Harold “The Shadow” Knight – NJ Title Challenger!
Interview by Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (June 16, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Harold Knight

“If I wasn’t at my best I would have had an “L” next to my name,” said Rocky Lockridge. Harold “The Shadow” Knight was 19-0 with 15 knockouts the night he challenged for the IBF Super Featherweight title in Atlantic City, NJ, on April 2, 1988, over 15 rounds. “I believe if it were a 12 round fight I would have won the title,” said Knight. Little did anyone know it would be Knights last time in the ring!

Knight had a 103-13 (50 KO’s) amateur record and was 5-time NJ Junior Olympic champion, 5-time NJ GG champ and 2-time National PAL champion. “One of those losses was to Pernell Whitaker at the Ohio State Fair,” said Knight. John Davenport was his trainer out of Plainfield, NJ. I visited the gym once and you couldn’t stand in one spot for more than 10 seconds or your shoes would feel like they were on fire from the heated pipes under the wooden floor. I was told by Davenport “it’s just like Kronk”!

Knight turned professional in July of 1983 at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Hotel & Casino scoring a knockout in the first round over Thomas Mason at 1:54. He went through his first 12 opponents stopping 8 of them with 7 being in Atlantic City, 2 in NY and the rest in North Jersey. The only time he was dropped was in his tenth fight by Maurice Saalakhan. “I went to my left to deliver a left hook to the body and got caught with a right hand and I split my trunks. My trainer John Davenport always kept an extra pair so I got changed in the corner,” said Knight.

In February of 1987 Knight took on Rene Resto, 12-1-1, of Brooklyn, in Atlantic City stopping him in the second round. Next up was Darrell Savoy, 19-2, who he stopped in the fourth of an exciting fight. The following month he won the USBA Super featherweight title stopping Kenny Baysmore, 23-1, in 7. “I get chills when I hear that name. I’m still catching flashbacks. He stung me several times but I knew I was not going to lose that night,” said Knight. Matchmaker Don Elbaum called it one of the best fights he put on in Atlantic City.

Knight would stop Sylvester Kennon, 21-9, in 7 rounds. “He had Kenny Adams in his corner. Kennon was craft. A real smart fighter“, said Knight. He would defend his USBA title in September of 1987 stopping Camden’s Anthony English, 19-7, in 4 rounds. His corner talked a lot before the fight. He was pretty good for I watched him several times on ESPN prior to this fight.

In November Knight defended his USBA title stopping Erskine Wade, 17-4-1, in 11 rounds. “He was tough. We had fought in the amateurs,” said Knight. This earned him an April 1988 IBF Super featherweight title bout with Rocky Lockridge, 42-5, in Atlantic City. “He was my toughest opponent. He kept hitting me with that overhand right and I still have cauliflower ears from that fight. He told me in the ring after the fight that I would become a champion someday but not tonight,” said Knight. In calling the champion Rocky Lockridge he had this to say. “He must have been a converted southpaw (no per Knight) for he had power in both hands,” said Lockridge.

Knight would fail a brain scan which stopped his career short. “I was preparing for a fight in New York when I took an MRI brain scan and it showed I had a cyst liaison on the brain that was benign. The commission doctor Barry Jordan said I was born with it,” said Knight.

Even though he couldn’t fight in New York, Knight knew he could possibly fight in New Jersey who did not have the same requirements. “Larry Hazzard had helped me tremendously even in the amateurs. He was the NJ commissioner than and I didn’t want to put him on the spot. I went to the UK to see if I could box over there. They said they were aware of my problem in the US and denied me fighting without giving me a test. I went home mad and didn’t want anything to do with boxing for some time,” said Knight.

Knight’s trainer John Davenport was assisting Manny Steward at the time with Lennox Lewis and asked Knight to work in the corner with them in January of 1990. “I was in the Lewis corner after he had 6 fights until his final one with Vatali Klitschko in 2003. Lewis was a good guy but a perfectionist. I lived in the UK for 3 years,” said Knight.

Knight served as a correctional officer at the Northampton Prison in Easton and lived in Bethlehem, PA, for 6 years. He is now working in Plainfield, NJ, where he grew up, at the H.S. “I was an amateur from the time I was 10. Bobby Czyz would come over and beat up our guys and we would beat up his brothers,” said Knight.

“Harold Knight fought for me numerous times in Atlantic City. He could fight. He could whack. He would be a champ today. I told John Davenport to get a second opinion because 20% of the time the scan tests come out faulty,” said Don Elbaum. He served as matchmaker at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.

“Rocky Lockridge and I would be inducted into the NJ HOF in 2000 together,” said Knight. “He was a good boxer with a pretty good punch. It’s too bad he had to leave the game so early,” said Henry Hascup. That’s from the President of the NJ HOF. Fortunately Knight is still training young fighters today and always looking for another Al Steel Mills (14-2 in 2 years out of Plainfield) who worked with Knight in the beginning or another “Shadow” who could pick up where he left off! Knight can be heard on “Shadow’s Corner” on Tuesday nights at 10pm on Sports 911 over www.bks1radio.com!

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