of Carlos Ortiz on June 13, 2022, represents the end of an era. An era when many boxers trained with other boxers in remote training camps. Carlos Ortiz was the last in a long line of champions that trained at a boxing camp in the small, idyllic town of Chatham Township, New Jersey. It was a camp that was started by a woman, Madame Bey, in 1923, and continued by Ehsan Karadag after her death in 1942. There is no telling how many champions passed through this camp; however, we do know that there were no fewer than 14 heavyweight champions and 80 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees that came to this camp from 1923 to 1969.

When Ortiz first came to the camp, he was following in the footsteps of a pantheon of great boxers. From the first to train here in 1923, middleweight world champion Johnny Wilson, to the last, Carlos Ortiz. Others in the forty-seven-year history that trained here were Gene Tunney, Max Schmeling, Mickey Walker, Henry Armstrong, Lou Ambers, Tony Canzoneri, Floyd Patterson (the last heavyweight champion to train here in 1959), and many other world champions. Other greats that had retired just came to the camp to watch their successors. Greats like Rocky Marciano, James J. Corbett, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Benny Leonard, James Braddock, were among them. Along with the fighters, many great trainers, managers, and promoters accompanied them, like Cus D’Amato, Ray Arcel, Whitey Bimstein, Chris Dundee, Joe Jacobs, Mike Jacobs, Jimmy Jacobs (Mike Tyson’s co-manager), etc.

In 1966 and 1967, the last world champion came to use Ehsan’s camp as a base for his training. Like Freddie Welsh, who had brought boxing to Chatham Township in 1917, he held the world lightweight championship. His name was Carlos Ortiz, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on September 9, 1936. He came to mainland America in 1947. Ortiz had eyes that lit his face, even white teeth, tightly curling brown hair, and thick eyebrows dominating his tiny features. His face remained unmarked after eighteen years of fighting as an amateur and professional. 

Ortiz held the world junior welterweight championship from 1959 to 1962, followed by two reigns as the world lightweight champion, from 1962 to 1965 and from 1965 to 1968. Most champions were training elsewhere. Some were in hotels like those in the Catskill Mountains. Muhammad Ali, world heavyweight champion, preferred to do his work in a midtown gymnasium, where the “people can come to see me,” thought later is his career he, too, would train in a remote camp in Pennsylvania.

“The Garden wanted to put me up there somewhere, too,” Ortiz said, “but there’s too many people there. I don’t like to be bothered when I’m training.” 

Ortiz was to defend his world lightweight title against Gabriel “Flash” Elorde from the Philippines at Madison Square Garden. It would be the first lightweight title bout at the Garden in almost thirteen years—since Paddy DeMarco, the Brooklyn Billy Goat, dethroned Jimmy Carter on March 5, 1954. 

The camp owner, Ehsan, was seventy-seven years old. He used to have many fighters training, sometimes over thirty, but now he was lucky to have three—Ortiz and two sparring partners. Ortiz also spent a few weeks at Ehsan’s earlier that year prior to his title bouts with Sugar Ramos and Johnny Bizzarro. Other than that, Ehsan’s Camp had been quiet.

The white, clapboard farmhouse at the camp that had housed a great many champions was weather-beaten. Inside, you could find Carlos Ortiz playing cards, which had been a tradition through the years. It was time to relax and forget about boxing for a while. Their game of choice that day was Hearts.

“Carlos is leading,” said Teddy Bentham, his trainer, looking up from the score pad.

“You've got to lead the spades to me,” Roger Gerson, a friend of Ortiz, said across the table to Willie Munoz, one of the sparring partners. “Then I can lead the spades to Carlos, and he can’t get off the hook.”

“I'm a good counter puncher,” Ortiz said, seriously, referring to the card game and not his boxing skills.

“Carlos wins a ten-dollar,” Bentham said, after the game concluded.

“Another big purse,” Carlos said, smiling.

At the conclusion of the game, Ortiz’s manager reminded him it was time to get back to work.

“I love this place,” Ortiz said. “I don’t want to train at those resorts. Too many people. That’s like going to Coney Island.”

Ortiz dominated the fight against Elorde at the Garden on November 28, 1966. He scored a knockout at two minutes, one second in round fourteen of fifteen. All scorecards showed Ortiz ahead before the knockout. Referee Jimmy Devlin eleven to two, Judge Joe Armstrong thirteen to zero, and Judge Artie Aidala twelve to one. The unofficial Associated Press scorecard was twelve to one, and the unofficial United Press International scorecard was eleven to zero with two even.

Arriving back at Ehsan’s in 1967, Ortiz came to prepare for another lightweight title defense. He would defend against the tall Panamanian, Ismael Laguna, a future lightweight champion.

“When I was a kid,” Carlos Ortiz said, “I promised myself I would make this title worth more money than it ever was worth before.”

With this fight, Ortiz would be able to fulfill his promise to himself. He was to fight for a guarantee of $83,000. When added to his lifetime earnings, it would eclipse by $500 the record for money earned by a lightweight, still held by Lou Ambers, who frequently used the camp to train for his fights thirty years before.

“But the money hasn’t changed Ortiz, said journalist Dave Anderson who was at the camp. “He trains the way champions used to, in seclusion and in simplicity. Other champions like their luxury these days.”

When asked what he would do with his purse, Ortiz said he would buy Ehsan’s Camp, and appeared serious.

“… I got to like it. I enjoy walking around here and the little town down the road, New Providence, is a nice place.”

On August 16th, Ortiz won a unanimous fifteen-round decision over Laguna at Shea Stadium in New York City, retaining his world lightweight title.

Ortiz would lose his title in his next fight against Carlos Teo Cruz in a fifteen-round split decision. He did not train at Ehsan’s for it. It took place on June 28, 1968, in Estadio Quisqueya, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ortiz would go on to win his next ten fights after that loss. In 1972, he was scheduled to fight Roberto Duran, who was the lightweight champion, but Duran withdrew ten days before the fight. Ortiz fought Ken Buchanan instead.

“I had trained for a completely different fighter and was very frustrated. I felt I had nothing to gain and everything to lose,” Ortiz said.

On September 20, 1972, thirty-five-year-old Ortiz fought Buchanan at Madison Square Garden. Ortiz did not get up from his stool after the sixth round. He lost by a technical knockout. For the first time in his career, he did not finish a fight.

“I knew this was going to be my last fight,” Ortiz said. 

It would be his last fight. One month later, Ehsan Karadag died at the age of eighty-two. 

Carlos Ortiz finished his career with a record of 61-7-1 and one no contest. Ortiz is considered among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time by sports journalists and analysts. He holds the record for the most wins in unified lightweight title bouts in boxing history at ten. In 1991, Ortiz was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In 2002, Ortiz was voted by The Ring magazine as the 60th greatest fighter of the last 80 years. He held 21st place in BoxRec ranking of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time.

In 1969, Willie Ratner, the journalist who coaxed Madame Bey into assuming Freddie Welsh’s business forty-six years before, came to visit the camp. Where the sign that used to hang for a passerby to read “Training To-Day” was a new sign— “For Sale.” 

During its existence, the camp was the best known in the world. Time, economics, suburban sprawl, and a changed world of boxing took their toll. Its past popularity was undeniable. The once sparsely populated farmland was now surrounded by suburban homes and a large apartment complex down the street.

In 1972, the farmhouse on the grounds was razed, and the gymnasium was remodeled into a ranch-style house to blend with the surroundings. The extraordinary events that occurred at the camp live on because of fighters and sportswriters of the past, like Carlos Ortiz.


Gene Pantalone and his three brothers visited the historic camp in the mid-60s to see the likes of boxers Carlos Ortiz, Rubin Hurricane Carter, Jose Torres, Benny Kid Paret (he trained for his fatal fight there), Issac Logart, and Doug Jones. His books include Madame Bey’s: Home to Boxing Legends and From Boxing Ring to Battlefield: The Life off War Hero Lew Jenkins.

Gene Pantalone has compiled the following alphabetical list of known boxers, trainers, managers, promoters, and celebrities that attended the camp based on photograph and newspaper archival evidence. The following is an alphabetic list of people associated with boxing that were in Chatham Township, New Jersey, where Madame Bey's camp resided:

Georgie Abrams, Lou Ambers, Fred Apostoli, Red Applegate, Ray Arcel, Freddie Archer, Henry Armstrong, Buddy Baer, Max Baer, Joe Baksi, Sam Baroudi, Billy Beauhuld, Tommy Bell, Steve Belloise, Paul Berlenbach, Melio Bettina, Carmine Bilotti, Whitey Bimstein, Jimmy Bivins, James Braddock, Jorge Brescia, Jack Britton, Freddy Brown, Al Buck, Red Burman, Mushy Callahan, Victor Campolo, Tony Canzoneri, Primo Carnera, Georges Carpentier, Jimmy Carter, Rubin Carter, Ezzard Charles, Kid Chocolate, Gil Clancy, Freddie Cochrane, Jimmy Carrollo, James J. Corbett, Lulu Costantino, Cus D’Amato, Jack Delaney, Al Davis, Red Top Davis, James P. Dawson, Jack Dempsey, Gus Dorazio, Carl Duane, Chris Dundee, Johnny Dundee, Vince Dundee, Sixto Escobar, Tommy Farr, Abe Feldman, Freddie Fiducia, Jackie Fields, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Billy Fox, Humbert Fugazy, Charley Fusari , Tony Galento, Kid Gavil├ín, Frankie Genaro, Billy Gibson, Joey Giardello, George Godfrey, Arturo Godoy, Charley Goldman, Ruby Goldstein, Bud Gorman, Billy Graham, Frank Graham, Rocky Graziano, Abe Greene, Gus Greenlee, Emile Griffith, Babe Herman, Steve Hostak, Ace Hudkins, Herbert Hype Igoe, Beau Jack, Tommy Hurricane Jackson, Jimmy Jacobs, Joe Jacobs, Mike Jacobs, Joe Jeanette, Ben Jeby, Lew Jenkins, Jack Johnson, James Johnston, Doug Jones, Ralph Tiger Jones, Phil Kaplan, Jack Kearns, Frankie Klick, Johnny Kilbane, Solly Krieger, Jake LaMotta, Tippy Larkin, Benny Leonard, Gus Lesnevich, King Levinsky, John Henry Lewis, Isaac Logart, Tommy Loughran, Joe Louis, Joe Lynch, Eddie Mader, Nathan Mann, Rocky Marciano, Lloyd Marshall, Eddie Martin, Bat Masterson, Joey Maxim, Jimmy McLarnin, Mike McTigue, Jack Miley, Bob Montgomery, Archie Moore, Tod Morgan, Dan Morgan, Walter Neusel, Kid Norfolk, Lou Nova, Jack O’Brien, Bob Olin, Lee Oma, Carlos Ortiz, Ken Overlin, Benny Kid Paret, Floyd Patterson, Willie Pep, Billy Petrolle, Willie Ratner, Grantland Rice, Gilbert Rogin, Maxie Rosenbloom, Al Roth, Andre Routis, Irving Rudd, Bobby Ruffin, Damon Runyon, Sandy Saddler, Lou Salica, Johnny Saxton, Max Schmeling, Flashy Sebastian, Marty Servo, Jack Sharkey, Battling Siki, Eric Seelig, Freddie Steele, Allie Stolz, Young Stribling, Herman Taylor, Lew Tendler, Sid Terris, Young Terry, Jack Thompson, Jose Torres, Gene Tunney, Pancho Villa, Mickey Walker, Max Waxman, Al Weill, Charlie Weinert, Freddie Welsh, Harry Wills, Charley White, Johnny Wilson, Chalky Wright, Paulino Uzcudun, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ike Williams, Teddy Yarosz.


Sources:

Anderson, Dave. Ortiz Prefers Simple and Secluded Training. New York Times. November 27, 1966.

Hissner, Ken. Carlos Ortiz the Hall of Fame Junior Welterweight and Lightweight Champion! Doghouse Boxing. April 28, 2009.

Ratner, Willie. Ehsan’s Training Camp on the Ropes. Newark Evening News. April 23, 1969.

Norton, Mark. Letter to the Summit Historical Society. Summit: 2008.

Smith, Red. Carlos Comes High. Binghamton Press. August 11, 1967.

Monday, June 6, 2022

WWE Hell In A Cell 2022

By Steve Ward

WWE Hell In A Cell emanated from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois and would have a lot to live up to after AEW put forth an incredible show in Las Vegas last weekend with Double Or Nothing. This evening’s card featured only two title bouts and was headlined by Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins waging war inside the visceral Hell In A Cell, however, it was notable that many major names were not present on the card including, Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey, and The Usos - to name a few.


RAW Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match

Asuka vs. Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair (c)

Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall

Bianca Belair found herself in the crosshairs of not only the woman whose title she took at Wrestlemania, Becky Lynch, but also the returning Asuka. Belair was originally set to square of with the Empress of Tomorrow one on one until Lynch pinned Asuka recently on Monday Night RAW to insert herself into the bout. In a surprisingly fast-paced and entertaining opening contest, the closing moments saw Lynch execute the Manhandle Slam seemingly leaving her poised to win the title. Belair then reemerged from the arena floor and dragged Lynch from the ring stealing the pinfall on the stunned Asuka to retain her title.


2-on-1 Handicap Match

Bobby Lashley vs. Omos & MVP

Winner: Bobby Lashley via submission

Tonight offered a continuation in the ongoing rivalry between Lashley and Omos that began at Wrestlemania and was further ignited as MVP betrayed Lashley upon his return from injury.  In the closing moments of the contest, Cedric Alexander provided just enough of a distraction to allow Lashley to spear Omos leaving MVP alone with The Almighty who cinched in the Hurt Lock to earn the submission victory.


Ezekiel vs. Kevin Owens

Winner: Kevin Owens via pinfall

Since the night following Wrestlemania, the wrestler once know as Elias,  has been monopolizing his time with convincing Kevin Owens that he is Elias’ younger brother Ezekiel - even though it’s clearly the same wrestler with no beard, no guitar, a haircut, and different ring attire. Ezekiel showed some flashes of offense early but a cannonball delivered to a vulnerable Ezekiel followed by the Stunner was too much for him to overcome as Owens easily pinned him for the three count.


A.J. Styles, Finn Balor, & Liv Morgan vs. The Judgement Day (Edge, Damian Priest, & Rhea Ripley)

Winners: The Judgement Day via pinfall

This bout held several underlying plot lines heading into this evening. Edge and Styles have had their ongoing rivalry since prior to Wrestlemania, Morgan and Ripley were former tag team partners, and Styles and Balor are both Bullet Club alumni from their time in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor which brings us to the tag team affair tonight. In the final moments of the bout, Edge appeared to be in dire straits as Balor ascended to the top rope to attempt the Coup de Grace. Ripley then stood in his way thwarting the attempt and as Balor came back down to the canvas, he was greeted with a devastating spear from Edge to seal the victory for The Judgement Day.


No Hold Barred Match

Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss

Winner: Madcap Moss via pinfall

The rivalry between Moss and Corbin, one time friends turned bitter enemies, that was sparked out of jealousy following Moss’ win in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal and Corbin’s loss on The Showcase of the Immortals, continued this evening in a No Holds Barred match. In what essentially evolved into a watered down hardcore match, Moss finally earned a measure of revenge on Corbin as he wrapped a steel chair around his head and dropped the steel ring stairs on him before covering Happy for the pinfall


United States Championship

Austin Theory (c) vs. Mustafa Ali

Winner: Austin Theory via pinfall

The youngest United States Champion in history stood toe to toe with Chicago’s own Mustafa Ali with his championship gold on the line in a match that came to fruition on Monday night. Mr. McMahon had Adam Pearce establish the bout after Theory gave Ali a “title shot” following his match with Ciampa in the interest of fairness. Late in the match, Ali missed a 450 attempt that allowed Theory to capitalize and retain his title after he put Ali away with the A-Town Down.


Hell In A Cell Match

Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins

Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall

Seth Rollins obsession over his loss to Cody Rhodes at Wrestlemania has continued to linger while seemingly plunging him deeper into self-manifested madness. Tonight could be the final chapter in this rivalry as the two stepped into the ominous Hell In A Cell. Prior to the match, it was reported that Cody had sustained a torn pectoral muscle while training earlier in the week and needless to say, it was accurate. After Cody removed his ring jacket, the crowd was left in utter silence as his right pectoral and bicep were grotesquely black and blue. To add to the drama of this encounter, Rollins elected to don black ring attire with yellow polka dots - a jab at Cody’s father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Give Cody Rhodes a lot of credit as he was clearly limited in his arsenal tonight yet still managed to put forth the best match of the evening with Seth Rollins. In the closing moments, Rhodes executed multiple Cross Rhodes before he put Rollins down with a sledgehammer shot to the head.


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Bernadin Annihilates Robles on Top of Kings Promotions Card

By Frank BartoliniRingside

Marshall Kauffman's Kings Promotions staged a four-bout card on Friday night at South Philly's the 2300 Arena. In the feature bout, James Bernadin of Lancaster annihilated Kenny Robles of Staten Island, to obtain a unanimous 8-round decision. Approximately 750 fans came to watch fights that showed how quality, instead of quantity, will always send the consumer home satisfied.

The main event showcased Bernadin, an undefeated fighter with less than ten fights and Robles, a ticket-selling prospect. Robles, 138.8 lbs., started fast and took it to Bernadin in the first two minutes of round one. However, from that point on, the fight was all Bernadin. A dedicated body puncher, Bernadin, 138.9 lbs., continuously landed blows to the pit of Robles' stomach while mixing in strikes to the sides of his foe's torso.

During the contest, Bernadin was warned for low blows, but this did not deter his commitment to attacking Robles' midsection. Able, to stay in the pocket and deflect punches, a confident Bernadin gained momentum by initiating his offense from that position.

Although Robles was taking a shellacking, he never stopped trying to change the tide of the fight. In the last three sessions, Bernadin began stalking Robles, landing heavy wallops with both hands to the head. Finishing strong, Bernadin stunned and rocked Robles, scoring bombs off his cranium. Floundering all around the ring, Robles did all he could to finish the match on his feet - which he did.

All three judges had Bernadin ahead by a large margin, 79-73 by two judges and 78-74 by the third. Bernadin improved his record to 7-0-1, 4 KOs. At 32 years old, Robles, 9-2, 3 KOs, must decide his next course of action.

After witnessing Bernadin fight several times on the club circuit in Eastern Pennsylvania, this scribe sees a boxer who gets wild at times, but with some fine tuning, can advance in the junior welterweight ranks. Unbeknownst to most of the boxing community, Bernadin is one of the hottest professional prospects in PA.

DiBella Sports and Entertainment-promoted lightweight southpaw, Victor Padilla, Williamstown, NJ, improved to 10-0, 9 KOs by stopping tough journeyman, Jesus Perez of Culiacan, Mexico, at 1:53 of round three. Padilla, 136 lbs., dropped Perez, 136 lbs., in the second and third stanzas. Unable to rise after the second knockdown, referee Eric Dali counted out the defeated battler. Perez' record fell below .500 to 13-14-1, 7 KOs.

Two very skilled welterweights slugged it out in one of the best four-round scraps a fan could ask for. Thanjhae Teasley, Allentown, PA, 144.8 lbs., squeezed out a four-round majority decision over Jetter Burgos, Bronx, NY, 145.8 lbs. Teasley took two of the official scores, 39-37, while the third judge had it 38-38. Burgos, 1-1, lost for the first time. Teasley improved to 3-0, 2 KOs.

Light-hitting Philadelphia native James Martin, 156.5 lbs., nearly pitched a shutout against Lukasz Barabasz, of Mikolow, Poland, to commence the evening. Winning by scores of 39-37 and 40-36 twice, Martin improved to 8-3. He is scheduled to fight again on June 4th in Houston. Barabasz, 157.5 lbs., slid to 1-4, 1 KO. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

WWE Wrestlemania Backlash

By Steve Ward

WWE returned for their first pay-per-view (sorry, “Premium Live Event” as they are labeled on Peacock) since Wrestlemania as Wrestlemania Backlash emanated from the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. This evening’s card boasted only six matches with a mere one title contested and was headlined by a six-man tag team match which pit The Bloodline against the collective of Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro.

Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins

Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall

This evening’s card opened with a grudge match following their encounter at Wrestlemania last month. Since Cody was introduced at the last minute as Seth Rollins’ mystery opponent, Rollins has cried foul ever since claiming his loss was a fluke because he had no time to prepare. Despite my thoughts of Cody departing from AEW, the company he helped to build to return to the company where he was once bestowed with the gimmick of Stardust, Cody still put forth a solid effort against Seth Rollins in this match. In a classic back and forth battle, both competitors unleashed several of their signature moves - Rollins the frog splash and Falcon Arrow, Rhodes the Cody Cutter and Cross Rhodes, however, this match would be decided as Cody reversed a rollup pin attempt by Rollins and grabbed Rollins tights to secure the pinfall.


Bobby Lashley vs. Omos w/ MVP

Winner: Omos via pinfall

After Lashley was victorious over Omos at Wrestlemania, MVP would return the following night on RAW only to turn his back on Lashley and align himself with the aforementioned Nigerian Giant. Under MVP’s guidance, Omos segued his way into a rematch this evening at Backlash. Bobby Lashley dominated Omos for the duration of the match showcasing his unearthly power as he manhandled seven foot three inch giant. Unfortunately for Lashley, MVP would prove to be the x-factor late in the contest. As the referee was distracted, MVP struck Lashley in the head with his cane which allowed Omos to capitalize with a two-handed choke slam for the victory.


AJ Styles vs. Edge

Winner: Edge via submission

In another rematch from Wrestlemania where Edge was able to pull out a victory after the shocking appearance of his new cohort, Damian Priest, he found himself toe to toe with The Phenomenal AJ Styles again tonight. The difference this time would be Priest being banned from ringside following his loss to Styles this past Monday on RAW. Late in the contest, Styles appeared to have Edge in dire straits after he executed the Styles Clash and dealt further damage with the calf crusher submission. Damian Priest would make his way down the aisle stopping just short of ringside as Styles stood on the top turnbuckle. As Priest and Styles jawed back and forth, Finn Balor would attack Priest from behind to neutralize the threat. With the referee distracted, a hooded figure would emerge to shove Styles off the top turnbuckle which opened the door for Edge to cinch in a crossface submission for the victory. Following the match, the unknown assailant would enter the ring and reveal herself as Rhea Ripley.


Smackdown Women’s Championship “I Quit” Match

Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

Winner: Ronda Rousey

In another return match from Wrestlemania, Charlotte Flair once again put her Smackdown Women’s Championship on the line against “The Baddest Woman on the Planet.” This time around things would be more interesting as Rousey pushed for an “I Quit” Match where one must make their opponent actually mutter the words “I Quit” in order to claim victory. These women beat each other with kendo sticks and steel chairs and attempted to make each other utter the words “I Quit” several times throughout the contest. In the closing moments, Flair introduced a chair once again which would prove to be her downfall. Rousey would turn the tide on Flair and drag her arm through the chair as she cinched in an armbar and finally made Flair exclaim “I quit” crowning herself as the new champion.


Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin

Winner: Madcap Moss via pinfall

Following Moss’ win in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal the night before Wrestlemania and Corbin’s loss at Wrestlemania, the duo of Moss and Corbin finally had a falling out on RAW several weeks ago which brings us to their encounter tonight. Late in the match, Corbin executed the Deep Six but was unable to put away Moss. This would prove to be costly as moments later, Moss would propel himself over Corbin with a Sunset Flip as he stunned Happy with a pinfall.


Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman & The Usos vs. Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle)

Winners: Roman Reigns & The Usos via pinfall

The Usos were originally set to square off with RK-Bro tonight in a title unification bout until Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre inserted themselves into the equation and expanded this match into a six-man tag team affair. The main event locked in at a feverish pace for the duration of the bout. In the closing moments, Riddle thought he had victory at his fingertips after he executed a top rope RKO on Jey Uso, however, Reigns had initiated a blind tag before Uso was propelled across the ring. As Riddle returned to his feet, The Tribal Chief met him with a rib-breaking spear which allowed him to easily secure the pinfall for The Bloodline.