PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - November 18, 2021  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


The brand new Live! Casino in South Philadelphia held their first-ever boxing event Thursday night with a six-bout show promoted by Joe Hand Promotions in association with BAM Boxing and Peltz Boxing. Popular local rising heavyweight prospect Sonny Conto was featured in the main event. Thanks to Conto's ravenous fan base, the show was completely sold out with about 1,100 in attendance. To their delight, Conto did not disappoint his loyal followers.

Conto scored a hard-earned third round TKO over Joel Caudle of Raleigh, NC to improve his spotless record to 8-0 with 7 KOs. Although he had scored seven previous victories, this battle, scheduled for six rounds, was the first to really test him. Caudle appeared present and ready to fight, albeit somewhat heavy for the challenge (257.1 pounds at 5 feet ten inches). By comparison, Conto was a physical specimen at six-feet five inches and 220.2 pounds.

After dancing his way to the ring before an adoring crowd, Conto stepped out in the first round and began pushing out his jab. He established control and used his right uppercut on his shorter foe, who pressed him from the opening bell. However, the action heated up toward the end of the round and the fight became a two-way conflict. Caudle was making his move, but Conto had built a lead and won the round.

The second was similar, although Caudle started sooner and kept the pressure on Sonny. Conto backed up most of the round and took a few punches in the scuffle. However, Sonny kept spearing Caudle with his shots and again used his uppercut to jar his opponent. Conto was winning, but for the first time in his career he was working for it.

The third round followed a similar pattern, but suddenly concluded when Conto trapped Caudle on the ropes and landed a combination of shots - highlighted by a left hook - that staggered Joel and sent him to the canvas. Caudle made it to his feet, but referee Benjy Esteves Jr. stopped the fight just before the bell.

Announcer Alex Barbosa said the fight came to an end "at the end of round three". So the presumption here was that the time was 3:00, although no bell sounded. When the fight was stopped the crowd, most of which was there to see Conto, exploded with joy.

The victory made Conto 8-0, 7 KOs, and kept his heavyweight campaign moving forward. More importantly, he was truly tested for the first time and although his performance was not flawless, he undoubtedly passed his toughest test to date. Young fighters need tough fights to make them better, and this one will certainly help in Conto's development. Caudle, who fought in Philly three times prior (0-2-1) proved a good measuring stick for Conto and left 8-6-2, 5 KOs.


In the semi-wind up, North Philly junior welterweight Christopher Burgos (dark drunks) scored an upset six-round decision over Gerardo Martinez of Coatesville, PA. Martinez had the better record going in, but Burgos perhaps had the bigger chip on his shoulder. And that chip fueled his victory.

The fight itself was a scorching battle. From the opening bell, the fighters traded blows. Both men landed in a great first round. Martinez edged it on my card, but it was close. The back and forth combat continued in the second and although Burgos came away with a bloody eye, he took the round with his harder punches. The pattern continued as the fight progressed. I had the fighters splitting the next two rounds, but the fourth was extremely close. At one point in the round, referee Shawn Clark had the doctor look at Burgos' cut eye. Luckily the fight continued. The scare appeared to motivate Burgos. He picked up his pace and landed a bit more freely. He won the fifth and sixth more clearly, but still this was a two-way war throughout.

Martinez had not fought in two years and Burgos only once in the same period. The inactivity appeared to affect Martinez more, as he faded slightly down the stretch. However, this was a very good fight. In fact, although it was only a six-rounder, the fight is a potential candidate for the "Philly Fight of the Year."

All three judges gave the fight to Burgos. Steve Weisfeld and Dewey LaRosa had it 59-55, while Marc Werlinsky scored it 58-56. My score was also 58-56 for Burgos. The win upped the record of Burgos to 3-4-1, 1 KO, while Martinez slid to 5-2, 1 KO.



In an all-Philly welterweight fight, Daiyaan Butt won by third round disqualification over Seifullah Wise in a scheduled six-round bout. After a very strong start, Wise managed to blow the fight with some illegal punching in each of the three rounds. Wise came out quickly and staggered Butt twice in the first. However, when he began holding and hitting and rabbit punching, referee Benjy Esteves penalized Wise one point. The penalty changed a round that would have gone into his column into a 9-9 even round.

In the second, Butt looked better. Wise still proved a problem, but Butt had a slight edge. That edge was widened when once again Wise lost another point for a similar infraction. Suddenly, after two good rounds for the considerable underdog, Wise was in a hole on the scorecards. Finally in the third round, Wise fired another rabbit punch and instead of taking a third point, Esteves called a halt to the fight and awarded Butt a win by disqualification.

It was truly a frustrating performance by Wise, who was coming off a 2019 upset of Vinnie Denierio. Wise certainly had his chances in the fight, but instead worsened his record to 4-8, 1 KO. This was his first loss by DQ. Butt improved to 9-1, 4 KOs, and won by DQ for the first time. 


In a scheduled four-round middleweight fight between two Philadelphians, Jeremiah Kendrick, of Germantown, scored a first round TKO in his pro debut over North Philly's Tyrone Lewis. As the one minute mark approached, Kendrick plastered Lewis with a deadly combination that staggered and ultimately felled him along the ropes. Lewis managed to return to his feet, but after a long look, referee Shawn Clark stopped the fight. The official time was 1:05 of round one. Kendrick went home 1-0, 1 KO. Lewis remained winless, 0-2, with both losses by knockout.


Philly middleweight Maurice Burke (black trunks) won the first two rounds of his four-rounder against Bilal Quintyne of Marietta, GA, and seemed to be on the way to his second professional win. However, the visitor cracked Burke with a right hand in round three that buckled the hometown fighter and changed the direction of the fight. Burke survived the attack and the bout entered the final round. Up two rounds to one (on my card), Burke had to win the round to avoid a draw.

However, Quintyne wasn't going for a draw. He pressed the action in the fourth, trying to hurt Burke again. Bilal landed a number of shots, including a left hook that had Burke in trouble. Moments later a flurry of shots floored Burke. The Philadelphian got up and survived the round. However, the knockdown gave Quintyne an extra point and pushed him one point past Burke on my tally. Two of the judges, Steve Weisfeld and John Poturaj, agreed. They scored the bout 38-37 for Qunityne. The third judge Dewey LaRosa saw the fight even, 38-38. Quintyne improved to 2-0, while Burke evened out at 1-1.


In the opening bout of the night, 31-year-old newbie, Tariq Green of Philadelphia won a four round unanimous decision over Tunde Fatiregun of New Brunswick, NJ. Green swept all four rounds on my scorecard (40-36). Judge Marc Werlinsky agreed, but Steve Weisfeld and Dewey LaRosa saw it one round closer at 39-37. Shawn Clark was the referee.

Joe Hand Promotions will return to the Live! Casino in 2022.




John DiSanto - South Philly - November 18, 2021