Boxing promoter Diane Lee Fischer returns to Atlantic City with a nine-bout slate, including a USBA regional title fight
A name that has been heard recurrently among southern New Jersey boxing fans, and one that only resurfaced recently after a prolonged hiatus, is Diane Lee Fischer. The Vineland-based boxing promoter never left the area and never lost her love for the sweet science, but found that making matches for up-and-coming professional fighters was easier to do in boxing meccas like North Philadelphia's Blue Horizon and South Philly's New Alhambra than in this area.
"I've been promoting fights in Philly over the last couple of years because it's easier in a rough economy," says Fischer, owner/operator of Dee Lee Promotion, Inc., which is co-presenting Saturday night's nine-bout "Brawl In The Hall" event at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom with fight stable GNP Boxing. "But there are a lot of good local kids in the area who are good fighters and I wanted to hook up with them. Several of them will be making their pro debuts. That's another thing -- nobody's giving these [former amateur boxers] a chance to fight [on the pro circuit], and that's something we wanted to do."
Five fighters will be making their professional debuts at the Hall, including four who train under GNP's Abdur Rahim Muhammad and are managed by Michael Brestle -- Jacolyn Nicols, Art Parker, William Porter and Eugene Soto. The fifth is Mike Todd of Buckroe Beach, Va., who will be the opponent for GNP light-heavyweight Lavarn Harvell, who is 2-0 as a pro so far with both wins coming via four-round unanimous decision.
The night's main event will feature Philadelphia's Derek Ennis (17-2-1, 12 knockouts) against Baltimore's Ismail Arvin (15-1-4, 7 KOs). That bout will be for the USBA Regional Junior Middleweight Championship. Ennis has won his last five fights, most recently an eight-round unanimous decision over Wilmington's Clarence Taylor at the New Alhambra in January. His last loss was a third-round TKO at the hands of Alphonso Williams (10-5) of Pittsburgh in August 2007, and his only other loss was a second-round TKO to Allen Conyers (11-4) of the Bronx in February 2007.
"[Both losses] were quite a while back, and in both cases he just got caught," says Fischer. "He's got a whole new crew with him now, and really looks sharp. I've been watching him in the gym and he looks good. Sometimes you just get a little over anxious and you make mistakes. That's why you can't take anybody lightly. The same thing happened to Qa'id."
Son of the GNP trainer, Qa'id Muhammad is one of the hottest pro prospects to come out of Atlantic City. He placed second in the 2008 Olympic Trials and was a bantamweight (118-pound) alternate at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Muhammad is 4-0 with four knockouts, but he had to come off the canvas after a flash, first-round knockdown in his last fight. He recovered to knock out Julio Valadez of Mexico in the third round of a scheduled four-round bout in December at Boardwalk Hall.
"I didn't see that fight, but you get surprised sometimes," says Fischer.
Muhammad's opponent Saturday is Walter Matos (1-2-1) of Puerto Rico.
Another key bout on the card is the return of undefeated Camden fighter Luis Burgos (10-0-1), whose last bout was a first-round knockout of James Edwards of Philly way back in July 2002. His draw was to Philip Thrasher of Belmar in Nov. 2001, and his opponent Saturday night will be Allentown's Jorge Delgado, who has a 4-8 overall record.
"[Burgos] was a fighter on the rise, but his wife had cancer and he took a lot of time off because of that," says Fischer. "But he's back again, and a lot of people are anxious to see if he's still got it. I used to have him on cards all the time, so when he [expressed an interest in a comeback] I gave him a chance. He's a real nice kid; real personable. He's got a lot of people from Camden coming to see him."
Like Harvell and Muhammad, super-middleweight (168-pound) Joel De La Paz is another fighter in the Brestle stable who will look to remain unbeaten as a pro. Currently he is 2-0 with one knockout, which came in his last bout at the Philly National Guard Armory against Ryan Hord of Missouri last September.
Fischer says Boardwalk Hall's intimate Adrian Phillips Ballroom, with a seating capacity for about 2,900, is an excellent place to see a fight, and the Brawl in the Hall promises to be action packed.
"I'm really looking forward to it," she says. "The Boardwalk Hall people are great to work with. We got some good sponsorship, but we wanted to keep the ticket prices reasonable since the economy's so bad. I think it's well worth the cost, especially since there's a title on the line."
We have so many honorees this year — Iran Barkley, Marlon Starling, IBF President Daryl Peoples, Jackie Kallen, Ivan Robinson, Chuck Wepner, Cedric Kushner, Randy Neumann, Keith Holmes, William Joppy, and so many more.
"On Saturday, June 2, we're going to have an all-star boxing legends tribute. What we're trying to do is get together all of the boxing personalities. Whether they are boxers, managers, promoters, ring announcers, referees, you name it, we're trying to get together everybody to celebrate the contribution that they have made in making Atlantic City the boxing mecca that it is."
The main bout of the evening is a matchup between WBA and IBF featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa of Miami, Fla., against interim featherweight champion Jorge Solis.
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