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