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Philly Left with No Champs But ‘One’ Coming!

Image: Philly Left with No Champs But ‘One’ Coming!

By Ken Hissner: The City of Brotherly Love has had 34 world boxing champions, with the latest to fall from grace was WBC and WBO Super Bantamweight champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton running into a “monster” in Japan in July in Japan’s IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC World Bantamweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue who dethroned Fulton in the eighth.

Give Fulton credit for winning the IBO World Super Bantamweight title back in 2019 and two fights later, adding the WBO World Super Bantamweight title in 2021.

Fulton made one defense of both titles in 2022, defeating Daniel Roman, 29-3-1. Then a little over a year later met his conqueror, one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world in Inoue.

Per the website Philly Boxing History Philly’s first world champion was Danny Dougherty at Bantam in 1900. One who followed was one of the very best in Philadelphia Jack O’Brien at Light Heavy in 1905, Harry Lewis at Welter in 1908, and Battling Levinsky at Light Heavy in 1916.

Then it took 11 years before Benny Bass captured the Feather title in 1927. Another great came along that year in Tommy “Phantom of Philly” Loughran at Light Heavy. Midget Wolgast at Fly in 1930, Johnny Jadick Jr. Welter in 1932, Bob Montgomery Light in 1943, and Percy Bassett at Feather in 1953.

Then a personal friend of mine Harold Johnson, at Light Heavy in 1961, and then came Sonny Liston at Heavy in 1962.

In 1963 one of Philly’s favorites, Joey Giardello became champ at Middle. In 1968 the 1964 Olympic champ “Smokin” Joe Frazier became champ. In 1979 Matthew Saad Muhammad became Light Heavy champ, in 1980, “Joltin” Jeff Chandler became Bantam champ.

In 1984 Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown won the Light title in the same year, “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon won the Heavy title. I first met him at Ali’s Deer Lake camp. In 1986 two became champs in Gary Hinton at Jr. Welter and Buster Drayton at Jr. Middle.

1984 Olympic champ Meldrick Taylor won at Jr. Welter in 1988, along with Robert “Bam Bam” Hines at Jr. Middle. In 1993 Fred “Fearless” Pendleton won the world Light title. I managed him for one fight winning the PA State title in 1985.

In 1995 Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins took the Middle and later the Light Heavy and followed by Nate “Mr.” Miller at Cruiser in the same year. In 1997 Charles “Hatchet” Brewer won at Super Middle and was the only one to defend his world title at the legendary Blue Horizon.

Another 1996 Olympian David “American Dream” Reid took the Jr Middle title in 1999, and in 2007, Steve “USS” Cunningham took the Cruiser title. Danny “Swift” Garcia took the Jr. Welter and the Welter title. In 2018 Tevin “American Idol” Farmer won the Jr. Light title, and in 2019 Julian “J-Roc” Williams won the Super Welter title. The last three are still active.

Now we come to what I call the “most avoided boxer in the welter division,” the IBF interim champion Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 31-0-1nc with 28 stoppages chopping at the bit for the titles Terence “Bud” Crawford holds. Whether “Bud” moves up to Super Welter or gives a rematch to now former champion Errol “The Truth” Spence, whom he destroyed only time will tell.

Ennis is trained by his father “Bozy” who trained his other two sons Derek “Pooh,” who held the IBF USBA Middle title, and Farah, who held the NABF Super Middle title.

Ennis has called out Crawford but, while waiting, wants to fight Lithuania’s Eimantias Stanionis, 14-0-1 nc, who holds the WBA Regular title.

Ennis could also be looking at Cuban Yordenis “54 Milagros” Ugas, 27-5, who lost his WBA Super World title to Spence, or Keith “One Time” Thurman, 30-1, who lost his WBA Super World title to Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, now a promoter. Defeating any of these three would prepare him better for Crawford if the champ stays at welterweight.
There you have it with Philly without and looking for another world champion!

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