Hemphill Comes Back From the Brink of Defeat to KO Stewart!
By Ken Hissner at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 21, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com  
Andre Hemphill 7-9-2 (4) of Philadelphia came out like a man possessed taking it to New Castle’s Richie Stewart 14-7-2 (8) Friday night until a Stewart right hand put Hemphill up against the ropes. Stewart drove Hemphill into a corner with a barrage of punches until Hemphill fell into the bottom strand saving him from hitting the canvas as referee Gary Rosato proceeded to give him a standing count as the bell sounded ending the 1st round. That’s the way the main event at the PAL Center in Hockessin, Delaware started on this Dave Tiberi Promotion.

The 2nd round was close with Hemphill’s head now clear mostly because Stewart did not follow up his attack. In the 3rd round Hemphill landed a right uppercut causing Stewart to fall forward, grabbing Hemphill as he went down for an 8 count. Hemphill jumped on Stewart landing a barrage of punches dropping Stewart with a thud. He gamely arose to his feet only to fall into the ropes as Rosato had no choice but to stop it at 2:22 of the 3rd round in this light heavyweight fight. This was Stewart’s 3rd straight loss and his last fight he proclaimed in the dressing room afterwards. “I had him and let him off the hook. That’s it for me. I’m done,” said a dejected Stewart.

Hemphill said he hardly remembered getting driven into the ropes but said “this is the start of my winning. I have a new trainer in James Shedrick and the confidence to be a winner.” Hemphill had lost 4 of his last 5 fights with a lone draw.

The semi-windup featured an interesting match-up as Wildwood, New Jersey’s Chuckie Mussachio 12-0-2 (5) took 3 of the first 4 rounds behind a long left jab keeping the shorter, always aggressive Willis Lockett 10-6-5 (4) of Takoma, Maryland at bay. In the 5th round Lockett started to turn the fight in his favor, follwed by a close 7th round going to Mussachio. It was all Lockett in the 8th and final round as Mussachio seemed confident of victory as he did little in return. Judge Dewey LaRosa had it 79-73 for Mussachio but Joe Pasquale and Dave Greer called it 76-76 for a majority draw which seemed fair. A disturbed Mussachio was talking retirement in the dressing room. “I put in all this work and can’t get a decision in a fight like that,” said Mussachio. Adding “the referee (Vic deWysocki) let Lockett hit me low all night without taking any points away from him.” Asked if he hurt his right hand, which he seemed to use sparingly. Mussachio cried out “it was my left hand that hurt.” He had skin missing on his knuckle area probably from landing so many jabs. This light heavyweight school teacher has had his share of injuries and bad breaks since leaving the college ranks as a two time NCAA champion. On the other hand, Lockett also seemed disappointed with the draw. “I thought I landed so many punches on his body I deserved the win,” said Lockett. When told a draw is like a win with all things considered, he replied “I’m a pastor back home and whatever is God’s will, I will follow it.”

There were 3 Philly prospects that came and conquered early in the night. Former Pennsylvania state amateur champ Pedro Martinez 3-1 (2) had his hand’s full keeping Otgonbayer Daivii 0-1-1 from “leaning” on him with little help from deWysocki. Though frustrated, Martinez did enough with little punching room to earn all the judges favor by 40-36 (twice) and 39-37. This was a cruiserweight 4 rounder.

Another former state amateur champ, Anthony Flores 5-0 (3) had a very awkward, though tough opponent in Jason Rorie 1-2-1 of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Rorie kept trying to duck under Flores effective jab only to be caught with a right uppercut time and time again before finally forcing deWysocki to prevent his opponent any further punishment at 2:10 of the 6th and final round in this junior lightweight match.

Former National Golden Glove champion Teon Kennedy 10-0 (5) continued to prove to be one of the best super bantamweights in the country by shutting out tough Robert DaLuz11-14-2 (9) on 2 of the judges scorecards and only losing a round on the other in this 6 rounder. Kennedy is a solid all around fighter who is a very bright prospect. Both Kennedy and Flores are co-managed by the well liked twosome of Doc Nowicki and Jimmy Williams. They also have Philly’s top prospect in unbeaten Mike Jones.

Delaware’s Oscar Vasquez 2-1 lost the first round but re-grouped to put the pressure on his opponent, Philly’s Kywame Hill 1-3 (1) to take a 39-37 decision on all scorecards in this junior welterweight 4 round bout.

The show closer pitted another Pennsylvania former amateur champ in southpaw Luis Esquilin 1-1 who did not fair as well as his fellow Philadelphians losing a majority decision to Vineland’s Bryne Green in a junior lightweight 4 rounder.

Tiberi continues to put on good shows but the Delaware fans don’t seem to respond well in their attendance. I’m sure he will evaluate his promotional future while all his loyal fans and press at ringside will support him as best they can. Tiberi was recently voted ESPN’s best ever Delaware boxer. Who could forget the horrible decision he lost against then middleweight champion James Toney back in 1992 which brought about Tiberi’s sudden retirement.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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