by Gautham Nagesh
This is a huge weekend for boxing in the Capital region, and not only because heavyweight Seth Mitchell is squaring down with Chris Arreola tomorrow night on Showtime. Several local prospects including Phil Jackson-Benson, Mike Reed, and Alantez Fox will face perhaps the toughest tests of their careers on Saturday night at Rosecroft Raceway. As always, we’ll be ringside to bring you live coverage of the card from Keystone Boxing.
The main event will pit Jackson-Benson against Baltimore super middleweight Scott “Cujo” Sigmon, who has announced this will be his last professional fight, win or lose. The swan song aspect of the fight alone would sell tickets, but Sigmon has also been in with the likes of Kelly Pavlik and Farah Ennis, much better competition than Jackson has faced.
For his part, Jackson disagreed that Sigmon would be his best opponent, arguing instead for Maxell Taylor , who he stopped in May at Club One Fitness in Millersville, Md. (below)
"You can expect a knockout. It’s gonna come early," Jackson told Stiff Jab recently. “Maxell was a good fighter. In my personal opinion, Maxell is better than Scott. It’s a step up on paper, but on experience, style and talent-wise, it’s really not. Maybe other people will be surprised, but I know what I’m gonna do.”
Photos by Trey Pollard for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
FAIRFAX, Va.—Pennsylvania junior middleweight contender Harry Joe Yorgey (above right) made short work of Virginia’s Zain “Tiger” Shah at the Patriot Center on October 27th, dominating Shah from the start and stopping him in the first round.
Shah, who entered the bout unbeaten with a record of 5-0-1 (3 KOs), was clearly in over his head against the vastly more experienced Yorgey. Harry went straight after Shah and appeared to ahve him shaken up early, especially after a body shot that the referee deemed low. Shah took his time recovering, but it made little difference. Yorgey came straight after him and struck him down, forcing Shah to take a seat and not rise.
Northern Virginia junior middleweight Jimmy Lange will headline another card at George Mason University’s Patriot Center on Saturday, February 11 against an opponent to be determined. The undercard features a local showdown at middleweight between NoVa’s Zain “Tiger” Shah and Tony “Mo Better” Jeter of Stevensville, Md.
Heavyweight may be the only division that matters to casual fans, but we know Cuban featherweight phenom Yuriorkis Gamboa has earned top billing on any evening he enters the ring. That’s why we’re happy to inform you our esteemed editor will be ringside when Gamboa takes on veteran Daniel Ponce de Leon Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. An underwhelming undercard features Luis Cruz, Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso and Terence Crawford.
Gamboa is the overwhelming favorite to win but de Leon looked great losing a controversial decision to Adrien Broner in March and has more than enough tohold his own. The Cuban has always possessed a combination of vulnerability and dominance that make his fights among the most riveting in the sport. A number of intriguing opportunities await Gamboa but he seems perpetually on the verge of losing his unblemished record. We’re picking him to win this weekend and hopefully set up a long-awaited showdown with JuanMa.
HBO will broadcast the Gamboa fight after a replay of Vitali Klitschko vs Tomasz Adamek, which will take place Saturday afternoon in Wroclaw, Poland. We respect Adamek and his ability to pack the Prudential Center in Newark with Polish fans, but the man is basically a puffed-up cruiserweight fighting one of the toughest big men of all-time. Were he fighting little bro Wladimir we may have given the Pole a puncher’s chance, but Dr. Ironfist is a bridge too far.
Klitschko’s towering jab is likely enough to win him the fight, but should Adamek show more courage than the boastful David Haye (not difficult) he may find himself splattered on the canvas well before the scheduled twelfth. Adamek lacked the power to trouble spent giant Kevin McBride and his punches will do even less to the chiseled Ukrainian. The undercard is highlighted by Polish heavy Andrzej Wawrzyk and British cruiserweight Ola Afolabi.
Washington-area fight fans can make their way to George Mason University’s Patriot Center to see NoVa junior middleweight and former Contender star Jimmy Lange takes on Raul Munoz. Lange is an exciting fighter and his ability to regularly sell more than 5,000 tickets proves the DMV is one of the most under-appreciated fight markets in the country. We can only hope Gary Russell Jr.’s handlers are watching and considering bringing their boy home in the near future. Also fighting on the card are Stiff Jab favorites Todd “White Lightning” Wilson and Zain “Tiger” Shah.
Brooklyn’s Aviator Sports Complex will host a Boxing 360 card highlighted by local girl Amanda Serrano challenging Kimberly Connor for the vacant IBF junior lightweight strap. NYC-based Colombian cruiserweight Santander Silgado and Bronx light heavy Joel Castillo are also scheduled to fight.
Friday night’s TV slate is highlighted by a quality ShoBox from Hinckley, Minn. featuring cruiserweight prospect Lateef Kayode and a good scrap between Hector Sanchez and Vincent Arroyo at 143 lbs. Telemundo has Antonio Pitalua vs. Cosme Rivera from Mexico City while Telefutura’s card is headlined by Gabriel Rosado vs. Keenan Collins from Philly.
Finally, ESPN3.com will carry the WBA junior middleweight eliminator on Saturday from Belfast between Northern Ireland’s Paul McCloskey and Breidis Prescott. Both men are clamoring for a rematch with titlist Amir Khan.
Zain “The Tiger” Shah cruised to a unanimous decision victory over Omar Sims on Saturday night at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. Shah used his right counter to great effect against Baltimore-based Sims, who came in at 163 lbs. for the middleweight contest.
The fight ended with a furious final round which saw both fighters rocked by heavy right hands, with two of out of three judges judging Sims to have gotten the better of the sixth. But overall the Chantilly-based Shah was the busier fighter and looked at times just half his 36 years.
After the fight Shah seemed calm and underwhelmed with his performance, disappointed he hadn’t been able to floor his opponent. He claimed to be more fatigued than expected and explained that his nerves had prevented him from sleeping the night before.
Jimmy Lange is not big on trash talk.
The Herndon, Va.-based junior middleweight and Contender alum declined to extol his gifts or list his advantages over his opponent during our pre-fight interview last week in advance of Saturday’s contest against Joe Wyatt at George Mason’s Patriot Center in Fairfax.
"I’m not a talker, I let my actions speak for themselves," Lange said.
Lange does his talking inside the ring, but his face betrayed a steely resolve as well as a keen awareness that another setback like his controversial March loss to journeyman Chase Shields could serious dent his aspirations of a future title shot. If he wants to draw the attention of the sport’s top matchmakers, Lange knows he must impress on November 6th against Wyatt.
The Shields fight is a sore subject; a malfunction with the arena lights caused an unexpected stoppage lasting several minutes in the ninth round when Lange appeared to be gaining control of the fight. Father and manager Johnny contends that while “Jimmy didn’t show up,” the stoppage cost Lange, who was knocked down twice by Shields in the 11th round before ultimately losing a unanimous decision.
"I think it hurt my kid, he was peaking for the fight and I think it helped Chase," Johnny Lange said, arguing that while critics may dwell on the 11th round, Lange’s comeback to win the 12th on all three scorecards is proof of his character and class.
"That’s the type of fighter Jimmy is, he’s a throwback," Johnny said. "He’s not afraid of a brawl and at the same time he can still box, he’s a boxer-puncher and he’s a throwback."