Thursday, April 9, 2020

Under the hat: Getting to know Marcus "Ohio Runs Boxing" Nall


If you were born in Youngstown then chances are the love of boxing should be in your blood as the city boasts five world champions as well as a handful of world title challengers.

For one Ohio man the love of boxing runs deeper than his blood.

For 35-year-old Columbus native by way of Youngstown Marcus Nall, boxing has become a way of life, a lifestyle he is now passing off to his young son.

Nall, who graduated from Independence High School in Columbus literally wears his love for boxing, which he can trace back to his younger days, on his head with his now famous Ohio Runs Boxing kasa hat.

"When I was 9 years old my father used to play Hagler versus Hearns on VHS all the time so I always watched boxing," said Nall.  "But Prince Naseem Hamed is the fighter who made me fall in love with the sport".

As Nall's love for the sport grew, so did his appreciation for a particular group of fighters.
Those from the Buckeye State, which led Nall to start his Ohio Runs Boxing social media.

"The idea for Ohio Runs Boxing came from a fight I attended in Cincinnati back in 2012 or 2013," said Nall.  "I remember seeing some fighters from Ohio I like like Robert Easter Jr from Toledo, Rau'Shee Warren from Cincinnati, and Terrell Gausha from Cleveland all fighting on the undercard and I seen all these great fighters with Al Haymon being the mystery man who is also from Ohio putting these great fights together.  I went home later that night and started looking up all the fighters from Ohio and BANG!! it clicked and Ohio Runs Boxing was born".

With the birth of Ohio Runs Boxing, Nall knew he had something special that would draw the people in like Haymon was doing with his fights.

"I knew I would create a little controversy with this title as well and let's be honest, controversy sales but Ohio Runs Boxing is more about pride and supporting one another and trying to bring everybody together as a state instead of individual cities' '
.
Though the controversial name is a selling point, he will always maintain that the name is justified.

"Ohio Runs Boxing is not just based on us having the best fighters but having the best in everything from boxing journalists, managers and promoters, advisers, boxing clothes designers, and the list goes on and I try my best to cover those areas on my platform," explained Nall.  "Just look at the historical history behind Ohio boxing. Boxing statistics will show you why I think Ohio has been running boxing for years".

So with all his Buckeye State pride can Nall narrow down his love to one favorite fighter to ever represent the state of Ohio.

"I have grown to love a lot of these fighters from Ohio from present and the legends from the past covering them and following their careers but if I had to pick one it would be Kelly Pavlik because for one he brought back a world title to my hometown of Youngstown and I wasn't old enough to experiences Ray Boom Boom Mancini, Jeff Lampkin, Harry Arroyo, or Greg Richardson being world champions but Kelly gave me that experience". 

While Nall now has a product that sticks out on the internet, the one fixture that you will always see on him when he's out covering a fight is the Japanese style kasa hat.

"The hat was a great idea to stand out from everybody and it also helps people discover who was behind the social media "Ohio Runs Boxing" page".  "I was a big fan of OutKast, a hip hop group and I also loved the game Mortal Kombat and Andre 3000 who is one of the artists in the group had a unique style about him and he wore things many people wouldn't dare and one night I was playing Mortal Kombat with my favorite character Raiden and it clicked in my mind, the Raiden hat is going to do it and rest is history".

Nall knows that even though many in the sport love his social media and his style that he is not immune to those waiting to jump down his neck every time an Ohio fighter he was backing takes a loss.

"Credibility is everything to me so I always have to be careful who I'm backing from Ohio because let's be real, every fighter from Ohio is not good or elite so I'm real careful on who I'm boasting about coming from Ohio so if I'm not boasting loud about one guy my silence will give it away leading up to fight".

All his work is for nothing as Nall hopes one day his work will play a part in helping the sport of boxing reach the pinnacle of popularity that it once had.

"I hope my opinion on boxing will one day be appreciated on the biggest levels and more people will take notice of what our state has to offer and hopefully more fans from Ohio will start supporting the small and local guys".



Q and A with Nall:
Who is Ohio's biggest boxing rival?  
This is a tough question but it has to be between Detroit and Philadelphia.

Favorite Non-Ohio based fighters? 
Lightweight Sean Mason who's 4-0 with 3 KO's and welterweight Michael Williams Jr. who's 12-0 with 8 KO's are two great fighters I love watching.  I also like the Montgomery Brothers from Macon, GA. 

Favorite big name fighters? 
Terrence Crawford, Canelo, GGG, Wilder, and Josh Taylor.

Top prospects to keep an eye out for Ohio?
1. Charles Conwell - Super welterweight 12-0 9 KO’s (Cleveland,Ohio) 
2. Albert Bell - Lightweight 18-0-5 KO’s (Toledo,Ohio) 
3. Isaiah Steen - Middleweight 14-0 -11 KO’s (Cleveland,Ohio
4. Jared Anderson  Heavyweight 3-0 -3 KO’s.  (Toledo,Ohio)
5. Montana Love - Welterweight 12-0-6-K0’s. ( Cleveland,Ohio )
6. Rodney Hines - Heavyweight 8-0-5 KO’s      ( Cleveland, Ohio )
7. Boubacar Sylla - Welterweight 11-0 7 KO’s   ( Cincinnati, Ohio )
8. Alante Green - Cruiserweight 7-0-5 KO’s.  ( Cleveland,Ohio )
9. Otha Jones - Lightweight  5-0 2 KO’s ( Toledo, Ohio )
10. Ryizeemmion Ford - Lightweight 4-0-3 KO’s. ( Alliance,Ohio)
11.Ramiro Hernandez - Featherweight 16-0 10 KO’s. (Cleveland,Ohio
12.Raymond Castaneda - Super lightweight 6-0-2 KO’s  (Defiance,Ohio)

Hottest boxing city(s) in Ohio?
1. Toledo
2. Cleveland
3. Cincinnati
4. Akron
5. Mansfield

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Tiger King: Anthony Taylor set for August return, hopefully


With all the uncertainty in the sports world do to the COVID-19 Virus, Anthony "Tiger" Taylor is hoping to make his return to the ring in August.

Taylor, 29, will look to get back int he win after the Youngstown super flyweight has recently watched his record even out at 4-4.

Slated for August 8th at the Buffalo Chip Camp Ground in Sturgis, South Dakota as part of the huge Sturgis Bike Rally, Taylor will take on Jose Rodriguez of Markesan, Wisconsin, barring cancellation due to the COVID-19 virus.

Rodriguez, 32, will be a record of 4-3 into the ring and is a loser of his last two bouts including a knockout defeat back in Februrary.

For Taylor, this will be his first ring action since a disappointing knockout loss to Artrimus Sartor in Covington, Kentucky back in September.

Stay tuned for more details, updates, and a story as fight date closes in including an interview with Taylor.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Fighter Profile: Drew Smith

Drew Smith
Age: 21 - Gym: Burnside Boxing Club in Struthers - Fight Weight: 152

Those who attend local club shows in the Youngstown area should know the name Drew Smith by now, an amateur fighter known for his endurance which he uses to unleash an relentless attack over the course of three rounds which usually results in a worn down opponent and many times a victory.

With 28 amateur fights to his resume, the Hanoverton United High School graduate is currently attending Youngstown State University where he is majoring in Criminal Justice and also joined the Army National Guard.

Here is a Q/A I did with Smith with the use of the internet as we practice social distancing during these times.

Years fighting and how did you get started: Eight years to the month actually.  I got hurt at the end of football season and couldn't play basketball and then my school didn't have enough people for a baseball team so my dad put me in boxing in 7th grade to get in shape for football again and I loved it so much I never quit.

When you are not in the gym, what are you getting yourself into: I'm always busy. I'm working at Dunkin' on top of getting my degree and also going through EMT classes now. I'm also a volunteer firefighter and in the Army National Guard so I don't get much free time.

Favorite/Least favorite part of training: I'm a gym rate in general so I love to run and lift weight so it translates over will into boxing but my least favorite thing has to do with the strict dieting which is hard for me to find a food balance so that my workouts and body are on the same page. I realized that fasting is definitely for me because I can healthy most of the day and have that guilty pleasure which is probably a Mountain Dew and a bag of Sour Patch Kids if I really feel like it and it won't hurt me as much.

When you're getting your run in, what is on your playlist: That's a hard one, lol. I listen to almost everything but mostly classic rock and heavy metal. I love Disturbed, Korn, AC/DC, all of that.

Favorite boxing movie: I'm going to have to say Southpaw for obvious reasons, lol.

Favorite boxer of all time: Roy Jones Jr. for sure.  He was such a great athlete all around and really mesmerizing to watch.

Favorite sport to play or watch outside of boxing: I used to play football, baseball, basketball, and wrestling and really couldn't pick one I like to play more although I don't get to watch very much sports other than boxing.

Something about yourself that most people don't know: I'm definitely a nerd.  I love coming home from boxing in the evening and relaxing with some video games for a few hours when I'm able to.

Where do you hope to be with your life in 10 years: In 10 years I hope to be in the FBI/CIA but definitely still boxing to stay in shape at the absolutely very least.

What advice do you have for anyone who might be thinking about walking into a boxing gym and lacing up the gloves: My advice would be that it'll be one of the greatest decisions you could ever make even if it's just to get in shape.  Your body and mind will never be stronger than when you are boxing.  People Often ask me how I'm so happy all the time even when I'm about to go in and fight and it's because I'm doing what I love and getting to take out any stress along with it, lol.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Hanging up the gloves: Pittsburgh native Mike Conway is ready for the next chapter


In recent days many of us have learned a lot about ourselves as life as we know it has changed for the time being in the wake of a health crisis that has plagued the world.

When I saw a social post from Pittsburgh super lightweight, Mike Conway in recent days discussing how the time has come due to a series of injuries to trade in the fight gloves for training mitts after 18 years, I saw a perfect opportunity to give the 25-year-old a chance to reflect on his career and what he's learned about himself in making this decision.

Conway, who started boxing at the age of 8 said he fell in love with the sweet science the second his dad introduced him and his two brothers to the sport.

"My dad took my brothers and I to the gym and we just instantly fell in love with the sport," said Conway who started his training at Carrick Boxing, before moving onto South Park Boxing before winding up at The Brownson House in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Through the ups and downs that goes with any athletic career, the pinnacle of Conway's career came in September of 2016 when he made his pro debut at Wheeling Island Casino Racetrack.

"My proudest moment in boxing probably had to be winning my pro debut with a first round knockout," stated Conway.  "It was the feeling of knowing that I'm living my dream and nothing can top that".

As Conway progressed in his pro career, he began to feel the wear and tear of his body breaking down which ultimately led to his recent decision to transition from boxer to trainer.

"It's been in the back of my head over the last couple years," Conway said of retiring as a fighter.  "I never gave it serious consideration until I blew my knee out training in the beginning of February of this year".

With his decision made, the next decision was an easy one him.

"I've always planned on coaching, even as my career was progressing I always worked with the kids in the gym and after 18 years I think it would be impossible to just walk away from this sport," said Conway of his decision to begin coaching.  "You have to stay involved or you won't be the same person".

Making the transition a little bit more special is the fact he is now helping train his brother, Matt and recently worked his corner alongside their father for his fight on the Fury-Wilder II undercard.

"Truthfully words can't express how amazing that entire experience was" said of watching his brother, who he trained alongside all these years on the big stage in Las Vegas.


"Being able to share my career experience right next to my brother side by side is something most people won't understand", said Mike of his relationship with his brother Matt.  "We've pushed each other past limits we didn't know we had.  Being in camp together, fighting on the same shows from amateur to professional, it's been an honor to have him right there with me and the greatest part of all is that I started working with him as a coach and I'm excited to see what we can do together as fighter and coach".

Like every fighter who hangs up the gloves, Mike will now have some more free time on his hands and is embracing the opportunity for personal growth outside of the boxing gym.

"I might start golfing some more or maybe get into competitive pistol shooting," said Conway of his recent freed up spare time.  "I might even give my older brother Sean a run for his money in Strongman Competitions".

Even with his eyes on the future, Conway knows that without the sport he would not be the person he is today.

"You have to protect yourself at all time," stated Conway.  "I learned in the ring that when you fall you have to get back up and it translates to life.  I learned there's no one I can blame for losing a fight and just like in real life I have to accept the consequences for my actions".

Though boxing is sometimes considered the loneliest sport with no teammate between the ropes with you, Conway knows that his success could not have happened without many individuals we wishes to thank.

"I want to thank my very first (late) coaches Shorty Gruber, Billy Zaletta, and Glen Young at Carrick Boxing...I want to thank my uncle Bob Healy for the time we spent working together at South Park Boxing....Skeets Levandosky for always being in the corner for us, my strength coach Jeff Morganti, and obviously my dad for being my coach since day one. I can’t thank my brothers, family, and friends enough for the sacrifices they’ve made on this journey as well. And lastly I wanna thank all the fans who always came out to see me fight, I wouldn’t have had a professional career without the fans and I can only hope they always got their money’s worth when they saw me fight. And a huge thank you to Youngstown Boxing News for always following and sharing our experiences and writing awesome articles for us"!

Friday, March 13, 2020

COVID-19 KO's Jacorian Dent bout versus Irish opponent in Pittsburgh and other boxing events


One of Youngstown's busiest and most experienced amateur boxers, Jacorian Dent was all set for a big opportunity today but due to the COVID-19 virus, the event was called off.

Dent, 15, was set to fight at the Priory in Pittsburgh representing Team Pittsburgh against a team of amateurs from Ireland in the Donnybrook 2020 Ambassadors Cup.

The Chaney High School sophomore who has roughly 20 amateur bouts under his belt was slated to take on Martin Collins of Dublin, a fighter who trains at the Drimnagh Boxing Club and has 30 bouts to his resume at the 109 lb. weight limit.

Dent was excited for the opportunity when I spoke to him earlier this week prior the cancellation. 

"This is a big opportunity for me since I've never fought anyone international before," said Dent who has been training at Southside Boxing Club for roughly three years since tearing his ACL in a football injury and trading in the cleats for boxing shoes.

Dent, who sat out last weeks amateur show at the Ukrainian Hall so he could stay injury free for this event said he was happy watching his teammates from Southside Boxing do well as they compiled a 3-1 record.

"We are a team and we got that vibe back at Southside Boxing Club," said Dent of his teammates who were helping him prep for this upcoming event.  

The Pittsburgh Donnybrook event isn't the only boxing event canceled as pro bouts across the nation have been postponed and USA Boxing recently announced that USA Boxing sanctioned events are suspended until March 31st. 


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Rememebering DeAndrey Abron


This past week the Youngstown boxing community lost one of its own with the passing of former light heavyweight world challenger, DeAndrey Abron.

Abron, 47, was killed in a car accident this past Sunday.

A graduate of East High School, Abron started boxing during his military career and racked up numerous of accomplishments including winning gold in the All Army/Armed Forces Championships from 1998-2003 and winning the gold medal in the 2003 National Golden Gloves.

Abron's amateur accomplishments also include the following:
2002 - US Challenge Gold Medalist
2001 - US National Championships Gold Medalist
2001 - US Challenge Gold Medalist
2001 - Team Captain for World Championships
2000 - US Olympic Team Alternate

Abron made the jump to the pro ranks in September 2004 with a knockout victory over Joe Bouton. 

With his pro career in full swing, Abron started off his career with a solid 12-1 record before capitalizing on the biggest opportunity of his young career, scoring a decision over previously undefeated Shane Benfield to capture the NABO light heavyweight title with the upset victory at age 35 in September 2007.

Abron parlayed that victory at his shot of ultimate glory, the opportunity to challenge Zsolt Erdei in Germany for his WBO World Lightweight Championship on April 26, 2008.

Though Abron fell short in capturing a world title, no one can take away from his accomplishments which also included taking on former heavyweight king, Deontay Wilder while finishing his pro career with a 15-10 record.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Local amateurs shine infront of a packed Ukrainian Hall


With the high school basketball tournament in full swing with area teams punching tickets to regionals and state, it was Youngstown's favorite past times turn to shine on Saturday night as Lights Out Management put on an entertaining 14-bout card in front of a standing room only crowd which included a handful of former world champions and other former Youngstown boxing greats at the Ukrainian Hall.

Of the fourteen fights, eleven of them involved fighters from area gyms including four from Southside Boxing Club who went 3-1 on the evening.

Getting the ball rolling for the area was Aseel Alsamameh, 17, of Southside Boxing Club who fought off weary legs in the second round to outwork his opponent, Matt Flannely of Pittsburgh over the course of three-round 135 lb. match to pick up the decision victory.


In one of the most impressive debuts one could ask for, 17-year-old Deven Tate of Southside Boxing Club wasted little time using his big 135 lb. frame and backing his opponent Harrison Griszz of Canton against the ropes and landing a barrage of punches forcing the referee to stop the contest in under a minute.


Tyrell Richards, 16, was the third victorious fighter out of Southside Boxing Club as he listened to his trainers, Vinny O'Neill and Jack Loew to eek out a gritty split decision victory over Guy Gonzalez of Ashtabula to improve his record to 8-1.


In what may of been the knockout of the night, 160 lb. Colton Schnieder of Salem Boxing Club made easy work of Nick Rezek to get the gritty fighters from Salem who train with Ron Jackson in the win column.

Cliff Gregory trained Niyuah Justice of Farrell, PA was impressive in his second round stoppage of Steven Chaplow of Salem Boxing Club.


In an impressive match between to of the most skilled fighters to enter the ring, Luka Burnside of Struthers scored a well earned and hard fought decision over Rahmad King of Akron in an evenly matched fight between to rising talents.


Downtown Boxing Club fighter Andre Henderson took home a well earned Fighter of the Night Award after his hard earned decision victory over Antonio Barrett of Canton in the 170 lb. division.


Henderson and Barrett traded hard punches over the course of three rounds in the very entertaining bout that closed the evening and left fans with a good taste in their mouth to wrap up an amazing night of boxing with fighters from all over Northeast Ohio and a team of fighters from Gallo Boxing Gym in Lansing, MI who did not disappoint in and out of the ring.

FULL RESULTS
Jared Adair (Ashtabula) DEC Mohammad Abel Nabi (Cleveland)
Victor Ovalle (Lansing, MI) DEC Zi Stalnaker (Akron)
Aseel Alsamameh (Southside Boxing Club) DEC Matt Flannely (Pittsburgh)
Devon Tate (Southside Boxing Club) RSC 1 Harrison Griszz (Canton)
Justin Johnson (Lansing, MI) DEC Brian Sims (Downtown Boxing Club)
Vic Christian (Cleveland) RSC 1 Tim Louis (Southside Boxing Club)
Stacy Sikole (Cleveland) DEC Courtney Chaplow (Salem Boxing Club)
Kenny Ortiz (OH) DEC Jake Lester (Youngstown)
Niyuah Justice (Farrell) RSC2 Steven Chaplow
Tyrell Richards (Southside Boxing Club) DEC Guy Gonzalez (Ashtabula)
Colton Schniener (Salem Boxing Club) RSC 1 Nick Rezek (Cleveland)
Andre Harrison (Downtown Boxing Club) DEC Antonio Barrett (Canton)
Luka Burnside (Burnside Boxing Club) DEC Rahmad King (Akron)