Results from fight card June of 13th at Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, N.J. (fundraiser for Derek’s Dreams)

By Lou McLaughlin: Last night June 13th at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, N.J. First Round Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions presented an exciting fight card as a fundraiser for Derek’s Dreams. There were several changes during the week in the participants. However the fights were very entertaining. Fights at the club level generally always provide more action and excitement then undercards of $ 70 PPV’s on television.

The first bout was a six round welterweight matchup. Featuring former amateur star and rising prospect in the professional ranks Anthony “Juice” Young of Atlantic City against Christian Steele (5-0, 2 KOs) of Staunton, VA. The bout opened with both exchanging jabs but Young’s were more accurate and stunning. Steele finished the round trying to maul Young onto the robes. Steele opened the second earnestly trying throwing combos. But his punches either missed or those that connected had no effect on Young. Young exhibited superior footwork. Round three saw a high punch rate from Steele but again these either missed or had no effect. From the fourth through the sixth Young’s superior strength and skills were evident. In the final two rounds Young knew he was on his way to win and showboated a bit to entertain his hometown crowd. Anthony “Juice” Young won a unanimous decision of 58-56 on all three scorecards.
After the bout I spoke with Anthony Young. He emotionally said he thanked his family and friends and choked up as he remembered his grandfather who he said he had dedicated the fight to. I questioned him on the fact that the scheduled four rounder was changed to six. His reply was that it could have been eight, ten, or twelve he was ready to do anything. He hadn’t trained for six but the fighter’s job is to go in and fight and give the people a good show

After the bout. The fight card’s promoter Gabe LaConte entered the ring to speak of the purpose of the show to raise funds for Derek DiGregorio. Derek is a 13 year old afflicted with a genetic disease called Ataxia Telangiectasia, which affects three people out of every million and offers the grim prognosis of a life expectancy unlikely to reach much past 20 years. A-T is a rare genetic, progressive, degenerative disease that affects muscle control and the immune system while creating a predisposition to cancer.

The second bout featured Atlantic City’s Lavarn “Baby Bowe” Harvell 11-0 (6KO) vs. Brian “The Beast” Donahue of Philadelphia for six rounds. Harvell was coming off of a stunning 3rd round knockout on April 28th on the undercard of the Hopkins-Dawson extravaganza on Showtime boxing. His last knockout of Anthony Pietrantonio was a photo shown around the world. Harvell’s aggressive skills are coupled by a startling facial resemblance to Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe-hence his ring nick name “Baby Bowe”. Lavarn opened the fight with his guard high coming in behind a strong jab. Lavarn’s demeanor was calm and collected demonstrating his superior skills. Towards the end of the round he followed a left jab with a powerful right rendering Donahue unconscious before he hit the canvas. The end was at 2:55 of the first. After the fight Lavarn stated that he had trained hard to perform great. When I mentioned his similarity to Riddick Bowe he stated he was honored to be compared to the former heavyweight champion

In the co-main event, Newark junior middleweight Fitzgerald Johnson won an eight-round decision over Tommy Rainone of New York. Rainone started the fight showing superior defensive skills ducking punches in a Pernell Whitaker fashion. He used a lot of lateral movement and seemed to have won the round on his defensive boxing ability. But from the second round on Johnson patiently stalked his opponent using his left jab and left hook to back up Rainone. In the third Rainone was staggered by serious combinations. The fourth opened with Rainone motioning in Johnson but he was obviously worn out and was throwing only weak jabs. Johnson continued to dominate in rounds five and six. In round seven Rainone went down from a body shot but got back up. Johnson entered round eight knowing he had the fight won playing to his hometown crowd who cheered at his every blow. The unanimous decision went to Fitzgerald Johnson 79-73. At ringside Fitzgerald admitted that in the first round he was not listening to his corner. The bout had been changed from four to eight rounds. Fitzgerald said that figuring it was to be four rounds he hadn’t done as much as he wanted. Even though winning he was unsatisfied with his performance. Now that he has gone eight for the first time he wants to continue to fight at that level

Prior to the main event the National anthem was sung by a little girl with a big girl’s voice. Nine year old Cecelia Mielnicki (niece of fight manager and proprietor of Elite Heat Boxing club Vito Mielnick). Her voice resonated with the volume and tenor of a full grown woman. She received a standing ovation from the crowd. I was so taken with her performance I asked her Uncle Vito if I could have a few words with her. As I interviewed her I found that her conversational voice is that of a nine year old girl. It’s surprising where that full grown singing voice came from. She told me that she had never taken voice lessons and had only practiced a little bit for the performance. The youngster would be a great candidate for the TV show America’s got Talent filmed at the Newark Performing Arts Center.

The main event of heavyweights was Carteret New Jersey’s John Lennox against Rodricka Ray of Jackson TN. Lennox commenced the first round with a steady left jab and rights to the body. Ray tried mauling his way in as Lennox fried rapid jabs. In the second round Lennox continued jabbing but was holding his left far too low and absorbed a series of right hands from Ray. In the third Lennox was jabbing and shooting left hooks. By the fourth Lennox seemed to be losing a little of his speed and had a swollen right eye and the crowd was exhorting Lennox. In the fifth Lennox was staggered by a right hand and was downed by a second right. The referee halted the contest at 1:53 of the fifth. In interviewing Rodricka Ray he stated he was happy to get the out of town win and would love to fight in New Jersey again

It was an entertaining evening of boxing put on by Gabe LaConte’s First Round promotions in association with Gabe Cohen promotions. These young fighters with not that much experience but a world of heart put on a better showing then televised cards costing $70 and long durations of filler material by television announcers.

Article posted on 15.06.2012

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