Sunday, January 28, 2024

WWE Royal Rumble 2024

By Steve Ward

The WWE kicked off the road to Wrestlemania this evening as the Royal Rumble emanated from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. This evening’s event featured a men’s and women’s Royal Rumble match, as well as, a Fatal Four Way Match for the Undisputed Universal Championship as Roman Reigns put his 1,245 day title reign on the line against AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and LA Knight.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Winner: Bayley

Order of entry:




Candice LeRae

Jordynne Grace

Indi Hartwell


Ivy Nile

Katana Chance

Bianca Belair

Kairi Sane

Tegan Nox

Kayden Carter

Chelsea Green

Piper Niven

Xia Li

Zelina Vega

Maxxine Dupri

Nia Jax


Becky Lynch

Alba Fyre

Shayna Baszler



Zoey Stark

Roxanne Perez

Jade Cargill

Tiffany Stratton

Liv Morgan

Final Three: Jade Cargill, Bayley, Liv Morgan (Tiffany Stratton and Bianca Belair were simultaneously eliminated off the apron by Bayley)

In the final moments, all three women battled on the ring apron. First, Morgan shockingly tossed Cargill off the apron. Next, Bayley, ever the opportunist, kicked Liv’s legs out from under her for the elimination and to punch her ticket to Lincoln Financial Field for Wrestlemania.

Undisputed Universal Championship Fatal Four Way Match

Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton vs. LA Knight

Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Several weeks ago on Smackdown, Styles, Knight, and Orton competed in a Triple Threat Match to determine Reigns’ opponent for tonight’s event, however, The Bloodline ensured that no winner was determined. As a result of their actions, Smackdown general manager Nick Aldis declared that all three men would compete against Reigns tonight. In the closing moments, Reigns appeared to be in dire straits after a barrage of chair shots from AJ Styles and a massive elbow drop from LA Knight. Knight then attempted the BFT but Reigns countered and propelled him into the ropes where Styles was preparing to deliver a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles was knocked off the ropes and Reigns took advantage by executing a body crumbling spear to secure the pinfall and retain his title.

WWE United States Championship 

Logan Paul (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Winner: Logan Paul via disqualification

In the closing moments of the contest, Grayson Waller and Austin Theory made their way to ringside. Theory proceeded to slip brass knuckles to Logan Paul, however, Kevin Owens ripped them off his hand before he could be struck and turned around to use them on Paul. As Owens went for the pinfall, the referee saw the brass knuckles on Owens’ hand and disqualified him.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Order of entry:

Jey Uso

Jimmy Uso

Grayson Waller


Carmelo Hayes

Shinsuke Nakamura

Santos Escobar

Karrion Kross

Dominik Mysterio


Bobby Lashley

Ludwig Kaiser

Austin Theory

Finn Balor

Cody Rhodes

Bronson Reed

Kofi Kingston



Bron Breakker

Omos w/ MVP

Pat McAfee

JD McDonagh


The Miz

Damian Priest

CM Punk


Drew McIntyre

Sami Zayn

Final Four: Drew McIntyre, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, and Gunther

In the closing moments of the match, Punk surprised McIntyre near the ropes and hoisted him up on his shoulders and dumped him out of the ring. Next, Rhodes dragged Gunther by his head and pulled him over the top rope leaving Punk and Rhodes. Punk then attempted the Go To Sleep, however, Rhodes escaped and tossed Punk out to win for the second year in a row.

Following the match, Rhodes directed his attention to the skybox, where Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were seated, and pointed at The Tribal Chief setting up a rematch of their encounter from last year’s Showcase of the Immortals.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Philadelphia Area Boxing Preview - January 2024

Kings Promotions (Marshall Kauffman) ushers in the new year on Friday, January 12th at the Live Casino in Philadelphia, PA. Eight fights are scheduled with Philly favorite junior featherweight Christian Carto in the main event. Carto will square off against Filipino Ardin Diale in a bout slated for eight rounds.

Eight years ago, Carto successfully turned pro a few weeks after graduating from the prestigious Saint Augustine Prep. A meteoric rise followed as Carto fought regularly drawing large crowds. A hot commodity, Carto was being courted by every major promoter. After winning his first seventeen contests, Carto was iced by a no name from south of the border in February 2019. Then the COVID pandemic hit, and like many other fighters his career came to a halt. Then when it appeared Carto was back on track, he suffered a shoulder injury that needed surgery. Now fourteen months have passed since Carto was last in the ring. Training in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Bozy Ennis, look for Carto to be more polished even as he shakes off rust.

The following night, January 13th, in Atlantic City, promoters Mis Downing and Joe Frazier Jr put on eleven boxing matches at Boardwalk Hall. Heavyweight Joey Dawejko of Philadelphia, PA., looks to make it seven straight wins. Beginning in September 2022, J Russel Peltz began guiding Dawejko's career. Malik Titus, Baltimore MD is slated to oppose Dawejko in an eight rounder.

Undefeated Bantamweight Dylan Price, Sicklerville, NJ, faces Gilberto Mendoza of Mexico in the ten round main event. Unfortunately, the very talented Price's career was slowed down by the COVID pandemic. At one time, Price was under contract with Mayweather Promotions and is currently a free agent. With his skill set, Price will catch the eye of one of the games major players.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

December 2023 in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia Boxing Scenes

A couple of club shows highlighted a month of parties during the holiday season. Sal Musumeci promoted his sixth fight card on Saturday December 12th at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. 

A crowd of close to seven hundred fans watched Philadelphia, PA heavyweight Joey Dawejko, 260 lbs., destroy Jesse Bryan, Jefferson City, Missouri, in one minute and seventeen seconds of the first round. This victory was an early Christmas gift for Dawejko, who slammed left hooks to Bryan's body and landed booming rights to his foes' chin. With Bryan, 241 lbs., back against the ropes, Dawejko moved in for the kill. After absorbing a series of power blows, Bryan slumped to the canvas. Displaying gumption, Bryan beat the count and indicated to the referee Eric Dali he was willing to continue. Moments later, Dawejko swarmed all over Bryan. Within seconds, the referee Eric Dali stepped in to end it. Dating back to September 2022, Dawejko has won six straight and is now 27-10-4,13 KOs. Bryan went home to Missouri with a Christmas payday and a record of 21-8-2, 16 KOs.

In the semi-wind-up, Bryce Mills, Liverpool, NY, was fed a holiday pastry named Tackie Annan, Accra, Ghana, that he ate up in 2:47 of round one. A one-sided blowout, Mills, 141.75 lbs., punched the tar out of Annan, 149 lbs., from the opening bell. Wisely and mercifully, referee Ricardo Vera halted the contest. This was Bryce’s, 14-1, 8 KOs, eighth straight victory. Annan who has been knocked out in all of his losses is now 15-11, 14 KOs. J Russell Peltz manages and guides both the careers of Mills and Dawejko.

A week later on Saturday night, December 16th, in Times Square, New York City, Larry Goldberg's Boxing Insider Promotions once again delivered a first-rate club show. Held at Sony Hall, these nights are always first-class affairs with the spectators dressed to the nines. Mongolian featherweight, Erdenebat Tsendbaatar (aka Tsendbaatar Erdenebat), may have started his holiday partying too early. When he comes in at the featherweight limit Tsendbaatar is muscular. That evening Erdenebat weighed in at a flabby 139 lbs. Standing on the other side of the ring, Yohan Vasquez, 136 lbs., was fit and ready.

In control of the action, Tsendbaatar earned every round he won as a game Vasquez, Bronx NY via Dominican Republic, fought back and never relented in his effort towards victory. In the eighth and final round, the Mongolian slugger caught up to his foe and with thirty-one seconds left in the stanza. Referee Jamil Antoine wisely ended the night. A big-ticket seller, Erdenebat, is 8-0, 4 KOs. Vasquez drops to 25-5, 20 KOs.

Also, I went to hall of fame cutman Joey Eye’s “Eyetalian” Christmas Party at Jimmy’s Time Out Sports Bar in Northeast Philadelphia, PA. The Philadelphia Pugilistic Association was presented at the celebration.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Champions Sports and Entertainment Presents Battle at the Boat Live from the Showboat Atlantic City

Press Release

Philadelphia heavyweight and fan favorite Joey “The Tank” Dawejko (26-10-4, 14KO) returns to the ring to defend his WBC USA heavyweight title in an 8-round battle vs. Jesse Bryan (21-7-2) of Jefferson City, Missouri. Dawejko-Bryan headlines a terrific night of LIVE BOXING that features NINE FIGHTS. Dawejko has been busy in 2023, posting a 3-0 record, which includes two exciting victories over Colby Madison (the first fight will most likely be the 2023 Philadelphia Fight of the Year). Dawejko continues to stay active as he fights towards once again becoming a top contender for the heavyweight crown. Jesse Bryan looks to upset Dawejko’s plans of future glory, while a victory for Bryan would present new opportunities to grow his career.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

WWE Survivor Series: War Games 2023 Recap

By Steve Ward

WWE’s Thanksgiving weekend tradition, Survivor Series, emanated this evening from Chicago’s Allstate Arena for its 37th installment. This year they would again incorporate the War Games component, adapted from WCW’s annual Fall Brawl events, in place of the traditional Survivor Series bouts. The event featured five matches with two titles contested and would be headlined by two War Games matches.

Women’s War Games Match

Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Shotzi, & Bianca Belair vs. Damage Ctrl

(Asuka, Bayley, Iyo Sky, Kairi Sane

Winners: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Shotzi, & Bianca Belair

The War Games match, for those unfamiliar with the concept, takes place within two adjacent rings with a colossal cage encasing them. The match begins with one competitor from each team in the ring with a new participant entering the fray in three-minute intervals alternating between teams. A winner can only be determined by pinfall or submission after ALL competitors have entered the match.

The women’s War Games began with Becky Lynch and Bayley going toe to toe. The subsequent order of entry was Shotzi, Iyo Sky, Bianca Belair, Kairi Sane, Charlotte Flair, and Asuka. Once Asuka entered the imposing War Games structure, the match officially began meaning the first pinfall or submission would crown a winner. The closing moments saw Bayley singled out as Becky Lynch climbed to the middle turnbuckle with a table set up in front of her. Bayley then was hoisted up on the middle turnbuckle by The Man’s teammates where Becky Lynch delivered a Manhandle Slam to her plunging through the table setting up the pinfall.

WWE Intercontinental Championship

Gunther (c) vs. The Miz

Winner: Gunther via submission

This evening the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in history, Gunther, put his 533-day title reign on the line against The Miz who sought to capture his ninth Intercontinental Championship. The Miz gave a valiant effort and was able to land several low blows, while distracting the referee’s attention, but in the end, Gunther was too much as he cinched in the Boston Crab to capture the win.

Santos Escobar vs. Dragon Lee

Winner: Santos Escobar via pinfall

Over the past several weeks, Santos Escobar systematically took out each member of the LWO after he decided he no longer wished to remain in Rey Mysterio’s shadow. Escobar was supposed to square off with the last man standing in the LWO, Carlito, until he was brutally attacked on Smackdown last night. Following the assault, Dragon Lee stepped up and pleaded with Smackdown general manager Nick Aldis to put him in the match bringing us to tonight’s bout. Santos Escobar proved to be too much for Lee as he hit the South of the Border Destroyer and then the Phantom Driver to solidify the victory.

WWE Women’s Championship

Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zoey Stark

Winner: Rhea Ripley via pinfall

Zoey Stark showed some brief flurries of offense, but Ripley was simply too formidable of an opponent. Ripley finally vanquished Stark with The Riptide to retain her title.

Men’s Wargames Match

Drew McIntyre & The Judgement Day (Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio, and JD McDonagh) vs. Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Jey Uso, and Randy Orton

Winners: Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Jey Uso, and Randy Orton

The same rules would apply for the men’s match as the women’s earlier in the evening.  The key storyline to follow in this match would be whether Randy Orton, who’s been on the shelf injured for over a year and a half, would show after being announced as the final member of Rhodes’ team this past Monday on RAW. The first two participants in the match were Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. The order of entry following the first two competitors was JD McDonagh, Jey Uso, Damian Priest, Sami Zayn, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Dominik Mysterio, and Randy Orton.

When it appeared Orton would no show, Rhea Ripley ran to the ring with Damian Priest’s Money In The Bank briefcase after Rollins, the World Heavyweight Champion, was put through a table. Just as Priest was going to cash in his contract, Orton interrupted and made his way to the ring. Orton helped his team run roughshod on the opposing team culminating in Cody Rhodes hitting the Cross-Rhodes on Damian Priest for the win.

As they celebrated in the ring, the shock of the night came as CM Punk’s music echoed throughout the arena and he made his return to WWE after his termination from AEW in August following a backstage altercation with Jack Perry.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

November in the New York and New Jersey Boxing Scenes

By Frank Bartolini

The second week of November was very active and entertaining for the fight game. Getting things started was promoter Lou Dibella of Dibella Entertainment. Edison Ballroom in the heart of Times Square, New York City, hosted this event on November 7th. A first-rate affair that had cadets from West Point greeting well-dressed guests on arrival, former U.S. Marine junior lightweight Jamal Herring, Cincinnati, Ohio, returned to action after a brief fifteen-month retirement. He stopped and outclassed undefeated Nicholas Molina of Lowell, Massachusetts in round one. A packed house saw Herring raise his record to 24-4, 12 KOs, as Molina slipped to 13-1, 5 KOs.

Two nights later, the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame (NJBHOF) had its fifty-third annual inductions at the Venetian in Garfield, New Jersey. Held at an opulent banquet hall, the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame dinner is a formal event just shy of being a black-tie affair. Notable guests included the Commissioner Larry Hazzard, former heavyweight contender Chuck Wepner, heavyweight contender Otto Wallin, and world-renowned officials, boxing judge Steve Weisfeld and Referee Benji Estevez. Inductees this year were former world rated middleweight Omar Sheika, one time world rated light Anthony Fletcher (who was recently released from prison after serving 29 years first degree murder that was reduced to aggravated manslaughter by the Innocence Project), and heavyweight journeyman Maurice Harris. NJBHOF President Henry Hascup devotes countless hours to the Hall, and also handles the master of ceremonies duties for the annual event.

On Saturday, November 11th in Newark, NJ at The Robert Treat Hotel, the number one promoter in the Garden State, Rising Star Promotions, entertained a sold-out crowd. This was Rising Star Promotions' fiftieth fight card since starting the business in December of 2015. World ranked middleweight Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna is the CEO of the outfit. LaManna has been a key player in reviving the sport in the Garden State.

That evening, super bantamweight Emmanual Rodriguez got back on the winning track after losing two out of his last three battles. Rodriguez of Newark NJ is a popular boxer who sells a ton of tickets. Gilberto Mendoza was flown in from Modesto, California to face Rodriguez. Rodriguez has solid skills but is not a heavy hitter. Winning every round Rodriguez went home with an eight round unanimous decision victory.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

WWE Fastlane 2023

WWE made their way to the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana this evening for Fastlane. They would definitely need a strong showing tonight after AEW dropped a bombshell in the closing moments of their outstanding Wrestledream pay per view last weekend with the debut of Adam Copeland (formerly known as Edge). Following some additional roster cuts recently, that included such names as Dolph Ziggler and Matt Riddle, tonight’s card was noticeably thin as it only featured five bouts albeit with three championships contested. Despite the event featuring The Bloodline, Undisputed Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, would also be conspicuous by his absence from the show. Tonight’s main event pit Seth Rollins against Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing Match with the World Heavyweight Championship hanging in the balance. 

WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship

Cody Rhodes & “Main Event” Jey Uso vs. The Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest) (c)

Winners: Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso via pinfall

Following Jey Uso’s recent departure from The Bloodline and move to Monday Night RAW, The Judgment Day made an attempt to recruit him to no avail. The Judgment Day did not take this rejection well and proceeded to viciously attack him until Cody Rhodes came to his rescue. Authority figure Adam Pearce stepped in and that brought us to our title encounter tonight. The match devolved into chaos late as the rest of the Judgment Day and J.D. McDonagh became involved in the match. McDonagh inadvertently struck Priest in the knee with the Money In the Bank briefcase effectively removing him from the match and allowing Uso and Rhodes to focus on Balor. First, Rhodes executed the Cody Cutter with an assist from Uso and then finished Balor off with the Cross Rhodes to crown new Undisputed Tag Team Champions.

Six-Man Tag Team Match

L.W.O. (Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar) w/ Zelina Vega & a mystery partner vs. Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits

Winners: L.W.O. (Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar) & Carlito via pinfall

Following a brutal beat down of Joaquin Wilde and Cruz del Toro on Friday Night Smackdown by The Street Profits and Lashley, the L.W.O. was left shorthanded. Rey Mysterio proceeded to put in a call for backup to even the odds tonight. At the onset of the match, it appeared that we would have a handicap match on tap. Late in the match, Mysterio appeared to be in dire straits as Escobar was incapacitated. Rey’s backup then arrived just in time in the form of Carlito. Carlito delivered an immediate impact on the match and made short work of Montez Ford as he finished him off with a backstabber to claim victory.

WWE Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka vs. Iyo Sky (c)

Winner: Iyo Sky via pinfall

Sky appeared in danger of losing her title late in the match as she was laid out on the arena floor while Flair had the upper hand on Asuka. Sky’s Damage Ctrl cohort Bayley then made her way to ringside to help Sky back into the ring. Flair then cinched in the Figure Eight on Asuka with a title victory within her grasp. Next, Bayley climbed to the ring apron to distract the referee and allow Sky to recover to execute the Over The Moonsault on Flair. The champ then covered Flair to retain her title.

John Cena & LA Knight vs. The Bloodline (Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso) w/ Paul Heyman

Winners: John Cena & LA Knight via pinfall

John Cena was originally scheduled to team with AJ Styles until he suffered a brutal attack at the hands of Jimmy Uso, who continues to try and earn his way back into The Bloodline, and Solo Sikoa recently on Friday Night Smackdown. LA Knight quickly stepped up to fill the void leading us to tonight’s match. In the closing moments of the match, with Solo Sikoa outside the ring, John Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle on a laid out Jimmy Uso setting up LA Knight for the Blunt Force Trauma to solidify the victory.

World Heavyweight Championship Last Man Standing Match

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins (c)

Winner: Seth Rollins

The bitter rivalry between Seth “Freakin” Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura entered a new chapter tonight following Rollins’ successful title defense at last month’s Payback event as tonight the championship gold would again be on the line - this time, however, in a Last Man Standing Match. For those unfamiliar with a Last Man Standing Match, a winner is crowned when you incapacitate your opponent to the extent he is no longer able to answer the referee’s ten count. The chaos of the main event eventually spilled out of the ring and into the crowd. The final moments saw the two competitors on a platform where Rollins hoisted Nakamura up into the Falcon Arrow and dropped him through a table. Nakamura was unable to answer the referee’s ten count as Rollins was able to retain his championship.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Boxing Stars Converge on AC for Annual Hall of Fame Weekend

The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is set to celebrate and honor the Class of 2023 this weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) returns to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on September 29, 2023. The star-studded weekend will feature the induction of 24 fighters, trainers, and contributors who have had significant impacts on the boxing scene and community in Atlantic City.

The seventh annual installment of the Awards & Induction Weekend kicks off with the Opening Bell VIP Cocktail Reception from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM on September 29th at Hard Rock's DAER Club. An evening of professional boxing, presented by Hard Hitting Promotions, will close out Friday night’s festivities. The first bout on this card is scheduled for 8:00 PM at Bally’s.

The weekend continues Saturday, September 30th with the Fight Fan Experience at Hard Rock, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and Awards & Induction Ceremony at Hard Rock’s Sound Waves Theater, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

The weekend's festivities shift from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to the Flagship Hotel on Sunday, October 1st with the Brunch with Legends at the Blue Water Grille, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

This year’s induction class includes 24 of boxing’s finest, ranging from fighters to ringside reporters, with connections to the seaside resort town. This year's class is also significant in that it includes a new category of inductees, the Pioneers, a group of boxing people who made significant contributions to the city’s rich boxing scene in the pre-casino era.

The following individuals will be inducted into the ACBHOF this weekend:

George Foreman

George Foreman needs little introduction in the world of sports and grilling. The legendary two-time world champion reigned supreme as undisputed world heavyweight champion between 1973 and 1974, scoring victories over Joe Frazier, José Roman, and Ken Norton. His reign as champion was halted by sports icon Muhammad Ali in the October 30, 1974 showdown dubbed The Rumble in the Jungle. In the 1990s, Foreman held the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and World Boxing Union (WBU) world titles in the heavyweight division. The big man, whose career spanned nearly 30 years (1969-1997), fought in AC five times against notable heavyweight opponents such as Gerry Cooney, Evander Holyfield, Lou Savarese, and Shannon Briggs. Prior to his professional career, Foreman won the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City. Non-sports fans became familiar with the former world champion for his namesake, fat-reducing, and portable grill, the George Foreman Grill.

Shannon Briggs

Two-time world heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs fought professionally from 1992 to 2016. A veteran of 68 professional fights, Briggs fought ten times in AC. Two of these contests in the city were for world titles. On March 28, 1998, he challenged Lennox Lewis for the World Boxing Council (WBC) world heavyweight title at the Convention Center. Briggs later unsuccessfully defended his World Boxing Organization (WBO) world heavyweight title against Sultan Ibragimov at Boardwalk Hall. Other notable opponents in Atlantic City included fellow 2023 ACBHOF inductees Darroll Wilson (1996) and George Foreman (1997). A native of Brooklyn, Briggs was inducted into the New York State and Florida Boxing Halls of Fame in 2022.

David Tua

A Samoan-New Zealand former heavyweight boxer, David Tua achieved international notoriety after capturing the bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. His December 1, 1992 debut marked the beginning of a nearly 21-year professional boxing career. Over the course of his career, Tua fought 14 of his 59 bouts in Atlantic City. On March 15, 1996, he defeated John Ruiz for the WBC International heavyweight title at Convention Hall. He went on to successfully defend this belt the following year on April 5th against Oleg Maskaev at Bally's Park Place. Other notable opponents in AC included Michael Moorer (2002) and Monte Barrett (2010).

Pinklon Thomas

A professional fighter from 1978 to 1993, Pinklon Thomas held the WBC world heavyweight title from 1984 to 1986. A veteran of 51 fights, he appeared on seven boxing cards in Atlantic City. Notable opponents in the city included Gerrie Coetzee (1983), Alfonso Ratliff (1983), and Evander Holyfield (1988), all of whom held world titles at some point in their careers.

Tracy Harris Patterson

The adopted son of former world heavyweight champion, Floyd Patterson, Tracy Harris Patterson had a career that spanned over 15 years. A two-division world champion in the super bantamweight and super featherweight divisions, Tracy and his father became the first father and son duo to win world titles in boxing. Out of his 73 professional fights, Patterson fought in Atlantic City 14 times. Notable opponents in the city included Hector Acero Sánchez (1994) and Arturo Gatti (1997). Patterson fought his last professional fight in 2000, and retired with a record of 63 wins, eight losses, and one draw.

Doug DeWitt

Doug DeWitt fought professionally from 1980 to 1992. Over the course of his long career, the Yonkers-based pugilist fought 22 times in Atlantic City. Notable fights in AC included capturing the WBO middleweight title with a victory over Robbie Sims on April 18, 1989, and a defense of this title against Matthew Hilton on January 15, 1990. DeWitt also fought his last fight in AC, a loss to James Toney at Trump Taj Mahal, on December 5, 1992.

Darroll Wilson

A professional fighter in the heavyweight division between 1993 and 2006, Darroll Wilson was a respected, and at times, dangerous gatekeeper fighter for young prospects and world champion hopefuls for much of his career. A veteran of 16 professional fights in Atlantic City, notable opponents in the city included Shannon Briggs (1996) and Ray Mercer (2005). In his March 15th bout against Briggs, Wilson knocked out the rising star in the third round of the contest, handing him his first career loss. Wilson was well-liked by AC boxing fans, having fought out of Pleasantville for much of his career.

Shamone Alvarez

A graduate of Egg Harbor Township High School, Shamone Alvarez was one of the Atlantic City area’s most popular professional fighters during the early 2000s. A welterweight boxer, who fought professionally from 2002 to 2012, Alvarez was featured on 16 boxing shows in AC. On June 2, 2007, he won the vacant WBO – North American Boxing Organization (NABO) welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Jose Luis Cruz at Boardwalk Hall. Alvarez successfully defended this title in the same venue later that summer on August 31st with a victory over Germaine Sanders. He retired with a record of 21 wins and six losses. Alvarez was honored by the New Jersey Boxing of Fame last fall when the fighter joined the 2022 induction class at a ceremony in Garfield.

Jamillia Lawrence

Jamillia Lawrence fought professionally from 1998 to 2001, compiling a record of seven wins and five losses. Three of her professional contests were on Atlantic City cards, with another fought in nearby Pleasantville. Her December 8, 2000 bout at Bally’s Park Place against Marlene Keyes was on the undercard of Leavander Johnson versus Sean Fletcher.

Arnold Robbins

Arnold Robbins is an Atlantic City-based manager and trainer. Several fighters with connections to the area have worked with him over the course of his career, including the late Leavander Johnson, Shamone Alvarez, Patrick Majewski, Alfred Kinsey, and Osnel Charles. Robbins serves as a boxing coach at the Atlantic City Police Athletic League (PAL).

Matt Howard

Matt Howard is a boxing advisor, manager, trainer, and casino executive from New Jersey. Over the years, he has trained and advised several notable fighters, including Ray Mercer, Tracy Harris Patterson, Donovan "Razor" Ruddock, Arturo Gatti, and Virgil Hill. Howard has served in a variety of roles in the casino industry for locations such as Harrah's, Tropicana, Resorts, and Foxwoods.

Joe Hand Sr.

Joe Hand Sr. is the founder and chairman of Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. Hand, a former Philadelphia Police Officer and Detective, started his long career in boxing when he became a charter shareholder of Cloverlay Corporation in 1967. This organization gained notoriety as a guiding force behind Joe Frazier's march to the world heavyweight title. His work with Cloverlay taught him valuable lessons about sports promotions and led him to establish Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. in 1971. Over the years, the company has established itself as a leader in the distribution of pay-per-view boxing, UFC, and special events on the east coast, especially in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Hand's previous honors include inductions into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (1992), Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame (2012), and Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame (2013).

Rudy Battle

Longtime chairman of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission Rudy Battle started his career as a professional boxing referee in 1977. Until his retirement from refereeing in 2004, he was the "third man in the ring" for bouts involving a "who's who" list of boxing royalty. He refereed over 500 matches that included world champion fighters such as Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Riddick Bowe, Matthew Saad Muhammed, Roberto Duran, Vinnie Pazienza, Bernard Hopkins, and Bobby Czyz. A native of Philadelphia, Battle was a fixture at Atlantic City boxing cards ranging from world title fights to club shows. The biggest assignment of Battle’s career came on April 19, 1991, when he refereed the Evander Holyfield versus George Foreman world heavyweight championship fight at Convention Hall in AC.

Benjy Esteves Jr.

Benjy Esteves Jr. has served as professional boxing referee since 1992. Arguably one of the most active referees in New Jersey boxing history, Esteves "cut his teeth" in boxing officiating club shows in the Garden State. Many of his early fights were held in the casinos and convention spaces of Atlantic City. Since then, Esteves' reputation as an outstanding official has landed him refereeing jobs in mega fights such as the September 15, 2018 middleweight world title showdown between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Lee Samuels

A native of Pennsville, New Jersey, Lee Samuels is best known for being the longtime publicist for boxing promotion, Top Rank, Inc. Apart from a short break from the company between 1993 and 1996, Samuels served as the promotion’s PR man from 1983 to 2017. Since 2017, he has worked as a coordinator with Top Rank. Besides working as a publicist, Samuels also wrote for the Pennsville Progress, Penns Grove Record, Camden Courier-Post, and Philadelphia Bulletin. Samuels was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2019.

Joseph Santoliquito

The longtime president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter from the Philadelphia area. He has written feature stories for several major media outlets, including,,,, Deadspin, The Ring, and The Philadelphia Daily News. Santoliquito’s 2006 story, “Love at First Beep,” was nominated for an Emmy Award.

Buster Drayton

Philadelphia's Buster Drayton held the IBF super welterweight title from 1986 to 1987. A veteran of 21 fights in Atlantic City, Drayton unsuccessfully challenged Julian Jackson for the WBA super welterweight title on July 30, 1988 at Harrah's Marina Hotel Casino in the city. This was Drayton's final appearance as a fighter before an AC crowd. He retired from boxing in 1995 with a record of 40 wins, 15 defeats, and one draw. Drayton died at the age of 70 on November 20, 2022.

Marty Feldman

Broomall, Pennsylvania’s Marty Feldman wore many different hats during a lifetime in boxing. A professional boxer, manager, trainer, and gym owner, Feldman is well-known for his work with fighters Frank "The Animal" Fletcher, Prince Charles Williams, and Dave Tiberi. Feldman fought professionally in the middleweight division between 1953 and 1962, compiling an impressive record of 20 wins and three losses. To kick-off his career, he won by fourteen consecutive knockouts between 1953 and 1955. Over the course of his boxing career, he fought once at Convention Hall in AC on July 1, 1961. Feldman died at the age of 83 on February 14, 2017. He is the father of boxing promoters David and Damon. Feldman was inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.

Rocky Castellani

Rocky Castellani lived and fought out of Northeast Pennsylvania over the course of his professional boxing career, with the exception of a stint in the Marine Corps during World War II. He was considered a top contender for the world middleweight title, fighting boxing greats such as Bobo Olson in 1954 for the world middleweight title, Sugar Ray Robinson in 1955, and Gene Fullmer in 1956. Following his long boxing career, Castellani retired with his family to Atlantic City where he trained young fighters and owned Rocky Castellani and Sons taverns in AC and Galloway Township.

Frankie Polo

A native of Philadelphia, Jerry Anzalone fought professionally under the moniker Frankie Polo from 1930 to 1934. An AC transplant, the lightweight fought 20 of his 37 recorded professional fights in AC. On July 8, 1930, Polo squared off against Philadelphia’s Eddie Roberts on the first boxing card held at AC’s Convention Hall. A veteran of 16 fights at the legendary Waltz Dream Arena in AC’s Northside, Polo retired with a record of 21 wins, 11 losses, and five draws. Following his retirement from prizefighting, Polo ran many local boxing shows for churches and charities, and trained amateur fighters at the AC, Pleasantville, and Somers Point PALs. His grandson, Guy Loggi, owns and serves as the senior instructor at International Karate Academy in Somers Point.

Joe Miller

A promoter of several hundred boxing cards, Joe Miller was arguably one of the most important figures in AC during the pre-casino era. He purchased the Waltz Dream Arena, a 3,000-seat venue on the city’s northside, in 1925. Miller turned the former jazz club on Ohio Avenue into the most consistent and important AC boxing venue during this era. Miller offered high quality shows featuring rising prospects, club fighters, and visiting stars. Miller also welcomed African American fighters and allowed “mixed-race” matches between Black and White boxers. He sold the Waltz around 1941 and opened a newsstand and sandwich shop on the Boardwalk.

Horace M. Leeds

Horace M. Leeds was born in AC on November 1, 1865 to a notable family in the area. Known as the “Fighting Quaker” during his bare-knuckle boxing career, Leeds is credited with fighting the first boxing main event in the history of AC, a February 1887 loss to Willie Clark. He fought and trained with notable fighters of his day including Willie Clark, Al O’Brien, Billy Leedom, Professor John H. Clark, Dominick McCaffrey, and James J. Corbett. Known as a particularly aggravating fighter in the ring, Leeds had excellent footwork, speed, and defense that helped him to avoid punishment in amateur and professional contests. In 1929, Leeds, a lifelong resident of AC, died at the age of 64 and is interred at the Atlantic City Cemetery.

"KO" Becky O'Neill and Willie O'Neill

The O’Neills, “KO” Becky and Willie, are considered boxing legends in the city of Philadelphia and beyond in large part thanks to their work with WBA bantamweight world champion Jeff Chandler. The O’Neills’ connection with Chandler began in the mid-1970s when the then rising Philadelphia prospect approached his friend Willie to help guide his career. Willie, under the impression that past legal issues would hinder his ability to get a manager license from the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission, turned to his wife Becky to officially take on the role of Chandler’s manager. With Willie as his trainer and adviser, and Becky as his manager, “Joltin’” Jeff Chandler went on to capture the WBA bantamweight title in 1980 with a victory over Juan Solis in Miami. Willie passed away in 1994, with Becky dying after a long illness in 2005.

Founded in 2014, the ACBHOF is committed to preserving the rich boxing history of Atlantic City, through live historical curation, exhibits, legendary boxing stars, and personality appearances.

Visit the ACBHOF website for tickets, room accommodations, and a full schedule of this weekend’s events.

Matthew H. Ward is a historian and journalist who specializes in boxing, Jersey Shore, and Philadelphia history. He is the co-author of the Arcadia Publishing books BOXING IN ATLANTIC CITY with John DiSanto, and THE RARITAN BAYSHORE with John Allan Savolaine.

This story also appeared on Patch.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

WWE Payback 2023

The WWE emanated from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA this evening as they presented Payback. Tonight’s card featured six matches with four titles contested and was headlined by Seth Rollins defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. The World Heavyweight Championship was of course brought back earlier this summer because Roman Reigns is essentially a part-timer, despite holding the Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Championship, and WWE needs to have a major title to defend on each Premium Live Event. In addition to the headlining title bout, the show also boasted a grudge match between Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch inside an unforgiving steel cage.

Steel Cage Match
Trish Stratus vs. Becky Lynch
Winner: Becky Lynch via pinfall

Tonight’s card opened with a rare women’s steel cage match pitting “The Man” Becky Lynch against Hall of Famer, Trish Stratus, who made a rather surprising full-time return earlier this year. Initially aligned with each other, Trish became tired of the “sidekick” role and turned her back on Lynch igniting a bitter rivalry between the two. Following an encounter that left Trish Stratus covered in welts and bruises, Zoey Stark decided to become involved in the match. Stark attempted to hold The Man at bay as Trish scaled the cage. Lynch delivered a Manhandle Slam to Stark and then ascended the cage to intercept Trish. Lynch then pulled Trish back down the side of the cage and delivered a Manhandle Slam from the top turnbuckle to solidify the victory. 

The Miz vs. LA Knight 
w/ Special Guest Referee John Cena
Winner: LA Knight

Prior to this match, John Cena made his way to the ring as the host of Payback and decided to announce that he was naming himself the special guest referee for the next match. In the closing moments of the match, The Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale, however, it wasn’t enough to secure the pinfall. Moments later, LA Knight was able to rebound and hit the elbow drop before the Blunt Force Trauma to put away The Miz.

United States Championship
Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Austin Theory
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pinfall

Theory was recently set to defend his title against Santos Escobar until he unleashed a vicious attack on his knee and took him out of the bout. Fellow LWO member Rey Mysterio then stepped in and was able to bring the title home. Tonight, Theory attempted to regain his title as he again squared off with the Hall of Famer, Rey Mysterio. In a rather abrupt match, Mysterio found himself up on the shoulders of Theory in a rather precarious position but turned it to his favor as he rolled up Austin for the pinfall victory.

Undisputed Tag Team Championship Pittsburgh Steel City Street Fight
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. Finn Balor & Damian Priest
Winners: Finn Balor & Damian Priest via pinfall

Sami Zayn and his tag team partner Kevin Owens, who made his recent return from injury, defended their titles against the Judgement Day’s Finn Balor and Mr. Money In The Bank, Damian Priest, in a no holds barred Pittsburgh Steel City Street Fight where victory could only be attained by pinfall or submission. It appeared that Zayn and Owens were poised to defend their titles late in the match as Balor was the recipient of a Helluva Kick from Sami. As Balor was covered for a pinfall attempt, Dominik Mysterio stormed the ring with Priest’s Money In The Bank briefcase and cracked Zayn over the back. Mysterio then rolled Balor on top of Zayn to secure the pinfall and crown new tag team champions.

Following this match, there was another filler segment on the show as there was an installment of The Grayson Waller Effect with guest Cody Rhodes. Instead of Rhodes making any substantial announcement regarding himself, he introduced “Main Event” Jey Uso as the newest member of the Monday Night RAW roster. Uso came out, received a few insults from Waller, and reciprocated with a Superkick to the face.

RAW Women’s Championship
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Winner: Rhea Ripley via pinfall

Rhea Ripley had her most physically imposing opponent to date in Raquel Rodriguez set to go toe to toe with her this evening with her coveted championship gold on the line. This match came to it’s merciful conclusion following interference once again by Dominik Mysterio which opened the door for Ripley to execute the Riptide and retain her title.

World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

Nakamura has had the World Heavyweight Champion in his crosshairs for the past month, following a shocking surprise attack on him on Monday Night RAW, which culminated in their title bout this evening. Shinsuke Nakamura controlled the tempo for a vast majority of this match as he continued to target Rollins’ back. Late in the match, Rollins surprised Shinsuke with a Pedigree and quickly followed up with The Stomp to retain his title.