Simon, Ennis and Kennedy All Philly USBA Champs!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 2, 2010)
Philadelphia has one world champion in IBF cruiserweight Steve “USS” Cunningham. They have 3 USBA champions that would like nothing better than to join Cunningham as IBF champs or any other of the organizations champs.

Lajuan Simon, 23-2-2 (12), is one of the nicest boxers you would ever want to meet. Soft spoken out of the ring but in the ring will box your ears off. Ranked No. 9 in the IBF and No. 10 in the WBO Simon will fight for the vacant WBC Continental Americas middleweight title over 12 rounds on December 3rd at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, in Dover, DE. His opponent will be hard hitting Dionisio Miranda, 20-6-2 (18), of Colombia, now fighting out of Miami.

Simon won the USBA title in September of 2007 defeating Corey Johnson, 34-3-2, in Dickson City, PA, over 12 rounds. In March of 2009 he got his crack at the IBF champion Arthur Abraham, 28-0, in Germany. Though this writer felt the fight could have gone either way the judges saw it for Abraham. At the time Simon’s promoter was Greg Azar.

Simon’s long time manager is Greg Escalete who Simon thinks the world of. “We are not defending the USBA title Friday because none of the contenders wanted to fight him,” said Escalete. In June of 2009 Simon won a trip back to Germany to fight Sebastian Sylvester, 30-3, for the IBF International title with the winner to fight for the vacant IBF title Abraham gave up. Simon again came up short though the scoring was much closer than the Abraham fight.

In October after signing with Gary Shaw as his new promoter Simon defeated Elvin Ayala, 20-3-1, in a USBA defense over 12 rounds in Las Vegas. Shaw’s office did not return several calls by this writer for comment.

This year in Simon’s only bout he defeated Jose Angel Rodriguez, 15-1-1, at Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, NY. This writer was at ringside and felt Simon took the southpaw Rodriguez to school. “I would like to be busier and am glad to have this fight. Mike Jones and I did some sparring before his fight in Dallas. I have seen Miranda on film and he looks like a puncher that comes right to you,” said Simon.

Simon is trained by Wade and Randy Hinnant and trains at the Joe Hand Gym in Philadelphia. He is 31 and their hope with a win Simon can enter the WBC ratings.

Derek “Pooh” Ennis (pictured above), 22-2-1 (13), is the USBA Junior Middleweight champion from the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Ennis let’s his fists do his talking. He is always well focused on his opponent and is an excellent boxer.

Ennis is managed by Moz Gonzalez and Eddie Woods. “We have a scheduled fight in Kissimmee, FL, on 12/10 with no opponent as of yet in order to keep busy,” said Gonzalez. “Pooh is always in the gym. You never have to worry about him being in shape,” said Woods.

Derrick “Bozy” Ennis trains both his sons. His youngest son Farah just won the NABF Super middleweight title in November. He now has 2 champs along with Coy Evans a good featherweight.

Ennis has reeled off 10 straight wins. He won the USA PA state title defeating Troy Browning, 20-2-1, looking almost perfect in Philadelphia. In October of 2009 he won the vacant USBA title over Nigerian Eromosele Albert, 22-3-1, at the Blue Horizon. He followed up with 2 more wins at the blue stopping Edwin Vazquez, 22-14-2, and in a war winning a majority decision over Jose A. Gonzalez, 13-6-1.

In the third fight Ennis had in 2010 he defended his USBA title in an all-Philly showdown defeating Gabriel “King” Rosado”, 14-4, by a 12 round majority decision. This was a classic boxer-puncher fight where they changed roles near the end of the fight having the crowd on their feet.

Ennis can box and has a good punch. He is definitely “old school” with his father/trainer bringing the best out of him 80’s style. Ennis is 30 and trains at the Muhammad Ali Gym in Germantown. He is promoter by Fingerman Promotions.

The third Philly USBA champion is former National Amateur champion Teon “the Technician” Kennedy, 16-0-1 (7), holding the super bantam title. It wasn’t until his ninth fight he dropped down to 122. That’s the night he stretched DC’s Thomas Snow, 10-0, in the second round in Philly. That is Snow’s only loss in 14 fights to date.

All of Kennedy’s fights have been in the tri-state area of PA, NJ and DE with one in NY. He had a tough fight with Andre Wilson, 11-1-1, coming off the canvas after squaring up and getting dropped. The split decision didn’t seem that close at the Blue Horizon but a win is a win

In September of 2009 Kennedy was in a war with underrated Lante Addy, 8-4, of Ghana, in Atlantic City, ending in a majority draw. He got the one vote 98-92 while the 2 other judges saw it even. This writer felt he did enough for the win.

Just 2 months later he won the vacant USBA title in Philly stopping Francisco Rodriguez, 14-2, in a fatal ending 48 hours later. Recently Kennedy and his team met with several Rodriguez family members including the father at the Ring One VBA receiving the “Briscoe Award” as part of the PA “Fight of the Year”. Writer John DiSanto runs this event annually. It was a memorable moment at the award ceremony.

After 6 months on the sidelines Kennedy returned to the ring defending his USBA title defeating Jose Angel Beranza, 32-17-2, at Bally’s in Atlantic City. In this fight Kennedy stayed in front of his opponent in a slugfest. By the end of the fight though Kennedy seemed to be out punching Beranza, it was Kennedy whose eyes were swollen almost shut. “I started icing his eyes after the first round,” said Jimmy Williams. He is not only his cut man but co-manager.

In his last fight Kennedy won the vacant NABA super bantam title stopping Alex Becerra, 20-8, in the tenth round in Atlantic City. That was Kennedy’s third straight 12 rounder. For a fighter who only had one 10 rounder prior to this that’s what you call “stepping up”. Like the 2 before mentioned fighters in Simon and Ennis, Kennedy is a man of few words at a young 24.

Kennedy has the same trainers as Simon in the Hinnant brothers. Nowicki and Williams along with Joe Hand, Sr. do the managing while Peltz does the promoting for Kennedy. The champion is No. 3 with only one other ahead of him in the IBF ratings. He is also No. 12 in the WBA. Kennedy could be on a collision course to meet interim WBA champ Guillermo Rigondeaux, of Cuba or IBF Super bantam champion Steve Molitor of Canada. “Teon is a pleasure to watch because you know he enjoys fighting and has the ability to use his head,” said Williams.

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