Saturday, January 9, 2016

Beltway Boxing 2015 Card Of The Year!

Article courtesy of Gary "Digital" Williams,
Boxing Along The Beltway

There were a number of quality cards in 2015 where young Beltway Boxers were tested and crowds came out in large numbers.  One card, in particular, showcased a budding crop of locals in a relatively new location.

The 2015 Beltway Boxing Card Of The Year Took Place On:
July 18, Sphinx Club, Washington, DC -- Marq Johns vs. Karl Garcia-Rios, Patrick Harris vs. Rafael Vasquez, Alantez Fox vs. Guillermo Valdes, Mykal Fox vs. Juan Carlos Castillo

This Keystone Boxing card, the second at the Sphinx Club, saw an upset in the main event as previously undefeated Marq Johns lost a six-round unanimous decision to Karl Garcia-Rios.  Patrick Harris won his first six-round contest in a unanimous decision against Rafael Vasquez.  The Fox Brothers put on solid performances as Alantez scored a first-round knockout and Myke put on a great performance in winning a six-round unanimous decision, Renaldo Gaines won a tough six-round majority decision over the always-game Stephon McIntyre.  There were also knockout wins for Eric Hernandez, Albi Sadikaj, Devar Ferhadi and the debuting Shynggyskhan Tazhibay.

Honorable Mention (In Chronological Order):

January 17, Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC -- Demond Nicholson vs. Rahman Yusubov, Kevin Rivers, Jr. vs. Stephon McIntyre, Mykal Fox vs. Luis Rodriguez

The first local card of 2015 was a Keystone card that took place in front of a sellout crowd  and they witnessed some great performances.  Demond Nicholson bounced back from suffering his first pro loss by knocking out Rahman Yusubov in the main event.  Kevin Rivers, Jr. stopped Stephon McIntyre in the third round and Myke Fox won his first six-round contest in a unanimous decision over Luis Rodriguez.  Gerome Quigley scored a second-round knockout over a game Norman Allen.  Marq Johns won an early Bout of the Year candidate with a four-round unanimous decision over Jaxel Marrero and Renaldo Gaines won a four-round unanimous decision over Arthur Parker. Tyrone Wright and Maurice Adams, Jr. lost bouts on this card.

August 22, North Hall At Eastern Market, Washington, DC -- Gerome Quigley vs. Dontre King, Luther Smith vs. Schuyler Marshall, Drayvontay Speed-Rawls vs. Brian Raglin.

This card makes the list because it had some of the best storylines of the year.  It was actually a feat to get the Jeter Promotions/RBA Promotions card off at all as the ring arrived to the venue late.  The ring crew, to their credit, put the ring together in very short time.  Another storyline involved undefeated Gerome Quigley, who voluntarily took a rematch against the only man to go the distance against him, Dontre King.  Quigley knocked out King in the rematch in the second round.  Luther Smith had one of the quality knockouts of 2015, stopping Schuyler Marshall in the first round.  Drayvontay Speed-Rawls also had a first-round knockout over Brian Raglin.  Edgar Torres won a four-round unanimous decision over veteran Andre Baker and Stan Williamson scored a third-round TKO over Marquis Benson.  The card also saw quality performances from out-of-town boxers O’Shaquie Foster and Lavarn Harvell as well as an exhibition bout featuring Orazio Robinson, who returned to the ring after a long absence.

November 12, Martin’s Valley Mansion, Cockeysville, MD -- Jennifer Salinas vs. Melissa St. Vil, Tyrieshia Douglas vs. Nydia Feliciano, Joshua Davis vs. Justin Lopez

The Ponytail Promotions card took place at the Jonathan Ogden Foundation benefit card.  The 2015 Bout of the Year was on this card as Jennifer Salinas defeated Melissa St. Vil.  Tyrieshia Douglas won a 10-round unanimous decision over Nydia Feliciano to defend her UBF Bantamweight title.  Joshua Davis won a four-round unanimous decision over Justin Lopez.  In one of the more interesting stories of the year, Tallahassee, FL boxer Leonardo Kenon traveled 26 hours on a bus to participate on the card on short notice.  Kenon knocked out Chris Alexander of Norfolk, VA in the first round.

December 12, Coppermine Du Burns Arena, Baltimore, MD --Shariff Rahman vs. Alex Asbury, Travis Reeves vs. Anthony Caputo Smith, Stephon Morris vs. Cassanova Brooks

If there was an Event Of The Year, this card would win that award hands down.  The Shawstyle Promotions/Shabazz Brothers card took place in front of one of the biggest crowds in recent Du Burns boxing history -- a crowd that included the current mayor of Baltimore, the former mayor of Baltimore and a candidate who wants to be the next mayor of Baltimore. 
The boxing was not bad, though.  The card included an exhibition bout featuring former undisputed World Heavyweight Champion and Beltway Boxing legend Hasim Rahman, who watched his son Shariff make his pro debut in the main event and gain a first-round TKO over Alex Asbury. Between Rahman and Stephon Morris, who stopped Cassanova Brooks in the second round, the card gave fans an early look at the Beltway rookie class of 2016.  Also, Travis Reeves stopped Anthony Caputo Smith in the first round and Malik Hawkins, Devin Butcher and Jerome Featherstone gained victories.

Previous Beltway Boxing 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)

2013 -- September 7 at Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD,  (Phil Jackson Benson vs. Scott Sigmon, Alantez Fox vs. Zain Shah, Mike Reed vs. Rameses Gil)

2014 -- July 18 at Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD -- (Larry Recio vs. Grayson Blake, Demond Nicholson vs. Jess Noriega, Terron Grant vs. Jose Del Valle)

Tomorrow: Our Final Award -- The Beltway Boxing Boxer Of The Year!
(Award winner photo created by Ross Molovinsky)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Beltway Boxing 2015 Bout Of The Year!

Article courtesy of Gary "Digital" Williams,
Boxing Along The Beltway

Where there was a plethora of great knockouts in 2015, the same can’t be said for great bouts.  We had very few contests that weren’t knockouts or bouts where one boxer won a decision by a wide margin.

The choice in 2015 was a quality contest between two boxers who battled phone booth-style for ten grueling rounds.

The Beltway Boxing Bout Of The Year for 2015:
Jennifer Salinas 10-round unanimous decision over Melissa St. Vil, November 12, Martin’s Valley Mansion, Cockeysville, MD

This bout was the feature contest on the Jonathan Ogden Foundation benefit card and the bout turned heads to the ring and away from side conversations that normally take place at charity cards. The two ladies slugged it out for the 10-round duration.  St. Vil caught the early advantage by using her solid right hand. However, Salinas started to take control midway through the contest as her straight left hand landed with consistency.  Both ladies suffered welts under the eyes as they clashed heads repeatedly.
Somehow, one judge saw the bout as an almost runaway for Salinas at 99-91. However, the other two judges scored the bout deservedly much closer at

Honorable Mention (In Chronological Order:)

Marq Johns four-round unanimous decision over Jaxel Marrero, January 17, Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

This was a great bout that saw Johns win despite getting off to a slow start. Marrero initiated the action in the first round, landing some solid right hands. Johns came back in the second using a strong left jab to set up his vicious overhand right. Eventually, Marrero's left eye started to close. Marrero lost two points for holding and lost by identical scores of 39-35.

Drayvontay Speed-Rawls four-round split-decision over Joel Young, April 23, Tall Cedars Hall, Parkville, MD

Both debuting lightweights had their moments in this contest as they showed great movement and offensive skills.  Neither boxer, however, had a clear advantage. A very interesting bout with a lot of ebb and flow. Two judges scored the bout 39-38 and 39-37 for Speed-Rawls while another judge saw the bout for Young, 39-37. 

Previous Beltway Boxing 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 (now Eagle Bank Arena), Fairfax, VA

2013: Mike Reed KO 6 over Rameses Gil, September 7, Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD

2014: Tony Jeter 10 round majority decision over Jimmy Lange , November 15, George Mason University Patriot Center (now Eagle Bank Arena), Fairfax, VA

Tomorrow: The Beltway Boxing Card Of The Year!
(Award winner photo created by Ross Molovinsky)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Baltimore Boxing Promotions to host “Super Brawl of Boxing” January 28!

Baltimore Boxing Promotions returns to Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, MD Thursday, January 28 for an evening of Olympic-style championship boxing.

Dubbed as the “Super Brawl of Boxing”, tickets are $25 for general admission, $35 for reserved seating ($350 for tables of 10) and $50 for VIP ($500 for a table of 10). Tickets to this first annual event are on sale now by calling 410-375-9175 or logging onto Doors open at 6:30 and the first bout is scheduled for 8:15.

In association with this exciting night of fights, Baltimore Boxing will once again team up with the Colon Cancer Alliance and has already donated tickets to the organization. On fight night, the Colon Cancer Alliance and Baltimore Boxing will raise awareness for the cause by handing out pamphlets and speaking to the crowd.

One of the deadliest forms of cancer, the Colon Cancer Alliance‘s mission it to knock colon cancer out by championing prevention, funding cutting-edge research and providing quality patient support service. The Colon Cancer Alliance is a proud member of the National Health Council’s Standards of Excellence Certification Program.

Headlining the card is a 168 pound Super Brawl title bout between Donald Wallace of the Baltimore Boxing Gym and Upton Boxing’s Tyrell Boyd. A participant at the 2015 Olympic Trials, Wallace surprised many during the tournament before losing a controversial decision to highly touted Sharif Rahman. A champion in his own right, Boyd captured the 2014 Washington, DC Golden Gloves. The Wallace-Boyd winner can also claim Charm City bragging rights.

Baltimore Boxing Gym rising star Joey “Bazooka Joe” Veazy meets Club One Boxing’s Andre Harris for the Super Brawl junior middleweight championship. Recognized as a boxing prodigy since his earliest days as a pugilist, Veazy won numerous tournaments throughout his career and was rated internationally.

Heavyweight knockout artist Brian “Bam Bam” Haneschlager of the Baltimore Boxing Gym meets Dallas Butts for the heavyweight title. Haneschlager, who has a large and vocal fan base, is an action-packed fighter that thrives on entertaining fans.

Baltimore Boxing’s Stefon McCray meets Main Street Gym’s TJ Mottinger in a cruiserweight title matchup. A standout basketball player at Stevenson University, the 6’6 McCray’s natural athletic abilities and length have helped him transition smoothly from the hardwood to the squared circle.

“I’m excited for our first annual Super Brawl of Boxing Championships,” said Smith. “We have four exciting title match ups featuring some of our most popular fighters. It’s also our pleasure to assist the Colon Cancer Alliance with their efforts to raise awareness. Colon cancer doesn’t receive the same funding or mainstream attention that other cancers do so they need all the assistance they can get.”

Press Release From:

Beltway Boxing 2015 Knockout Of The Year!

Article courtesy of Gary "Digital" Williams,
Boxing Along The Beltway

Once again, the Knockout Of The Year selection was the closest of the year.  Beltway Boxers provided a plethora of quality knockouts throughout the area.  As in previous years, the criteria for this award is:

1. The knockout must have been performed by a Beltway Boxer.

2. The knockout must have taken place in a Beltway location.

This year’s winner was a crushing shot that signaled the start of a turnaround of a boxer’s career. 

The Beltway Boxing Knockout Of The Year for 2015 is:
Travis Reeves TKO 6 over Samer Barakat, July 9, Tall Cedars Hall, Parkville, MD

Reeves had to work hard to gain this knockout.  The somewhat-awkward Barakat pressured Reeves enough early in the bout to avoid Reeves’s favorite shot, the looping right hand.  The problem for Barakat was his inability to provide any challenging offense.   This allowed Reeves to continue to figure out how to land his favorite punch.

Late in the fifth round, Reeves finally figured out how to land the overhand right, hurting Barakat with it as the bell rang. Finally in the sixth round, Reeves crumpled Barakat with another brutal overhand right that dropped him in a heap in a neutral corner.  The bout was stopped at 1:15.  Barakat was carted out of the ring and had to seek treatment at a local hospital.  Barakat recovered fully from his injuries.
Here is the knockout:

Honorable Mention (In Chronological Order):

Zarifbek Nishanbaev third-round KO over Norman Allen, June 6, ABC Sports Complex, Springfield, VA

In just his second pro bout, “The Uzbek Warrior” faced off against the veteran “Shadow” Allen. Nishanbaev went on the offensive early and tried to swarm Allen with rights and lefts.  Nishanbaev trapped Allen against the ropes repeatedly, trying to land power punches.  Nishanbaev sent Allen to the canvas with a straight right hand early in the second round but Allen managed to weather the storm for the rest of the round.

In the third round, Nishanbaev landed a brutal counter right hand that drove Allen to the canvas.  The bout was stopped at 44 seconds.

Devin Butcher first-round KO over Walter McCray -- June 20, Martin’s West, Woodlawn, MD

After pressuring his opponent from the opening bell, Butcher stopped McCray with a crushing right hand that sent McCray crashing to the canvas and his mouthpiece flying over toward the BATB location at ringside.  The bout was over at 55 seconds.

Luther Smith first-round KO over Schuyler Marshall -- August 22, North Hall At Eastern Market, Washington, DC

Smith has become a very popular boxer in his first year of competition as he scored first-round knockouts in his first three pro contests.  His most devastating KO was this one against Marshall in front of a very partisan crowd.  Smith landed a brutal left-right combination that sent Marshall toppling backwards to the canvas. Marshall tried to get up but could not do it before the bout was stopped at 39 seconds.

Stephon Morris second-round KO over Cassanova Brooks -- December 12, Coppermine Du Burns Arena, Baltimore, MD

In his pro debut, Morris used a brutal counter right hand to knock out Cassanova Brooks in the second round.  After a relatively-even first round, Morris caught Brooks with the counter hand that made Brooks crumple to the canvas. The bout was over at 28 seconds as Brooks could not beat the count.

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

2013: Jarrett Hurd KO2 over George Armenta, December 6, Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD

2014: Marq Johns TKO 2 over Luis Hernandez, July 18, Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington, MD

Tomorrow: The Beltway Boxing Bout Of The Year!
(Award winner photo created by Ross Molovinsky)

Jeter Promotions Will Start Off The 2016 Beltway Boxing Season!

Gerome "GQ" Quigley (11-0, 10 KO's) of  Gaithersburg, MD is the current 147lbs Virginia State Champion. He also traveled to Germany and won the vacant International Boxing Association Intercontinental super welterweight title by defeating Vito Vendetta in his own hometown of Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany on November 6, 2015. Guigley will be the main event on the Jeter Promotions card at the ABC Sports Complex on Jan. 16 in Springfield, VA. 

The bout is scheduled for six rounds with an opponent TBA. 

Also scheduled to be on the card that night will be more undefeated fighters such as Cobia Breedy, Brendan Barrett, Edgar Torres, Francisco Bustos, and honorable mention 2015 Beltway Boxing Rookie Of The Year Drayvontay Speed-Rawls (4-0, two KO’s), lightweight out of Glenarden, MD.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Beltway Boxing 2015 Prospect Of The Year!

Article courtesy of Gary "Digital" Williams,
Boxing Along The Beltway

Many Beltway Boxers made solid progress throughout 2015.  The majority of our top prospects moved from boxing in local club shows to appearing on cards that were seen by national and international audiences.

However, one prospect became the Webster’s Dictionary-style definition of moving from the prospect level to a level where boxers, boxing fans and media will have to look out for him in the coming year.

The Beltway Boxing Prospect Of The Year for 2015 is:

“Swift” Jarrett Hurd (17-0, 11 KO’s), super welterweight, Accokeek, MD

The Al Haymon-signee only had three bouts in 2015 but all three were quality contests.  Hurd started the year with a third-round TKO of veteran Eric Mitchell on April 18 in Valley Forge, PA.  The bout was Hurd’s first scheduled eight-round contest.  Hurd’s next opponent, Jeff Lentz, raised some eyebrows on August 14 in Newark, NJ because, although Lentz was undefeated as a boxer, he only had five contests compared to 15 for Hurd (Lentz was also, however, a talented MMA fighter).  Hurd dominated the contest, stopping Lentz in the seventh round.

However, Hurd saved his best performance of 2015 for the last one of his year.  In front of a nationally-televised (Showtime) audience, Hurd faced fellow undefeated boxer Frank Galarza on November 14 in Las Vegas, NV.  Hurd, participating in his first nationally-televised contest, did not let the bright lights blind him as he knocked down the heavily-favored Galarza in the fourth  round, punished Galarza in the fifth and put him away in the sixth as Galarza turned away from Hurd to avoid further punishment, stopping the contest. 

Here is the video:
The Galarza win gave Hurd instant notoriety and a number 11 ranking by the WBA.  Hurd's entire year became the blueprint of what a prospect wants to do with his career.  A remarkable year, indeed.

Honorable Mention (In Alphabetical Order):

D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard (11-0, 1NC, seven KO’s), super middleweight, Temple Hills, MD

Ballard continued his busy career with four bouts in 2015, facing tougher competition along the way. Three of Ballard’s four victories came against opponents with double-digit victories and Ballard won all three by unanimous decision. 

On March 12, Ballard stopped Jason Zabokrtsky in the first round in San Antonio, TX.  On June 30 in Philadelphia, PA, Ballard captured a six-round unanimous decision over Josue Ovando in front of a nationally-televised audience.  That win was followed by another six-round victory over Juan Carlos Rojas on October 3 in Carson, CA.  Ballard ended his year with a shutout six-round win over Fabiano Pena on December 19 in Verona, NY.  Ballard’s progress continues to be steady and he could have a big year in 2016.

Gervonta “Tank” Davis (14-0, 13 KO’s), super featherweight, Baltimore, MD

Davis made this category a close race for two reasons:  One: his performances in 2015 and Two: his affiliation with recently-retired pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr.  Davis scored five knockouts and was the only Beltway prospect on this year’s list to venture into scheduled 10-round contests.

Davis began 2015 with a first-round knockout over Israel Suarez in Pittsburgh, PA on February 20 and followed that win with another first-round stoppage of Alberto Mora on May 22 in Atlantic City, NJ.  On September 12, Davis competed on Mayweather’s final bout in Las Vegas, NV and scored another first-round knockout over Recky Dulay.  For the rest of the year, Mayweather took a vested interest in Davis and placed him in two high-profile, nationally-televised contests against increasingly tougher competition.  Davis flourished in both bouts, scoring a third-round TKO over former world champion Cristobal Cruz on October 30 in Orlando, FL followed by a ninth-round stoppage of Luis Sanchez in Las Vegas on December 18.  Davis should be a factor in the super featherweight division in 2016.

Mykal “The Professor” Fox (8-0, two KO’s), lightweight, Forestville, MD

The 20-year-old lightweight moved up into the six-round bout category in just his second year of pro competition.  On January 17, Fox won a unanimous decision over Luis Rodriguez in Washington, DC.  Fox fought twice more in the Nation’s Capitol scoring a first-round TKO over Thomas DeLeon on March 14 and winning a six-round unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Castillo on July 18.  Along the way, Fox signed a promotional contract with King’s Promotions.

Fox took a nice step in competition in his last bout of 2015 and put on his best performance of the year.  Fox won a shutout six-round unanimous decision over 24-bout veteran Adam Mate on December 4 in Fort Washington, MD.  Do not be surprised if Fox makes fewer and fewer appearances in the Beltway in 2016 as he starts to make waves in the lightweight division.

Travis “Seveer” Reeves (11-2-1, five KO’s), cruiserweight, Baltimore, MD

In 2015, Reeves proved to be one of the most improved boxers in the Beltway region.  Reeves won four times in the year facing steadily improving competition.  Reeves won a rematch with Lamont Capers on March 20 in Woodlawn, MD scoring a six-round unanimous decision.  One month later on April 23 in Parkville, MD, Reeves put on a nice performance winning a six-round unanimous decision over Dan Biddle.

Reeves started to open eyes with his first scheduled eight-round contest as he registered a crushing six-round knockout over Samer Barakat on July 9 in Parkville.  Then, on December 12 in Baltimore, Reeves scored a first-round knockout of Anthony Caputo Smith.  Reeves seems to be turning the corner in his career and 2016 should be an interesting year for him.

Lamont Roach, Jr. (9-0, three KO’s), lightweight, Upper Marlboro, MD

The 2014 Beltway Rookie Of The Year made some steady movement in 2015 as he advanced into six-round contests throughout the year.  Roach stopped Herbert Quartey in the fourth round on January 20 in front of a nationally-televised audience in Philadelphia, PA.  On April 18, Roach won a six-round unanimous decision over Jose Miguel Castro in Verona, NY.

Roach made his second national television appearance on June 30 in Philadelphia and won a six-round unanimous decision over Christian Santibanez.  Roach ended his year by winning another six-round unanimous decision over Jose Bustos on October 17 in Madison Square Garden in New York City on the Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux undercard.  Roach continues to be a promising talent in the lightweight division.

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.
2013: Dusty Hernandez Harrison
2014: Mike Reed

Tomorrow: The Beltway Boxing Knockout Of The Year!
(Award winner photo created by Ross Molovinsky)

The Start Of The 2015 Beltway Boxing Awards Begin!

Article courtesy of Gary "Digital" Williams,
Boxing Along The Beltway

Rookie Of The Year:  The boxer who had the most impact in his first year between January and November 2015.   The Beltway had 11 boxers turn pro during that time period in 2015 (those who started after that period will be put in the 2016 class).

This year’s choice faced the most experienced competition as a first-year boxer, moving into scheduled six-round competition while continuing to advance a family dynasty.

The Beltway Boxing Rookie of the Year for 2015 is:

Antonio Russell, (5-0, four KO’s), bantamweight, Capitol Heights, MD

Russell, who was named the Outstanding Boxer of the 2013 National Golden Gloves, made his pro debut in Philadelphia, PA on January 31 and scored a second-round knockout of Harold Reyes.  Russell was quickly put on the undercards of big bouts -- His second contest was on the undercard of the James DeGale-Andre Dirrell bout on May 23rd in Boston, MA.  Russell stopped Brandon Garvin in the first round.
Russell traveled to Tampa, FL on July 11 and went the distance for the only time in his career, capturing a four-round unanimous decision over the always-tough Jaxel Marrero on the Keith Thurman-Luis Collazo card.
Russell moved up to the scheduled six-round bouts and scored a second-round TKO over Manuel Rubalcalva on September 12 in Mashantucket, CT on the undercard of the Cornelius Bundrage-Jermall Charlo title bout.  Russell ended 2015 with a third-round TKO of another veteran -- Eduardo Melendez -- on October 30 in Orlando, FL.  Look for Russell to make a step up in competition as it seems that he is on a fast track.

Honorable Mention (in Alphabetical Order):

Eric “El Torito” Hernandez (6-0, four KO’s), lightweight, Leesburg, VA

Hernandez was the busiest member of the 2015 rookie class having his six bouts come in just a four-month period.  Hernandez made his debut on June 20th in Woodlawn, MD, winning a four-round unanimous decision over Mason Wicket.  Hernandez notched three straight knockout wins in his next three contests -- July 18 in DC against Fernando Serrano in the second round, September 26 in Norfolk, VA over Anthony Dave in the third round and a second-round TKO over Alfredo Ellis, Jr. on October 10 in Greensboro, NC.  Hernandez won a six-round contest against Benjamin Olinga on October 23 in DC before ending his rookie year with a first-round knockout of Brandon Hinnant just eight days later in Goldsboro, NC.  Hernandez is an exciting fighter who already seems to be willing to take on all comers.

Drayvontay Speed-Rawls (4-0, two KO’s), lightweight, Glenarden, MD

The nephew of Beltway Boxing legend Eugene “Sonny” Speed had a tough contest in his pro debut winning a four-round split decision over fellow debuting boxer Joel Young on April 23 in Parkville, MD.  Speed-Rawls improved in his second bout with a solid four-round unanimous decision win over Jorge Soto on July 24 in Baltimore, MD.
The hand speed of Speed-Rawls started to become a focal point of his offense and led to back-to-back first-round knockouts in his final two bouts of the year.  Speed-Rawls stopped Brian Raglin on August 22 in Washington, DC and ended the year with a win over Shonta Barnes on November 14 in Springfield, VA.  The speed of Speed-Rawls may be a major part of his advancement in 2016.

Previous Beltway Boxing 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
2013: Mike Reed
2014: Lamont Roach, Jr.

Tomorrow: The Prospect of the Year!
(Award winner photo created by Ross Molovinsky)

Monday, January 4, 2016

"The Accomplishments" A Recap Of Beltway Boxing In 2015!

2012 INTERNATIONAL BOXING HALL OF FAMER Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson the face of the 2015 Boxing Along The Beltway Awards

Happy New Year and welcome to our recap of Beltway Boxing 2015 where every day this week, we will hand out our year-end awards.  As usual, we will have six categories:

Rookie of the Year

Prospect of the Year

Knockout of the Year

Bout of the Year

Card of the Year

Boxer of the Year

However, we start with a summary of Beltway Boxing 2015- a year where the big question as the year began was whether Beltway Boxers would be able to build on the advancements made in 2014. 

The answer to that question was a resounding yes as a number of locals moved from prospect to contender and, yes, to champion status.  This is why Beltway Boxing 2015 is being called “The Year of Accomplishment.”  

No accomplishment was bigger than Gary Russell, Jr. capturing the WBC Featherweight championship on March 28 with a fourth-round TKO over Jhonny Gonzalez in Las Vegas, NV. 
The year turned out to be a huge one for the Russell Family as Antonio made his pro debut and Antuanne became the first local since Gary, Jr. to make the United States Olympic Team.

Former world champion Lamont Peterson became a mainstay on the new Premier Boxing Champions TV series with two quality bouts -- a majority decision loss to Danny Garcia and a majority decision victory over previously-undefeated Dominican Republic Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz that was held in Fairfax, VA on October 17.    

Two Beltway pros put themselves in good position to possibly earn title shots sometime in 2016.  Antoine Douglas and Dominic Wade won key nationally-televised bouts in 2015 -- Douglas had three impressive knockout performances while Wade won a split decision over former world champion Sam Soliman.  Both men are ranked in the top 15 by all four major governing bodies.

Beltway prospects started to make key moves in 2015. Junior middleweight Jarrett Hurd had three quality wins including one that  introduced himself to the national scene -- an eye-opening sixth-round TKO over previously-undefeated Frank Galarza on November 14 in Las Vegas.  Hurd is now ranked 11th in the world by the WBA.

Mike Reed, the Beltway Boxing Prospect of the Year in 2014, fought five times in 2015 against solid competition, scoring four knockouts along the way.  

Other prospects, such as D’Mitrius Ballard, Lamont Roach, Jr. and the Fox Brothers (Alantez and Mykal), stayed on the path towards making big moves in 2016.

Beltway Boxers continued to make their mark on national television in 2015.  Locals appeared 33 times on national TV -- three more than in the previous year.  Douglas’s three appearances led the way, followed by two for Peterson, Roach, Jr., Jerry Odom, Gervonta Davis, Cecil McCalla, Jessie Nicklow, and Immanuwel Aleem.  

The other locals making at least one national TV appearance were Russell, Jr., Hurd, Wade, Ballard, Dusty Hernandez Harrison, Alantez Fox, Cornelius Whitlock, James Stevenson, Joshua Snyder, Emanuel Taylor, Nick Kisner, Alexander Johnson, Ayi Bruce, Tony Thompson, Fernando Guerrero and Thomas Williams.

Internationally, Beltway Boxers appeared on world wide channels -- Tony Jeter’s bout against Chris Eubank, Jr. was shown on Sky Sports, Gerome Quigley’s IBA Junior Middleweight title bout appeared on Euro TV.  Thompson’s win over Odlandier Solis was shown on 360Sports TV.

Ironically, the accomplishments by our local boxers made it difficult for promoters to put together cards in the Beltway region, as the number of boxers available started to dwindle.  There were just 19 pro cards in 2015 compared to 31 in 2014.  Maryland had just eight shows in 2015, down from 12 in 2014, DC only had seven shows in 2015,dropping from nine the previous year.  Northern Virginia had four cards compared to 10 in 2014.

On the amateur side, along with Antuanne Russell making the Olympic team, Tyrek Irby and Marquis Moore, a Colorado resident who is originally from Fort Washington, MD, also participated in the Men’s Olympic Trials.   On the women’s side, the Beltway sent four to the Olympic Trials, the second qualifier was held in Baltimore, MD.  Tiara Brown and Franchon Crews made their second trip to the trials while it was the first time for Amelia Moore and Iesha Kenney, who at 17 years old, was the youngest participant in the trials.  Kenney had an outstanding year as she won a bronze medal at the Junior and Youth Women’s World Championships in Taiwan.
For the first year since 2009, Beltway Boxers did not win a National Golden Gloves title.  This may be a sign that there may be a delay before the next great amateurs come into the open division. However, if the Beltway’s performance in the National Silver Gloves is any indication, the delay will be a short one.  Six locals -- Lorenzo Simpson, Tyreek Williams, Lawrence Malcolm, Ragahleak Bartee, Stacey Selby and Michael Tymas -- brought home gold medals from Independence, MO.  For Simpson (14-15, 147 pounds), it was his fifth straight national title in his fifth weight class.  Tymas (12-13, 147 pounds) was named the Outstanding Boxer in his age group.

We lost a number of quality Beltway Boxing people in 2015:

Beltway Boxing In Memoriam:

Alvin Anderson -- Former Baltimore-Based Junior Middleweight contender

Steven Copeland -- Virginia Amateur Boxer

Howard Davis, Jr. -- Olympic Gold Medalist on the 1976 US Olympic Team that featured three  local boxers (Sugar Ray Leonard, Charles Mooney and Louis “Heidi” Curtis)

Bob Foster -- Former World Light Heavyweight Champion who called DC his boxing home

Alfred Grant -- Deputy Commissioner, District of Columbia Boxing And Wrestling Commission

David Greer -- Boxing Judge in Maryland and Pennsylvania

“King” Charles Jerome -- DC Heavyweight  Pro Boxer

Johnnie Johnson -- Trainer and Coach at Hagerstown Boxing Club

Cyprian “CP” Khumalo -- Former Boxer and Host of Internet DMV Sports Show

Cedric Kushner -- Promoted Beltway legends Mark Johnson and Hasim Rahman

Thomas Langley -- Beltway Trainer and Coach

Norvus “Butch” Miller -- Trainer and Brother of Purcell Miller

Charlie Tuttle -- Noted Amateur Boxer

Finally, let’s give a more visual example that could help show the progress local boxers have made. In April of 2012, this picture was taken of Gary "Digital" Williams with members of a group of boxers I referred to in the post accompanying this photo as just some of the members of “The Next Wave.”  From left to right: Michael Reed, David Grayton, Jerry Odom, Gary Russell, Jr., Alantez Fox (in back with yours truly), Gary Antonio Russell, D'Mitrius Ballard and Kevin Rivers, Jr. 

Based on their amateur accomplishments (six of the nine boxers shown won National Golden Gloves titles, two were named Outstanding Boxers of the Golden Gloves), they were part of a large group of standouts that would start a new era of Beltway Boxers.  Seven of the nine turned pro in 2012 (after this photo was taken) or later. Gary Russell, Jr. started in 2009 and Alantez Fox in 2010.

The pro won-loss record of just these nine boxers going into 2016 is 115-4-1 with 73 KO’s and you can add one world title.  When you add the records of many of the other prospects talked about in the area, it’s an even better percentage.  The coming year should be very interesting and exciting indeed.

That's our look back at 2015.  Tomorrow, we start the awards with Rookie of the Year!

Written by Gary "Digital Williams
Boxing Along The Beltway
Photos added by Juan Marshall