On Saturday, June 5th, a day/night doubleheader took place in South Philadelphia, as Major League Baseball’s Phillies were competing at Citizens Bank Park down the road. This doubleheader took place at the 2300 Arena, and the participants wore boxing gloves not baseball mitts.
Kings Promotions delivered a six fight appetizer during the midafternoon before a seven bout evening entre. The two fight cards were the first since prior to the COVID pandemic that allowed full capacity, and liberated the vaccinated from wearing masks.
In the main event, super middleweights Brandon Robinson of Upper Darby, PA faced off against Genc Pllana of Hagerstown, MD in a scheduled eight round contest. A good match up on paper that did not disappoint, Pllana scored an upset eighth round knockout victory.
Strong and awkward, Pllana always provides a difficult challenge for his opponents. Robinson, 166.9 lbs., was able to successfully navigate past Pllana’s, 168 lbs., uncourtly style winning two of the first three stanzas by being more active. Pllana was cut around the eye by an accidental head butt in the second. Getting inside Pllana’s long arms, Robinson was scoring straight stiff jabs followed by right hands during the first three sessions. Fighting out of a conventional stance, Pllana was scoring to the body with an unorthodox right hook/uppercut just under Robinson's left elbow. These body blows by Pllana were accurate and accompanied by loud thuds. Midway through the fourth, one such blow backed up Robinson as Pllana unloaded a right to his jaw. Badly wobbled, Robinson was saved when a Pllana uppercut went south of the border. After taking time to recover, Robinson went on the attack when the action resumed and buckled Pllana’s knees with left hooks to the chin. Robinson returned to his corner on wobbly legs at the bell.
Looking to be on his way to victory, Robinson stuck to his game plan until Pllana landed a right hook/uppercut to the body near the end of round seven. Backed against the ropes, Robinson could not fend off Pllana’s barrage of punches. A right to the jaw dropped Robinson, who was able to rise to his feet to be saved by the bell. Beginning with the sound of the gong to start the last round, Pllana landed a barrage of head and body shots until a solid right to the jaw made Robinson crumble in his corner. Referee Shawn Clark jumped in and called it off 33 seconds into the session.
Robinson stayed down for a few minutes as the ring doctors checked him out. Robinson is now 15-3, 10 KOs, with all three losses coming by way of knockout. During the post-fight interview, Pllana yelled out “Berlanga!” in an attempt to call out the young super middleweight prospect Edgar Berlanga. Pllana’s record now stands at 9-3-1, 5 KOs.
All seats were filled in the evening portion of the day's activities, with several dozen more spectators standing around the perimeter of the arena. In the semi, wind up popular welterweight ticket seller Elijah Morales, 146.5 lbs., Trenton, NJ, improved his record to 8-0, 4 KOs by winning a shutout unanimous four round decision over Andres Abarca of Normandy, WA. Never relenting his attack, Abarca flew across the country in hopes of taking home a “W.” Abarca, 145 lbs., is now 2-5.
In the afternoon most of the seats were filled to watch Devar Ferhadi of Frederick, MD outpoint Blake Mansfield of Cary, NC in an eight round super middleweight matchup. Mansfield, 167.75 lbs., put forth a spirited effort. Ferhadi, 167.75 lbs., won a unanimous decision by scores of 80-72 and 79-73 twice. Ferhadi continues his career with a record of 9-0, 7 KOs. Mansfield drops to 7-4-1, 4 KOs.