Boxing


Henry Crawford works his way to victory!

By Mike Indri Retired Boxers Foundation: Newark, NJ - Having to wait more than 90 minutes because promoter Hilliard Edmond forgot the gloves - yes, the boxing gloves! - to be used by the boxers for the five scheduled bouts should have sent a message to the few people that actually came to the Robert Treat Hotel for this very under-publicized fight card..

After retrieving the gloves from his Maplewood home for the ten fighters and getting the debacle of a show to begin, the two hundred or so fight fans that painfully waited for some boxing action had to endure a shoddy undercard, which included six of the eight fighters making pro debuts. The hastily put together bouts did prevent another cancellation on behalf of Edmond promotions.

Luckily the eight round main event between highly regarded jr. middleweight contender Henry Crawford and Jerome Ellis, fighting out of Newark, by way of the Bahamas, somewhat salvaged the night for the new promoter.

Ellis's "Ali-shuffle" in front of Crawford during the introduction heated up the crowd, but is was Crawford who was firing up Ellis with his clean right hands, and stiff jab as the fight began.

A loser of his last three fights dating back to November of 2006, Ellis was a much better fighter than his very deceptive 11-7-1 record would lead to believe, and caught Crawford with several big punches in round two. One of the bombs actually sent Crawford's mouthpiece flying. Both fighters exchanged combinations and the fans appreciated the big time action.

Getting a "wake up call" slap from his long time trainer, Nettles Nasser, between rounds, Crawford settled down and began to box more in round three and made Ellis pay for his wide, knockout-minded swings. Each Ellis miss brought several hard body shots by the undefeated prospect.

Rounds four and five were all Crawford, and the difference was the jab and his superior boxing skill. A quick left hand caught Ellis clean on the chin and sent the stunned fighter to the canvas.

As long as Crawford kept to his fight plan of boxing smart and stinging the usually wide-open Ellis with his strong counter punching, win number nineteen was not far away.

Ellis was a good, hard test for the twenty-seven year-old Paterson fighter as there was not let up in the "Bahama Boomer" who continually was looking to make Crawford his eleventh knockout victim. Ten of the eleven Ellis victories have been by stoppage, and he was trying to catch his still learning opponent with that potent right uppercut and left hook.

Another solid Crawford left hand sent a dreary-eyed Ellis reeling into the ropes and down to the canvas for the second time in the fight late in round seven, and a questionable shot to the beaten fighter's upper back drove him back to the deck in the eighth and final round. With no quit in him, Ellis quickly bounced off the floor and gave referee Earl Brown an earful as he disputed the call. Both fighters were slugging away as the bell sounded to end the exciting bout.

Judge's Pierre Benoist and Lawrence Layton thought Crawford pitchout a shutout, as both scored it 80-69, while Al Bennet saw it 79-70 for the likable Crawford who remains unbeaten at 19-0-1 (8 KO's) with the unanimous decision win. The durable Ellis, who has only been stopped once, slips to 11-8-1.

On the Edmond Promotions undercard:

After the lengthy delay Passaic featherweight Victor Valenzuela started things off in a big way as the highly acclaimed former amateur champion promptly delivered some action to the patient crowd, bouncing a couple of quick left hand off the body and head of Antwon Holcomb. Holcomb, fighting out of Indianapolis, Indiana and making his pro debut, was given the extra tough task of facing Valenzuela. Valenzuela caught the over-matched Holcomb with another nasty left to the head that dropped the stunned fighter. Obviously hurt from the blow, which knocked off the rubber band holding the dreadlocks of the Indiana fighter, Holcomb beat the count but referee Benjy Esteves wisely waved off the bout at the 1:05 mark of round one of the scheduled four round bout.
The promising Valenzuela is now 2-0 (1 KO), while Holcomb (0-1) drops his too difficult debut.

A "laugher" followed in a four rounder between two more young fighters making their pro debuts. Juan Guaman and Tawan Elman both proved they needed much more work in the amateurs as their "tough man contest-like" winging slap punches brought jeers from the sparse crowd. Guaman did connect with a right hand, which sent Elman to his canvas and looking to call it a night. After pulling himself off the deck and with Guaman looking to land again, Elman draped his arms onto the top rope and surprised referee Benjy Esteves by saying he did not want to fight on.

Credit to Guaman for his gutsy performance, as all fighters that enter the ring deserve their due - even Tawan Elman; who apparently decided against boxing as a profession, one minute and thirty-nine seconds into the first round.

Yet another four round battle of first time professionals followed!

Luckily this bout proved more entertaining, as Eddie Edmond and La-Take Williams gave it their all and scrapped out a four round draw. While Edmond appeared to land the more telling blows, the judges felt neither guy deserved to loss in this hard fought contest of novice junior middleweights.

Well trained Akima Stocks annihilated Angie Campbell in a scheduled four round female bout which served as an embarrassment to all involved in putting this match together, as well as the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board for allowing it to be sanctioned.

Stocks, fighting out of Newark, had registered knockouts in both her two wins, as well as having another fight she was in command of being stopped and ruled a no-contest; due to an accidental head butt which rendered her opponent (Michelle Garland: 06/01/07 at the legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia) unable to continue.

Campbell had never fought professionally, and looked like she hadn't even laced up a pair of boxing gloves before tonight's fight…she definitely had no business in the ring and that was obvious BEFORE the opening bell had even rung. Twenty-five seconds into the first round of this scheduled four round mismatch of 152-pound females it was all over; as Campbell had absorbed too much punishment from the dangerous Stocks, now 3-0 with three knockouts. Luckily Campbell did not get seriously injured.

Not one of the better run boxing shows and this type of event definitely will not get the boxing fan to return. Edmond Promotions had either make the commitment to higher quality and more evenly matched fights, or will be facing financial disaster once more.
Fortunately the Crawford-Ellis main event was an entertaining eight rounds and the fans got to see highly touted Victor Valenzuela get his first knockout win as a pro with his picture perfect left hook.
Mike Indri can be contacted at RBFNJMIKE@aol.com

Article posted on 15.03.2008



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