Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Beltway Boxing Boxer Of The Year!

“The Real Deal” Phil Jackson Benson (13-1, 12 KO’s), super middleweight, Landover, MD

Tori “Sho Nuff” Nelson (8-0-3), welterweight, Ashburn, VA

(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)

This was a very unique year as we had many top flight performances.  For most of the year, one person stood out as the leading contender as he scored three knockout victories and won two regional titles.

However, as we started to recap the year, we realized that another boxer represented the area by competing in three championship bouts -- regaining one world title and winning and successfully defending another.  HER success should not be overlooked as she was named the Boxer of the Year for the federation she represents as a two-division world champion.

Combined, these two boxers competed in five title bouts in 2013 and now hold five titles.  This was an outstanding year for the both of them.

Benson started competing in the Beltway region in 2012 after moving from New York City in search of more opportunities to compete.  The move paid dividends in 2013.  After a first-round TKO of the normally-durable John Micheal Terry on March 10 in DC, Benson received his first regional title bout -- a 10-round contest with Baltimore veteran Maxell Taylor on May 11 in Club One Fitness in Millersville, MD.  The bout was one of the best of the year and was a breakout performance for Benson as he scored a seventh-round TKO.

On September 7, Benson received another title opportunity as he faced Scott Sigmon for the vacant WBC USNBC Super Middleweight title in the main event at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD.  In front of a packed house, Benson did not disappoint as he stopped Sigmon in six rounds.  The wins moved Benson into the top 20 of the WBC rankings.  The three wins put Benson into a good position to have an outstanding 2014.

Nelson was involved in three bouts in 2013 -- all 10-round championship contests.  Nelson started her year by returning to Bermuda, the site of a majority draw in October 2012 against hometown boxer Teresa Perozzi.  The two would meet again on February 2 in front of a packed house in Pembroke, Bermuda for the vacant WBC Middleweight title, a belt Nelson once held. The two would once again battle to a 10-round draw. 

Nelson prepared for a WIBA (Women’s International Boxing Association) middleweight title defense in DC against Maria Lindberg of Sweden in March.  However, Lindberg was deemed unfit to compete just hours before the bout was scheduled to begin.  Nelson stayed in the gym and discovered she was losing weight.  The decision was made for Nelson to compete as a welterweight and she received an opportunity to battle for the vacant WIBA welterweight title on September 13 in Lincoln, RI against Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes of Marshfield, MA.  Calling the bout the easiest contest she has had, Nelson won a 10-round unanimous decision (with two judges registering a shutout - 100-90) and captured her third world title.

Not resting on her laurels, Nelson put the newly-won title on the line less than two months later when she faced Kali Reis of Providence, RI on November 7 at Martin’s Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, MD in the main event of the Jonathan Ogden Foundation charity boxing card. Nelson and Reis put on great performances before Nelson won a 10-round unanimous decision.  The WIBA named Nelson its Boxer of the Year earlier this year and her efforts to elevate the women’s game earn her the same award here.

Honorable Mention (listed in alphabetical order):

Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor (17-1, 12 KO’s), junior welterweight, Edgewood Arsenal, MD

Only inactivity over the last nine months of the year kept this rising junior welterweight contender from earning top honors in this award.  Taylor scored two nationally-televised technical knockouts in 2013.  The first was a solid performance on Showtime stopping Raymond Serrano on January 25 in six rounds in Huntington, NY.  Then on March 3 in Atlantic City, NJ, Taylor got off the canvas against Victor Cayo on ESPN2 to register an eighth-round TKO.

Unfortunately, Taylor could not get a regional title shot or another bout in 2013. The wins did however, lift Taylor to the number 4 ranking by the IBF.  Taylor could get off to another great start in 2014 if he can defeat Chris Algieri on February 14 back at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington in the main event of another ESPN2 broadcast.

Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (38-4, 26 KO’s), heavyweight, Washington, DC

After Thompson’s sixth-round TKO loss in his second title bid against Wladimir Klitschko in July 2012, many folks wrote Thompson off and said he never would get close to another shot at a world championship.  Whether the 42-year-old Thompson actually does get a third title bid remains to be seen but Thompson is definitely making another legitimate run.

In 2013, Thompson twice took advantage of another boxer’s youth and inexperience to keep his title hopes alive.  On February 23, Thompson traveled to Liverpool, England and faced highly-touted undisputed prospect David Price in his hometown.  In front of a shocked crowd at the Echo Arena, Thompson stopped Price in the second round.  The rematch would be on July 6 in Liverpool and not even the very vocal ringside support of hall of famer Lennox Lewis would keep Price from falling to defeat at the literal hands of Thompson, who stopped Price in the fifth round. Thompson was now just one step away from a third title bout with Klitschko.  However, the opportunity came just one month after the second win over Price on August 24.  Maybe that was too soon to face the undefeated Kubrat Pulev in Germany.  Thompson managed to last the full 12 rounds in the contest but lost a unanimous decision.  Thompson is slated to battle Odlander Solis in March.

Thomas “Top Dog” Williams, Jr. (15-0, 10 KO’s), light heavyweight, Fort Washington, MD

The 2012 Beltway Boxing Prospect of the Year reached contender status with four wins in 2013.  On January 12 in Sunrise, FL, Williams scored a third-round TKO over Jason Smith followed by another third-round TKO over Kevin Engel on March 2 in Las Vegas. 

Williams then stepped up in competition on May 18 and won an eight-round unanimous decision over former “Next Great Champ” winner Otis Griffin in Atlantic City.  That bout was followed by the first 10-round contest for Williams against former multi-time regional champion Yusef Mack on November 26 back in Sunrise, FL in front of a nationally-televised Fox Sports1 audience.   Williams fought very well en route to a unanimous decision. 

Williams is now ranked number 12 by the IBF and may have positioned himself for some regional and, maybe, world title shots, in 2014.

Previous BATB Beltway Boxers of the Year:

2006: Eric Aiken
2007: Darnell Wilson
2008: Lamont Peterson/Joshua Snyder
2009: Fernando Guerrero
2010: Tim Coleman
2011: Lamont Peterson
2012: Tony Jeter

(photos: Phil Jackson Benson by Wallace Barron;  Tori Nelson, Tony Thompson and Thomas Williams, Jr. by Juan Marshall; Emmanuel Taylor courtesy of Doghouse Boxing)

Those are the year-end awards for 2013.  We ask that all award winners (including honorable mentions) join us on Friday, January 17 at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD when we will be formally handing out the certificates for these awards during the Keystone Boxing card.

Until then, have a very Happy New Year and we look forward to an outstanding 2014 in Beltway Boxing!


2013 Potomac Valley Association of USA Boxing Awards!

PVA Family Outstanding Junior -- Tyreek Williams

PVA Family Outstanding Novice -- James Early

PVA Family Outstanding Open -- Lamont Roach, Jr.

PVA Family Outstanding Official -- Keith Jones

PVA Family Outstanding Coach -- Gary Russell, Sr.

PVA Family Outstanding Gym -- No Xcuse

PVA Family Junior Boxer of the Year -- Jordan White

PVA Family Elite Female of the Year -- Tiara Brown

PVA Family Elite Male of the Year -- Malik Jackson

PVA Family Man of the Year -- Tony Simmons

(Photos by Ronald Simms)

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Beltway Boxing Card Of The Year September 7 at Rosecroft Raceway!

(Poster created by Ross Molovinsky)

(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)

We now come to the Beltway Boxing Card of the Year for 2013 and unlike other awards this year, this was the easiest choice to make.

Out of 29 cards this year, most of them on the very good level, one card help reshape the direction of the Beltway Boxing landscape going forward.  The card gave fans exactly what the wanted and gave a number of locals a prime opportunity to become fan favorites.  This choice was a no-brainer from the moment the card ended.

September 7 at Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD -- Phil Jackson Benson vs. Scott Sigmon, Alantez Fox vs. Zain Shah, Mike Reed vs. Rameses Gil

What made this Keystone Boxing-promoted card so special was that every local on the card received a solid test thereby giving a packed house at Rosecroft a great opportunity to see where many locals would be headed.

The card featured the Bout of the Year for 2013 in Mike Reed’s win over Rameses Gil and  that bout wasn’t even the main event.  Phil Jackson Benson won the WBC USNBC Super Middleweight title with a sixth-round TKO over Scott Sigmon.  In an all-Beltway junior middleweight contest, Alantez Fox captured a six-round unanimous decision over Zain Shah.  In what was a very evenly-matched contest, Marcus Bates won by fourth-round TKO over Carlos Alcala of Hillside, IL.  Welterweight Benjamin Olinga captured a four-round split decision over fellow local Tyrone Wright.

Two locals did not pass the test given to them -- Eric Govan was stopped in the first round by Jess Noriega and Joshua Davis lost a four-round unanimous decision to Aaron Chavez of Melbourne, FL.  This card was as competitive and as exciting a card as we have had in this area in the last couple of years.

Honorable Mention (listed in chronological order):

March 23 at Frederick Fight Club, Frederick MD -- Dillon Heyman (pictured) vs. Stanley Harvey, Zakki Scott vs. Travis Reeves, Eric Govan vs. Mark Baltimore

This all-four-round card was the initial one for Venroy July's Hardwork Promotions and the card was a very competitive one with some great performances by young locals.  Dillon Heyman won a tough majority decision over Stanley Harvey of San Diego, CA.  Zakki Scott won a majority decision over fellow local Travis Reeves, who was making his pro debut.  Devar Ferhadi stopped a game Jason Bakanowski of Northborough, MA at 1:29 of the third round.  Eric Govan won his pro debut with a unanimous decision over Mark Baltimore. Rodrigo Gabriel won his pro debut with a unanimous decision over Quincey Johnson. 

In the only non-competitive bout on the card, Ecuadorian Olympic heavyweight Ytalo Parea scored a first-round TKO over Chris Gordon of Charleston, SC.  Even the exhibition on the card was spirited as Gerome Quigley sparred with Tommy Ayres, Jr.

May 18, University of the District of Columbia Sports Complex, Washington, DC -- Dusty Hernandez Harrison vs. Eddie Soto, Jerry Odom (pictured) vs. Andrew Morias, Patrick Coye vs. Chorles Parker

This All-In Entertainment card had a lot of hype associated with it -- it was the first card at UDC since Riddick Bowe stopped Pinklon Thomas in the eighth round in September of 1990. Also, of course, the card was slated to feature a breakout performance by Dusty Hernandez Harrison.

That is exactly what took place as Harrison stopped Eddie Soto in five rounds.  Jerry Odom continued his first-round knockout streak against Andrew Morias. Patrick Coye scored a brutal knockout in the first round over Chorles Parker. Kevin Rivers, Jr. won a four-round unanimous decision over veteran Jason Rorie.  Local heavyweight Phill Brown made a comeback but was stopped in the first round by Californian Natu Visinia.  The card would have been even better if the bouts for Greg Newby and Mike Reed had taken place -- and if the lights hadn’t gone out in the gym during the Charles Natal-Damon Antoine bout.

June 15, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC -- Ty Barnett (pictured) vs. Stephon Alexander, Kevin Rivers, Jr. vs. Rasool Shakoor, Danny Kelly vs. Rayshawn Myers

A lot of knockouts on this card, however, some of the locals had to work for them which made this card very interesting.  Ty Barnett, in his dual role as promoter (Top Flight Promotions) and boxer, put himself in with a tough Stephon Alexander and eventually knocked him out in the sixth round.  Kevin Rivers, Jr. stopped Rasool Shakoor with a solid body shot in the second round.  Danny Kelly’s knockout of Rayshawn Myers was one of the best of the year.

David Grayton needed just 38 seconds to stop Jamaal Davis. Both Antonio Magruder and Monreco Goldston scored knockouts in their pro debuts.  Mike Reed went the four-round distance for the first time in defeating DeMarcus Rogers of Nashville, TN. Renaldo Gaines was stopped in the second round by Anthony Smith of Las Vegas. 

(Poster photo by Wallace Barron; all others by Juan Marshall)

Previous BATB Cards of the Year:

2006 -- December 9, George Mason University Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA (Jimmy Lange draws with Fontaine Cabell, Dean White defeats Dorin Spivey, JP Flaim of the Junkies loses against Jay Watts.)

2007 -- December 7, Pikesville National Guard Armory, Pikesville, MD (Tim Coleman draws with Martinus Clay, Jessie Nicklow defeats Anthony Little and John Mackey defeats Tony Cygan) and August 3, Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD (Pro-Am card -- Horace Grant over Mujaheed Moore, Thomas Snow knocks out Markel Muhammad, Seth Mitchell [his only amateur loss] falls to Abodurin Akinyanju and Dusty Harrison also on the amateur portion.

2008 -- October 18, ABC Sports Arena, Springfield, VA (John Mackey wins over Jesse Williams, Darrell Martin over Andre Nichols)

2009 -- September 25, Shipley Arena, Westminster, MD (Mark Tucker wins USBO title, Tyrell Samuel over Gustavo Dailey)

2010 -- March 20, Du Burns Arena, Baltimore, MD (Jessie Nicklow over Scott Sigmon, James Stevenson over George Rivera)

2011 – December 10, Washington Convention Center, Washington DC (Lamont Peterson over Amir Khan for IBF/WBA Junior Welterweight title, Seth Mitchell over Timor Ibragimov)

2012 -- October 27, George Mason University Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA (Tony Jeter over Jimmy Lange, Brandon Quarles draws with John Mackey)

Tomorrow -- Our final award -- The Beltway Boxing Boxer of the Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Beltway Boxing Bout Of The Year is Reed vs Gill on September 7!

(Poster created by Ross Molovinsky)
Mike Reed KO6 over Rameses Gil, September 7 Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD

(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)

The 2013 Bout of the Year was one of the toughest decisions of the BATB era.  This choice came down to two bouts in what was again, a great year.  However, the eventual choice was the bout that featured a boxer in his first true test as a pro, facing adversity, and then overcoming that adversity in explosive fashion.

The undefeated Reed met the six-round level for the first time and in doing so, faced a true veteran in Gil of the Dominican Republic.  Reed was able to score a knockdown with his right hand in the second round and one with his left in the fifth.  However, Gil showed his toughness between the two knockdowns and caught Reed at times.

The sixth round was Reed faced some adversity.  Gil caught Reed with a right hand.  Not a hard shot but enough to drop Reed’s gloves to the canvas.  Instead of trying to avoid Gil the rest of the round, Reed came right back and, moments later, caught Gil with a crushing right hand and knocked Gil out.  This was an exceptional knockout to end what was an exceptional bout.

Honorable Mention (listed in chronological order):

Lamont Peterson KO 8 over Kendall Holt, February 22, DC Armory, Washington, DC

The most important title bout the Beltway hosted in 2013 turned out to be a solid main event.  In defending his IBF Junior Welterweight title in front of his home fans, Peterson had difficulties early as he got off to a slow start in the first three rounds.  However, Peterson righted the ship in the fourth as Holt came inside -- right into a right-left-right combination from Peterson that dropped the former WBO champion.  Peterson would go on to knock down Holt in the sixth and finally in the eighth to finish him off at 1:42.

Phil Jackson Benson TKO 7 over Maxell Taylor, May11, Club One Fitness, Millersville, MD

This was the bout that came very close to receiving top honors in this category -- a great bout between a rising prospect and an older but still dangerous veteran for a vacant WBC Fecarbox Super Middleweight title. Benson gained an advantage early with solid body shots which would lead to big head shots that forced Taylor against the ropes.  However, Taylor wouldn’t quit as the bout wore on, even having a solid sixth round.  However, that would prove to be Taylor’s last hurrah because Benson took the bout to a greater level and put on enough pressure to have the fight stopped.

Dusty Hernandez Harrison TKO 5 over Eddie Soto, May 18, UDC Sports Complex, 
Washington, DC

After competing against a host of under-.500 boxers, this bout was supposed to be a measuring stick for the 19-year-old Harrison against a boxer with a good reputation, although Soto was trying to break a long losing streak.  Harrison did not disappoint as he used a blistering jab to keep Soto at bay throughout the contest.  Harrison dropped Soto with a right hand in the second round, then finished the job with another big right in the fifth.  Soto was tough but the bout was a breakout performance for Harrison.

Marq Johns D 4 Stephon McIntyre, December 6, Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD

Two guys looking to make a name for themselves did exactly that in this contest.  Bantamweight Johns, a recent transplant to the Beltway from Philadelphia took on Jonesboro, GA’s McIntyre, who had fought twice overseas but had never fought in the United States as a pro.  Both guys fought extremely well and slugged it out from the outside and, especially in the third round, inside in phone-booth fashion.  The scoring of this bout was extremely interesting -- one judge scoring a shutout for Johns at 40-36 while another saw the bout for McIntyre at 39-37.  The third judge saw the draw at 38-38.  After this bout, both guys will not be strangers to this area any longer.

( Reed-Gil photo by Wallace Barron.  All other photos by Juan Marshall)

Previous BATB Bouts of the Year:

2006: Maxell Taylor six-round draw with Derek Ennis, March 9, Michael's Eighth Avenue, Glen Burnie, MD.

2007: John Mackey six-round unanimous decision over Tony Cygan, December 7, Pikesville, MD

2008: Juan Rodriguez TKO 3 over Benjamin Borteye, November 7, Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro, MD

2009: Cory Cummings TKO 9 over Demetrius Davis, May 29, Du Burns Arena, Baltimore, MD

2010: Jessie Nicklow 10-round unanimous decision over Scott Sigmon, March 20, Du Burns Arena, Baltimore, MD/Nicklow 10-round draw with Julius Kennedy, September 17, Du Burns Arena/Sigmon 10-round unanimous decision over Kennedy, December 11, Pikesville National Guard Armory, Pikesville, MD.

2011:  Lamont Peterson 12-round split decision over Amir Khan, December 10, Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

2012: Brandon Quarles D6 John Mackey, October 27, George Mason University Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA

Tomorrow, the Card of the Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Beltway Boxing Knockout Of The Year Jarrett Hurd over George Armenta!

Beltway Boxing 2013 -- Knockout Of The Year!

(Poster created by Ross Molovinsky)

(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)

As always, the criterion for the Beltway Boxing Knockout Of The Year is that it had to take place in a Beltway location.  Therefore, neither of Tony Thompson’s knockouts over David Price in England would qualify.  Now, onto the selection.

Unlike 2012, where we had very few quality knockouts in the area, 2013 saw a plethora of them, which made the selection more difficult than in previous years.  In fact, the selection ended up coming down to the final month of the year where one knockout, by its incredible suddenness, became the clear-cut choice.

Jarrett Hurd KO2 over George Armenta, December 6, Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD.

If any fan decided to go to the restroom or the concession stand at Rosecroft between the first and second rounds of this contest, they missed the exceptional knockout. Some fans probably felt safe going to either location because the first round between the two Beltway Boxers looked like the bout would settle into a chess match that might go the entire six-round distance.

However, Jarrett Hurd lived up to his nickname and “Swift”-ly changed everything in the opening seconds of the second round with a picture-perfect right hand straight down the middle of Armenta’s face.  Eleven seconds later, the bout was over as the referee didn’t bother to count over “El Gallo.” The blow was as pretty a knockout as you can get.

Hurd was an Honorable Mention selection for this award in 2012 after his fourth-round knockout over Coy Lambert in November.  This year, the honor deservedly goes to him.

Honorable Mention (in chronological order):

Patrick Coye KO1 over Chorles Parker, May 18, UDC Sports Complex, Washington, DC

It was Coye’s pro debut and only bout of the year, however the knockout left a lasting impression. The light heavyweight from Alexandria, VA sent a crashing right hand to the head of Wilson, NC’s Chorles Parker and sent him crumpling to the canvas.  The bout was immediately waved off at 1:36 of the first round.  Parker stayed on the canvas for a few moments but eventually got up under his own power.

Danny Kelly KO3 over Rayshawn Myers, June 15, Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC.

Kelly turned what was an awkward bout around with just one brutal right hand.  Kelly’s contest with Myers got so rough that the referee had to stop the proceedings momentarily to lecture both men.  Midway through the third, Kelly scored with the right that dropped Myers in a neutral corner.
The bout was immediately waved off at 2:11 of the contest.

Mike Reed KO6 over Rameses Gil, September 7, Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD

This knockout was the clubhouse leader for this award for most of the year. Reed’s late-bout heroics in his first six-round contest proved to be his breakout performance.  Reed scored knockdowns with each hand in the second and fifth rounds.  However, Gil caught Reed with a right hand in the sixth that forced Reed’s gloves to touch the canvas.  Mere moments later, Reed blasted Gil with two vicious right hands, the second one sending Gil to the canvas and ending the bout without a count at 1:23 of the round.  For a rookie to to face adversity and come back as strong as he did was exceptional.

(Photos:  Hurd-Armenta [award poster photo] by Wallace Barron, all others by Juan Marshall)

Previous BATB Knockouts of the Year:

2006: Jed Phipps KO1 over David Cleage -- January 20, Pikesville Armory, Pikesville, MD.

2007: Elias Bouloubassis KO1 over Vincent Robbins -- March 10, Pikesville Armory, Pikesville, MD.

2008: Seth Mitchell TKO2 over Alexis Cruz Medina -- May 29, Michael's Eighth Avenue, Glen Burnie, MD.

2009: Tony Jeter KO1 over Keith Gross -- September 26, George Mason University Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA.

2010: Jimmy Lange KO 10 over Joe Wyatt -- November 6, George Mason University Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA.

2011: Kevin Womack KO4 over Benjamin Olinga, November 19, Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro, MD

2012: Kevin Rivers KO1 over Bobby Wooten, November 3, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

Tomorrow:  The Bout of the Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Beltway Boxing Prospect Of The Year Dusty Hernandez-Harrison!

(Poster created by Ross Molovinsky)

(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)

We now bring you the Beltway Boxing Prospect of the Year for 2013.

Normally, the Beltway Boxing Prospect of the Year is the hardest and most competitive award because we have so much quality young talent.  But like a good election, the selection of this year’s winner came down to analyzing the numbers.

Dusty Hernandez Harrison (19-0, 11 KO’s), welterweight, Washington, DC

The numbers we analyze are: 68-62-3 in 2013 compared to 39-155-7 in 2012.  Those were the combined won-loss records of Harrison’s opponents over the last two years.  Harrison was criticized in 2012 for not facing what many considered quality opposition.  Even Harrison’s first two bouts in 2013 -- a third-round stoppage of Kelly Wright in Wilmington, DE and a six-round unanimous decision over Aaron Anderson in Tunica, MS both in February -- looked like more of the same.

Turned out it was part of a master plan.  Harrison would fight one more under-.500 boxer (a six-round unanimous decision over Jonathan Garcia at Dover Downs in Dover, DE in April) and then make his move.

That move began in front of Harrison’s home fans on May 18 at the UDC Sports Complex in Washington where he faced Eddie Soto in his first scheduled eight-round contest. Harrison would only need five rounds to stop the faded veteran.  On June 25, Harrison would win a six-round unanimous decision over another fading vet, Ben Ankrah at the Foxwoods in Mashantucket, CT.  Two months later on August 23, Harrison returned to Dover Downs and stopped Guillermo Valdes in four rounds.

Those bouts would lead to Harrison’s biggest bout in his young career.  The 19-year-old would travel to the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City to face Josh Torres for the vacant WBC Youth Welterweight title.  Unlike his previous opponents, Harrison would face an opponent who had a winning streak coming into the bout.  Plus, Harrison would face a 10-round contest for the first time.  All Harrison did was win a unanimous decision and capture his first title.  The year would end with an easy first-round TKO over Marlon Lewis in his third visit to Dover Downs.

Eight bouts, eight wins, a definitive step-up in competition and a title belt.  An exceptional year for a prospect who looks for even better in 2014.

Honorable Mention (listed in alphabetical order)

Antoine “Action” Douglas (11-0, seven KO’s), middleweight, Burke, VA

Douglas had an incredibly busy year, fighting nine times and scoring three knockouts along the way.  Douglas also made a number of ESPN appearances opening telecasts, which should prepare him for his ShoBox debut in mid-January.  Most of Douglas’s bouts have been in the New York area as his promoters, GH3 Promotions, did an excellent job of keeping him busy.

Alantez “SlyAza” Fox (12-0-1, four KO’s), junior middleweight, Forestville, MD

The tall junior middleweight fought four times and used strong boxing skills to win decisions over fellow locals Zain Shah and Julius Kennedy as well as out-of town vets Greg Hackett and Keith Collins.  This will be an interesting year for Fox to see how he will continue to develop.

“Swift” Jarrett Hurd (10-0, six KO’s), junior middleweight, Accokeek, MD

Hurd’s reputation grew in stature throughout 2013 as each victory looked better than the previous one.  Among his seven contests were quality wins over Issa Coulibaly, Frank Gedeon and his last win over veteran George Armenta, which ended in a beautiful and sudden second-round knockout.  With three knockouts in his last four wins, Hurd may have positioned himself for an exciting 2014.

“Mr. Amazing” Greg Newby (10-0, five KO’s), light heavyweight, Washington, DC

Newby scored three shutout decision wins among his six victories in 2013 as he faced some veteran competition.  Look for him to possibly make some steps up in competition in 2014.

(Photos by Juan Marshall)

Previous BATB Prospects of the Year:

2006: Tyrell Samuel
2007: Tim Coleman
2008: Bayan Jargal
2009: Mark Tucker
2010: Gary Russell, Jr. and Seth Mitchell
2011:  Maurice Byarm and Venroy July
2012: Thomas Williams, Jr.

Tomorrow: The Knockout of the Year!

2013 Beltway Boxing Rookie Of The Year Presented To Mike "Yes Indeed" Reed!

(Poster created by Ross Molovinsky)

(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)

The Rookie of the Year is the boxer who had the most impact between January and November 2013 in their first year as a pro.  As we said, the Beltway had 34 first-year boxers, the most ever in the BATB era.

However, one young man managed to stand out among a very large crowd.  His electrifying performances throughout the year made him an instant fan favorite -- one of the boxers that, by the end of the year, fans demanded to see.

Mike “Yes, Indeed” Reed (6-0, four KO’s), junior welterweight, Waldorf, MD

Reed’s reputation preceded him from the first moment he stepped into a pro ring.  The 20-year-old 2011 National Golden Gloves champion made a highly-anticipated pro debut on March 2 and scored a first-round TKO over Kareem McFarland at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD.  After an easy 41 second knockout over Cassius Clay in April, Reed went the distance for the first time in his career, winning a four-round unanimous decision over DeMarcus Rogers on June 15 in DC.

By mid-year, Reed and his camp began to step up the opposition and Reed’s performances rose with that opposition.  Reed stopped Roberto Lopez in the third round on July 13 in Fort Washington, MD, marking the first time Lopez had been stopped in his career.  Then came Reed’s breakout performance -- a six-round knockout over Ramesis Gil on September 7 at Rosecroft.  During the bout, Reed faced adversity as he was knocked down during the contest and came back to blast Gil in the final round.

That win along with his six-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Randy Fuentes on October 18, greatly enhanced Reed’s reputation in a manner that very few rookies in the Beltway enjoy.  Reed is rapidly getting growing fan support and has become very difficult for promoters to match in recent months.  This will be an exciting and interesting 2014 for this very talented boxer.

Honorable Mention (listed in alphabetical order):

Gervonta “Rambo” Davis (6-0, six KO’s), featherweight, Baltimore, MD

The 2012 National Golden Gloves champion came into the pro ranks with great fanfare and did not disappoint.  Davis knocked five of his six opponents out in the first or second round.  Davis went into the fourth round only once and scored a fourth-round TKO over Eric Jamar Goodall on October 17 in Bethlehem, PA.  Davis has a lot of charisma and will be fun to watch in the new year.

Demond “D Best At It” Nicholson (5-0, five KO’s), super middleweight, Laurel, MD

The Demond Nicholson we saw in the amateurs was a pure boxer who was a part of an elite Beltway class in the 165-pound division -- a class that also included D’Mitrius Ballard, Jarrett Hurd and Monreco Goldston among others.  Nicholson, at times, was overshadowed by his equally-talented Beltway brethren during that time period.  The pro version of Nicholson, however, has stood out in a big way by scoring five powerful knockouts, four in the first round.  Nicholson is showing power that we did not see in the amateur ranks.  As his competition rises, it will be interesting to see if he continues this trend.

Jeremy Trussell (6-0, five KO’s), middleweight, Baltimore, MD

Trussell was actually slated to be part of the 2012 rookie class.  However, the number of fights that fell out on him last year was astounding.  Trussell made up for lost time this year.  After debuting in August of 2013, Trussell fought five more times in a three-month stretch; his last two bouts coming in an eight-day period.  Trussell was dominant in his bouts and will be riding a four-bout, first-round knockout streak into 2014.

(Photos by Juan Marshall)

Previous BATB Rookies of the Year:

2006: Jessie Nicklow
2007: Bayan Jargal
2008: Fernando Guerrero
2009: Dominic Wade
2010: Nick Kisner
2011: Dusty Hernandez Harrison
2012: Duane Mobley

Beltway Boxing Awards For 2013!

Beltway Boxing 2013 -- The Year of Performance and Possibility!

(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)

We now begin our recap of the Beltway Boxing scene of 2013.  Starting today, we will bring you our Beltway Boxing Year-End Awards, bringing one to you every day.  Once again, for those new to what we do, we have six awards:

Rookie of the Year

Prospect of the Year

Knockout of the Year

Bout of the Year

Card of the Year

Boxer of the Year

We start, however, with an overview of what was a very busy and exciting year for Beltway Boxing.  Our theme this year -- “The Year of Performance and Possibility” -- is similar to last year’s theme of Possibility and Missed Opportunity.  However, this year, more local pros stepped up to the plate and made significant strides in their careers, positioning themselves for what should be a very interesting 2014.

A number of Beltway Boxers won regional awards.  Phil Jackson Benson captured two regional titles in back-to-back contests.  Dusty Hernandez Harrison won the WBC Youth Welterweight title.  Tony Jeter held on to his WBC Fecarbox middleweight championship while Seth Mitchell won back his NABO Heavyweight title before losing it to Chris Arreola.  Gary Russell, Jr. rose to the mandatory featherweight contender to the WBO title.

Also, Tony Thompson continued his relevance in the heavyweight division at age 42 with two upset wins over David Price in England.  Only a unanimous decision loss to Kubrat Pulev kept Thompson from getting a third title shot at heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.  Fernando Guerrero lost his bid for a world title when he was knocked out by WBO Middleweight champ Peter Quillin in April.

Beltway prospects Antoine Douglas, Emmanuel Taylor and Thomas Williams, Jr. made numerous appearances on national television and positioned themselves for more notable TV appearances (some already scheduled) for early 2014.

Local ladies captured world titles in 2013.  Tori Nelson had four championship bouts during the year and was able to gain her third world title in September and defend that same title (WIBA Welterweight) in November.  Jennifer Salinas captured a world belt in Bolivia this year.

The Beltway Rookie Class for 2013 was the biggest in the BATB Era as 34 locals joined the pro ranks.  Their combined won-loss record: 65-9-2, 49 KO’s.

Beltway Boxing fans had numerous opportunities to catch local action in 2013. There were 29 pro cards along the Beltway;  DC hosted 10 cards, one more than 2012.  The big improvement was in Maryland where the state went from just four cards in 2012 to 17 in 2013.  Only Northern Virginia faltered as there was only two cards in that part of the Commonwealth, down from seven the previous year.

On the amateur side, Beltway Boxers continued their prominence on a national and international scale.  Locals claimed two more National Golden Gloves titles in Salt Lake City, UT as Gary Antonio Russell (123 Pounds) and Lamont Roach, Jr.(132 Pounds) won their respective weight classes.  Russell became the third member of his family to win a national Golden Gloves title but then improved on what his brothers (Gary Jr. and Allen) did by winning the “Golden Boy” award as the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament.  This is the second straight year a Beltway Amateur has won the Golden Boy trophy following Jerry Odom in 2012.   Local boxers have now won eight Golden Gloves National titles in the past four years.

Amateurs won six titles at the USA Nationals this year in Spokane, WA.  Malik Jackson and Franchon Crews won Elite Division championships while Russell, Roach, Jr., Patrick Harris and Kareem Martin won titles in the Youth Division.  Roach, Jr. was named the Outstanding Youth Boxer for the tournament.

 At the National Silver Gloves in Independence, MO, Lorenzo Simpson captured his third straight title.

   Also, Jackson, Crews, Martin, Roach and Jordan White made overseas trips representing the United States.  Martin won a gold medal at the Klitschko Brothers Tournament in the Ukraine while Roach captured a bronze medal.

We also honor those who left us in 2013.  In Memoriam:

Sam Garrett, PVA Official
Harold “Twin” Jackson, local boxing trainer
Ray Klingmeyer, Maryland referee and judge
Lou Leavey, Maryland State Athletic Commission official
Bill McCaffrey, chair of the Maryland State Athletic Commission
Vardell McCann, local boxing trainer
Murray B. Smith, father of promoter Jake Smith