Aquino and Saleem Both Win
Talented Jr. Welterweight contender Julio Aquino made short work of his last minute opponent and 260lb. one-time prospect Faruq Saleem demolished his equally over-matched foe, as both featured fighters garnered first round knockouts Saturday night at the Adams Mark Hotel in Philadelphia.
Billed by 5-for-life Entertainment as the "Rumble on the Mainline," these contests were more like "muggings"- with the victims being promoter P.J. Augustine's loyal Philly fight fans.
Headlining this 5 bout fightcard Saleem (inactive since his August 14th bout last year against veteran Otis Tisdale: TKO 6) dwarfed Springfield, Missouri native Shawn Robinson, now 16-12. Saleem, managed by well-known Butch Lewis, was escorted into the ring by former Light-heavyweight and Heavyweight World Champion Michael Spinks. Enjoying a 59lb. weight advantage, Saleem clubbed the fearless Robinson around the ring before referee Gary Rosato halted the bout at 1:52 of round one, after Robinson's 2nd trip to the canvas.
The 201lb. Robinson - one mere pound over the cruiserweight limit- entered the ring a loser in 10 of his last 11 fights, with one no contest, and 8 of those losses were by knockout! While Robinson can be commended for his fortitude and courage, shouldn't his safety have been of concern?
The co-feature saw the fan friendly Julio Aquino attack the lightly regarded Mike Dobbs, now 7-10 (5 Ko's), from the opening bell. The heavy-handed southpaw landed a crushing right hand, which sent the overwhelmed Dobbs to the deck. Beating the count yet still hurt, Dobbs when asked by the referee if he wished to continue, replied, "I think so."
Unfortunately for the gutsy Dobbs his valor was quickly overcome with a dose of reality. Aquino (now 14-2), sensing victory, swarmed and landed damaging shots with both hands - forcing Dobbs to crumble against the ropes and drop to his knees, in concert with his corner throwing in the towel - ending this one-sided contest at 1:50 of round one.
On the undercard.....Making his pro debut, complete with a marching band grand entrance as the DJ mixed in "Here comes the Champ," highly touted Philadelphia middleweight Saeed Hawkins didn't let his followers down, with a four round unanimous decision victory over a tough and stubborn Vance Garvey, now 3-8-1. Obviously too early to tell, yet Hawkins did impress with good hand speed, power and a debilitating body attack. Garvey, fighting out of Indiana, must be given his due for even finishing the feet on his feet.
Crowd favorite Tyrone Tate improved to 7-2 (3 KO's), taking a hard earned split-decision victory over resilient Andrew Hutchinson (2-5-1) in a four round cruiserweight fight. Tate appeared to score a knockdown in round three with a short right hand yet the referee ruled it a slip, making for a closer call. Two judges scored the bout 39-37 for Tate, while the third judge saw it 39-37 for the Jamaican-born Hutchinson.
The evening's opening bout saw Washington DC's Larry Brothers (4-10-2) battle to a four round draw against New York's Rohan Natan (3-13-1) in an entertaining middleweight brawl.
There were many breaks in the action in-between fights; for dance contests, ticket giveaways, National Anthem singing contests, etc... There were also some poignant moments, like promoter PJ Augustine calling his dad into the ring to wish him and all the dads a Happy Father's Day. The most special and touching scene truly was seeing veteran referee Frank Cappuccino in the ring as PJ told the crowd about Frank's son, Frank Cappuccino Jr., a Vietnam veteran suffering in the advance stage of Parkinson disease. A touching moment when Mr. Cappuccino emotionally spoke about Frank Jr., his need for 24 hour care and his fundraiser on September 26th at the Pa. National Guard Armory (for more info call: 215-757-3947). Local businessman Joe Mammana was the first to come around with a very sizeable donation.
Mr. Mammana, CEO of Yardley Farms in Yardley,Pa., is very generous within his community.
A 5-for-life Entertainment show, along with the boxing, will always include the DJ supplied music, and all the extras. While this may add to the entertainment-the real show is the fightcard, and if 5-for-life wants to stay successful in the boxing promotion business they must provide there loyal fight fans with better quality, more evenly-matched bouts on future fightcards.
Next up, Pa. National Guard Armory, August 6th when Julio Aquino will take on tough, current Pa. State Jr. Welterweight Champion Luis Alberto Santiago in a title elimination bout. Dangerous Terrence "KO" Lewis will be matched in the co-feature. For tickets and information call (215) 668-8619 or (215) 888-9411.