Posts tagged DC

R.I.P. Jim Finley 1929-2014: Finley’s Boxing Gym Owner Was One Of A Kind

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Photo by Joel Richardson for The Washington Post

 by Aaron Tallent special to Stiff Jab

Let’s face it: the Fight Game walks the fine line between goodness and corruption.

The good is that young men have an opportunity to learn discipline they would often not find elsewhere. For that to work, the people providing the chance need to have their heart in the right place. They need to be people like Jim Finley. Sadly, we have already forgotten just how special Finley and his boxing gym truly were.

Finley, who died of congestive heart failure on January 28, ran the legendary Finley’s Boxing Gym from 1960 to 2001. The gym was over his auto repair shop on 518 10th Street, which sat in an alley running between 9th and 10th Streets in Northeast D.C. So low key was the gym that I lived at the entrance of that alley for two years after it closed, yet had no idea it ever existed. 

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Opening Bell: Anthony Peterson & Joan Guzman March 7 at D.C. Armory

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Lamont & Anthony Peterson photos by Trey Pollard for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

After Saturday night’s near-sellout at D.C. Armory, it’s clear that Washington has firmly re-established itself as a fight town. Some of my fellow writers were skeptical about the turnout early, but I was confident the arena would fill up. This was Lamont Peterson (left) headlining on Showtime. For the knowledgeable local fan base, nothing more need be said.

Peterson delivered, as his fans knew he would. As Anna ably noted, Peterson has been the tentpole of D.C.’s emerging boxing franchise, and his rise has helped draw all the major boxing networks back to Washington for the first time in many years. It has also provided a platform for the area’s talented youngsters to ply their craft, and inspiration for them to keep pursuing their dreams in the ring. In short, without Lamont, there is no resurgence in D.C. boxing.

Cheering Lamont through his recent string of high-profile fights has been his brother Anthony (below), a decorated lightweight in his own right. Where Lamont is quiet and reserved, Anthony is boisterous and outgoing. He is a constant presence in the local boxing scene, yet has only fought twice since sustaining his only loss by disqualification against Brandon Rios in September 2010. 

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Don’t Call It A Comeback: Lamont Peterson Beats Dierry Jean

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Photos by Tom Casino for Showtime

by Gautham Nagesh

WASHINGTON, D.C.—All week long, Lamont Peterson insisted he felt no ill effects from his knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse last May. Many were skeptical, including his opponent, unbeaten Canadian junior welterweight Dierry Jean. Jean questioned Peterson’s chin, and promised to stop the D.C. native for the second time of his career.

But on Saturday night it was Peterson who rocked his opponent repeatedly, and Jean who faded as the fight wore on. Peterson was too tough and too strong for Jean, taking control in the middle rounds and winning a clear decision over twelve rounds to stay among the top names at 140 lbs. Most importantly, Peterson thrilled the more than 5,000 fans in attendance at D.C. Armory, most of whom were there to see him carry the mantle for the nation’s capital on Showtime.

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Undefeated Boxer Dominic Wade Signs With Al Haymon

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Dominic Wade & Barry Hunter photo by Anna John for StiffJab.com 

by Gautham Nagesh 

Aside from making the U.S. Olympic team, the best thing a young boxer can do for their career these days is sign with shadowy talent manager and former concert promoter Al Haymon. Like most Harvard grads, Haymon probably gets more credit than he deserves, but there’s no denying his stacked roster of talent: Floyd Mayweather, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, and many of the sport’s rising stars. 

The latest name to join that list is Largo super middleweight Dominic Wade, (above) who joins fellow Maryland natives Seth Mitchell and Gary Russell Jr. as local members of Haymon’s stable. Wade is a member of the Headbangers team and trained by Barry Hunter, who also guides Lamont and Anthony Peterson, and Alantez Fox, among others.

"I can’t really speak on it too much right now. I just got a call, and we’ll see what is the next move. But I did sign, I definitely signed with [Haymon]," Wade told me on Saturday at ringside.

Emmanuel Taylor vs Albert Mensah On ESPN July 19th

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Emmanuel Taylor photo by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

We pride ourselves our coverage of the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia boxing scene, but somehow the rise of local junior welterweight Emmanuel “Tranzforma” Taylor caught me completely by surprise. After scoring back-to-back knockouts on ShoBox and ESPN, Taylor has come from nowhere to become arguably the hottest fighter in the DMV.

Perhaps it’s because the only time I’ve seen Taylor fight live was his only professional loss, against Prenice Brewer at Fight Night 2011. I scored the fight for Taylor, but it’s fair to say I wasn’t too impressed. Which goes to show the danger of judging any prospect on one performance, especially their first eight-rounder in in a ballroom full of cigar smoke and drunken defense contractors.

Taylor was raised in Capitol Heights, Md., home of the Fighting Gary Russell clan, among other boxing notables. But he’s more closely associated with Baltimore, where he develops under the watchful eye of his longtime trainer David Sewell. Taylor grew up in boxing; his father Maxell Sr. is a former fighter and trainer at Charm City Gym, and was inducted into the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.

Taylor will fight on national televisoin for the third straight time on July 19th, when he returns to ESPN’s Friday Night Fights for the second time in a row to battle Albert Mensah of Ghana in New York City. We interviewed Taylor from ringside at Club One Fitness in Millersville, Md. last weekend, where he was ringside to watch his brother Maxell Jr. lose in the main event. Taylor labelled Mensah “awkward” but didn’t seem overly concerned.

Dusty Harrison Looks Like A Headliner Against Eddie Soto

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Photos by Anna John for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Like all entertainers, boxers are unpredictable by nature.

Men that fight for a living are often more temperamental than the brattiest teen idol in Hollywood. Almost every card includes at least one fight scratched because an opponent has succumbed to that peculiar sickness that takes hold between the weigh-in and the opening bell. Promoters can only book their fights, make their contingency plans, and pray.

If boxing is, in the end, simply show business, then another maxim holds true: the fans come to see the main event, not the supporting players. That might be a hard truth to swallow for some undercard fighters, especially since they are putting themselves at the same risk as their better-compensated peers. But it’s the truth. 

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There were some complications on Saturday night during the first professional boxing show promoted by All-In Entertainment at UDC in Northwest Washington. Only five of the nine scheduled fights were completed, and writers were left typing their reports in blackness after a power outage cut the walk-out bout short. None of that mattered. To the nearly 3,000 fans that packed the auditorium, it was a night at the fights, a moment to be savored regardless of the complications.

It is still far too early to say how good 18-year-old D.C. welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison will be. Even with 15 professional fights under his belt, Dusty is only scratching the surface of life as a professional fighter. But Hernandez-Harrison offered a tantalizing glimpse of his potential on Saturday night, displaying poise beyond his years during his 5th-round knockout of Eddie Soto. 

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David Grayton & Greg Newby Stay Undefeated In D.C.

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David Grayton photo by Anna John for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

Finding work is never easy when you’re a young boxer, but staying busy is crucial. So you take the fights whenever you can get them.

D.C. prospects David “Day Day” Grayton and Greg Newby both scored first-round knockouts Saturday night at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington on a card promoted by Babie Girl Productions. The excellent Gary “Digital” Williams was in attendance as per usual and has more over at Boxing Along The Beltway. Newby took two minutes and two seconds to stop Ivan Burke at light heavyweight, while Grayton needed just 1:04 to dispatch Tyrone Braswell at junior middleweight.

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Greg Newby photo by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com

Slideshow: David “Day Day” Grayton IV

Photos by Anna John and Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com

Our esteemed editor profiled local welterweight prospect David Grayton IV for The Washington Post ahead of his fight last weekend on the undercard of Lamont Peterson vs. Kendall Holt: 

Hunter called Grayton “just an aggressive, regular kid” when they first started working together, one that found his focus after an early sit-down from the no-nonsense Hunter. From there Grayton made rapid progress, culminating in a win in the 2010 National Golden Gloves finals over 2012 U.S. Olympian Errol Spence Jr. Beating one of the top amateur fighters in the country made Grayton a star in the local boxing community, and prompted calls from professional promoters seeking their next blue-chip prospect. 

Read the full article at The Root DC

Lamont Peterson Turns It Around Against Kendall Holt in D.C.

Photo by Anna John for StiffJab.com

by Trey Pollard

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sure, this fight officially ended in the 8th round, when referee Tony Weeks waved Kendall Holt’s hopes off after a possessed Lamont Peterson rattled his opponent’s head for the sixth or seventh time of the evening.

But the fight effectively over as soon as Peterson landed his first solid punch of the night: a hard left hand up high, landing mid-way through the fourth round - the first glimmer of hope of the night for Peterson. Before it hit, Peterson’s hometown crowd at the D.C. Armory barked nervously, shuffling in their seats, too anxious to even cat-call the absurdly dressed ring card girls.

Once Peterson landed that punch, the tide shifted. It was enough to break through the nervous energy, enough to shake off 14 months of ring rust, enough to stop Kendall Holt from looking like a contender, and evidently enough to give Peterson his confidence back after the failed drug test that sent his career spiraling.

Elvin Sanchez Stuns Venroy July At D.C. Armory

by Trey Pollard

A wide-open right hook from Danny Sanchez gave him an upset over undefeated DMV cruiserweight prospect Venroy July, who was sent mouth-open and head-back onto the ropes just before the end of the 3rd round. July somehow stumbled to his feet, showing enough guts to justify a complaint about an early stoppage, but it was a safe call and a big win for the the visiting Sanchez.

July initially delivered a pair of solid rounds, sending Sanchez down with a right hand in the second as he tried to move inside. Sanchez was up quickly and survived til the 3rd, when he made his move.

Taking advantage of a lapse by July, Sanchez shook off the slowness that had bugged him for the early minutes and doubled up on left hands, before throwing high and low to stagger July. July’s legs teetered ominously, but somehow held him up for a few more moments.

The two fighters swung to the corner, where July was caught by a devastating right. Given the blank look on his face when his back hit the canvas, it was almost as surprising that July got to his feet. But the fight was justly stopped and the upset awarded to the man from Patterson, NJ.

Live from the DC Armory - DeWayne Wisdom vs Raul Lopez

by Trey Pollard

Its always a sign you’re watching a fun fight when two rounds get added in the middle of the bout. On paper, this was a walk-through for Raul Lopez (8-1) against the 2-9 DeWayne Wisdom, but Wisdom gave an exciting enough performance to warrant having a hype man shouting at the crowd pre-fight while wearing a t-shirt that said “WHUP DAT ASS.”

While Lopez struggled with slips in the first, in the 2nd he dominated - tabulating a knockdown - until the last 15 seconds, when Wisdom landed some heavy shots before a pristine left hook just before the bell sent Lopez to the mat. It was enough to give Lopez caution for the rest of the bout, which was only appropriate, as his defense left gaps that Wisdom’s wild punches filled in spots.

Still, Lopez’s pressure was consistent despite taking more punches than you’d expect and the two extra rounds gave him room to work out a decision 59-55, 59-55, 58-56.

Preview: Lamont Peterson vs Kendall Holt At D.C. Armory

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Photos by Anna John for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh 

It has been a long time since we’ve seen that smile from D.C. junior welterweight Lamont Peterson (right).Since his last fight, a career-defining win over Amir Khan in December 2011Peterson has been forced to defend himself against allegations of PED use. He has spent over a year of his prime on the shelf, and has watched his name disappear from the rankings due to inactivity.

On Friday night, Peterson will return to the ring looking to re-establish himself as one of the top fighters in the world at 140 lbs. Peterson hopes to duplicate his previous appearance on ESPN, where he dominated lesser opposition to earn the Khan fight. A win over Kendall Holt at D.C. Armory would put Peterson back in the top-5, setting up a premium cable showdown with one of his Golden Boy stablemates. A loss would be a setback that might take years to overcome.

Kevin Rivers & Jerry Odom Impress At Rosecroft

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Photos by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh with Rodriguez Jackson

FORT WASHINGTON, Md.—16 feet is not a lot of room when you’re facing a man trying to knock your block off.

That’s how big the ring was on Saturday night at Rosecroft Raceway for the year’s first Keystone Boxing card. For a young boxer, facing his first professional fight outside the friendly confines of the Washington Convention Center, the cramped ring, low ceiling, and vocal fans sitting just a few inches from the apron could have easily provided enough distractions to prompt a stumble. The upset-minded atmosphere was only aided by the Ravens’ double-overtime win over the Broncos, which delayed the opening bell almost an hour. But no upsets came.

Instead, NoXcuse products Kevin Rivers Jr. (above) and Jerry Odom offered dynamic, if abbreviated testaments to their potential, while a slew of other prospects including Greg Newby and Jarrett “Swift” Hurd took care of business en route to clear victories. Alantez “Sly” Fox (below) of nearby Forestville thrilled his vocal fans by out-classing Julius Kennedy of Frederick over six rounds in the main event. Fox was literally and figuratively head and shoulders above Kennedy, using his superior length, skill, and speed to box circles around the Guyana native.

Dusty Harrison Caps Parade Of KOs In D.C.

Photos by Jessica Chen for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

WASHINGTON, D.C.—There’s no disputing the excitement of title fights, or close bouts between evenly-matched contenders. Such events are the pinnacle of boxing, and undoubtedly the goal for any person involved in the fight game. But there is something special about watching young fighters grow up, find their feet, and fulfill their potential.

A groundswell is coming in the DMV boxing scene, and Dusty Harrison is at the center. Harrison doesn’t possess the same amateur pedigree as some of his peers, and it’s far too early to tell how good the teenager can be. But after his tenth pro victory on Saturday at Washington Convention Center two things are clear: Dusty Harrison can fight, and D.C. loves watching him do it.

The local welterweight prospect stopped the overmatched Nalo Leal in the third round of the main event, capping a night of stylish stoppages by local prospects on the Keystone Boxing card. A number of local pros notched their second wins including Jarrett Hurd, Kevin Rivers Jr., Joshua “Moe” Parker and Dillon Hayman. In addition, Iraqi prospect Devar Ferhadi made a jaw-dropping debut at light heavyweight, drawing a scream of pain and capitulation from Anthony Madden after a razing him with a devastating left hook to the body.

The House That Barry Hunter Built: New Headbangers Boxing Gym Opens In Ward 8

by Gautham Nagesh

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It started almost 20 years ago in a storage room at Lincoln Multicultural Middle School in Northwest Washington. A friend told Barry Hunter the school had set aside a small space for boxing. Hunter, a carpenter by trade, agreed to pitch in, dug out his old equipment, and headed over to share his lifelong passion: the Sweet Science.

"I didn’t go to stay, I went to help a little bit." said an emotional Hunter on Thursday at Bald Eagle Recreation Center in Ward 8. But once he met the kids and saw their need, he couldn’t walk away.

"The ride I got on, I couldn’t get off."

So Hunter stayed to teach the kids boxing, and more than anything, to show them that someone cared. There have been plenty of ups and downs since, from training world champions and amateur stars, to skipping a national tournament and using the funds raised to pay for a kid’s funeral.

But few days could be better than today, when the District of Columbia finally repaid Barry Hunter by opening the new Dr. Arnold McKnight Boxing Annex. The magnificent 6,600-sq. ft. facility is attached to the Bald Eagle Rec Center, one of the original homes of Hunter’s acclaimed Headbangers Boxing Program, which has produced 100 national amateur championships, two professional world titlists, and saved countless young men and women from the wrong path.