“The Messenger” loses by dispute in nation’s capitol!
By Ken Hissner, DoghouseBoxing.com (Aug 17, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
Philadelphia’s Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson 23-3 (17) returned to action Friday night after a 14 month layoff thinking he resurrected his career only to have it snatched away as the new Washington, DC boxing commission ruled against an obvious foul in favor of local boxer Ishmail Arvin 15-1-4 (7) of nearby Baltimore, giving him a victory after the 6th round. This was a 10 round bout for the IBO/USBO organization’s vacant junior middleweight title. The belt was placed around Arvin’s waist in a blood stained ring. In a city that is known for its corruption, murders and political unrest it added another controversy to the pile at the Ibiza Nightclub, before millions of viewers on ESPN2.

Heavy Hitters and Duva Boxing, with Chris Middendorf serving as matchmaker, filled the small venue with 6 fights and 1 cancellation which almost started another fight. Even though there was a new commission it was the same old story as in the days of the Riddick Bowe controversies. Only this time, Bowe was a spectator as an angry group of Arvin fans almost erupted before a most controversial decision was rendered in favor of their fighter.

After easily winning the first 2 rounds, Thompson was up against the ropes and received a nasty gash to the outside corner of his left eyebrow. ESPN2’s Dan Rafael who was sitting next to this writer at ringside brought over referee Malik Waleed after the 3rd round questioning whether a head butt or a punch caused the cut. Waleed put his two fists together signaling punch. We at ringside couldn’t believe the light hitting Arvin could have done that much damage with a punch. Little did we know what controversy that decision caused.

Thompson’s manager Cameron Dunkin seemed to make the right decision in picking Arvin as Thompson’s return opponent. It was quite evident from the start that Arvin was not in the same class as Thompson ability wise as he was stunned near the end of the 1st round by a right hand. What we didn’t realize was the kind of heart Arvin would display in coming back from 2 official knockdowns in the 3rd round. A 3rd knockdown was ruled a slip even though not only did Arvin go down but did a backwards somersault. He staggered back to his corner at the end of the round.

The Thompson corner worked to stop the flow of blood to no avail. Thompson’s decision to stay fighting on the inside instead of using his reach and boxing ability seemed a mistake. This allowed the unsteady legged Arvin to continue to pound the cut which would bring much swelling by the end of the 6th round. Thompson had swept the first 4 rounds and seemed to win the 5th in a close call as the flow of blood seemed to cause him to slow down. Arvin to the cheering of the crowd fought his way back to take the 6th round. The doctor stepped into Thompson’s corner and after discussing it with the referee called a halt to the bout.

Both boxers raised their hands in victory to add more confusion to the night. ESPN2’s Joe Tessitore called over Waleed to show him on the monitor that the cut was caused by an accidental head butt. The referee’s answer to this was “I didn’t see a head butt so I ruled the cut was caused by a punch.” Well, he didn’t see a punch do it either, so why didn’t he rule accidental head butt? To Waleed’s credit he admitted to the commission he did not see what caused the cut. It was ruled since Waleed did not call it a butt at the end of the round it was officially considered caused by a punch. The judge’s scorecard’s had it in favor of Thompson by scores of 57-55, 58-54 and 59-53 at the time of stoppage. Thompson’s trainer Derrick “Bozy” Ennis agreed the fight should be protested. One of Thompson’s handler’s took the official protest to the commissioner. It would only be right for a rematch somewhere other than Washington, DC as soon as Thompson’s cut heals. The chances of Arvin getting back in the ring with Thompson are slim. Thompson had his opponent out on his feet and should have finished him off when he had the chance. It seemed Arvin’s heart was bigger than Thompson’s punch.

The co-main event featured Nigeria’s Ola Afolabi 13-1-3 (5), now residing in West Hills, Californa, who fought in spurt’s while causing much damage to Deleon Tinsley 9-4-1 (5), of Orlando, who fought back in the latter part of this 8 round bout to the delight of the fans. A short left hook caused a delay knockdown in the first round as it looked like Tinsley was going to be counted out early. In the 2nd round Tinsley’s nose started bleeding. In the 3rd round it was Afolabi who was cut outside the right eye. His corner did a good job in stopping it. The 5th through the 7th rounds saw Afolabi lay on the ropes too much while the light punching Tinsley simply outworked him. The last round was close and could have gone either way. All in all Afolabi disappointed the fans especially coming in as a title contender in the cruiserweight division. He seemed to have power but poor balance. You could not have asked for a more gutsy performance by Tinsley. The judges had it 79-73, 78-74 and 77-74 all for Afolabi.

In a rematch local favorite Alexander Johnson 6-0 (3) of Oxon Hill, Maryland, had his way for the most part as his southpaw style seemed to confuse the ever trying Zeferino Albino 3-7-2 (1) of Philadelphia in a 6 round light heavyweight fight. The judges had it 40-35 twice, and 40-36. Albino lost a point for losing his mouthpiece twice.

In a one-sided heavyweight match Seth Mitchell 5-0 (4), of Brandywine, Maryland use a strong body attack defeating Ryan St. Germain 2-3 (2) of Elkhart, Indiana, causing the referee Kenny Chevalier to stop it at 2:56 of the 2nd round.

Ismael Sillaht, 3-0 (3), a black Ukrainian living in Simi Valley, California, had an easy night stopping fellow light heavyweight Walter Edwards 1-3 (1), of Wilson, North Carolina, who looked like he had just put on a pair of gloves for the first time. Time of stoppage was 1:50 of the 1st round by referee Rick Ellis.

Lateef Kayode, Nigeria, made his debut, opening the show by landing numerous right hands to the left side of Mike Miller’s 4-12-2 (2) face. The judges had this 4 round match 40-36, twice and 39-37. Miller of Akron, Ohio, came in at 254lb and Kayode at 202lb.

To his disappointment, USBA cruiserweight champion BJ Flores, 21-0-1 (13), of Chandler, Arizona had his 6 round bout with Cory Phelps, 13-4-1 (7), of Catlettsburg, Kentucky cancelled due to lack of time. Flores hasn’t been able to get a fight since February. He pleaded with the officials for his fight to go on. The club’s prior agreement of a 10pm finish to the boxing and the amount of time for the commission to make a decision prevented this from happening.

Howard Davis, Jr. served as in studio guest for ESPN2. The Val Barker most outstanding boxer of the 1976 Olympics, has a son Dyah who sports a 12-1 record at 175 pounds.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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