Story by: Robert Uzzell
Bob Arum’s Top Rank welcomed the new Ocean Resort to the world of boxing Saturday night with solid card on ESPN.
In the main event, Philadelphia’s Bryant “B.Y.” Jennings recovered from a fourth round knockdown to stop Alexander Dimitrenko in the ninth round.
The fight was back and fourth as Dimitrenko tried to impose his size and reach on Jennings. A big right in the fourth dropped Jennings and it seemed as if it would be a short night. Jennings survived and boxed and moved throughout the next few rounds, often a bit gun shy of another power shot.
As the great Lennox Lewis stepped out of character to leap out his seat to implore Jennings round after round, Jennings found success in the eighth round.
Jennings dropped the giant Dimitrenko twice in the eighth round, first with a left hook and again with a combination of punches.
An uppercut in the ninth round sent Dimitrenko down and referee Allan Huggins stopped the fight, maybe a bit premature. Dimitrenko certainly felt so.
“I wanted to continue the fight. I don’t know why the referee stopped it,” Dimitrenko said.
“I was prepared for a tough 12 rounds,” Jennings said. “I did what I had to do. I was in great shape. He’s a big dude. He’s not as slow as I thought. I made adjustments, and I got the job done.”
Philly’s super middleweight Jesse Hart was on a mission Saturday evening. He couldn’t miss with the right hand and took it to Mike Gavronski early and often. Hart dropped Gavronski twice in the third round. The game Gavronski got up each time, but was in no condition to continue.
After the fight Hart adamantly and predictably called out “Zurdo” Ramirez for a rematch of their entertaining 2017 bout, won by Ramirez. We will see. The mix at 168 cold yield some fantastic matchups with Hart, Ramirez, Groves, Uzcategui, DeGale, and Benavidez.
Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson moved to 8-0 with a unanimous decision against tough guy Carlo Ruiz. Shakur won by shutout on each card, but still doesn’t seem as fluid as he could be in the ring. It was a nice step up fight for Stevenson as he continues to mature in the ring. He’ll have to be a bit more active with the gloves as he continues to step up.
Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna won a unanimous decision against the rugged Matt Strode. The limited Strode was game, but overmatched in this one. Cornflake looked to the referee for assistance a few times to offset Strode’s rough tactics. That won’t work in the future. I’d like to see Cornflake work on getting stronger to handle higher level competition.
In the walkout bout, former WBA World champion and Camden, NJ native Jason Sosa got back in the win column. Sosa won an eight round decision over the extremely game Reynaldo Blanco.
In one of the better fights of the evening, both combatants exchanged blows from corner to corner of the ring. Sosa finished strong by knocking Blanco down twice late in the fight. Sosa couldn’t stop Blanco, but won by scores of 79-69, 78-70, and 77-72.
Sosa was hit too much for my liking, and while he’s never been a defensive fighter, he needs to learn a few veteran tricks of the trade. I’m concerned that at age 30, he may be in a decline. I hope I’m wrong.
Overall it was a good night of boxing. The Ocean Resort (formerly The Revel) is a huge ocean themed casino. You feel like you are inside of a boat when in the casino.
The event wasn’t a sellout. There were about 3,000 fans in attendance. However, the atmosphere was great. Along with Lennox Lewis in attendance were Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Andre Ward, Timothy Bradley, Jr, (both part of the announcing team), and Bernard Hopkins.