Seasons Beatings from Philly where Local Fighters of Note are in Action This Weekend


By Luis A. Cortes III

Tomorrow night (Friday, Dec. 8) begins a nice stretch of live boxing in the Philadelphia area after a relatively quiet fall schedule. These shows will wrap a bow on the 2023 fight schedule for the Delaware Valley with a slate of shows already scheduled for the early part of the upcoming new year.

This sudden boom, well overdue, is good for the Delaware Valley, for its fighters and its fight fans. So, while these shows aren’t large-scale, they are a great way for fight fans to learn about fighters they may see competing on those larger shows in the future.

Let’s look at what exactly fans are in for with the final shows of 2023.

Friday, December 8th – Wind Creek Events Center, Bethlehem, PA (Kings Promotions)

Jesse Hart (29-3) vs. Jeyson Minda (14-7-1) tops a massive 11-fight card. For years now, Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions has put on successful shows in the Philadelphia region. Not only do they hit the mark from a commercial standpoint, but his shows always have entertaining fights where the result could go either way and this show should be no different.

Jesse Hart (pictured with Jarrett Hurd) finds himself somewhat in limbo in the sport. Staying active and keeping his tools sharp is crucial for Hart to continue to keep his name out there and work his way back into the rankings.

A powerful fighter who often finds himself in engaging battles, Hart’s three defeats happened against only two fighters -- Gilberto Ramirez (twice) and Joe Smith, both former world champions. Since his last setback in 2020, Hart has won three fights on the local scene while enduring some setbacks outside of the ring due to hand injuries. Released from his contract with Top Rank, Hart finds himself in the position where his name and pedigree (he’s the son of former middleweight standout Eugene “Cyclone” Hart) coupled with a string of quality victories could open the door to another crack at a marquee name in the super middleweight or light heavyweight division.

Former super welterweight king Jarrett Hurd (24-3) takes on Tyi Edmonds (14-5). In his most recent fight back in March, Hurd returned to the ring after a long absence and was shockingly stopped in the tenth round by Armando Resendiz. Against Edmonds, Hurd looks to prove that he still has elite-level abilities as he too tries to work his way back to the top. A much-needed victory would start that process while a third defeat in a row, especially if it’s physically taxing, would all but mark the end of having his name mentioned anywhere near the division’s best.

Julian Gonzalez (11-0-1) is a talented Kings Promotions fighter who packs a punch, especially for a super featherweight. The 22-year-old Reading, PA native continues his growth against Texas journeyman Juan Antonio Lopez (17-15-1). If successful, Gonzalez will set himself up for a bright 2024 that should see him face quality fringe contenders as well as other prospects which will lead to bigger fights down the road.

Saturday, December 9th – Showboat Hotel, Atlantic City, NJ (Champions Sports and Entertainment)

Philadelphia fan favorite Joey “The Tank” Dawejko (26-10-4, 14 KOs) is staying busy in the twilight of his career. He’s 3-0 thus far in 2023 which includes two exciting victories over Colby Madison (their first fight, a bruising tiff, will most likely be the 2023 Philadelphia Fight of the Year). On Saturday he returns to the ring to defend his WBC USA heavyweight title in an 8-round battle vs. Jesse Bryan (21-7-2, 16 KOs) of Jefferson City, Missouri. This fight headlines a nine-bout show by CSE which is trying to revive boxing on the boardwalk.

In the co-main, Glassboro, NJ native Derrick Webster (29-4-1) will take on the always durable Cleotis Pendarvis (22-19-2) in an 8-round battle of super middleweights.

Liverpool, NY super lightweight Bryce Mills (13-1, 4 KO) looks to add to his 7-fight winning streak when he battles the durable Tackie Annan (15-10) in a fight scheduled for six rounds. Mills has continued to grow his fan base in the northeast by taking part in action-packed fights from the opening bell. His fans tend to travel well and Saturday looks to be no different as a large contingent of his fans are expected to turn up in Atlantic City to support their young charge. It also helps that Mills, like Dawejko, has teamed up with Hall-of-Fame promoter J. Russell Peltz to help guide his professional career.

Edward Donovan (7-0), a super welterweight prospect from Limerick, Ireland, puts his undefeated record on the line when he battles tough Jetter Burgos (6-1, 5 KO) from the Bronx, NY. Puerto Rican lightweight Joey Borrero (11-1, 9 KO), along with super middleweight prospect Cali Box (2-0) from Franklin Township, NJ, will appear in separate fights.

Date TBD– 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, PA (R&B Promotions)

Tevin Farmer (32-5-1) and Patrick Okine (21-6-2) were slated to meet in the main event last Friday, Dec. 1, on a show at the always-fun 2300 Arena. At the last minute, the show was postponed. An e-mail announcing the unfortunate postponement stated that the show would be rescheduled soon. While a new date has yet to be locked in, all signs point toward the show coming to fruition at the close of 2023 or early in 2024.

A former IBF world super featherweight champion, Tevin Farmer was set to make his third appearance of 2023 as he continues to shake off the ring rust that formed after a much-needed break and continue his push toward becoming a two-time world title-holder. It’s crazy to think, but it’s already been more than three full years since Farmer lost his title to Jojo Diaz in January of 2020.

Farmer, who had a late start in the sport, turned pro without the glitz and glamour that accompanies a highly decorated amateur, but fought his way to the top, beating the odds to achieve his life’s dream of championship glory. His break from the sport following his defeat to Diaz was needed to reenergize him from both a physical and mental standpoint.

In Okine he will find himself in the ring with a sturdy opponent that has faced some of the top contenders in and around the lightweight division. “I wanted Tevin [Farmer] to stay active and keep sharpening his tools and Okine provides that opportunity for him,” stated Alex Barbosa, the promoter/matchmaker. “Okine is always tough and comes to win, which is just what Tevin needs at this point of his career.”

With the lightweight division having had a changing of the guard at the top in terms of the championships, Farmer, 33, just may get that second chance at the top of the mountain. And if he continues to stay active while racking up solid victories, it may come sooner rather than later.