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.
Pictured above is Lime Lite Boxing Gym, located in the basement of an apartment building on Otis St. in Columbia Heights. Lime Lite was the first boxing gym I visited in D.C. and it immediately felt like home, so I’ve always tried to keep tabs on their progress, particularly amateur star Malik Jackson. The trainers there do an amazing job in a very humble setting. There isn’t even room for a ring in the L-shaped space, but that hasn’t stopped them from producing champions.
That’s why I’m excited to pass along the news that Gregory Newby, son of Lime Lite co-founder and trainer Tony Simmons, will join Stiff Jab amateur favorites David “Day Day” Grayton and Danny Kelly in making their professional debuts on August 4th at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Washington. All three will debut on a card promoted by Babie Gurl Productions headlined by a rematch between Henry “Sugar Poo” Buchanan and Dhafir “No Fear” Smith. Also making their professional debuts will be Tyriesha “Baby Girl” Douglas and heavyweight Jerry Forrest, who defeated Kelly in the 2010 DMV Golden Gloves Regional Championships. Forrest recently linked up with the handlers of heavyweight prospect Seth Mitchell, which should give his promising young career a boost.
Words and Pictures by Trey Pollard
Fairfax, VA – The Jimmy Lange franchise is something that might be hard to understand for fight fans outside of Northern Virginia. If you look at the numbers on paper, you’d be excused for wondering how the Lange brand has become such a local success. After all, how can a guy whose main claim to fame is getting knocked out of the first round of NBC’s The Contender series eight years ago headline 14 straight shows in a sizable college basketball arena — all while facing some suspect opposition?
Saturday night’s event at the Patriot Center in Fairfax provided a rebuttal to those doubters – like me – as Lange topped an action-packed card of well-matched fighters that aren’t superstars, but who know how to whip the crowd into a frenzy. And, as it turns out, the reason why Lange cards are such a success is because they are so damn fun.
by Gautham Nagesh
There aren’t any good fights on television Saturday night, but if you’re in Washington you can check out friend of the blog Tim Starks holding forth on the scholarly side of the Sweet Science as part of Nerd Nite at DC9.
Full details and Tim’s bio after the jump. In addition to his other impressive credentials, he’s also one of the columnists for our inaugural edition of the Stiff Jab Fight Book:
by Gautham Nagesh
WASHINGTON, DC—With so much talk about the significance of tonight’s main event to boxing as a whole and in Washington specifically, we should remember there is a fight taking place between two world-class contenders in the prime of their careers. Both have suffered just one defeat and could rightly claim to be the best in the junior welterweight division with a win Saturday night on HBO.
Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson both come with engaging back-stories, but Khan is the moneyman in the division and tabbed by many in the boxing world as the next great superstar. Both men have done the job of rebuilding after their first professional losses and neither will be eager to experience their second, but the winner would instantly become the marquee name at 140 lbs.
If Khan wins, a move up to welterweight and possible May date against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather await. For Peterson a win would put a Hollywood ending on a lifetime of struggle and place him among childhood idols Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson and Keith Holmes in the annals of D.C. boxing history. A rematch against his lone conqueror Tim Bradley could follow, or any number of compelling matchups at 140 lbs including Marcos Maidana and Brandon Rios.
“He’s strong, he’s been in in with some big names. He’s very experienced. A lot of people don’t fight him because they’re afraid of getting beat by him. He’s not really had that big chance. We’ve given him that big chance, now let’s see if he can go and grab that,” Khan said Thursday. “I like to bring the best fights to the fans and this is one of the biggest fights.”
If you’re not into booze, boxing or objectifying women, then Fight Night at the Washington Hilton may not be your thing. But for this reformed frat boy it’s become an annual excuse to dust off the tux, break training and push the limits of professionalism while mingling with the fanciest fight crowd you’re likely to encounter, all in the name of charity.
In addition to the usual attractions (charity auction, Redskins cheerleaders, a host of Boxing Hall of Famers, enough cigar smoke to dim the sun), this year’s event on Thursday featured a pair of decent professional bouts featuring fighters with actual potential, a departure from recent years.
Cleveland’s Prenice Brewer handed Baltimore prospect Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor his first professional loss in an eight-round split decision that I scored for Taylor. In the other bout Northern Virginia featherweight prospect Jerren Cochran (above, left) controlled tough North Carolina veteran Jason Rorie over four rounds to earn the unanimous decision.
Attention D.C. fight fans: tickets for the December 10th HBO Championship Boxing card featuring British junior welterweight Amir Khan defending his belts against local contender Lamont Peterson go on sale Friday at 10am. That’s tomorrow for those of you not paying attention.
Peterson’s brother Anthony, a lightweight contender with only one loss to top-ranked Brandon Rios, is also on the card, as is 17-year-old area prospect Dusty Harrison. The undercard is headlined former Michigan State linebacker and Maryland native Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell, who is expected to face the toughest test of his career against Timur Ibragimov.
This is the first big-time boxing event in our nation’s capital since Mike Tyson hung up his gloves, so you may want to get your tickets early. We know at least one section is going to be reserved for members of Congress. We strive for transparency so to be frank, we want to see a huge turnout at the Convention Center in hopes it will convince promoters to bring more big fights to DC. After all, Washington is a great fight town and one of the only cities in the country with a rapidly-growing economy.
Fans can purchase tickets through www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling (800)-745-3000. Tickets start at $25 and are available at $50, $75, $150 and $300 for ringside seats. Show is presented by Golden Boy Promotion and Khan Promotions.
Top-ranked junior welterweight Amir “King” Khan attended a State Department Eid celebration for Muslim athletes on September 8th at the invitation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Apparently the trip made quite an impression on Khan, because the District is now the front runner to host his unified title defense on December 10th against local favorite Lamont Peterson. Detroit is another possibility thanks to its sizable Muslim population along with Montreal, which has recently become a hotbed of the sport thanks to local draws like Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal.
We’ve been clamoring for DC to get a major fight since the founding of this site so you won’t here us complaining, particularly since Peterson is a hometown fighter and should present more of a challenge for Khan than either Zab Judah or Paul McCloskey. Friend of the site David Greisman tells us the fight is likely headed to DAR Constitution Hall if it comes here, while the Silverdome and Bell Center seem the likely venues in Motown and Montreal respectively. Regardless of where the fight is held, count on us bringing you all of the action from ringside.