Last night at the Manhattan Center, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing presented its premiere installment of “Hustler Boxing” with a five bout card. The show, which was televised live on the Versus Network, attracted some of New York’s famous actors and sport figures, including Bert Young (Paulie from Rocky), Chuck Zito, as well as running backs for the New York Giants, Brandon Jacobs, and Danny Ware amongst many others.
The main event bout of the evening saw the Pride of Greece, “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis take on Tim “Pit Bull” Coleman for the vacant USBA light welterweight championship.
In the first few rounds, both fighters looked to establish their jab, measuring one another from the outside but as each round progressed the action continuously picked up, with Arnaoutis being the aggressor, as Coleman looked to counter.
From the 7th round on Arnaoutis was the much busier fighter, landing good combinations to both the body and head of the backpedaling Coleman. Coleman was game, but Arnaoutis continued to outwork and outgun the Baltimore native down the stretch.
After the twelfth and final round ended the pro Arnaoutis crowd went into an uproar, convinced the Pride of Greece would be crowned the new USBA champ, but surprisingly, Coleman was awarded the split decision victory. Judge Robin Taylor scored the bout 116-112 for Arnaoutis, while judges Kevin Morgan and Glen Feldman had it 115- 113 for Coleman.
A quick panel at ringside, which included press row, the Versus announcers, as well as hall of fame trainer, and HBO Boxing commentator, Emmanuel Steward, all revealed that they felt Arnaoutis was the clear-cut winner. Taking nothing away from Coleman’s hard fought spirited effort, Arnaoutis was just the much busier, more active fighter, landing the cleaner blows, and seemingly sweeping the championship rounds.
With the loss Arnaoutis drops to 22-4-2, 10KO, while Coleman improves to 17-1-1, 4KO.
In a battle of unbeaten up and coming welterweights, three-time national Golden Gloves Champion, Brad “Busy B” Solomon improved to a perfect 9-0, 3KO with a hard fought eight round unanimous decision over “The New” Ray Robinson (11-1, 4KO).
The fight saw good action from both fighters, particularly in the later rounds, as both Robinson and Solomon stood toe-to-toe exchanging vicious combinations. Although Robinson seemed to finish a bit stronger then Solomon, Solomon built up a big enough lead in the early rounds to pull off the majority decision. Scores were 76-76, which were overturned by two scores of 79-73 for Solomon.
After the fight Robinson’s camp complained of repeated head butts from Solomon, one which opened a nasty cut over the left eye of Robinson midway through the fight.
In the first televised bout of the night, former WBO heavyweight champion, Brooklyn’s own Shannon Briggs (49-5-1, 43KO), returned to the ring for the first time in two years in impressive fashion, knocking out Marcus McGee (22-18, 11KO) with a crippling right hook to the body at 2:01 of the very first round. McGee was down for several minutes following the knockout, with spectators at ringside being quoted as saying they could hear McGee’s rips crack from the blow.
Briggs will now look to stay busy as he hopes to get another shot at a heavyweight World Championship.
Josh Harris TKO4 Jaywon Woods
Hajro Sujak W4 Todd Eriksson
Photo’s by Star Boxing Photographer Marty Rosengarten