Monday, December 3, 2018

Pittsburgh prospects Conway and Irving pick up weekend victories

Team Conway

While most eyes in the boxing scene were fixed on Los Angelas yesterday as Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder battled to a twelve round championship draw in one of the biggest heavyweight matchups in recent memory, a pair of youngsters from Pittsburgh stayed on course of becoming the city's next world champion in separate events.

Matt Conway, 23, defeated Columbia native Daulis Prescott by unanimous decision in the main event at the Courttime Sports Complex in Elizabeth, PA to improve his record to 15-0.

Using his jab Conway, who weighed at 132 lbs for the bout, was able to back Prescott (32-9) against the ropes and work the body often while finishing upstairs during the course of the six-round super featherweight contest.

While Conway fought close to home in Suburban Pittsburgh, Kiante Irving took a business trip to the nation's capital, his first time fighting out of the Pittsburgh region.

Team Irving

Irving, 24, made quick work of George Sheppard as he scored a second-round knockout victory in a super middleweight contest at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC.

With the victory, Irving, who is trained by Tom Yankello at his World Class Boxing Gym improved to 3-0 with all three victories coming by way of knockout.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Regional Roundup

Pittsburgh Area
- Two of Pittsburgh's top prospects will be in action this upcoming Saturday night on separate fight cards as Matt Conway (14-0, 6 KOs) and Kiante Irving (2-0, 2 KOs) will both look to stay unbeaten.

Conway, 23, will look to continue his climb as one of the top young prospects in the lightweight division as he takes the stage in the main event at the Court Time Sports Center in Elizabeth, PA which will be hosting its first pro boxing card since 2014.

While Conway won't have to travel too far for his bout, the 24-year-old Kiante Irving will travel to Washington, DC to face George Sheppard (1-4-1) of Virginia in a super middleweight contest.

- March 2, 2019 appears to be the date in hand for Michael McSorely and his Integrity Fighter Managment promotions to hold its next show at the Priory Grand Hall in Pittsburgh.

Those likely to be appearing on the card will be Lyubomyr Pinchuk, Oleg Dovhun, Richie Cantolina, Michael Manna, Jarrell Brackett, Deon Goodlow, and Kiante Irving. Stay tuned for more details

Northeast Ohio
- Northeast Ohio flexed some muscle in a regional matchup in Youngstown on Thanksgiving Eve as Akron native David Rodriguez, 23, improved to 2-0 with a one-sided victory over a very tough Deon Goodlow of Pittsburgh.

- 21-year-old former Olympian Charles Conwell Jr. (8-0, 6 KOs) of Cleveland announced a new fight date as the undefeated super welterweight will head to Columbus on December 22nd to face an opponent to be named at a later date.  Stay tuned for more information as more regional talent will almost certainly end up on this card.

- Cleveland native and former Olympian Terrell Gausha has been added to the December 22nd Charlo twins undercard as the 31-year-old super welterweight will return to the ring for the first time since suffering his lone defeat to Erislandry Lara in October 2017.

Gausha (21-0, 9 KOs), a former world title challenger will face 34-year-old  southpaw Joey Hernandez (27-4-1, 17 KOs) of Miami, FL at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

- Amateur boxing events in the Northeast Ohio region appear to be on hold until February 2nd when the Battle In The Ballroom 26 takes over the Slovenian National Home.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Don't Call It A Comeback: O'Neill Puts On Show For Hometown Fans

The chants of Vinny, Vinny, Vinny echoing through the Palermo Center in Campbell on Saturday night made it evident who stole the show at Jack Loew's Thanksgiving Feast boxing show on Wednesday night.

Stepping back into the ring after a three and a half year hiatus, the former Marine who wore red and blue as a tribute the country he served outboxed his opponent over six rounds not only winning the super lightweight bout on the judge's scorecards with a unanimous decision over Detroit native James Lester (12-15-1) 1but also winning over the hometown crowd.

"Going into the fight I was shocked I wasn't more nervous," said the 39-year-old O'Neill on his return to the ring. 

"The first and second round I took it slow and being a little rusty my timing was off but as the fight went on I got more comfortable and started using my jab and doing the things I know how to do".

While the crowd erupted in celebration when the decision was read, O'Neill doesn't plan to celebrate his victory for too long. 

"I'll be back in the gym on Monday and looking to get back in the ring in a month or month an a half".

While O'Neill (4-2-1) plans on getting back into the gym, another local fighter who was making his debut was left wishing he could have landed another fight that night.

"Disappointing," said Anthony Congemi (1-0) of his opponent's performance in a 22-second destruction which saw the referee put an end to the fight.

Congemi, 38, who like O'Neill is a former Marine who is now a member of the Youngstown Police Department put his opponent, Robert Taylor (0-3) of Warren, MI on the canvas seconds into their scheduled 4-round heavyweight match which ultimately led the referee to halt the action after Brown showed zero interest in fighting.

Lavelle Hadley, 28, impressed in his 4-round super middleweight contest against Latiss Norman (1-3) of Cleveland.

Hadley (3-4), who relocated from Chicago to train for this bout was able to score a knockdown late in the second round.

Youngstown heavyweight Daniel Infante who trains at Burnside Boxing Club was able to capitalize on a strong opening round as he outworked and out-landed Davmond Carter of Jamestown, NY in what was the pro debut for both fighters.

Danny Rosenberger (4-6-3), who trains at Downtown Boxing Club, suffered a hard-fought defeat to the hands of Culpepper, VA native Roque Zapata by decision in a 6-round super welterweight matchup.

Zapata (6-2-4) outworked Rosenberger from the onset landing to the body early and answering every Rosenberger onslaught, including a hard right from Rosenberger that had Zapata stunned.

David Rodriguez of Akron was able to overcome a slow start and pull away from Pittsburgh native Deon Goodlow in a 4-round welterweight fight.

Rodriguez showed his superior boxing skills as the 23-year-old stunned Donlow in the second round and never looked back landing to the body often while landing some solid combinations up high.

With the win, Rodriguez improved to 2-0 while Donlow dropped to 1-1.

Fighting in Youngstown for the first time in 12-years, Darnell Boone fought to a draw against Hawley, PA native Lamont Capers in a 6-round cruiserweight fight.

Capers (9-13-5) was able to use his size to keep Boone (24-24-4) at a distance while avoiding devastating right hand of the 38-year-old hometown favorite known as Deezol.

Boone's best round came in the final round when he was able to stun Capers a few times with hard shots but time would be on the side of Capers as the fight would end in a majority draw.

HVY - Daniel Infante (Youngstown) UD over Davmond Carter (Jamestown, NY)
Welterweight - David Rodriguez (Akron) UD over Deon Goodlow (Pittsburgh)
Super Welterweight - Roque Zapata (Culpeper, VA) UD over Danny Rosenberger (Youngstown)
Super Middleweight - Lavelle Hadley (Youngstown) UD over Latiss Norman (Cleveland)
HVY - Anthony Congemi (Youngstown) KO1 over Robert Taylor (Warren, MI)
Super Lightweight - Vinny O'Neill (Youngstown) UD over James Lester (Detroit, MI)
Cruiserweight - Darnell Boone (Youngstown) and Lamont Capers (Hawley, PA) - Draw

Monday, November 19, 2018

Fight Week: Local Talent Ready To Shine As Jack Loew Brings Pro Boxing To The Palermo Center

Jack Loew has been a busy man the past couple weeks as the world-class boxing trainer has been busying doubling as a promoter and putting the finishing touches on quality pro boxing card loaded with Youngstown talent to be held at the Palermo Center in Campbell this Wednesday, November 21st.

One of the most anticipated matches of the evening is going to be the return of Loew's right-hand man at the Market Street gym, Vinny O'Neill (3-2-1).

Vinny O'Neill and Lavelle Hadley

O'Neill, 39, will be making his return to the ring for the first time since suffering a decision loss to Angel Figueroa in 2014.

"I'm just ready to get in there and get it on," O'Neill said of his return to the ring.  "You schedule a fight three months ago and time flies then the week before the fight time starts to go real slow".

Though some might view his age as a disadvantage, O'Neill, who will take on James Lester (12-15-1) of Detroit in a 6 round lightweight contest says he is feeling as good as he has in a long time.

"I'm feeling good and strong and for my age my I feel hand speed at the moment after a three-year layoff".

O'Neill's return to the ring isn't the only return that is starting to generate some buzz as 38-year-old Darnell Boone will be fighting in the Mahoning Valley for the first time since 2007 will take on Lamont Capers (9-13-4) of Hawley, Pennsylvania in a 6 round cruiserweight contest.

Boone (24-24-4) is known the most feared fighter with a .500 record having wins over world champion Adonis Stevenson, and world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr while taking the former pound for pound king Andre Ward the distance as well as former world titlist Sergey Kovalev.

The most intriguing fight on the card might the busiest fighter in Youngstown, Danny Rosenberger (4-5-3) taking on 23-year-old Roque Zapata (5-2-4) of Culpepper, VA by way of Panama in a 6 round super welterweight contest.

Rosenberger, 28, has switched things up a little bit this camp heading into his bout and should feel as confident as ever coming off of a first-round knockout victory his last time in the ring in September

Danny Rosenberger

"I think this is the most ready I think I've been for a fight in my career," said Rosenberger.  "On top of my regular boxing and road work I've been working with a guy named Brian Needham who opened up a place in Howland called Combat Athlete and I've been going there three days a week and he is pushing me through and he's putting me through crazy workouts that I just want to fall over when we are done".

One bout that will have the attention of Youngstown will be that featuring the pro debut of Anthony Congemi of the Youngstown Police Department making his pro debut against Warren, Michigan native Robert Taylor (0-2) in a 4 round heavyweight matchup.

Congemi, 38, knows that most fighters don't make a pro debut at his age but plans on making those most of his run in the sport while he has the time.

"You are never too old to accomplish your dreams and I'd rather be 38 doing it than be 48 wishing I had done it", said Congemi.  

Besides fighting for self-pride, and the pride of the Youngstown Police Department, Congemi is also fighting for the memory of his cousin's daughter, Alivia who tragically had her life cut short at 10-years-old in a traffic accident so Congemi will be wearing purple fight gloves to show tribute to "Livin For Livi"

Congemi's fight gloves, a tribute to
Livin for Livi.

Rounding out the local talent on the fight card will be Chicago native Lavell Hadley who has been training in Youngstown and Daniel Infante.

Hadley (2-4), who has been training at Southside Boxing Club the past few months, will take on Latiss Norman (1-2) of Cleveland in a 4 round super welterweight match while Infante of Burnside Boxing Club will take on Daymone Carter of Jamestown, NY in a 4 round heavyweight bout between two fighters making their debuts.

Rounding out the action will be a battle of 1-0 fighters as David Rodriguez of Akron will take on Deon Goodlow of Pittsburgh in a 4 round super welterweight matchup.

Weigh-ins for the event will be held on Tuesday at East Side Civics at 5:00 PM and is open to the public.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sims Celebrates Birthday Weekend with KO Victory in Cleveland

Ever since losing a controversial decision in Pittsburgh in October, Brian Sims has vowed he is done leaving fights in the hands of the judges.

For the second straight fight since that defeat, Sims has stayed true to his vow as the Youngstown State Universty senior who trains at Downtown Boxing Club has scored consecutive knockout victories including a second-round knockout victory on Saturday in Cleveland.

Sims, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this weekend, defeated KC Austen at the Bob Davis Memorial Boxing Show in Glenville to improve his record to 18-9.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Stars Come Out to Support the Rescue Mission and Its Move Our Mission Campaign

The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley opened its doors to the public this afternoon as local members of the Youngstown boxing community came together to bring awareness to the "Move Our Mission" campaign as the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is looking to replace its current 88-year-old building which is damaged beyond repair.

Former world champion boxers Kelly Pavlik, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Jeff Lampkin, and Harry Arroyo were joined by former local standouts Craig Kitka, Craig Snyder, Ken Sigurani, and Roland Cummings to sign autographs, take pictures, and meet with fans from all around the Mahoning Valley.

Joining the legends of yesterday were a handful of current pro fighters from the region including  Darnell Boone, Vinny O'Neill, Anthony Taylor, Anthony Congemi, John Gregory and Willie Nelson.

The pros were not the only ones who got involved as a handful of amateurs from Southside Boxing Club, including trainer Jack Loew were on hand to show support for the cause and to interact with the youth at the mission.

Those fighters who volunteered their time to the event, which was organized by mission volunteer Jason Elliot, were given a private tour of the facility and served lunch.

Those who were unable to attend this afternoon but still want to donate can do so by visiting

A special thanks Century 21, and Livin for Livi for helping sponsor the event and to Jennifer Sharp of Southside Boxing Club for her assistance in putting on such a phenomenal event. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Youngstown Native and Former NABC Intercontinental Middleweight Champion Billy Lyell Opens Boxing Gym

Though Billy Lyell's career was often overshadowed by another Youngstown legend in Kelly Pavlik, one can't deny that Lyell is one of the top boxers to come out of the Youngstown area this millennium.  

Lyell, who turned pro in 2003, fought for a world title in 2010 when he fought Sebastian Sylvester in Germany for the IBF world middleweight championship while also facing off against undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC silver middleweight title in 2011, a match which saw Lyell take Chavez Jr. the distance in defeat.

Though Lyell claimed the NABC intercontinental middleweight title in October of 2009 when he defeated Chris Gray, his biggest victory came earlier that year when he defeated the previously undefeated top middleweight prospect John Duddy in New Jersey by split decision.

Not known for his power with only five of his victories coming by way of knockout but rather his pure boxing ability combined with his heart and determination which gave Lyell a fighters chance everytime he entered the ring.

Now Lyell is passing his extensive knowledge of the sport and putting that heart he once carried into the ring and putting into tomorrows champions as he, along with his wife has opened Eastside Boxing Club in Naples, Florida.

Eastside Boxing Club is not your everyday boxing gym, however.

The Lyell's opened the club as a 501 (c) (3) which will allow amateur boxers to train and compete without a financial hardship to their family, something that was important to the couple when they opened talked about opening the gym.

Eastside Boxing Club will also provide scholarships for individuals with Parkinson's Disease to participate in Rock Steady Boxing and will also be teaming up with a women's shelter to host monthly self-defense clinics for free.

Donations are being accepted to help Eastside Boxing with their mission of being able to give back and provide for all people regardless of income.

Those interested in donating to one of my favorite fighters to not only come out of Youngstown but of all-time can do so by visiting the gym's GoFundMe page.