Maurice “Freight Train” Byarm: The Philly to DC Connection
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Jan 12, 2011)
When you think of Philadelphia most people think “Smokin” Joe Frazier. A couple of Frazier’s protégé’s have come and gone like his son Marvis and “Smokin” Bert Cooper. Marvis never fought in Philly as a pro. Top Philly promoter J Russell Peltz has never been big on using heavyweights. He had “Big” John Poore and now young unbeaten Bryant Jennings out of Fred Jenkins ABC Gym.

Joey “Polish Thunder” Dawejko signed with Hasim Rahman and Empire Promotions while Paul “Machine” Koon has remained an amateur so far. The heavyweights know “get out of town or waste away”.

Malik Scott, 32-0, only fought in Philly 3 times and hasn’t fought in 2 years. He got buried on Don King undercards. He was one of Jenkins fighters. “Fast” Eddie Chambers, moved in from Pittsburgh and had his career built up at the Blue Horizon by Don Elbaum. Then he signed with an out of town promoter and is again on the verge of a championship.

This brings us to the son of Lionel Byarm, a once promising cruiserweight then was 9-1-2 when he fought Olympian Evander Holyfield in the future champs pro debut over 6 rounds losing a decision. Maurice “Freight Train” Byarm has something all the other heavyweights didn’t have. He is taller and carries 247 very well. On top of that he is a southpaw. When asked if he patterns himself after Michael Moorer, the first southpaw heavyweight champion he said “I like Holyfield”. He may not fight like him but he certainly has the tools to go a long way.

Byarm’s manager is Mike Harris. His trainers for his Philly prospect are Mr. Summers and Bernard Hackett. The Philly connection is top notch cut man Willie Folk who has also trained a fighter or two in his day. Harris was asked how he ever got to manage a kid (26 turning pro) from Philly? “I had a relationship with Gerald “The Jedi” Nobles, 26-1 (21),” said Harris.

Nobles only loss was by disqualification to 7 foot Nikolay Valuev, then 38-0. Seems the latter couldn’t take the body shots so the referee decided to stop the fight in the 4th round of a WBA Inter-continental title fight back in 2004. A knockout win over former champ Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon was one of his victims. Two fights followed in 2006 and 2007.

“Nobles was in the gym to get the weight off and sparring with a young amateur kid and told me I should take a look at him. That’s how it all started and we turned him pro in April of 2009 here in Maryland,” said Harris. Noble’s is a notorious puncher.

“I wanted to get away from Philly so I moved to DC. I have had all but one of my fights in Maryland, and would love to fight back in Philly in the future,” said Byarm. His lone out of Maryland fight was in Virginia Beach, stopping Ramon Hayes, a veteran of almost 50 fights in the 3rd round. Malik Scott also fought Hayes in his eighth fight. Byarm’s had half a dozen 4 rounders’ and 3 at 6 rounds. His latest fight was billed as the “East Coast Heavyweight Title” over 8 rounds.

His original opponent Theron Johnson pulled out. A substitute was brought in by the name of Winston Thorpe from South Carolina, 3-0-1. Not a typical southern boxer with 3 fights in New England and his debut in Philadelphia. “I didn’t know he was a southpaw until the bell rang,” said Byarm. It was a good fight with Byarm overpowering him in the 5th of an 8 rounder. The fans were cheering for him entering the ring and leaving the ring.

One odd thing about the nickname “Freight Train” is that Maurice’s father’s name is Lionel. Get it? Now all we need is Bob Dylan’s song as he comes into the ring “Hear That Train A Comin”!

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