Heavyweight Bryant Jennings wins battle of Philadelphia; Jesse Hart scores TKO win

Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings, left, dominated Joey Dawejko to win a unanimous decision. Photo provided by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

PHILADELPHIA -- City of Brotherly Love heavyweight bragging rights go to Bryant Jennings.

Jennings toyed with Joey Dawejko to win a lopsided unanimous decision and avenge an amateur loss on the Jessie Magdaleno-Isaac Dogboe undercard Saturday night on the Top Rank on ESPN card at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University.

Jennings won by scores of 98-92 on all three scorecards as he also claimed the vacant Pennsylvania State title.

"That's pretty much the Joey that I expected," Jennings said. "There was a lot of hesitation from the both of us. As many prayers as he launched, he didn't really land any. He landed a couple, but he was launching prayers. Joey has thick legs, and I was just trying to be cautious and not get caught with some desperate shot. I knew going into the eighth, ninth and 10th rounds that I was winning."

In Jennings' third amateur fight, Dawejko hung a loss on him. But as professionals, Jennings was the one to emerge as a bona fide contender, even getting a shot at then-unified heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and losing a decision.

Jennings then lost by knockout to Luis Ortiz later in 2015 but after a 20-month layoff Jennings signed with Top Rank and has won four fights in a row since returning in August.

There were spurts of action with both fighters winding up and trying to land their best shots. Jennings (23-2, 13 KOs), 33, attacked Dawejko's ample midsection and Dawejko (19-5-4, 11 KOs), 27, fired hooks to the head and landed several borderline body shots that caused Jennings to look to referee Gary Rosato because he thought they were low.

Both continued to shoot body shots in the fourth round and some strayed low, drawing a warning from Rosato to both fighters as the action began to pick up.

Jennings was in a groove by the sixth round and Dawejko was unable to get past his long jab with any success. Jennings snapped it out, kept Dawejko at bay and landed right hands, including a clean one that rocked Dawejko's head back in the final seconds of the round.

Jennings caught Dawejko with solid uppercuts in the seventh round when Dawejko appeared to be looking to rest on the inside.

Dawejko tried to push Jennings to the ropes and fire right hands in the final round, but Jennings did what he did most of the fight, which was to work on the inside and fire right hands and jabs to keep him away. A left hook seemed to rattle Dawejko midway through the final round as Jennings continued to let his hands go. Later in the round, Jennings knocked Dawejko's mouthpiece out.

Jennings landed way more punches and threw way more also. According to CompuBox statistics, Jennings landed 176 of 502 punches (35 percent) and Dawejko landed 115 of 414 (28 percent).

"I did my best," Dawejko said. "I fought 10 hard rounds, but I should've picked it up a little bit more. I came in in the best shape of my life, but it is what it is."


Hart stops Nicholson in seventh

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Hart TKOs Nicholson

Jesse Hart sends Demond Nicholson to the canvas in the seventh round and the referee counts before eventually stopping the bout.

Former super middleweight world title challenger Jesse Hart did a number on Demond Nicholson in a seventh-round knockout victory.

Hart (23-1, 19 KOs), 28, of Philadelphia, won his second fight in a row since super middleweight world titlist Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez outpointed him in a hard-fought fight in September.

"I dream about the Ramirez rematch every night. I want it! I want so bad," Hart said. "I know now that I can't make mistakes when I'm in the ring with him. Let's make it happen!"

Hart, the son of 1970s middleweight contender Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, had his way for virtually every second of the opening round until Nicholson landed a hard right hand that sent him into the ropes as the bell ended the round. But his moments in the fight were few and far between thereafter as he struggled mightily to get inside against the much taller and longer Hart.

Referee Shawn Clark, who had a difficult night, gave Hart credit for a knockdown in the third round though television replays showed that Nicholson slipped. Later in the round, Hart sent Nicholson reeling from a left hand and then dropped him again -- for real this time -- with an overhand right.

Nicholson (18-3-1, 17 KOs), 25, of Laurel, Maryland, landed some damaging shots late in the sixth round, including two uppercuts, that stunned Hart.

But in the seventh round, Hart badly hurt Nicholson with a right hand that made him touch his gloves to the mat but Clark didn't call a knockdown. But when the fight resumed Hart landed several more heavy punches to knock him down. Clark seemed to take forever with his count and Nicholson finally -- and seemingly reluctantly -- got to his feet, but then Clark waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 26 seconds.

"He wanted to quit. Simple as that," Hart said. "When a man turns his back, it's a sign that he doesn't want it anymore."

Said Nicholson: "I was just coming on, man. The ref shouldn't have stopped the fight. I was ready to continue. I'm going to talk to my team and we are going to file a protest with the commission."

According to CompuBox, Hart landed 98 of 316 punches (31 percent) and Nicholson connected with 75 of 238 (32 percent).


  • Featherweight Shakur Stevenson (6-0, 3 KOs), a 20-year-old southpaw from Newark, New Jersey, who claimed a silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, looked sensational in a second-round knockout of Patrick Riley (12-1, 6 KOs), 30, of Dallas, Georgia. Stevenson outboxed him in the first round and then took him out in the second round. He began to hurt him with left hands and then dropped him with clean straight right hand. Moments later as Stevenson was nailing him repeatedly, referee Shawn Clark stopped the fight at 1 minute, 35 seconds.

    "This training camp, we've been working on power," Stevenson said. "Nobody wants to be on my side when I'm going six rounds or eight rounds straight and doing good against these opponents. Now, with these knockouts, everybody is going to be on my side."


  • Junior lightweight Robson Conceicao (7-0, 4 KOs), 29, who claimed a 2016 Olympic gold medal in front of his home crowd in Brazil, rolled past Alex Rynn Torres (6-2, 3 KOs), 31, of Calgary, Canada, in a decision victory. Conceicao won by shutout scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards. He did as he pleased with the game Rynn Torres, including pounding him to the body so often that he had red marks all over his torso and flank.

    "My opponent had a weird style, but this was actually a good fight for me," Conceicao said. "I'm ready to fight against the best and I'm going to keep working hard so I can make that happen faster. I want to thank Brazil for all the support and I promise that sooner than later I will win a world title for my country, just like I did when I won a gold medal."

  • Philadelphia bantamweight Christian Carto (15-0, 11 KOs), 21, put on a good show for the raucous fans who turned out to see him outpoint Edwin Rodriguez (8-5-1, 4 KOs), 24, of Puerto Rico, in an entertaining scrap. Carto won on scores of 78-74, 77-75 and 77-75. Carto, whose grandfather and uncles boxed as pros, showed off his hand speed, jab and two-handed attack throughout the fight. In the fifth round, he rocked Rodriguez with a left hand but Rodriguez never stopped coming at him.

    Carto was critical of his performance, saying, "He was a really tough kid. He threw a lot of punches. I definitely could have kept my hands up a little more and blocked some of those wild shots."

  • Junior welterweight Kent Cruz (14-0-1, 9 KOs), 25, of St. Louis, and Mohamed Rodriguez (11-5, 4 KOs), 20, of Mexico, fought to a spirited split draw. One judge had the fight for Cruz, 78-74, one had it 77-75 for Rodriguez and one had it 76-76.

    "I thought I was the busier fighter. I thought I pulled it off," Cruz said. "I needed the work. I needed the rounds, and it's going to help me out later in my career."

  • Junior lightweight Joseph Adorno (7-0, 7 KOs), 18, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, leveled Jorge Padron (3-2, 3 KOs), 30, of Mexico, with a right hand, dropping him to a knee for the count at 1 minute, 11 seconds of the first round. Adorno has won six of his fights by first-round knockout.

    "Coming into this fight, we thought Jorge Padron was a tough fighter because he went the distance with [prospect] Gabe Flores Jr., but clearly he couldn't take my power," Adorno said.

  • Junior middleweight Marcel Rivers (5-0, 4 KOs), 30, of Philadelphia, scored a second-round knockout of Ronald Logan (0-3), 33, of New York, when Logan tripped to the mat and injured his right ankle and was unable to continue as referee Gary Rosato waved off the fight at 49 seconds.