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!