Vivian Harris and Lajuan Simon Win in NJ!
By Ken Hissner at ringside, DoghouseBoxing (Oct 31, 2008) (Photo © Jane Warburton)  
Former WBC light welterweight champion Vivian Harris, 29-3-1 (19), of Guyana, now living in Brooklyn, found himself on the canvas twice in the first round Wednesday night before coming back to stop Nicaragua’s Octavio “El Torito” Narvaez, 7-5-1 (4), at 0:48 of the 6th round in a scheduled 10.

USBA middleweight champion Lajuan “Simply Marvelous” Simon, 20-0-2 (12), of Philadelphia remained unbeaten with an impressive stoppage at the end of the 6th round over Puerto Rico’s tough
Emmanuel Gonzales, 9-4 (4), in the semi 8 round non-title bout.

This was the promotional debut for Mike Indri’s Dignity Promotions “Knockout Knights” at the Medieval Times, in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Indri, known best for his Dignity Retired Boxers Foundation in Lyndhurst, got his feet wet in treating the crowd to an action packed 5 bout night of boxing! In spite of missing the hometown favorite Wayne Johnson due to an injury and prospect Alex Perez without an opponent, it was a good crowd. Coming back with Johnson would certainly fill the place next time!

The crowd was electrified as a looping left hook from the much shorter Narvaez dropped Harris with about a minute to go in the 1st round. Upon getting to his feet, stunned, Harris was given at least an additional 5 seconds by referee Lindsey Page to clear his head, before the raging Narvaez was all over Harris again. A combination of punches again dropped Harris near his own corner while the over anxious Narvaez continuing hitting Harris while he was down before referee Page stepped in. The bell sounded as Harris got to his feet. His corner lead by Tommy Brooks encouraged Harris to box and move on Narvaez. Harris would later say, “I thought that punch that dropped me broke my jaw. I wanted to stay inside with him after that to avoid anymore looping punches to the jaw. I got caught me with my guard down.”

Narvaez was at a disadvantage as the fighters stood head to head with Harris using uppercuts took control by the 3rd round, opening up with a flurry of punches rocking Narvaez in the 4th . A low blow by Harris dropped Narvaez who lay on the canvas in obvious pain. Referee Page told him to get up and walk it off. Why he wasn’t given up to 5 minutes to get himself together was strange. As Harris came in Narvaez purposely hit him low in retaliation, receiving a stern warning from the referee. The advantage Harris had in the 5th and 6th round was taking its toll as a left hook left Narvaez sitting on the bottom strand of ropes near his corner receiving an 8 count. As the fight continued referee Page jumped in prematurely stopping the fight to the displeasure of the crowd and Narvaez. In talking to Narvaez later through his trainer he said “the ref took too long in the 1st round after the knockdown.” In asking him about the low blow he received he stated, “he (ref) made me continue right away without a break and should never had stopped the fight.” To Harris’ credit, he was coming off a 13 month lay-off since being stopped by Junior Witter in his last fight, losing his title.

Simon showed a sharp jab and combinations to the head of a tough Gonzalez who switched to southpaw trying to avoid the offense minded Simon. Gonzalez had a slapping left hook boxing orthodox that was more annoying then effective. As the fight continued Simon’s corner of Wade and Randy Hinnant encouraged him to go to the body more which resulted in breaking down the defensive minded Gonzalez. In the 6th round Simon landed 13 consecutive punches as he had Gonzalez up against the ropes before dropping him to a knee. At the bell Gonzalez’ cornerman Don Kahn would not allow him out for the 7th round. Sparkle Lee was the referee.

After the fight Simon stated “he was a good opponent, who made me work. His left hand punches came in wide and I was able to easily get inside of them.” Asked about his calm composure during a fight Simon replied “I pray before each fight which helps keep me focused.” Simon’s manager Dave Escalet when asked about the future remarked “he is ranked in two organizations and would like to eventually meet (Kelly) Pavlik (WBC/WBO champ) or (Arthur) Abraham (IBF champ).” Simon is ranked 12th in the IBF and 13th in the WBC. His trainer Wade Hinnant said “we hope to fight again in December. We want to keep him busy.” Simon’s manager Escalet replied to that, “we would like to fight in Delaware or at the Blue Horizon (Philly).” To the latter, “I think we could fill the place.” Simon is a very likeable, soft spoken individual who has a bright future. He has the composure to let his corner know during a fight he is in control and is acknowledging their instruction. He should draw well in Philly or neighboring Delaware.

Newark high school amateur standout Mike “Angelo the Artist” Perez made a very impressionable debut in dropping his opponent Leon Williams, 0-1, of Atlantic City with a combination and again with a power jab in the 1st round, causing referee Page to stop the bout at 1:13. Perez, a National 2008 champion will be fighting at the New Alhambra, in Philly next month. His principal was overheard saying “I knew he was tough but not this tough. I will be careful in disciplining him in the future.” The future in the lightweight division is bright for Perez.

Carlos Zambrano, 4-0, from Peru, fighting out of Paterson, won all 4 rounds over Soumana Abdoulaye, 0-3, of Niger, now out of NYC, in their rematch, having fought in August. Zambrano, grandson of title contender Mauro Mina, represented Peru in the Olympics with a 288-6 amateur record. He fought several weeks ago at the Blue Horizon. He is a fighter with good potential.

The opening bout had Andre Espeut, 2-0 (1), of Morristown landing overhand rights on 3 occasions all resulting in knockdowns stopping Antonio “Chili” Torbito, 0-3, of Paterson at 1:07 of the 1st round. Page was the referee.

In attendance were WBO light welterweight champion Kendall Holt, former world light heavyweight champ Bobby Czyz and former title challenger to Muhammad Ali, Chuck Wepner. filmed the event.

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