Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell in Revenge Bout with Lyons Saturday
By Ken Hissner (July 14, 2010) Doghouse Boxing  
Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell has waited four years for the rematch with Arron Lyons. It was back in 2006 at the Legendary Blue Horizon and Abell was 9-0 with nine knockouts. The unbeaten Lyons was left off the hook and Abell suffered his first loss and it stayed that way until he was 17-1. Well this Saturday back in Abell’s home state of Minnesota the opportunity will present itself.

I had heard about this tall (6 foot four) white southpaw from Minnesota named Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell from other writers but never had the chance to see him until September of 2007 at the Legendary Blue Horizon. When the “Iceman” came out the fans started cheering. Philly’s Levon Warner, 6-4-2, was the perfect villain in the other corner. He had a four bout winning streak in Philly rings prior to his last fight losing to an 11-0 Russian by decision in New England. In his most recent Philly fight he beat local favorite Dave Brunelli, 6-1. Earlier he defeated unbeaten Terrance Lewis and drew with unbeaten Darroll Wilson.

The local Philly writers seem to really like Abell. www.phillykeith.com “Joey has scored three of the most incredible knockouts I have ever seen during my time covering the fights at ringside. While the rest of the package may still be a work in progress, he has the one tool that can take a fighter a long way in the sport. The explosive, one punch KO power that’s packed into his left hand is truly a world class asset.”

The stage was set as Abell was using his jab like a measuring stick waiting to drop the bomb. At 2:52 of the first round Warner was “iced”! The fans went nuts. I shook my head and thought “I can see why they like this guy in Philly”. The legendary matchmaker who developed Tony Tubbs and Eddie Chambers, Don Elbaum had seen Abell in Minnesota. It was in his fourth fight stopping his opponent in the first round so Elbaum brought him immediately to the Blue in his next fight back in February of 2006. He didn’t bring him in to fight a tomato can either. Knowing Elbaum in bringing in Dan Jambor, 5-0-1, from Cleveland he probably figured the winner can find a home at the Blue. He didn’t have to wait long as Jambor was counted out in 1:15 of the first round. Abell had found a second home away from Minnesota.

Abell had four straight first round knockouts including two at the Blue when he was matched with popular wildman Mark “Oaktree” Brown, 7-0, of New Jersey. Brown was able to hang around into the second round before Abell starched him at the 2:14 mark. After two more knockouts at the Blue his record was 9-0 with nine knockouts in 2006 when an unknown named Arron Lyons, 3-0, of Las Cruces, NM, was brought into the Blue. “I was told I needed rounds. I had him hurt with a right hook and backed off which is something I was not used to doing. The next thing I know I was getting hit with about ten punches in a row. Today I would have taken a knee. The referee waved it off at 1:17 of the first round,” said Abell. A rematch was sought after but Lyons of course priced himself out of the park.

Abell was 16-1 with all knockouts after the Warner fight when Elbaum brought him to Sweden. It had been over thirty years since they had boxing there. On the comeback trail was former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer on the card. Abell was matched with Russian Daniil Peretyatko, 8-8, who had just gone the distance with 17-0 Egon Roth in Germany. It didn’t take long before the referee waved it off in the second round. This would be the first of three fights in Sweden.

Next would be an opportunity though Abell was not training for a fight when Chris Arreola pulled out against Nigerian Teke “The African Prince” Oruh, 14-0-1, on a Showtime card. “I was contacted less than two weeks before the fight and got in about a week of training. It was my first ten rounder and it was hot down in St. Lucia,” said Abell. In eighteen fights he never had to go a full six rounds. Eight were stopped in the second and seven in the first but he still managed to win a majority decision.

In 2008 Abell was back in Sweden against Montenegro’s Ratko Draskovic, 28-7-2, in the co-feature. Abell had him out of there in the second. Two weeks later Elbaum had him back at the Blue with Philly’s Maurice Wheeler, 10-11-1. Wheeler had gone the distance with Olympian Jason Estrada and unbeaten boxers Malik Scott and Alonzo Butler. By the end of the second round Wheeler could not come out which is less rounds than David Tua, DaVarryl Wiliamson, Tony Thompson and equaling Dominic Guinn were able to do with Wheeler.

Two weeks later Abell was back in Minnesota against Andrew Greeley, 13-20-2. Earlier in Greeley’s career he went to Maryland and stopped Jed Phipps, 17-3, in the first round. “This is one fight that I lost because I just got caught,” said Abell. The referee stopped it in the fourth round. Elbaum would bring him back to Sweden against the former IBF cruiserweight champion Al “King” Cole, 34-14-3 who was making a comeback. “I got head butted causing a cut on my left eye. I also had another cut on the bridge of my nose. I don’t think I did enough to win the decision,” said Abell. Abel would lose by split decision to the former champ over six rounds which is the maximum in Sweden.

“Don Elbaum was instrumental with local Swedish promoter in getting boxing back into the country. They started that you could only have a bout lasting twelve minutes. In Abell’s fight with Cole by the time he was coming on the round was ended. Cole started each round jumping on him and moving well,” said Steve Smoger. That’s a statement from one of the top referee’s who has worked in Sweden for two of Abell’s bouts.

In late 2008 Abell would fight in South Dakota against Jason Nicholson, 17-2-52. “He was very short and was ducking down when I hurt him. I didn’t realize his knee was on the canvas when I knocked him out,” said Abell. He was disqualified in the first round. With three straight losses Abell wondered where his career was heading.

In 2009 Abell was back in Minnesota scoring three straight first round knockouts with the last one over Galen Brown, 32-10-1. It was back to the Blue against Billy Willis, 11-14-1, who was on a three fight win streak including Nicholson. By 0:54 of the third round the referee had seen enough putting Abell back in the win column. This made him 9-1 with nine knockouts at the Blue. Only the loss to Lyons marred another wise perfect record. “I like the fans in Philly. The fans in Minnesota are good but there’s not a ton of them,” said Abell.

After another knockout win Abell was matched the end of 2009 with Raphael Butler, 35-8 for the vacant USA Minnesota State title. “I hurt Butler and he fell into a clinch. I thought I heard the referee say go ahead when I hit him. He wasn’t able to continue so they called it a no contest,” said Abell. He has had one fight this year stopping Josh Gutcher, 18-11, in the second round in Minnesota. This brought his record to 26-4 with twenty-five knockouts.

“Elbaum had been negotiating for a big fight in Kampala, Uganda, with Frans Botha. The winner would fight Evander Holyfield,” said Abell. He is still scheduled to go over there the following week of the Lyons fight but an opponent has not been named. Abell is managed by Ron Lyke and when fighting at home in Minnesota Tony Grygelko of Seconds Out Promotions promotes him. When you can punch out twenty-five out of your twenty-six wins as a heavyweight you are always one fight away from a big payday in this business. Right now he is on a six fight knockout streak plus the no contest. Lyons is the first to step back in the ring with him of his four losses. I have a feeling by Sunday “Minnesota Ice” will be having his passport stamped for Uganda!

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