|Paco Rivera of GAR1680 with Joshua "Too-Tuff" Tufte follwing his TKO win|
In the first bout of the evening, Steve Geffrard of Florida, who entered the ring with a record of 3-2, delivered frequent strong body shots to a taller opponent from Rocky Mount, NC, Octavius Davis. Aside from a height advantage, Davis also had a much longer reach, but he did not capitalize on it, preferring to engage Geffrard up close. Davis was dropped by a body shot in the first round. A barrage of body shots continued in the 2nd and was too much for Davis to handle, forcing the referee to call a halt to the bout. Geffrard’s record evens to 3-3, while Davis drops to 2-13-1.
Two out-of-town fighters were matched in the next bout. Junior middleweight Rashaan Abdul Blackburn of Ohio took on Maurice Chalmers of Lynchburg, Virginia with what appeared to be a large contingent from Chalmers’ hometown that made the trip to Greensboro to root him on. Chalmers was the much busier fighter through the first two rounds and by the midway point of round three Blackburn had not thrown a punch in the round, instead getting hit by Chalmer’s continued combinations. After Blackburn got knocked down in the third, the referee decided he’d seen enough and stopped the bout. Chambers wins by TKO and evens his win-loss record at 12-12 with 1 draw. Blackburn drops to 8-50-2.
Don "DJ" Haynesworth, a big heavyweight hometown fighter from Greensboro, made his professional boxing debut when he was matched with a cross-town fighter from Wilson, Brandon White, who came in at 0-2. White went down twice in round 1, and with Haynesworth totally dominating the fight in the 2nd round the referee stopped the bout, giving the Greensboro fighter a TKO victory. Haynesworth (1-0) gets his first win and White remains winless at 0-3.
The next bout featured a well-skilled fighter, Ahmad Cheikho, a Canadian now fighting out of Chicago, matched against Jose Felix, formerly of New Mexico and now fighting out of Augusta Georgia. From the opening bell it was apparent that Felix was overmatched by Cheikho, who made quick work of Felix with a TKO in Round 1. Cheikho’s record improves to 16-5-2. Felix drops to 11-16-2.
Several notable retired and current prizefighters from North Carolina were introduced during intermission that included former world heavyweight champion, James “Bonecrusher” Smith, as well as women’s heavyweight champion Carlette “The Truth” Ewell of Winston-Salem. Also making ring appearances were undefeated fighters Rich Rivers (9-0) of Greensboro and promising prospect Christian Dominguez (7-1), also of Winston-Salem, and who currently has a 5-fight win streak since 2012.
Following the intermission, hometown favorite Steven Matthews of Greensboro entered the ring to roaring cheers from a large contingent of fans that included what appeared to be an entire summer camp of children present for the event. Matthews entered the ring unbeaten at 3-0 and faced winless fighter Johnny Rowell, originally of Durham, NC, but now fighting out of Atlanta, Georgia. Following a knockdown of Rowell in Round 1, the referee called a halt to the bout, giving Matthews the TKO win. Matthews’ unbeaten record improves to 4-0. Rowell drops to 0-5.
Matthews later explained that the children in the stands and the ones that walked him to the ring are a part of the Punch4Pounds KIDS organization, named after a fitness workout he created. Aside from pro boxing, Steven Matthews is an advocator for a program that recruits at-risk youth in poverty-stricken environments. Matthews says the program provides assistance with academic advancement, behavioral intervention, community empowerment, character development, and physical fitness, and when the kids begin to excel they offer training in amateur boxing. Matthews says he hopes to utilize his boxing career as a platform to empower those youths in less-fortunate communities.
In the bout preceding the Main Event, Jamar Freeman of Wilson, NC fought a game Venezuelan, Marcos Primera, who now resides in Asheboro, NC. Freeman appeared to have landed the harder and more accurate blows for much of the fight, while Primera attempted attacks in short spurts that had little effect on the North Carolinian. By the fifth round Primera was seen talking often to Freeman, telling him to bring it on while waving his hands erratically. There was some good toe-to-toe action to start the sixth and final round that concluded with Freeman connecting with better counter-punching and combinations. All three judges were in agreement, giving Freeman 60-54 scores for a unanimous decision win. Jamar Freeman is now 13-3-2. Marcos Primera falls to 20-28-2 and hasn’t won a fight since 2006.
In the Main Event, Joshua “Too-Tuff” Tufte took on a very cocky fighter from Baltimore, Maryland, Jed Phipps. Similar to Primera in the previous bout, Phipps often mouthed and motioned to Tufte an action that said, “C’mon, bring it”. And Tufte complied. While Phipps managed to land some strong jabs and punches, Tufte’s hands were obviously much heavier and faster when connecting to the head and body of Phipps. Tufte also displayed a well-skilled defense by quickly ducking and slipping away, making Phipps miss wildly. With seconds left in Round 3, Tufte was pounding Phipps, who had his back to the ropes, with a barrage of punches. It appeared the referee might stop the bout, but the bell rang. Phipps got knocked down three times in Round 4 and was unable to continue. Tufte won by TKO and his record improves to 16-1. Phipps drops to 20-8. Josh Tufte is currently rated as the 51st best heavyweight boxer in the United States out of 344 rated fighters and 145th best in the world out of 1,063. He also holds the NABA-USA and USBO heavyweight titles.
Rich Rivers’ fight was cancelled due to an injury to his opponent. Event organizers have promised free access to the next Walter Johnson Promotions event to all who bought tickets from Richard Rivers and had arrived at the Greensboro Coliseum on this night to see him fight.
Paco Rivera, GAR1680 Boxing Talk Radio & Blog