For a Thursday fight night there sure were a lot of former world champions out at The Deck in Essington, PA on June 27. Then again, when you're only a few miles from Philadelphia that sort of thing can easily happen. The attending world champions included Jeff Chandler (WBA Bantamweight), Tim Witherspoon (WBC & WBA Heavyweight), Buster Drayton (IBF Light Middleweight), Meldrick Taylor (IBF Light Welterweight & WBA Welterweight), Robert Hines (IBF Light Middleweight), and Nate Miller (WBA Cruiserweight). Additional fighters in attendance included Ivan Robinson, best known for his epic wins over the late Arturo Gatti, and multiple modern day contenders such as super middleweight Farah Ennis, light heavyweight Dhafir Smith, cruiserweight Garrett Wilson, and heavyweight Bryant Jennings, among others.
So why were they all there?
I suppose you could say they were there to see the "Champions of Tomorrow", also the moniker of the event, promoted by Marty Feldman. The card was headlined by 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Yordenis Ugas and primarily supported by the sons of former heavyweight champions Tim Witherspoon and Bruce Seldon. Two of those three bouts went according to plan as Yordenis Ugas laid waste to Adan Hernandez and Tim Witherspoon Jr shutout Josh Beeman. Isiah Seldon, however, was not so lucky.
In a 6 round war Isiah Seldon, 7-0, was upset by Lekan Byfield, 3-4-2. Byfield had previously come up short against his most daunting challengers (Jesse Hart and Terrell Gausha) but at least he had the experience of fighting them. Seldon did not, nor did he have the experience of fighting anyone near their caliber.
But we'll get back to that later.
For now we'll move back to the main event, where the 13-1 Ugas became just the second man to stop 15-7 Adan Hernandez. Hernandez had previously gone the distance with the likes of Urbano Antillon, Anthony Peterson, Rock Allen, and even current junior welterweight kingpin Danny Garcia. But on this night Hernandez could only last 40 seconds. Ugas took him out with a single right hook to the body. For more on the knockout and what it means for the future of Ugas, check out this post-fight interview:
Details on the complete fight card follow:
David Gonzales UD4 Evincii Dixon (39-37, 39-37, 40-36)
I'm not sure it was in the script to start the night out with its most competitive bout, and most obvious robbery, but that's just the way it ended up. "Prizefighter" Dixon made his pro debut against a former sparring partner and clearly (in my eyes) won at least 2 of the 4 rounds. The last round wasn't even remotely debatable although one judge saw it for Gonzales regardless. Overall Dixon was the taller, longer, sharper, and faster fighter (although both were fast, even by welterweight standards). Gonzalez applied pressure for the first 3 rounds but only managed to land the best shots in the 1st. In round 4 he was backed up and beaten down. Apparently even Gonzales thinks he lost the fight, at least according to what Dixon told me in our post-fight interview. If you watch / listen to the full interview you'll learn about a fighter that takes hard work and dedication to the next level. Nonetheless Gonzales improved to 2-0 while Dixon fell to 0-1. Both are quality fighters and I hope to see them fight again somewhere down the line, when they can actually make some decent money out of putting on a great show.
Tyrone Crawley Jr UD6 Christian Steele (59-55, 60-54, 60-54)
Crawley Jr, son of the former world lightweight title challenger, out classed Steele in 5 of 6 rounds. The 1 round I thought Steele edged was the 3rd where he found his range and landed a few bombs. However, Crawley closed well enough to steal the round back in the final stages on 2 of the 3 official scorecards. Crawley was elusive throughout the bout and seemed to confuse Steele by switching stances frequently. He seemed to fight just as well as an orthodox as he did as a southpaw, landing uppercuts, hooks, and straights no matter which foot he lead with. At the end of the day Crawley advanced to 4-0 while Steele fell to 3-6-1.
Lonnie Jackson Jr TKO1 Travis Thompson (2:36)
After being stunned by a few big straight right hands Thompson was finally floored by a left hook. He beat the count easy but the referee stepped in as he continued to take a beating. He wasn't happy about the stoppage, as he genuinely believes he's pretty invincible at lightweight, or at least that's what he told me before the fight, but he could hardly complain. Subsequently Jackson Jr improved to 2-0-1 while "Animal" Thompson, who fought earlier this month and also worked a full time job on this very day, dropped to 4-11-2.
Dante Selby MD4 Zeferino Albino (38-38, 39-37, 39-37)
In only his 3rd pro fight "Snuggley Time" Selby took on the vastly more experienced Albino and pulled out a hard fought win. Albino's only clear round was the 4th when he put Selby's back on the ropes and caught him with clean left hooks and overhand rights. On one of the judge's scorecards he apparently did enough to steal round 1 when he caught Selby with his hands down a few times at the end. Albino was very crafty throughout the bout and was able to weather Selby's storms and return fire, but ultimately came up short on activity. Thus Selby improved to 2-0-1 while Albino dropped to 4-18-3. When I caught up with Selby before the bout he told me he sees himself as a champion in a few years.
Lekan Byfield UD6 Isiah Seldon (58-55, 57-56, 58-55)
And finally we return to the upset of the night, where Byfield and his herky-jerky style befuddled and frustrated Seldon en route to a clear unanimous decision victory. Based on my pre-fight interview with Seldon I could tell he didn't see this coming at all, nor did I. He was rocked by a series of hooks in the very 1st round and never seemed comfortable in the fight; although I did think he won the 2nd round. Ironically that's also the first round Seldon lost his mouthpiece. He was fighting with his mouth open for the majority of the bout and eventually lost a point when he dropped his mouthpiece for a 3rd time in round 5. From what I could see during the fight and from what I could gather from Byfield in a post-fight interview, Seldon's nose was filled with blood due to punches and he had to open his mouth to breathe. In any event Byfield was the one putting combinations together and staying busy. He had an uncanny ability to fall in and smother himself yet land effectively regardless. Ultimately Byfield advanced to 4-4-2 while Seldon dropped to 7-1.
Tim Witherspoon Jr UD4 Josh Beeman (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)
Before the fight I caught up with Witherspoon, an old friend of mine, and we talked about where he is in his career and where he would like to be. You can check that out here. He told me he's already corrected the mistakes that have caused him to lose in the past and is ready to start getting bigger fights immediately. He said I'd see it the ring, and I did see a dominant performance, but I'm not entirely sure Beeman didn't just show up to get some pocket money...and a picture with Tim Jr's father (former 2-time heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon Sr). Then again Tim Jr says all of his opponents get pictures with his dad, so I wouldn't really read into that. But the fact remains that Beeman's efforts were abysmal. There's a reason he hasn't won a fight since 2008. He mostly just shelled up until the 4th round. Witherspoon responded by punishing Beeman's body. It was not a hard fight to score. All 3 judges gave Witherspoon every round. Thus Witherspoon is now 10-3-1 and 2-0 as a welterweight. Hard to believe this 6 footer was once a lightweight...
Yordenis Ugas KO1 Adan Hernandez (0:40)
I really said all there is to say about this fight already. Hernandez folded after the first solid shot landed (a right hook to the body). Just watch the post-fight interview...
SportsTitan.TV recorded all 7 bouts on this card and should have them available on their website in a few weeks or less.