Connect with us

Featured Articles

Mark Kram Jr, Author of a New Bio of Joe Frazier, Pays Homage to his Father

Published

on

Mark-Kram-Jr-Author-of-a-New-Bio-of-Joe-Frazier-Pays-Homage-to-His Father

Mark Kram Jr, Author of a New Bio of Joe Frazier, Pays Homage to his Father

When it comes to writing about sports, the Kram duo, father and son, have produced many notable works.

The late Mark Kram, whose byline ran in Sports Illustrated from the mid-1960s through the late-1970s, delivered some of the most melodic prose this side of Red Smith.

His son has followed in his footsteps. Known as a longform specialist and a columnist, Mark Kram Jr. is also the author of several books. “Like Any Normal Day: A Story of Devotion,” won the 2013 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, and he is the author of the recently-released biography, “Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier.”

Having a successful father can sometimes be daunting for the offspring. Has the last name opened more doors than it’s closed?

“It’s been far more of a help than a hindrance,” Kram Jr. (pictured) said in an e-mail. “Of course, we shared the same byline for years while I worked in newspapers. That led to some awkwardness. Understandably, people would call thinking I was him. When I began writing for Philadelphia magazine in the 1990s, I adopted “Jr.” to clarify who was who.

Technically, I am not a “Jr.” He changed his name from “George” to “Mark” three years after I was born in 1956, when he started covering high school sports for the Baltimore Sun.”

Kram Jr., whose efforts have appeared in “The Best American Sports Writing” series and in “The Great American Sports Page: A Century of Classic Columns From Ring Lardner to Sally Jenkins,” an anthology edited and selected by John Schulian, said that although his father made an impact in journalism, it didn’t necessarily propel him into the business.

“Not particularly,” he said of his ultimate career choice. “When it came to writing, I was very much a late bloomer, as Dad himself had been. He neither encouraged nor discouraged me. When I got to college at the University of Maryland, I told myself that if I could learn to write while I was there, it would be a skill that could keep me gainfully employed in the years to come. So I began working for the college newspaper. But like Dad, I was more or less self-taught.”

The elder Kram passed away in 2002 at age 69. That he accomplished what he did is remarkable, given where he began.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 6, 1932, Mark Kram wasn’t blessed with a silver spoon in his mouth. Books and high-brow literature weren’t laying around the house. The Daily Racing Form and tout sheets were.

Kram was a three-sport athlete in high school who went on to play minor league baseball. His hopes of playing in the big leagues were dashed when he was beaned. He was drafted into the military in 1953 and spent a very short period of time at the University of Georgia.

Kram would find work at Sports Illustrated where he became one of its rising stars.

Boxing was Kram’s primary beat and it coincided with the time Muhammad Ali, along with Joe Frazier and George Foreman, dominated the heavyweight division.

“Well, he came along during a period that is looked upon now as the golden age of Sports Illustrated,” said Kram Jr. “For a young man who had finished tenth from the bottom of his high school class and had no college to speak of, he was on a very fast track when he got to New York in 1964. But he worked very hard to develop his skills and just became better and better.”

Kram Jr. went on: “Along with his boxing pieces, he took on an array of off-beat bonus pieces that enabled him to grow artistically,” he said. “I remember he told me he once had lunch with Joseph Mitchell, the legendary New Yorker writer. Dad was interested in moving over to the New Yorker. Mitchell told him, “That can be arranged. But why would you want to? Everything is happening where you are.”

On some level, it may appear that writing is something that anyone can do. Maybe? But it’s another matter to write well.

“Dad used to say he was as fast as he had to be. For Ali-Frazier I and II, he had an hour to write his stories and he did it,” said Kram Jr., who was a senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News from 1987 through 2013. “When he was working on something longer, he tended to bleed over every comma. At his office at Sports Illustrated, he would type a few lines, get up and pace the halls, thinking.”

Kram Jr. continued: “As he walked, he would puff on his pipe. By the time he was finished writing, the back of his shirt would be soaked with sweat. Remember, he worked on a typewriter as opposed to a computer screen, which is an inherently slower process. Even so, it would never have come easy for him, just as it would never become easy for me.”

The elder Kram’s piece de resistance was his Sports Illustrated story on Ali-Frazier III filed on deadline from Manila. Titled “Lawdy, Lawdy, He’s Great” (those words were uttered by Frazier about Ali after his trainer Eddie Futch threw in the towel just before the start of the 15th round), it ran as the S.I. cover story on Oct. 13, 1975 and was later expanded into a book, “Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.”

What prompted Kram Jr., who was also employed at the Detroit Free Press and the Baltimore News American, to write his two books?

“The appeal of that story to me,” he said, referencing his first book, “was how ordinary people found themselves caught up in extraordinary circumstances. The principal subject of the story, Buddy Miley, had severed his spinal cord in a high school [football] game in 1973. I interviewed him for the Philadelphia Daily News in early 1993. He had lived as a quadriplegic for 20 years, his every need seen to by his mother Rosemarie at their suburban Philadelphia home.”

Kram Jr. added: “Four years later after I wrote about him, he was found dead in a Michigan motel room. He had been assisted in his suicide by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Buddy had talked his younger brother, Jimmy Miley, into taking him to Michigan in what would become an act of complicated love,” he said. “Fearing reprisals from the authorities, Jimmy had kept his role to himself until he sat down with me for a piece in 2006. The story ended up on HBO Real Sports and would become the foundation for the book I would publish in the spring of 2012.”

Kram Jr. added: “‘Like Any Normal Day’ enlarged the struggles of a heretofore anonymous family into something universal. If you looked hard enough at the characters in the book, you could see yourself in one of them. In “Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier,” I was with characters who were just the opposite. Frazier was internationally known. The challenge for me was to bring to his life a certain degree of intimacy.”

Regarding his father’s famous story, this is what Richard Deitsch, a longtime Sports Illustrated writer and current scribe at The Athletic, tweeted on June 4, 2016, the day after Ali passed away at age 74. “I consider this Mark Kram piece on Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier the best piece in the history of @SI.com.”

“Simply, it is a lovely piece of skillful writing,” said Kram Jr. “The opening sequence of it is haunting; Ali and Frazier had placed their bodies on the line, had given every ounce of their resolve, and now they were both exhausted and battered. From there, the story shifts perspective and point of view almost line by line; you can feel the energy in it building to a crescendo. Reflecting upon it as a piece of event reporting, a Sports Illustrated editor called it ‘the apotheosis of the form’. I would agree.”

There is a link between father and son when it comes to Frazier. It seems that because of Ali’s towering presence, Frazier has been somewhat overlooked.

“Is he? I think you have to judge athletes in the context of their era,” Kram Jr. pointed out. “To my way of thinking, the 1960s and early 1970s were the golden age of heavyweights. The talent pool was very, very deep. Frazier was on the smallish side for a heavyweight – far smaller than his chief rivals, Ali and Foreman – yet he was the consummate overachiever who never backed up an inch. Though Ali and Foreman both beat him twice, he acquitted himself with courage even in defeat. I have no idea how he would have fared against Jack Dempsey or Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano. No one else does either.”

Father and son are wonderful story tellers. What makes one so? “Curiosity; the desire to tug at loose threads until you come across one that leads somewhere intriguing; the ability to subordinate yourself to the subject you are writing about,” Kram Jr. said. “Nothing gets me to put a story down faster than the overuse of the first person. Generally, your presence in a piece of writing should be felt, not seen.”

Kram Jr. added: “Plus – and this is paramount – you have to have patience, the willingness to take the necessary time to get something the way it should be. There is a sign I keep over my desk that says ‘Things of Quality Have No Fear of Time.’”

Kram Jr. edited and chose a collection of his father’s best work titled, “Great Men Die Twice: The Selected Works Of Mark Kram,” published in 2015.

Looking back, is Kram Jr. glad he initiated the project? “Very much so,” he said. “Few journalists have written as gorgeously as he did. Some of his sentences are pure poetry. He was quite deserving of a collection. I only wish it had been longer.”

The last time father and son saw each other was June 8, 2002 when Lennox Lewis knocked out Mike Tyson in the eighth round of their title fight with three belts on the line.

“(Dad) had done a Playboy interview with (Mike) Tyson and figured that Tyson was worthy of a book,” Kram Jr. said. “I joined him in Memphis for the fight. We had both arranged for credentials, but when we showed up in the press tent to get them, there was only one for Mark Kram. I remember it was funny. The young fellow handing out the credentials looked at Dad, then looked at me and said, ‘so there ARE two of you!’ We had a lot of fun that week in Memphis driving around and hitting the spots. But the fight was awful. Even from our seats up in the stands, it was clear that Tyson was finished. Lewis wiped the floor with him. Five days later Dad died of a heart attack back in Washington.”

What does Kram Jr. think his father would want people to most remember about him?

“Like I tend to think about Joe Frazier, a good but not a perfect man,” he said. “That is perhaps the best any of us can do.”

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

Ian Thomsen Recalls His Days with Buster Douglas Before Buster ‘Shocked the World’

Published

on

Ian-Thomsen-Recalls-His-Days-with-Buster-Douglas-Before-Buster-'Shocked-the-World'

Mike Tyson’s reign of terror in the heavyweight division began on March 6, 1985 at the Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York, when he flattened Hector Mercedes in one round and it concluded for all intents and purposes on February 11, 1990 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan when James “Buster” Douglas stunned the boxing world by knocking him out in the tenth round, scooping up the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles in the process.

Several weeks before the bout in which odds-makers had established “Iron Mike” as a 42-1 betting favorite, sportswriter Ian Thomsen spent time with Douglas in his hometown. The result was an insightful feature in the short-lived National Sports Daily that appeared in the February 9-10 issue and ran four pages.

On the cover and at the bottom of the newspaper, this teaser appeared: “Buster: Big Talk, Little Chance” and the subhead said “Tyson’s Saturday Opponent Confident Of Upset.”

The headline above the story blared: “All Alone With Mike Tyson” and the subhead stated: “Alone, Except For Jesus Christ And Woody Hayes And Even They Might Not Be Able To Help.”

“I was with The National Sports Daily [1989 through 1991] and they had four of us doing long stories. They called them the main event and they were take outs. They wanted me to go out to Columbus, Ohio, and spend a week up there and get to know him and let people know who he was before he submitted to what everybody figured would be a loss,” explained Thomsen who came to “The National” from the Boston Globe. He subsequently worked for the International Herald Tribune (1992-1997) and was with Sports Illustrated from 1998 until 2014 where he covered the NBA and wrote the first story on Kobe Bryant for the magazine.

Given Tyson had a 37-fight winning streak and had stopped 23 of his victims within the first two rounds, few gave Douglas any chance of coming away with a victory.

“I didn’t go to Japan for the fight, I just spent the time with Buster,” Thomsen said. “There is a story that when [Associated Press boxing writer] Ed Schuyler was filling the form for security at the airport and he said it was a business appointment, they asked how long he was going to be there and he said about ninety seconds. That’s what everybody thought.”

Thomsen, who currently works for news.northeastern.edu, a website that covers Northeastern University in Boston where he has been a multimedia reporter since 2018 writing on all subjects involving Northeastern happenings and interviewing university experts for their opinions on national and global events, said the set-up for Douglas wasn’t filled with glitz and fanfare, but there was a sense of confidence within the camp.

“When I went out there I didn’t know a thing about Buster. I remember my first day there I went out that night and went to the training ground and he was at a health club in Columbus and they roped off a corner of the health club so all these people are there after work,” he said. “Behind a curtain in the health club there was a ring set up for Buster and the only people I remember being there were his manager John Johnson, his uncle and trainer, J.D. McCauley and another trainer [John Russell], who helped him out.”

Johnson was a former assistant football coach at Ohio State University during the time head coach Woody Hayes patrolled the sideline. In many ways, Hayes, who passed away in March 1987 at 74, was a mentor and an inspiration to Johnson.

Thomsen, a Northwestern University journalism graduate who penned the 2018 book “The Soul Of Basketball: The Epic Showdown Between LeBron, Kobe, Doc, And Dirk That Saved The NBA,” said the more time he spent at the camp, the more he could see Douglas feeling at ease.

Still, there’s always that bit of doubt because of what Tyson had accomplished.

“And you’re watching him work out and you’re saying to yourself, ‘this guy is going to beat Mike Tyson?’ It was such a small production,” Thomsen remembered.

That aside, there was a real belief in the camp that Tyson was going to have his hands full.

“He [Buster] thought he was going to win and John Johnson thought he was going to win but doesn’t every fighter think he’s going to win?” Thomsen said.

Tyson seemed indestructible at this juncture of his career and it was almost inconceivable that he would lose.

“You watch Tyson’s fights and you see what happens to them [his opponents]. Buster was going to take on a great challenge and the more I got to know him, the more you had to admire him,” Thomsen said of Douglas.

Boxing was in his DNA, Thomsen pointed out.

“His dad [William “Dynamite” Douglas] was an ex-fighter and a really tough guy and was hard on Buster,” he noted. “It was one of those troubled relationships that you’re never good enough. It was an impossible standard to live up to.”

The elder Douglas, who posted a 42-16-1 professional ring record with 32 knockouts, was a contender in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

Father and son were vastly different according to Thomsen.

“Buster was a more gentle guy than his father. That was clear from spending time with both of them,” he pointed out. “His mother [Lula Pearl] was a wonderful person and spoke highly of everybody. You could see how important she was in his life. After I left she died [at age 46 from a stroke] about a week before the fight. Obviously there were questions of whether Buster would fight.”

Though Thomsen wasn’t certain of the outcome, he felt Douglas was sincere and hard-working. “Maybe if I hadn’t spent any time with him I would have dismissed him as another guy that’s going to get killed by Mike Tyson, but when you spend a week there and you see what it’s all about and everything he’s overcome and the fact that he’s put in this position, instead of writing a story dismissing him or making fun of him, you want to convey a sense of respect for him,” he said.

It seems Douglas and his handlers were impressed by Thomsen’s feature because after the victory, he was asked to join them in Sin City.

“It meant something to him. That’s why I was invited to be part of the group after he beat Tyson,” he said. “I flew out to Las Vegas in Steve Wynn’s private jet.”

Thomsen said Tyson’s loss that night was the beginning of the end for the one-time Brooklyn bad boy.

“Tyson was not as technically sound a fighter as he had been before,” he said. “When Tyson lost he was a global figure. Everybody knew the heavyweight champion. No one came along to match the stature of Tyson. It was the end of boxing as we knew it.”

Like so many during the 1970s, Thomsen followed boxing and recalled some of the big names and bouts of that era.

“I loved boxing as a kid growing up and watching it and the big fights that would be on ABC on the weekends, especially Friday nights,” he said. “You knew all the heavyweights. It was a great honor to be heavyweight champion of the world.”

Some of the names of that era are folk heroes.

“I remember [Muhammad] Ali was making his comeback against Joe Frazier,” Thomsen said. “I remember and was horrified to see what [George] Foreman did to Frazier and [Ken] Norton breaking Ali’s jaw.”

“The one big fight I covered was the [Marvin] Hagler-[Ray] Leonard fight in Las Vegas,” he said. “Steve Marantz [the boxing writer] and [columnists] Leigh Montville and Ron Borges were there. I was a young guy. I didn’t talk to Hagler. I spent more time talking to Angelo Dundee. But you could see the energy there.”

When Thomsen worked at the International Herald Tribune and was based in Europe, he spent more time ringside.

“I covered a few Lennox Lewis fights. I covered a fight in Cardiff, Wales, against Frank Bruno [1993]. It was like midnight and 2 or 3 in the morning,” he said. “It was very strange. Frank Bruno was a limited fighter. He had a big punch but not much else.”

Thomsen recalled a prescient conversation he had more than two decades ago.

“I used to work at the Boston Globe [1983 through 1989] and it was an honor to work with Will McDonough, who was one of the top newsmakers in sports writing,” he said. “We were playing golf one day about 20 years ago and he said in the 1950s the big three sports in America were horse racing, boxing and baseball. He was pointing out just how quickly things change. Back then in the 1950s in the NBA, you couldn’t make enough of a salary to do it full time. A lot of NBA players had off-season jobs to make ends meet. Boxing was the glamour sport. Now it’s the opposite.”

It seems that no truer words were ever spoken.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Regis Prograis KOs Jose Zepeda at Dignity Sports Health Park

Published

on

Regis-Prograis-KOs-Jose-Zepeda-at-Dignity-Health-Sports-Park

Regis Prograis KOs Jose Zepeda at Dignity Sports Health Park

Not all big bangers are the same.

Regis Prograis slugged it out with fellow knockout artist Jose “Chon” Zepeda and after 11 rounds of tactical battle ended the WBC super lightweight battle with a flourishing knockout on Saturday.

Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) becomes the first two-time super lightweight champion from New Orleans after his win over Zepeda (36-3, 27 KOs) at SoCal’s Dignity Health Sports Park. It had been more than three years since he last held a world title.

“This was the hardest fight of my career,” said Prograis after the strategic clash between the super lightweight division’s biggest punchers.

The heavily favored Prograis and Zepeda were cautious under the cold outdoor weather arena. Many a previous world title match ended quickly under similar circumstances and both were wary.

Zepeda was slightly busier and able to connect early with his deceptively fast left cross. Though the first two rounds were not very action-packed, it seemed Zepeda landed more effective blows.

Then Prograis went to work.

“At first, I wanted to come out and box him. Maybe in the third round I caught my rhythm,” said Prograis. “Then he caught on to that.”

Behind his awkward head movements and more agile movements Prograis used jabs and counters to force Zepeda into a more defensive stance. Though neither fighter dominated a round it was the New Orleans native who dictated the pace and action.

Round after round was going into the books favoring Prograis, not until the eighth round did Zepeda make a move into a more aggressive mode and finally out-punched Prograis. But the former world champion adapted again.

Prograis and Zepeda slugged it out in the ninth round. Zepeda connected with a left uppercut but Prograis withstood the blow and continued moving forward. Once again Prograis out-punched Zepeda in a very close round.

Both seemed ready to make the 10th round their own and Zepeda connected with a left cross that landed flush. Prograis barely was moved and then increased his output and the two super lightweights exchanged furiously with the New Orleans fighter seeming to out-punch Zepeda again. It was a telling round.

Prograis had withstood Zepeda’s biggest blows and was ready to unload some of his firepower. He had dominated most of the fight behind his jab and quick combinations. Now he was ready for the big shells.

Both super lightweights opened up in the 11th round with each connecting early. Suddenly an overhand left by Prograis sent Zepeda reeling backward and he did not let up. A furious 13-punch barrage was unloaded and down went Zepeda. Referee Ray Corona did not bother to count and ended the fight at 59 seconds of the 11th round.

“In the 11th round I felt like taking him to deep waters and drown him,” said Prograis.

Once again Prograis holds a super lightweight world title.

“I heard the small talk. I heard the rumors. I want to congratulate Zepeda, that guy was tough, tough, tough. He gave me my hardest fight,” said an ecstatic Prograis. “Listen, I got 29 fights, this was probably my hardest fight.”

Yokasta Valle beats Evelin Bermudez

Seeking big challenges Yokasta Valle (27-2, 9 KOs) rallied after a slow start and out-boxed Argentina’s Evelin Bermudez (17-1-1, 6 KOs) to win the WBO and IBF light flyweight world titles by majority decision after 10 rounds.

After absorbing big right hands from Bermudez during the first two rounds, Valle solved the problem and out-hustled the taller world champion behind quick combinations and making the champion shift her feet. It was a simple but effective plan and led to Valle storming down the stretch with more effective punching.

Bermudez had steamrolled most of her opponents behind a relentless attack that focused mainly on her big right cross. But against Valle that punch was mostly eliminated after the third round.

Valle slipped under Bermudez’s attacks and countered with her combination punching. Occasionally the Costa Rican fighter connected with a big shot that caught the eye of the judges.

After 10 rounds, one judge scored it 95-95, while two others saw Valle the winner by majority decision 99-91, 97-93.

Valle, an IBF and WBO minimumweight world titlist, moved up a division to win her second weight division world title.

Conwell Wins

In a savage battle Ohio’s Charles Conwell (18-0, 13 KOs) bludgeoned his way to victory over Juan Carlos Abreu (25-7-1, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a super welterweight contest. It was a skillful display of 1950s-style fighting that saw Conwell showcase his strength and canny punch selection in out-fighting veteran slugger Abreu.

Heavyweights

Former Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Bakhodir Jalolov (12-0, 12 KOs) knocked out Curtis Harper (14-9) in the fourth round with a barrage if blows. Twice he knocked down Harper who had been deducted a point for an intentional head butt.

Vargas Brothers

Both sons of boxing great Fernando Vargas emerged victorious in their bouts. Fernando Vargas Jr. (7-0, 7 KOs) knocked out Alejandro Martinez (3-3-1) in the second round of their super welterweight bout. Amado Vargas (5-0, 2 KOs) won by decision after four rounds versus Osmar Hernandez (1-2) in a featherweight match.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

John Ryder and Fabio Wardley Triumph on Dueling Shows in London

Published

on

John-Ryder-and-Fabio-Wardley-Triumph-on-Dueling-Shows-in-London

John Ryder and Fabio Wardley Triumph on Dueling Shows in London

If one were driving from Greenwich township in London to that city’s Wembley sector, or vice versa, one would travel about 18 miles. No doubt many hardcore British fight fans would have gladly made the trip if the starting times of today’s shows had been sufficiently staggered so that one could attend both events. But no, rival promoters Eddie Hearn (Matchroom) and Frank Warren (Queensberry) elected to go head-to-head.

Warren’s Greenwich show at the O2 Arena, which aired in the U.S. on ESPN+, had the main event with the highest stakes and the deepest undercard. Hearn’s show at Wembley, live-streamed on DAZN, had the allurement of heavyweights.

O2 Arena

The WBO interim 168-pound title was at stake plus pole position for a Cinco de Mayo showdown with Canelo Alvarez when Zach Parker squared off with countryman John Ryder. A second-generation boxer who came in undefeated (22-0, 16 KOs), Parker entered the ring an 11/5 favorite.

This was shaping up as a good fight, arguably tilting Ryder’s way, when Parker pulled out after four rounds with a broken right hand. It was a bitter defeat for the Derbyshire man who was making his first start of 2022 after matches with defending WBO title-holder Demetrius Andrade kept falling out.

Although Canelo Alvarez has no fear of Englishmen having defeated Matthew Hatton, Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Rocky Fielding, Callum Smith, and Billy Joe Saunders in world title fights. John Ryder, a 34-year-old southpaw, nicknamed “Gorilla,” may have the tools to make things interesting. Today’s win, albeit somewhat tainted, was his fourth straight after losing a controversial decision to Callum Smith in Smith’s hometown, elevating his record to 32-5 (18).

If Canelo chooses to spurn his mandatory and go in a different direction when he next laces on the gloves, the WBO will anoint John Ryder its full super middleweight champion.

Other O2 Bouts

Highly-touted middleweight Hamzah Sheeraz scored his 11th straight knockout and improved to 17-0 (13) with a fast beatdown of overmatched River Wilson-Bent (13-2-1) who was bruised and battered when the referee interceded in the waning seconds of round two. Sheeraz has been training in the U.S. at Joe Goossen’s Ten Goose Gym in California.

Southpaw Dennis McCann, a 21-year-old Irish Traveler, continued his climb up the super bantamweight ranks with an eighth round stoppage of Scotland’s Joe Ham. McCann (14-0, 8 KOs) was pummeling Ham (17-4) against the ropes when the bout was waived off. Ham hadn’t previously been stopped.

Knockout artist Sam Noakes, a lightweight, employed a vicious body attack to score his 10th stoppage in as many opportunities, halting Calvin McCord (12-1, 2 KOs) in the fourth frame. Noakes showed no after-effects of the broken thumb that had kept him out of the ring since March.

Junior welterweight Pierce O’Leary scored two knockdowns but wasn’t able to polish off Namibian import Emanuel Mungandjela who was still standing after 10 rounds. The judges had it 99-89, 99-90, and 96-92.

It was the first scheduled 10-rounder for O’Leary (11-0, 6 KOs), a Dubliner with a strong amateur pedigree. Mungandjela (16-4-1) was making his U.K. debut.

Wembley Arena

The main event pitted Dillian Whyte against Jermaine Franklin, but most of the pre-fight talk centered around the co-feature, a 12-round contest between Fabio Wardley and Nathan Gorman for the vacant British heavyweight title.

Wardley (14-0 heading in) had stopped his last 13 opponents while answering the bell for only 31 rounds, but the jury was still out on him. He had no amateur experience and was thought to be very much a work in progress. Nathan Gorman, Tyson Fury’s cousin, had come up short in his first crossroads fight, getting stopped by former amateur rival Daniel Dubois, but was considered something more than a gatekeeper.

Wardley rose to the occasion with the biggest win of his career, stopping Gorman (19-2) in the third frame in a fan-friendly fight. Gorman clearly won the first round and busted Wardley’s nose wide open in round two, but the Ipswich man, a protégé of Dillian Whyte, cranked up the juice at the sight of his own blood and scored two knockdowns before the second round was over. Another knockdown in the third prompted Gorman’s corner to toss in the towel.

Wardley

The main event was anticlimactic.

It was thought that Dillian Whyte, who has been matched tough throughout his career, would have little trouble with Saginaw, Michigan’s Jermaine Franklin who had misleading 21-0 record, lacked fight-altering power, had fought only once in the last three years, and came in at a too-heavy 257 pounds. But the “Body Snatcher,” in his first fight with trainer Buddy McGirt, delivered a lackluster performance while walking away with a majority decision (114-114, 116-112, 116-112).

Whyte, 35, improved his ledger to 29-3 (19) in what some are calling a hometown decision. To his credit, he came on strong in the final rounds after being rocked in the ninth. There is talk that he will be granted a rematch with Anthony Joshua who stopped him in the seventh round at this venue in December of 2015.

Other Wembley Bouts of Note

Welterweight Pat McCormack, a silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, was forced to go the distance for the first time in his young pro career, but swept all six rounds on the referee’s card, improving to 3-0 against Argentina’s clumsy, feather-fisted Christian Nicolas Andino (16-6-2). McCormack is trained by Ben Davison.

Derby super welterweight Sandy Ryan improved to 5-1 (2) with a wide decision over Argentine veteran Anahi Ester Sanchez (21-6). The scores were 98-92, 99-91, and 100-92. Ryan, who avenged her lone defeat at the pro level, spent 10 years in the amateurs racking up more than 50 wins.

Photo credits:

Ryder-Parker — Alex Morton / Getty

Wardley-Gorman — Mark Robinson / Matchroom

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
This-Week-in-Boxing-History-Jake-LaMotta-Stinks-Up-Madison-Square-Garden
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

This Week in Boxing History: Jake LaMotta Stinks Up Madison Square Garden

The-Hauser-report-Broadway-Boxing-Returns-to-Broadway
Featured Articles5 days ago

The Hauser Report: Broadway Boxing Returns to Broadway

Chantelle-Cameron-was-Victorious-)ver-Jessica-McCaskill-But-Wants-More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Chantelle Cameron was Victorious Over Jessica McCaskill … But Wants More

With-the-Crowd-in-Her-Corner-WBA-Champ-Seniesa-Estrada-Wins-Her-Top-Rank-Debut
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

With the Crowd in Her Corner, WBA Champ Seniesa Estrada Wins Her Top Rank Debut

Lighteweight-Contender-Jamaine-Ortiz-Keeping-Worcester-Mass-on-the-Boxing-Map
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Lightweight Contender Jamaine Ortiz: Keeping Worcester Mass on the Boxing Map

Sunny-Edwards-Proves-Too-Slick-for-Felix Alvarado-in-Sheffield
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Sunny Edwards Proves Too Slick for Felix Alvarado in Sheffield

The-Hauser-Report-Is-the-Clock-Winding-Down-for-Vasiliy-Lomachenko ?
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

The Hauser Report: Is the Clock Winding Down for Vasiliy Lomachenko?

Avila-Perspective-Chap-211-Two-Title-Fighjts-in-Las-Vegas-on-Saturday-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 211: Two Title Fights in Las Vegas on Saturday and More

Gervonta-Davis-vs-Ryan-Garcia-is-a-Done-Deal-for-2023
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia is a Done Deal for 2023

Results-from-Las-Vegas-where-Alimkhanuly-Overcame-Pesky-Denzel-Bentley
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Results from Las Vegas where Alimkhanuly Overcame Pesky Denzell Bentley

R.I.P.-Former-World-Champ-Buster-Drayton
Featured Articles7 days ago

R.I.P. Former World Champ Buster Drayton

Ringside-in-San-Diego-Where-William-Zepeda-Defeated-Jojo-Diaz
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Ringside in San Diego Where William Zepeda Defeated Jojo Diaz

Is-the-Jake-Paul-Phenomenon-Good-for-Boxing-in-the-Long-Term?
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Is the Jake Paul Phenomenon Good for Boxing in the Long Term?

The-WBC-Wasn't-the-First-Entity-to-Overturn-the-Rseult-of-the-Fenech-Nelson-Fight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The WBC Wasn’t the First Entity to Overturn the Result of the Fenech-Nelson Fight

Jaime-Munguia-Wins-and-Waits-Charlo-Golovkin?
Featured Articles7 days ago

Jaime Munguía Wins and Waits: Charlo? … Golovkin?

Thomas-Hauser's-Literary-Notes
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Thomas Hauser’s Literary Notes

Ukraine's-Serhii-Bohachuk-and-Ireland's-Callum-Walsh-Win-by-KO-in-Montebello
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Ukraine’s Serhii Bohachuk and Ireland’s Callum Walsh Win by KO in Montebello

Chantelle-Cameron-All-or-Nothing-Against-Jessica-McCaskill
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Chantelle Cameron: “All or Nothing Against Jessica McCaskill”

Natasha-Jonas-and-Terri-Harper-Two-Brirish-Women-Who-Own-the-154-Pound-Division
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Natasha Jonas and Terri Harper: Two British Women Who Own the 154-Pound Division

Yokasta-Valle-Faces-an-Epic-Challenge-Against-Evelyn-Bermudez
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Yokasta Valle Faces an Epic Challenge Against Evelyn Bermúdez

Ian-Thomsen-Recalls-His-Days-with-Buster-Douglas-Before-Buster-'Shocked-the-World'
Featured Articles20 hours ago

Ian Thomsen Recalls His Days with Buster Douglas Before Buster ‘Shocked the World’

Regis-Prograis-KOs-Jose-Zepeda-at-Dignity-Health-Sports-Park
Featured Articles1 day ago

Regis Prograis KOs Jose Zepeda at Dignity Sports Health Park

John-Ryder-and-Fabio-Wardley-Triumph-on-Dueling-Shows-in-London
Featured Articles2 days ago

John Ryder and Fabio Wardley Triumph on Dueling Shows in London

Avila-Perspective-Chap-213-Regis-Prograis-vs-Jose-Zepeda-Harks-to-Pryor-Arguello
Featured Articles3 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap 213: Regis Prograis vs Jose Zepeda Harks to Pryor-Aguello

Samuel-Carmona-Tabbed-to-Fight-Julio-Cesar-Martinez-and-Sunny-Edwards-is-Furious
Featured Articles4 days ago

Samuel Carmona Tabbed to Fight Julio Cesar Martínez and Sunny Edwards is Furious

Shakur-Stevenson-vs-Isaac-Cruz-Floats-in-a-Cloud-of-Uncertainty
Featured Articles5 days ago

Shakur Stevenson vs. Isaac Cruz Floats in a Cloud of Uncertainty

The-Hauser-report-Broadway-Boxing-Returns-to-Broadway
Featured Articles5 days ago

The Hauser Report: Broadway Boxing Returns to Broadway

R.I.P.-Former-World-Champ-Buster-Drayton
Featured Articles7 days ago

R.I.P. Former World Champ Buster Drayton

Jaime-Munguia-Wins-and-Waits-Charlo-Golovkin?
Featured Articles7 days ago

Jaime Munguía Wins and Waits: Charlo? … Golovkin?

Juan-Francisco-Estrada-vs-Roman-Gonzalez-The-Long-Awaited-Third-Clash
Featured Articles1 week ago

Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Román González: The Long Awaited Third Clash

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Notes-on-Davis-Garcia-and-Beterbiev-Yarde
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Notes on Davis-Garcia and Beterbiev-Yarde

Jaime-Munguia-KOs-Gonzalo-Coria-in-Guadalajara-Improving-to-41-0
Featured Articles1 week ago

Jaime Munguia KOs Gonzalo Coria in Guadalajara, Improving to 41-0

Avila-Perspective-Chap-212-Tank-vs-Kingry-Munguia-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap: 212: Tank vs Garcia, Munguia and More

Gervonta-Davis-vs-Ryan-Garcia-is-a-Done-Deal-for-2023
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia is a Done Deal for 2023

This-Week-in-Boxing-History-Jake-LaMotta-Stinks-Up-Madison-Square-Garden
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

This Week in Boxing History: Jake LaMotta Stinks Up Madison Square Garden

Natasha-Jonas-and-Terri-Harper-Two-Brirish-Women-Who-Own-the-154-Pound-Division
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Natasha Jonas and Terri Harper: Two British Women Who Own the 154-Pound Division

The-WBC-Wasn't-the-First-Entity-to-Overturn-the-Rseult-of-the-Fenech-Nelson-Fight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The WBC Wasn’t the First Entity to Overturn the Result of the Fenech-Nelson Fight

Yokasta-Valle-Faces-an-Epic-Challenge-Against-Evelyn-Bermudez
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Yokasta Valle Faces an Epic Challenge Against Evelyn Bermúdez

Thomas-Hauser's-Literary-Notes
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Thomas Hauser’s Literary Notes

Results-from-Las-Vegas-where-Alimkhanuly-Overcame-Pesky-Denzel-Bentley
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Results from Las Vegas where Alimkhanuly Overcame Pesky Denzell Bentley

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement