|Harold “The Shadow” Knight – NJ Title Challenger!
Interview by Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (June 16, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
“If I wasn’t at my best I would
have had an “L” next to my name,” said Rocky Lockridge.
Harold “The Shadow” Knight was 19-0 with 15 knockouts the night
he challenged for the IBF Super Featherweight title in Atlantic City,
NJ, on April 2, 1988, over 15 rounds. “I believe if it were a 12
round fight I would have won the title,” said Knight. Little did
anyone know it would be Knights last time in the ring!
Knight had a 103-13 (50 KO’s) amateur
record and was 5-time NJ Junior Olympic champion, 5-time NJ GG champ
and 2-time National PAL champion. “One of those losses was to
Pernell Whitaker at the Ohio State Fair,” said Knight. John
Davenport was his trainer out of Plainfield, NJ. I visited the gym
once and you couldn’t stand in one spot for more than 10 seconds or
your shoes would feel like they were on fire from the heated pipes
under the wooden floor. I was told by Davenport “it’s just like
Knight turned professional in July of
1983 at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Hotel & Casino scoring a
knockout in the first round over Thomas Mason at 1:54. He went
through his first 12 opponents stopping 8 of them with 7 being in
Atlantic City, 2 in NY and the rest in North Jersey. The only time
he was dropped was in his tenth fight by Maurice Saalakhan. “I went
to my left to deliver a left hook to the body and got caught with a
right hand and I split my trunks. My trainer John Davenport always
kept an extra pair so I got changed in the corner,” said Knight.
In February of 1987 Knight took on Rene
Resto, 12-1-1, of Brooklyn, in Atlantic City stopping him in the
second round. Next up was Darrell Savoy, 19-2, who he stopped in the
fourth of an exciting fight. The following month he won the USBA
Super featherweight title stopping Kenny Baysmore, 23-1, in 7. “I
get chills when I hear that name. I’m still catching flashbacks. He
stung me several times but I knew I was not going to lose that
night,” said Knight. Matchmaker Don Elbaum called it one of the
best fights he put on in Atlantic City.
Knight would stop Sylvester Kennon,
21-9, in 7 rounds. “He had Kenny Adams in his corner. Kennon was
craft. A real smart fighter“, said Knight. He would defend his
USBA title in September of 1987 stopping Camden’s Anthony English,
19-7, in 4 rounds. His corner talked a lot before the fight. He was
pretty good for I watched him several times on ESPN prior to this
In November Knight defended his USBA
title stopping Erskine Wade, 17-4-1, in 11 rounds. “He was tough.
We had fought in the amateurs,” said Knight. This earned him an
April 1988 IBF Super featherweight title bout with Rocky Lockridge,
42-5, in Atlantic City. “He was my toughest opponent. He kept
hitting me with that overhand right and I still have cauliflower ears
from that fight. He told me in the ring after the fight that I would
become a champion someday but not tonight,” said Knight. In calling
the champion Rocky Lockridge he had this to say. “He must have been
a converted southpaw (no per Knight) for he had power in both hands,”
Knight would fail a brain scan which
stopped his career short. “I was preparing for a fight in New York
when I took an MRI brain scan and it showed I had a cyst liaison on
the brain that was benign. The commission doctor Barry Jordan said I
was born with it,” said Knight.
Even though he couldn’t fight in New
York, Knight knew he could possibly fight in New Jersey who did not
have the same requirements. “Larry Hazzard had helped me
tremendously even in the amateurs. He was the NJ commissioner than
and I didn’t want to put him on the spot. I went to the UK to see
if I could box over there. They said they were aware of my problem
in the US and denied me fighting without giving me a test. I went
home mad and didn’t want anything to do with boxing for some time,”
Knight’s trainer John Davenport was
assisting Manny Steward at the time with Lennox Lewis and asked
Knight to work in the corner with them in January of 1990. “I was
in the Lewis corner after he had 6 fights until his final one with
Vatali Klitschko in 2003. Lewis was a good guy but a perfectionist.
I lived in the UK for 3 years,” said Knight.
Knight served as a correctional officer
at the Northampton Prison in Easton and lived in Bethlehem, PA, for 6
years. He is now working in Plainfield, NJ, where he grew up, at the
H.S. “I was an amateur from the time I was 10. Bobby Czyz would
come over and beat up our guys and we would beat up his brothers,”
“Harold Knight fought for me numerous
times in Atlantic City. He could fight. He could whack. He would
be a champ today. I told John Davenport to get a second opinion
because 20% of the time the scan tests come out faulty,” said Don
Elbaum. He served as matchmaker at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in
“Rocky Lockridge and I would be
inducted into the NJ HOF in 2000 together,” said Knight. “He was
a good boxer with a pretty good punch. It’s too bad he had to
leave the game so early,” said Henry Hascup. That’s from the
President of the NJ HOF. Fortunately Knight is still training young
fighters today and always looking for another Al Steel Mills (14-2 in
2 years out of Plainfield) who worked with Knight in the beginning or
another “Shadow” who could pick up where he left off! Knight can
be heard on “Shadow’s Corner” on Tuesday nights at 10pm on
Sports 911 over www.bks1radio.com!
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