Sunday, May 26, 2019


By Steve Ward, Cageside 

Allow me to set the mood for you if I may…deep in the heart of Phoenix, AZ stands the Celebrity Theatre, a structure that has stood since it first opened its doors in 1963, a structure that was designed by Beverly Hills architect Perry Neuschatz, a structure that was listed on the national Register of Historic Places this year, and a structure that has hosted such legendary performers as B.B. King, Black Sabbath, and Willie Nelson among countless others. Well tonight when the lights went down the fans in attendance weren’t gazing upon a stage complimented by instruments of music but rather the visceral octagon that set the stage for Iron Boy MMA 15.

Tonight, there were instruments but not those of the conventional sense, instead, they were the competitors themselves who entered ready to fight for whatever their cause may be – pride, competition, glory, hopes of a career in MMA, etc. Phoenix based Iron Boy Promotions was poised yet again to deliver an evening of competitive and thrilling bouts that featured a bevy of young fighters from local MMA gyms such as Fight Ready MMA, Driven Boxing & MMA, and Notorious Fight Sports. The card this evening boasted eight bouts in both the amateur and professional ranks with the main event pitting Tyler Cole against Kasey Tanner in a 155 lb clash.

Amateur Bouts

Edward Rang vs. Swar Boatthoughthugal
Three Rounds, 125 lbs
Decision: Swar Boatthoughthugal via submission (rear naked choke) in round 1.

The opening contest of the evening featured two men making their debuts, Edward Rang who hailed from the Marshall Islands and Swar Boatthoughthugal from Phoenix. Rang displayed lightning quickness from the onset of round one and quickly attempted to take Swar to the ground. Swar displayed great poise in his debut and was able to quickly take advantage and lock in a rear naked choke for the victory.

Jontae McCowan vs. Mario Marquez
Three Rounds, 155 lbs
Decision: Jontae McCowan via submission (rear naked choke) in round 1.

Arizona’s Jontae McCowan came out quickly in the opening round with his game plan clearly in mind as he wasted no time cinching in a rear naked choke to claim victory in his debut.

Blass Gutierrez vs. An Ho
Three Rounds, 125 lbs
Decision: An Ho via KO in round 2.

Fight Ready MMA’s An Ho came out in round one displaying some apt striking ability and appeared poised to claim a first round stoppage as he gained the advantage with some mounted strikes, however, Gutierrez escaped and managed to survive the round. Round two saw more of Ho’s striking ability displayed as he quickly drew blood from the nose of Gutierrez. It became apparent that Gutierrez was struggling to breathe through his nose as An Ho took advantage of the fatiguing fighter and struck him with a devastating roundhouse kick square in the face that dropped him straight to the canvas.

Aiden Ingram vs. Stephen Esparza-Owens
Three Rounds, 155 lbs
Decision: Stephen Esparza-Owens via SD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Much to my surprise, this fight featured a fighter from my home state, as Wildwood, New Jersey’s Aiden Ingram competed against Chandler, Arizona’s Stephen Esparza-Owens. After a quick flurry of wildly thrown strikes by each fighter to open the bout, round one was rather uneventful as the only takedown, by Owens, was not capitalized upon. Round two saw Esparza-Owens make better use of an early takedown as he was able to control the majority of the round landing some solid strikes from the mounted position and avoided a near fatal error as he escaped a triangle choke attempt by Ingram. Ingram showed continued resilience and again managed to survive the round. In the third and final round, Esparza-Owens found himself on his back but again made the best of his positioning as he attempted to cinch in a triangle choke but again Ingram displayed a resounding will and was able to persevere leaving the decision in the hands of the judges.

Kemoy Anderson vs. James Scott
Three Rounds, 170 lbs
Decision: Kemoy Anderson via submission (triangle choke) in round 3.

Round one saw James Scott utilize his wrestling background to quickly take down Kemoy Anderson, however, Anderson used his speed to turn the tables leaving Scott defending himself from the guard position for the majority of the round. Round two again saw Scott score a quick takedown only to allow Anderson to slip out when Scott attempted to go for the ground and pound. Anderson then controlled the remainder of the round with Scott defending from the guard and sustaining a few solid shots. Round three ended quickly as Scott was a bit overzealous with his takedown of Anderson as he again attempted to land strikes on his opponent. Anderson found the opening he needed this time as he was able to apply a triangle choke for the submission victory.

Estevan Ulibarri vs. Francisco Suarez
Three Rounds, 150 lbs
Decision: Estevan Ulibarri via TKO in round 1.

It was clear from the start of this contest that these two combatants had no interest in doing anything but trading strikes with one another and that it probably was going to make it an easy night for the judges. Ulibarri was able to land a solid right that staggered Suarez enough that he was able to pounce on him and landed vicious blows until the referee needed to wrestle him off of Suarez.

Deran Martinez vs. Ryan Taylor
Three Rounds, Heavyweights
Decision: Deran Martinez via submission (standing guillotine choke) in round 1.

In the co-main event of the evening, Deran Martinez became the first fighter representing the Gila River Indian Community for Iron Boy Promotions as he went toe to toe with Ryan Taylor in a clash of heavyweights. Martinez scored a quick takedown on a well placed kick to Taylor’s ankle and wasted no time pouncing on him. Martinez maintained control of Taylor’s head as the two men rose to their feet and proceeded to wrench on his head forcing Taylor to tap out solidifying the submission victory by standing guillotine choke. Another note of significance in this fight was in the history of Iron Boy MMA, this was the first bout to end with a standing guillotine.

Professional Bout

Tyler Cole (0-1-0) vs. Kasey Tanner (3-0-0; 2 submissions)
Three Rounds, 155 lbs
Decision: Kasey Tanner via submission (rear naked choke) in round 2.

In the main event, Roswell, New Mexico’s Tyler Cole made his professional debut and probably wished he had been abducted by aliens after the pounding he sustained in round one. Cole remained on his back the entire round and sustained countless straight rights and elbows to the face that left him a blood soaked mess. Round two displayed much of the same as Tanner overwhelmed Cole with another barrage of damage-inducing strikes before he closed the round trapping Cole in a rear mount position. Just after the signal of 10 seconds remaining resonated throughout Celebrity Theatre, Tanner finally put Cole out of his misery as he succumbed to a rear naked choke. I will give credit to Cole however – he had a significant reach disadvantage, sustained a mauling, and refused to tap out as he was put to sleep to end the fight showing the propensity to fight with the heart of a champion.

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Saturday, May 25, 2019


By Steve Ward

Carnal chaos returns to the desert this Saturday night, May 25, as Phoenix based Iron Boy Promotions is primed to deliver yet again with Iron Boy MMA 15! This weekend’s card will once again emanate from the home of Iron Boy, the storied Celebrity Theatre nestled in the heart of Phoenix. A plethora of young talent from local MMA gyms, such as Scottsdale’s Fight Ready MMA and Notorious Fight Sports, as well as, Tempe’s JAB Fitness, will be showcased as Iron Boy continues their proud tradition of introducing rabid fight fans to the stars of tomorrow.

The main event will pit Fight Ready MMA’s Kasey Tanner (1-0-0, 1 submission) against New Mexico’s Tyler Cole (0-0-0) who will be making his professional debut. This fight will supply many interesting dynamics as it is hard to determine what the audience can expect from these two fighters, both men should be out there looking to make a name for themselves, and lastly, the victor will walk out with the Iron Boy MMA 155 lb Title.

In the co-feature, fans will have the pleasure of witnessing what has the potential to be a hard hitting clash as heavyweights Deran Martinez and Ryan Taylor will do battle in the cage. Arizona’s Deran Martinez will attempt to right the ship riding the heels of a four fight losing streak as he battles JAB Fitness’ Ryan Taylor.

Other notable bouts featured on the card will include James Scott, associated with Notorious Fight Sports, fighting Kemoy Anderson for the Iron Boy MMA 170 lb Amateur Title and Swar Boatthoughthugal versus Edward Rang for the Iron Boy MMA 125 lb Amateur Title.

If you’re going to be in the Phoenix area this Saturday, don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to bear witness to this action packed card live and in person. Tickets are still available through the Celebrity Theatre at starting at only $30 with the opening bout kicking off at 6 pm PT. For those of you that are unable to attend, you can still experience the fights as they will be streamed on

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Monday, May 20, 2019

WWE Money In The Bank 2019

By Steve Ward

Now that the dust has settled from Wrestlemania, it’s time for what has become one of the biggest pay per views of the year (aside from the “Big 4”) as it has dictated the landscape of WWE year after year. This year’s installment of Money In The Bank emanated from the back yard of WWE Headquaters at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Six titles were scheduled to be contested on the card that also boasted two massive Money In The Bank Ladder Matches and a steel cage match between The Miz and Shane McMahon. One factor to take into consideration heading into this event, was whether WWE would push the envelope with their PG rating and pedestrian booking due to the ever increasing pressure being put on by AEW who will present their debut pay per view, Double Or Nothing, next Saturday in Las Vegas.

Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Naomi vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose vs. Ember Moon vs. Dana Brooke vs. Natalya vs. Bayley
Winner: Bayley

My only real gripe with this match was that it did not feature Alexa Bliss, other than that it was quite entertaining and a great opener to the main card. Towards the conclusion of the match, it appeared that Sonya Deville was going to hand the victory to her running mate Mandy Rose after an impressive display of strength where she threw Rose into a fireman’s carry and scaled the ladder with her on her back. Just as the briefcase was at Rose’s fingertips, Bayley emerged from nowhere to race up the ladder and shove the women off of the ladder leaving her unopposed to retrieve the Money In The Bank contract.

United States Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (c)
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pinfall

This match presented an opportunity for Rey Mysterio to seek redemption after he was embarrassed by The Samoan Submission Machine at Wrestlemania with a submission loss in barely a minute. Well Rey certainly gained retribution as he countered a power bomb attempt by Joe and rolled him into a pin to steal the title on a missed call by the ref as Joe’s shoulder was off the mat.

Steel Cage Match
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
Winner: Shane McMahon

In another Wrestlemania rematch, The Miz sought retribution for his Falls Count Anywhere loss to Shane last month…this time however, it was going to be settled in the carnal confines of a steel cage. After a grueling contest, Shane-o-Mac won in quite entertaining fashion. With Shane McMahon hanging on from the top of the cage on the outside and The Miz attempting to pull him back in from the inside, McMahon slipped out of his shirt to drop to the floor for the victory.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Tony Nese  (c) vs. Ariya Daivari
Winner: Tony Nese via pinfall

“The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese made the second defense, first on pay per view, of the title he won from longtime champ Buddy Murphy at Wrestlemania. In a match that the crowd was just not into unfortunately, Tony Nese put his athleticism on full display, including execution of a 450 splash, on his way to retaining the Cruiserweight title.

WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Winner: Becky Lynch

In the first of two title defenses scheduled for “Becky Two Belts” on the evening, The Man squared off with Lacey Evans. Lacey Evans put on a strong showing in her first pay per view singles match as she took Becky to the limit. In the end, Becky reversed a pinfall attempt by the Southern Belle into the Disarmer for the submission victory.

As Becky started to leave for the locker rooms, she was intercepted on the ramp by Charlotte Flair.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Winner: Charlotte Flair via pinfall

As it appeared that Becky would overcome adversity and retain both of her titles, Lacey Evans returned to ringside and delivered a Woman’s Right to The Man while the referee was engaged in a ten count directed towards Charlotte who was outside the ring. Charlotte then returned to the ring and delivered a big boot to Becky to regain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Flair and Evans proceeded to lay waste to Becky until the new Miss Money in the Bank, Bayley, came to the rescue. After Bayley subdued Charlotte, she immediately cashed in her briefcase, ascended to the top turnbuckle and landed an elbow drop to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion!

Elias vs. Roman Reigns
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Elias shattered a guitar over Roman’s back as he made his way through the backstage area seemingly taking him out of the match. After Elias proceeded to insult the city of Hartford he was greeted with a Superman Punch on his way out. Roman then tossed Elias back into the ring and as soon as the referee called for the bell, Reigns speared Elias out of his boots for a laughably fast victory.

WWE Universal Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs. A.J. Styles
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

This match was a bit of a snoozer until A.J. Styles stepped it up a gear and executed a Styles Clash. Styles then attempted to seal the deal with a Phenomenal Forearm, however, Rollins caught him with a knee to the face that dropped him to his knees. Rollins then super kicked Styles and followed up with the Curb Stomp to retain his title.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado) vs. Lars Sullivan

Well this wasn’t exactly a match. Lars Sullivan made his way to the ring and left a pile of carnage without an opening bell ever ringing. Essentially, this was WWE exposing Lars Sullivan to a pay per view audience as he continues to lay waste to everyone in his path every week.

WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi Kingston

Kevin Owens baited Kofi into a title match after he posed as a member of the New Day for a couple weeks prior to turning his back on them during Kofi’s match with Shinsuke Nakamura a couple weeks ago. Kofi was able to withstand a Pop-Up Powerbomb and then turned the tables on Owens top rope senton attempt to land the Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall victory.

Men’s Money In The Bank Match
Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor vs. Ricochet vs. Andrade vs. Mustafa Ali (now known as Ali) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. ???
Winner: Brock Lesnar

Sami Zayn was supposed to be the eighth competitor in this match until Braun Strowman earned a small measure of payback after Zayn enlisted Corbin and McIntyre to help him “earn” the final spot in this match recently on RAW. Zayn who was found hanging upside down in the back earlier in the evening got a trip to the hospital while Strowman was banned from the building. The crowd was under the assumption that there would be a replacement but the opening bell rang with only seven competitors in the ring…that is until the ring had later transformed into a war zone. The shocker of the night occurred as it seemed that Ali was going to retrieve the briefcase until the unmistakable music of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar resonated through the arena! Lesnar made his way to the ring, disposed of Ali, and scaled the ladder to become Mr. Money In The Bank.

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Pancho Villa

By Chris Mealey

Arguably one of the greatest flyweights to ever lace up gloves, Pancho Villa (Francisco Guilledo) is known as a real balanced fighter, originating from the Philippines. Villa was the 110 lb version of a classic Smokin' Joe, or an old-school Jack Dempsey with less KO power. Boxing's first "Asian star to make a name within America," Villa, had tremendous heart and practically unrivaled respect for the sport of boxing which makes him a significantly likable boxer.

The honor and pride he carried into the ring was nothing short of admirable, on top of his performances in the ring. Weary if his opponents were about to fall, Villa would even go to his own or neutral corner once he had his opponent on the canvas. This fact is interesting, because it was not an official rule in the early 1900s. You could stand anywhere in the ring after a knockdown occurred during this era of pugilism. The game-plan and style was pressure, yet Villa knew how to back up and utilize generalship when needed.

The notable, yet critiqued fights here, are with legends Jimmy Wilde and Jimmy McLarnin.

The Wilde fight would be Pancho's "greatest" critiqued KO victory, as Jimmy decided to take another tough fight, after a dramatic loss to Pete Herman. Wilde had close to a two year layoff, which was out of the norm for his taste, but decided to take the fight out of confidence, as well as to [please his fans. Jimmy had huge heart like Pancho and was a well known legend in the ring, yet this fight proved to be too much, as well as his last. Pancho would batter him almost as bad as Herman and ended up dropping Wilde in the seventh round.

McLarnin - Villa is filled with conspiracy, due to Pancho's wife releasing a certain statement decades later. Before the fight, Villa had an infected tooth extracted the morning before his match with Jimmy McLarnin. Villa entered the ring with a badly swollen jaw to face McLarnin, and despite this, Villa survived a bad beating and lost on points. The conspiracy began months after this fight, when he had several more teeth pulled from the same infection. Blood poisoning caused Pancho to cancel his last fight, and sadly, he passed from the disease.

Pancho's wife gave birth to their son right after his passing, and she stated his death was caused by an intentional overdose of anesthesia. She insinuated that this was the result of a gambling conspiracy to murder Villa for losing to McLarnin, as Villa was highly favored to win the fight.

A Closer Look at Pancho Villa:

Height/Weight - 5'0/110 lb. 

Division - Flyweight Champion

Career Record - 77 - 4 - 4 (22 KO victories) (Never been knocked out)

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

J-Roc Crashed the Party and Left with Hurd's Belts

By Frank Bartolini, Ringside

Fairfax, VA - The EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University played host to the WBA and IBF Super Welterweight Champion Jarrett Hurd, Accokeek, MD,  homecoming jubilee. Philadelphia’s Julian “J-Roc” Williams crashed the party and left with Hurd’s belts.

All those in attendance loudly cheered for Hurd as he entered the ring in Redskins gear. Then there was a collective gasp when ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr announce that Harold Lederman had pass away earlier in the day.

From the opening bell, Williams applied pressure on the champion. Expecting Williams,153.8 lbs, to box from a distance, Hurd,153.8 lbs, looked baffled when the challenger employed a in your face approach. Unable to quickly adjust to Williams, Hurd hit the deck in the second after absorbing a quick combo to the head followed by a left hook. Once Hurd regained his faculties, he may have realized Williams' strength was almost equal to his. Unable to employ his customary bullying tactics, Hurd was behind the eight ball. Hurd admitted this saying: “He was a lot sharper and a little better than I thought. They had a game plan that worked better.”

Getting his bearings a few rounds into the contest, Hurd futilely tried to employ any limited physical superiority he possessed to no avail. During round eight, Hurd was cut over his left eye. Battling with true grit and determination, Hurd was able to bag a few rounds. J-Roc never let go of the momentum he obtained in round one continuously snapping Hurd's head back with uppercuts. Throughout the affair, Williams utilized a nifty move when he backed Hurd against the ropes by stepping to his right as if he was throwing a right hand and releasing a blind side left hook to the chin. This tactic caught Hurd  several times and buckled his knees. Closing the show, Williams dominated a worn out Hurd in the last round.

Just looking at the expression on Hurd’s cut and bruised face left no question of the outcome. Judges Steve Weisfeld and Robin Taylor scored it 115-112 . Alfred Polanco score was more in line at 116-111, all for the new champion Julian "J-Rock" Williams.
Exuding nothing but class, the former champ Hurd said: “I”m going to come back. He was the better man tonight.” Losing his belt and undefeated record, Hurd is now 23-1 (16 ko’s).

Raising his record to 27-1-1 (16 ko’s) the new King J-Roc said: “The whole world doubted me. I outclassed him. I was a five to one underdog. The only people that believed in me were my team”.

Following this effort J-Roc surely accumulated more believers. 

Prior to winning the title in the main event, Williams left the sanctity of his locker and indiscreetly sat alone in a chair behind press row to watch his stablemate Stephen Fulton capture the International Boxing Organization Super Bantamweight title.  

Turning in a splendid performance, Fulton, Philadelphia, PA, outfought, outclassed, and outright beat Paulus Ambunda, Swakopmund, Namibia, to garner a twelve round unanimous  decision. Weighing in right on the button at 122 lbs, Fulton fought flawlessly. Regulated to nothing more than the canvas, Fulton painted his masterpiece, while Ambunda hardly landed a punch. Floored by a right to the head in the eighth, Ambunda continued to press forward even as his chances of victory were very thin. Unscathed and appearing as if he did not fight yet, Fulton had his hand raised after twelve heats, Without contemplation all three judges scored it a shutout 120-107 for Fulton.

Fulton said: “It’s like a perfect game. Look no marks on me. I feel great. After he got up from the knockdown I saw he kept coming forward,and outboxed until the end.” Already looking for greater challengers, Fulton went on to say: “I want to fight every world champion in my weight class. My choice would be to fight Daniel Roman next.”

Popular consensus dictates Philly has the best fight scene in the USA. Not as renowned, DC and the surrounding area's pugilistic landscape is good and produces world champs. Notably the fight card was filled with locals attempting  to show off their wares which made it remarkable how these two Philly natives stole the show.

A near packed house of 7,500 filled the arena. TGB promoted the festivities in association with Premier Boxing Champions. It aired live nationally on Fox Saturday night on prime time television.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

“Hot Sauce” Henderson Harnesses His Dozenth Victory

By Steve Peacock, Ringside

Pro boxer Kalvin “Hot Sauce” Henderson returned to the City of Brotherly Love on Friday night to attain win #12, preserving an undefeated record by repeatedly knocking down and ultimately taking down Antowyan Aikens.  

Referee Benji Estevez stopped the bout at 2:14 of the third round after the Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Henderson (12-0; 8 KOs) sent Aikens (13-7-1; 1 KO) of Mays Landing, NJ to the canvas for the fifth time.

This successful contest was Henderson’s 2nd consecutive match via King’s Promotions/Titans Boxing Promotions and likewise was his 2nd consecutive victory at the 2300 Arena in South Philly.

At the start of this super-middleweight competition Henderson appeared to hold, at best, a slight advantage over Aikens. But by round two, “Hot Sauce” clearly established himself as the dominant pugilist.

A left jab by Henderson during the second round had hurtled Aikens to the mat—the very place to which Hot Sauce then returned him moments later.

Indeed, Aikens actually took a trio of trips to the canvas that round, including another one immediately prior to the bell bringing the 2nd to its inevitable conclusion.

Henderson in the 3rd once again downed Aikens with a left jab then dropped him to the canvas yet again before referee Benji Estevez stopped the bout, thereby giving the TKO victory to Hot Sauce.

Back in December, Henderson at this same arena had handed to Brandon Robinson only the second defeat of “B-Rob’s” career. Though Robinson in that bout fared slightly better—duration-wise, anyway—than Aikens on Friday, he nonetheless had received an eye-bloodying, mat-visiting loss at the hands of Henderson in late 2018.

Robinson likewise returned to South Philly this weekend to face a different opponent—and with different results as the following segment of this report will show.


Brandon “B-Rob” Robinson (13-2; 8 KOs ) of Upper Darby, Pa. in the evening’s co-main event emerged victorious over DeVaun Lee (10-6-1; 5 KOs) of Jamaica, Queens.

B-Rob soon after the bout had begun threw a right jab that stunned Lee, but by the end of the round Lee reciprocated, stemming his opponent’s brief momentum and momentarily causing Robinson to wobble.

Over the next two rounds B-Rob held the advantage, with Lee remaining in contention to say the least. Indeed, by the fourth a resilient Lee looked like he was gaining and not losing ground, though the fifth revealed—however briefly—that Lee could be in trouble.

A relatively even exchange took place between the two boxers in the last three. Robinson appeared to minimally maintain the edge in the sixth, but barely.

Notably, Robinson and Lee took turns connecting a hard right just before the 10-second warning at each of the final rounds, with B-Rob landing a furious fist at the end of the seventh and Lee similarly reciprocating prior to the timekeeper’s “clack” nearing bout’s end.

The judges scored 77-74 for Robinson, 76-75 for Lee, and 77-75 in favor of Robinson, who won by split decision.


Raeese Aleem (14-0; 8 KOs) of Las Vegas quickly set Ramiro Robles (15-9-2) of Queretaro, Mexico on his ass. Upon standing, Aleem slammed Robles with a left uppercut and right jab. Moments later, after a brief respite thanks to an inquiring referee, Aleem leveraged that same combo and dropped Robles to his knees. The bout was over at 1:51, and Aleem won by way of 1st round TKO.


This match can be summed up in two sentences: Alycia Baumgardner (7-1; 5 KOs) of Fremont, Ohio quickly pummeled Gabriella Mezei (9-18-5) of Romania with multiple left-right combos, jabs and uppercuts. As a result, the bout barely made it past the one-minute mark (1:08) before being stopped, and Baumgardner by way of TKO was subsequently crowned USBF Women’s Silver Champion.


Philly favorite Paul “The Punisher” Kroll (3-0; 3 KOs ) unleashed a combo of head and body shots against  Vincent Floyd (4-7-1; 2 KOs) in the first—that alternating barrage of rights and lefts quickly indicated the end was near for Floyd. Sure enough, the referee stopped the bout at 2:27, and Kroll was deemed victor by way of TKO.


The first of four consecutive 1st round victories at this event, Ryan Umberger of Philly (2-0;  1 KO) just seconds into the match knocked to the mat a befuddled Daryl Fenton (1-5-1), who fights out of Washington, D.C.  “The Cockney Reject,” as the London-born Fenton is nicknamed, continued to sustain a battery of unrelenting Umberger shots until the ref jumped into to the stop this beating at 1:34. Umberger is now on a three-win, three KO streak.


Antonio Dubose (11-2-1; 2 KOs) of Philly and Weusi Johnson (3-12-1) of Wilmington, Delaware went the full length of the scheduled six rounder. Dubose landed several left jabs that elicited responses from the audience throughout the first two rounds. At the very end of the third, Johnson was striking Dubose with significant force, and appeared further reinvigorated in the fourth.  Dubose at one point slammed an overhand right into the face of his opponent, but there was not much more to speak about either contender. Dubose emerged victorious by way of majority decision, with the judges scoring the bout 57-57, 58-56 and 59-55.


First up was LaQuan Evans (1-1) out of Philly, facing Hector Mercado (3-10) of Puerto Rico. Evans started out literally on the wrong foot, nearly sliding a leg out of the ring, and Mercado wisely seized upon that error. Undaunted, Evans came back and mightily landed multiple shots that reminded his opponent that one slip does not make for a less formidable foe.  By the third, Mercado seemed fatigued, and could not get a break until Evans slipped to the canvas, albeit momentarily. Despite Mercado’s seemingly uncertain position, he landed enough shots to achieve a point advantage over Evans. The judges scored it 38-38, 39-37, and 40-36 for the majority decision in favor of Mercado. 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Carnival of Champions

By Gene Pantalone

Author of From Boxing Ring to Battlefield: The Life of War Hero Lew Jenkins
Available on Amazon

“This is a superb book that I highly recommend to all boxing fans. It is a great read.”
(Al Bernstein, Hall of Fame Boxing Analyst, Showtime)

From Boxing Ring to Battlefield is an engaging read. Katie Jenkins. . . comes across as a particularly interesting character. . . . I knew next to nothing about Lew Jenkins when I started reading From Boxing Ring to Battlefield. I feel as though I know him much better now. (Thomas Hauser, Boxing Writers Association of America Nat Fleischer Award, author of book Missing nominated for four Academy Awards)

In July 1937, promoter Mike Jacobs, who at the time was such a dominate promoter he was known as Mr. Boxing, had the idea to put together an unprecedented boxing card with four championship bouts. He would promote it as the Carnival of Champions. Jacobs committed to four title fights to be staged at the Polo Grounds where the New York Giants baseball team played their home games. The four championship bouts would match world lightweight champion Lou Ambers against Pedro Montañez, world welterweight champion Barney Ross against Ceferino Garcia, world bantamweight champion Sixto Escobar [the first native of Puerto Rico to hold a title] against Harry Jeffra, and French middleweight champion Marcel Thil against Fred Apostoli. Before the fight date arrived, controversy arose over the middleweight bout. Thil regarded himself as the world middleweight champion. The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) recognized Freddie Steele as the champion. Under NYSAC compulsion, both boxers had to sign an agreement stipulating that no title would be at stake if they wanted to fight in New York.

Jacobs signed a contract stipulating for him to pay lightweight champion Lou Ambers $65,000 with an opportunity of 20 percent of the gate. It was an all-time high guarantee for a lightweight. In time, Jacobs had every fighter signed to an elaborate scale. Besides Ambers’s contract, he signed his challenger, Montañez, for $40,000. He signed Ross for $35,000, Thil $30,000, Escobar $12,500, Garcia $5,000, Apostoli $5,000, and Jeffra $2,500. If his receipts reached the $350,000 mark, Jacobs predicted he stood to realize a sizable profit. Though not a large sum of money by today’s standard, in 1937 it was exorbitant. Jacobs did not ignore his philanthropy for the event. He committed 10 percent of his profits to the House of Calvary Cancer Hospital.

Mike Jacobs had committed about $200,000 of his own money. He believed that with the Polo Grounds tickets scaled from $3 to $16.50, he might achieve a gate of $500,000. When it was suggested that a financial loss on the event was a possibility, he grinned and shrugged.
“What of it?” he said. “We’ll all have a lot of fun, won’t we? We’ll see some good fights and give a lot of fellows some work.”

Three of the Carnival of Champion fighters trained at Madame Bey’s boxing camp in Chatham Township, New Jersey, and another three trained at Dr. Bier’s camp in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, where Joe Louis trained for most of his fights. World lightweight champion Lou Ambers, world bantamweight champion Sixto Escobar, and middleweight challenger Fred Apostoli all trained in Chatham Township. Whitey Bimstein, who was in the corner of more champions than anyone in the history of boxing, trained all three. Ceferino Garcia, Marcel Thil, and Pedro Montañez trained in Pompton Lakes.

Ceferino Garcia, Marcel Thil and Pedro Montañez at their training camp before the fight in Pompton Lakes, NJ.

For the lightweight title bout, Charley Goldman, better known as a trainer, was Ambers’s new manager succeeding Al Weill [Weill would become Ambers’s manager again after this event]. Goldman and Weill would collaborate to campaign many fighters, including undefeated world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.

Journalists, photographers, and fans inundated the Bey camp before the Carnival of Champions date. One of the most remarkable facets of the training of Lou Ambers, Sixto Escobar, and Fred Apostoli at Madame Bey’s was the friendliness among them in the camp. When the press was told they would share Madame Bey’s camp for the Carnival of Champions, many anticipated that animosity would result. Nothing transpired. Madame Bey, who ran the camp, structured their training to avoid conflict. Escobar started first at one o’clock, Ambers followed at two o’clock, and Apostoli at three o’clock. Just one happy family, a reporter said.

Madame Bey talking to Mike Jacobs at her boxing camp.
On September 13, Al Buck reported on the fighters for the New York Post. He asked Ambers if he thought he had won the night Montañez received a close and disputed decision in their previous ten-round nontitle bout at Madison Square Garden. Ambers, ever the sportsman, gave his reply.
“I don’t know,” Ambers answered. “I never know who is winning when I’m fighting.”
Ambers was asked how he liked his new manager, Charley Goldman.
“Fine,” Ambers said as he winked. “Swell.”

Goldman said nothing. Heavyweight Tony Galento, Dumb Dan Morgan, a former manager, Kid McPartland, the former lightweight boxer who retired in 1905 and now was a boxing judge and referee, Al Weill, and manager Joe Jacobs, who had managed Andre Routis, Max Schmeling, and Tony Galento, were also at the camp. Weill asked how Ambers looked.

“Better than he’s looked for some time, but he gets hit with too many right hands,” Joe Jacobs observed. “I counted ten during the three rounds he boxed with Augie Gonzales.”

“I’m rolling with ’em, Joe, and I’m not quite right yet,” Ambers explained to Joe Jacobs. “Gonzales is a smart young fellow, and I honestly only felt three of his punches.”

On one day, the press asked Whitey Bimstein, trainer of all three at Bey’s camp, about the bouts.

“The winners?” Whitey said. “They’re all here, Escobar, Ambers, and Apostoli.”

Sixto Escobar with Whitey Bimstein.
As the big event neared, and thinking of ways to maximize the revenues, promoter Mike Jacobs made a shift in the order of the fights for the Carnival of Champions at the Polo Grounds. Marcel Thil of France would open the event against Fred Apostoli. Jacobs said he changed the fight order to enable European newspapers to receive news of the fight some hours earlier than if it had been later. In the second bout, he put the Barney Ross match with Ceferino Garcia. The third bout would be Lou Ambers against Pedro Montañez. The finale would be Sixto Escobar and Harry Jeffra. A preliminary bout would open the program at 7:45 in the evening, and the Thil-Apostoli bout would begin at 8:10.

On September 23, 1937, Mike Jacobs held his Carnival of Champions at the Polo Grounds. It was an unprecedented event in boxing history. The event started on time at 7:45 with a four-round preliminary bout of such little importance that Mike Jacobs forgot to list the fighters [it was a lightweight bout between Young Chappie and Auggie Gonzales that resulted in a draw]. Amongst the crowd of 45,000 were governors, United States senators and congressmen, mayors, judges, lawyers, bankers, stockbrokers, industry leaders, society people, stage and screen stars, and figures from many fields of sport. WNBC broadcast the event over the radio. It was fifty-five rounds of championship fights. Not one knockdown occurred.

In the first title fight of the night, though only the Boxing Federation of Europe considered it a championship bout, Fred Apostoli, in the only fight not to go fifteen rounds, defeated Marcel Thil. The Frenchman was stopped in the tenth round with a severe cut over his right eye. Thil led on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. This was the thirty-two-year-old Thil’s final career bout. Apostoli, along with most of boxing, considered Freddie Steele the world middleweight champion. Apostoli could not claim the title.

Fred Apostoli and Marcel Thil bout.
In the second title bout, Barney Ross broke his left hand during his bout yet still retained his welterweight title with a unanimous decision over Filipino Ceferino Garcia, who claimed Ross head-butted him. “In as masterful an exhibition of boxing, as admirable a demonstration of fighting courage and as determined a stand a champion has flashed in recent years, Ross matched his wits against the power of his challenger’s punches and won the unanimous decision,” reported the New York Times.

Barney Ross and Ceferino Garcia bout.
Next, Lou Ambers retained his lightweight title by avenging his previous loss to Montañez. Both judges gave Ambers the edge, with the referee scoring it even. The unofficial Associated Press scorecard had it overwhelmingly for Ambers with a 12-1-2 score. “At every turn... the shifty, unorthodox Ambers was the master,” reported the New York Times.

Lou Ambers sang in his dressing room, as he often did, “Put on your old gray bonnet with the blue ribbons on it.”

“Save those gloves,” Ambers shouted, hardly missing a note in his song and then started to dance. He traveled to his hometown of Herkimer, New York, after the bout with his brothers Joe and Angelo, his friend Father Gustave, and a lucky pair of boxing gloves.

Lou Ambers and Pedro Montañez bout.
Sixto Escobar lost his bantamweight title to Harry Jeffra in a lopsided match to the surprise of many. Jeffra “so far outclassed Escobar as to make the match surprisingly one-sided,” reported the New York Times. Harry Jeffra, despite winning, complained because he fought around midnight. Escobar also stated his annoyance claiming the delay made him cold.

“Ten o’clock’s my bedtime,” Jeffra declared.

Sixto Escobar and Harry Jeffra bout.
Of the 45,000 in attendance, 32,600 were paying customers. The gross receipts were $232,644. After the $20,000 stadium rental and other expenses, the net amounted to $198,634. After paying the $190,000 guarantees to the fighters, Mike Jacobs had a little profit, but it set future matches for Jacobs that made the night worth it.

A video of the event exists on YouTube that was uploaded by the Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas.

Photos used in this article is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. Code §107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use.

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