Denzel Whitley Beats Kris Jacobs, Wins Vacant MA Welterweight Title

By James Stillerman - 11/22/2022 - Comments

Undefeated welterweight prospect Denzel “Double Impact” Whitley won an eight-round majority decision over Kris Jacobs (judge Ken Ezzo scored it 75-75, but he was overruled by judges Ken Volovick and Leo Gerstel, who had it 79-72 and 78-73), in the main event, and obtained the vacant Massachusetts State welterweight title.

Photo: Patti Mak

“It meant the world to me to win this belt. When they said still undefeated, it made me feel good inside. I was ready to jump all over the place,” said Whitley. “It means more to me to bring the belt to my grandfather. He told me to bring it home to him, and that is what I will do.”

Jacobs controlled the first round by being the more active boxer, but Whitely took over the bout in the second round and fought better as the fight progressed. He was the more aggressive boxer who pressed the action. Whitley outworked and out-landed Jacobs and connected on the harder punches, especially in the second half of the bout. He landed a hard five-punch combination in the second and a short-left hook in the third that pushed Jacobs to the ropes. He stunned Jacobs with a hard left, right hook to Jacobs’ head in the fifth and a big left hook to Jacobs’ head in the seventh.

“A lot of the things we worked on in the gym I had seen, but when I was in the ring, I did not do what I should have done. It was a learning experience for me, and I know that I must start the fight faster instead of fighting at a slow pace as I did at the beginning of this fight,” said Whitley. “I feel like I am getting better and better with each fight, and I showed that I am not just all about power. I can box. I am elusive when I have to be. I can be sharp and good defensively and adapt in the ring when I have to.”

Whitley scored a knockdown early in the eight-round from a right hook to Jacobs’ head. Jacobs barely beat referee Melissa Kelly’s ten-second count. Whitely desperately tried to end the fight, as he unloaded numerous hard punches on Jacobs, but Jacobs withstood Whitley’s offensive onslaught and made it to the end of the round. The fight would have been a split decision if Whitley did not score the knockdown in the eighth.

“I should have calmed down and set up my right hook again, but I was overly excited when I put him down. He just made the count, so I wanted to jump on him immediately,” said Whitley.

Whitley upped his record to 10-0, 6 KOs. His father, Derrick, and uncle, Darren, both won Massachusetts State titles in the super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, respectively. Jacobs dropped to 5-3-1, 2 KOs, and had his one-bout winning streak end. This was Jacobs’ sixth undefeated fighter that he has faced in his professional career.

“Springfield Championship Boxing” was promoted by Granite Chin Promotions in front of a sold-out crowd at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The main event and the five undercard bouts were televised on Granite Chin Promotions’ other two undefeated boxers, Steve Sumpter and Carlos Castillo, also won on this fight card. Granite Chin Promotions’ next boxing event is this Wednesday, November 23rd, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Steve Sumpter dominated Edet “Papito” Mkpanam en route to an eight-round unanimous decision in the co-feature. Sumpter won every round on one of the judges’ scorecards (Ezzo, 80-72) and seven on the other two judges’ scorecards (Volovick and Gerstel, 79-73 and 79-73, respectively). The unbeaten, up-and-coming light heavyweight improved to 7-0, 6 KOs, and obtained the vacant Massachusetts State light heavyweight belt. This was his first fight that went the distance and his first bout that went past four rounds. Mkpanam, the former 2018 New England Golden Gloves silver medalist, fell to 8-1, 7 KOs.

Sumpter dominated this entertaining, hard-fought, action-packed bout. He was the more active fighter who dictated the pace. Sumpter got the better of the exchanges throughout the bout, especially his jab, which he constantly landed. His jab also prevented Mkpanam from getting into any offensive rhythm. Sumpter connected on more powerful shots, especially in the third, fifth, sixth, and eighth rounds, when he landed various combinations that appeared to hurt Mkpanam.

Rising junior middleweight prospect Carlos Castillo obtained a fourth-round technical knockout over veteran Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey when Luckey did not come out for the fifth round. He knocked Luckey down from a powerful right hook to his head towards the end of the fourth round. Castillo, the much bigger and stronger boxer, imposed his will on Luckey and staggered him several times throughout the fight. He upped his record to 6-0, 4 KOs. Luckey, the former ABF USA Mid-American super lightweight champion, dropped to 16-19-4, 12 KOs, and had his one-bout winning streak stopped.

Isaiah Cruz defeated Pablo Batres via a first-round knockout. Cruz knocked Batres down from a left, right combination to the head, and Batres could not beat referee Jackie Morrell’s ten-second count, so the lightweight fight was stopped at three minutes. Cruz improved to 5-0, 3 KOs. This was his third bout in the last five months and his second consecutive first-round victory. Batres fell to 10-23-1, 3 KOs.

Ian “Dinamite” Garcia made quick work of Ronny Arana with a first-round technical knockout. He upped his record to 2-0-1, 1 KO, in his first fight in a year and a half. Arana dropped to 0-7. Garcia scored three knockdowns, curtsey of a left hook to the body, a right hook to the body, and a barrage of body punches. Referee Kelly halted the welterweight bout at three minutes after determining that Arana had taken enough punishment.

Lightweight Carlos “The Gladiator” Gonzalez scored a third-round technical knockout over Matthew McGee. He landed a powerful right hook to McGee’s head that dropped McGee to the canvas, where he was slow to get up, which prompted referee Morrell to stop the one-sided bout at one minute and eighteen seconds. Gonzalez dominated the fight as he landed just about whatever he threw. Gonzalez improved to 3-0, 3 KOs, in his third bout in the last four months. McGee (0-1) was making his professional debut.