Saturday, March 2, 2019

Philly fighters battle for title, but Brunson beats Davis via TKO

By Steve Peacock, Ringside

Tyrone Brunson as early as the first round appeared poised to bring to an abrupt end his Jr. Middleweight State Championship boxing title-fight against fellow Philadelphia native Jamaal Davis. After Davis suddenly sustained a brutal right that surprised him (as well as the roaring South Philly audience), Davis attempted to step up his game against the clearly dominant Brunson. But Davis fell short of outperforming the more aggressive Brunson, who emerged victorious by way of TKO and retained his title just one round short of the scheduled 10-round fight.

This main-event contest—the last of 11 bouts on the King’s Promotions/Titans Boxing Promotions card—was one of several fights in which the corners as well as the crowd seemed to demand that the respective aggressor simply bring the match at hand to an abrupt end.

It may have been unwillingness to capitalize on otherwise stunning punches, or perhaps part of a personal strategy to gradually wear down his opponent. No matter what justification might be offered, from an outside-the-ring-looking-in point of view, it seemed logical—or maybe just selfishly preferable— that Brunson should instead leverage those intermittent moments of punch-induced unsteadiness that Davis displayed.

Indeed, by round three someone in the Brunson corner kept hurling a KO-tinged baseball metaphor to their man, repeatedly shouting, “Give me two jabs and a home run! Give me two jabs and home run!”

But such an outcome would not start to come until the end of the eighth, with the fruits of those efforts finally emerging in the ninth.

In the final seconds of round eight, a powerfully thrown Brunson punch planted Davis on his ass, causing referee Gary Rosato to initiate an eight count. The subsequent bell then saved Davis, albeit briefly.

Soon after the ninth had begun, Brunson dropped Davis to the canvas once again. Davis arose, his nose slightly bloodied, and Rosato stopped the fight at the 2:11 mark.

Brunson retains his title and now has a pro boxing record of 28-7-2 with 24 KOs. Davis’s record falls to 18-14-1 with 7 KOs.

In the co-main event of the evening, super-middleweights Joseph George of Houston, Texas, and Oscar Riojas of Monterrey, Mexico, battled it out in a largely lackluster contest that drew repeated groans from the 2300 Arena audience. George initially came out as the aggressor in this match as he landed a few hard shots that elicited a “Read him a bedtime story!” response from the crowd, eager to witness a quick KO.

But in what appeared to be a more egregious failure to capitalize on moments of wobbliness that he inflicted on opponent, George consistently did not follow up on those shots, resulting in many boos and a verbalized “Yawn!” from several hecklers. Riojas nonetheless remained competitive throughout the bout, which went the full eight rounds. The judges ruled unanimously in favor of George, 80-72.


Nahir Albright (6-1; 1 KO) quickly caught the attention of his opponent, Roy McGill (6-2; 3 KOs), who in the first round remained undaunted by Albright’s swift attack. This attempted battering continued into the second, with Albright cornering and hurling a barrage of blows at McGill, who soon after was taken across the ring where Albright’s punches dropped him to his knees. At 1:10 of the second round, the bout was stopped and Albright declared victor by way of KO.


Philadelphians Rasheed Johnson (5-2, 1 KO) and Vincent Floyd (4-6-1, 2 KOs) went toe-to-toe for all six scheduled rounds of the bout, with Johnson appearing to have the edge over Floyd for most, but not all of the contest. The judges’ scorecards—each 58-56—reflected that arguably uncertain dominance by Johnson, who won by split decision with two judges in favor of him and one against.


Kendal Cannida (3-1, 1 KO) opened the bout with a sweat-spattering blow to the face of Angel Rivera (4-1, 3 KOs) that hopefully was captured by the multiplicity of photographers at ringside. But all observers of this match needed not to wait long for additional pugilistic and potentially photogenic drama; a Cannida left hook sent Rivera plummeting to the floor, where he had time to ponder his first pro-boxing loss —if, while on his hand and knees in a befuddled condition, he was even capable of such cognitive processing.  The bout was stopped 2:59 after it began.


James Martin (4-0, 1 KO) and Rick Pyle (1-2) went the full four rounds of this bout, which at first seemed like it could go either way until the final seconds of the third, when Martin unleashed multiple shots upon a seemingly startled Pyle. Martin emerged the victor by way of unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring 40-36.


Rasheen Brown (3-0) took an early lead over Hugo Rodriguez (0-3), who sustained several powerful shots in the first and briefly was sent to the canvas in the second. In the third, Brown had notably connected eight consecutive shots—all right jabs—to the face of Rodriguez. After four scheduled rounds, Brown won by way of unanimous decision


Yueri Andujar’s entered the ring with a limited but perfect three-win, three-KO streak, which came to halt literally at the hands of Weusi Johnson (3-10). The bout was competitive, unofficially measured by the number of gold beads flying from Andujar’s braids that were dangling from the back of this head; in one instance, Johnson hit Andujar so hard that several beads went tumbling to the canvas, while later in the match Andujar hit Johnson with such force that additional beads went traveling, including a few that catapulted past the judge’s table.  Johnson, however, in the fourth and final round had dropped Andujar to his knees. Then, in the final seconds of the bout, Johnson (3-1, 3 KOs) blasted him with two stunning shots. After the bell Johnson was deemed winner by split decision.


In the first fight of the event to make it past the first round, Antonio Dubose (10-2-1, 10 KOs) defeated Danny Flores (15-15, 8 KOs) by way of unanimous decision after six rounds, 60-53. The bout likely would have ended sooner had it not been for evasive tactics taken by Flores following multiple thrashings at the hands of Dubose in the second and third. Indeed, it was obvious that Flores purposely kept holding on to Dubose—rather than actually boxing with him—to stave off what otherwise would have been an early defeat. Flores was saved by the bell in the fourth, after Dubose dropped him to his knees as we approached the round’s closing moments. In the sixth, Dubose caused some blood to become visible around his opponent’s right eye, resulting in a brief inspection by the ringside physician. The bout went on briefly before the end of the scheduled sixth round, and Dubose emerged victorious.


“No decision” (ND) was the outcome of the second bout of the evening, in which Shamar Fulton Banks (1-0-1) appeared to be making progress toward a potential victory over fellow Philadelphian Christopher Burgos (1-4-1, 1 KO). Referee Dave Franciosi called in the ringside physician at the 2:15 mark after Banks unintentionally crashed his head into Burgos and placed a gash in his nose. Ring announcer Mark Fratto explained to the audience that an ND ruling was required since the fight did not make it to the fourth round.


In the opening bout of the night, Jerrico Walton (11-0, 6 KOs) seemingly out of nowhere landed an abrupt punch on Cesar Soriano Berumen (26-41-3, 16 KOs). That shot not only sent Berumen to the floor, but after lifting himself he noticeably limped back to his corner as if a knee or ankle had been injured from that brief journey to the floor.

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