Sockwell Upsets Blake in Barn Burner in Reading, PA
Sockwell Upsets Blake in Barn Burner in Reading, PA
By Ken Hissner at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 12, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions returned to Riveredge, Reading, PA, for the first time in 11 years and it was well worth the wait.  With all the HBO, SHOWTIME, ESPN and PPV broadcasts out there fight fans sometimes forget where the “roots” of boxing start such as the small clubs like Riveredge.  Like many smaller promotions some bouts changed by the time it was fight time but the main event stayed put.  At ringside was former contender Harry “Lightning” Yorgey who was mentioned to be in an exhibition.  Kauffman now trains him and the locals will be in for a treat if he fights there.

Two out of the area boxers came in headlining a 6 bout card featuring unbeaten Grayson Blake of State College, PA, and Robert “RJ Black Gold” Sockwell of East Stroudsburg, PA.   Both areas not known for their boxing featured a pair of young boxers looking to make a name for themselves in “Rumble at the Riveredge.

Grayson landed the first effective punch of the feeling out round with a right to the jaw.  Sockwell would outwork Grayson the rest of the way setting a pattern for what was to come.  In the second Socwell landed 8 straight punches without return easily winning the round.  Grayson had a mouse under his right eye at the end.  

In the third Sockwell rocked Grayson with a combination of punches.  Then both fighters took turns rocking one another with both of them losing their mouth pieces.  Grayson was finally in the fight.  In the fourth Sockwell started retreating.  “I hurt my hand I believe in the second round and I was running out of gas in the fourth and fifth,” said Sockwell.  It was the same in the fifth with Sockwell only counter punching when Grayson caught up to him.

In the sixth and final round Sockwell once again became the aggressor as Grayson’s right eye seemed to be closing.  His mouthpiece went out for the third time in the fight and referee Rosato took away a point for spitting it out.  Grayson just didn’t seem to have the power to keep up with Sockwell but it wasn’t due to his effort.  He was trying throughout to stop the southpaw’s style but usually came up short with the exception of the fourth and fifth rounds with Sockwell looking for his second wind.  

All in all the fans seemed to appreciate the performance of both fighters awaiting the decision.  Both Condon and Greer had it 57-56 while Hill had it 58-55 as did this writer giving Grayson his first loss while the winner Sockwell looked like he will be returning to Reading making his area debut.  His first 4 bouts were in AZ.  “I returned to PA under my trainer Jesse Harris,” said Sockwell.    

The show opened with a pair of draws showing the matchmaker skills of Kauffman before a near packed house.   Up from Philadelphia making his debut out of the blue corner was Charles Mack while in the red corner brought in from Milwaukee, WISC, was David Warren Huffman, 2-8 (1).  These were junior welterweight were ready for 4 rounds of action.  

It looked like Mack would be a sure winner over the 20% winner Huffman.  Mack came out with a body attack of a much more experienced fighter with left hooks to the side and occasional looping right hands on target against the face of Huffman.  At the end of the round Huffman saw an opening and landed 3 consecutive right hands to the jaw of Mack as the bell sounded.  Referee Gary Rosato who worked the entire show did his usual excellent job of jumping between the fighters.

In the second round Mack again was on the body attack before rocking Huffman with a right hand causing an abrasion on the left cheek bone.  Almost identical to the first round Huffman came back strong at the end with both fighters mixing it up as Rosato again had to separate them at the bell.  Mack looked like he was well on his way to his first victory.

In the third round experience started to pay off as the 10 fight veteran Huffman started being the aggressor pinning Mack on the ropes with a dozen punches putting Mack on the defense.  At the bell Huffman had Mack in a neutral corner with both fighters throwing punches as Rosato again had to come between them.  What a way to start a show which sometimes can back fire starting out with such a great opening bout.  

In the fourth and final round Mack lead with a right hand followed by a left hook rocking Huffman.  Huffman retaliated with a flurry driving Mack halfway across the ring into the ropes.  Prior to the bell Huffman landed 6 unanswered punches before Rosato came in separating the fighters.  Both fighters embraced acknowledging a tough performance by each.  Judge Dave Greer saw it 39-37 for Huffman while judge’s George Hill and referee Rosato had it 38-38 as did this writer for a majority draw!

Southpaw Jeremy Stauffer, 7-2-2 (6), Reading, PA, who returned in March after a 5 year absence coming back at 185 having been at 175 previously and found himself giving up almost 10 pounds to Elvin Sanchez, 5-2-1 (4), of Paterson, NJ, over 4 rounds in a cruiserweight match a bit much early in the round.  He couldn’t seem to hurt Sanchez like he did the light heavyweights.  Sanchez also came out southpaw at the start and it was bombs away from both fighters.  Sanchez rocked Stauffer just prior to the bell.  It looked like it was going to be a short night for Stauffer.

For some reason Sanchez went orthodox for the next 2 rounds and it cost him dearly.  A left hook did bloody the nose of Stauffer in the second but Stauffer was busier taking the round and the fans showed their appreciation.  In the third a Stauffer right hook rocked Sanchez.  He then led with a left and found a Sanchez right hand getting there first rocking him into the ropes.  Again Stauffer outworked Sanchez.

In the fourth and final round Stauffer opened up with 5 consecutive punches without return.  Sanchez turned southpaw at the halfway mark making a strong comeback as both fighters were letting it all hang out at the bell.  Stauffer had a puffy left eye at the end.    

Rosato was the referee.  Judge Greer had it 39-37 for Stauffer while Hill and James Condon had it 38-38 as did this writer.  Stauffer has to get back to 175 to be more effective.

Heavyweights entered the ring and it looked like neither did much road work with both scaling over 250.  Aaron Bratton, 0-1 (0), of Baltimore, MD, was making his debut and his mother made it known from about 5 rows back who her son was but it was not enough for him to defeat Aaron Kinch, 4-0-1 (1), of Newark, NJ, over 4 rounds.
Bratton was much too busy with wide punches mostly to the body of Bratton but he never stopped throwing.  Condon had it 40-36 as did this writer for Kinch.  Hill had it 39-37 for Bratton.  Greer had it 39-37 for Kinch for the split decision win.  Bratton complained throughout he was getting head butted by the smaller Kinch to referee Rosato.  He told Bratton to stop bending over into the head of Kinch and was right on target about that.  Bratton had a good jab but that was not enough to hold off the aggression of Kinch.  
Reading southpaw Frank DeAlba, 5-1-2 (1), had too much strength for newcomer Benjamin, “The Shadow” Burgos, 1-1 (0), of Mt. Pocono, PA, in a 4 round super featherweight match.   DeAlba a fan favorite started early with a lead left on the button several times.  Burgos knew he was not in soft.  Burgos had an effective jab but no left hook and a right hand landing only on occasion.  DeAlba staggered Burgos just prior to the bell as Burgos walked back to his corner on unsteady legs.  

In the second round DeAlba knocked out the mouthpiece of Burgos and had his nose reddened that would bother Burgos the rest of the way.  The third round was similar to the second.  In the fourth round DeAlba was having his own way until about 10 seconds to go when in a corner he showed his defensive skills as Burgos tried to land a big one but only found air.  Hill and Condon had it 40-36 as did this writer while Greer scored it 39-37 all for DeAlba.

In the semi-windup 6 rounder Cuban Yordenis Ugas, 12-1 (6), out of Miami, FL, returned to action after almost a year since his first defeat and had the right opponent in front of him.  Dedrick Bell, 7-16 (6), of Memphis, TN, tried his best but the body attack of Ugas was much more than he bargained for getting dropped in the second and third while not beating the count in the third at 0:46 being counted out by referee Rosato.  It was the only non-competitive fight of the night in this junior welterweight match.  

You knew when ring announcer Larry Tornambe didn’t give Bell’s record but said “a veteran of 23 fights” he was brought in as an opponent.  Tornambe found himself in a familiar ring since he made his ring debut in the same facility back in 1993 as a late substitute for his then manager Dave Ruff who was at ringside reporting for dhb.  We kid Tornambe it was his “only loss” of his career but it also happened to be his only professional fight.  In being one of the top ring announcers in the area we believe he made the right career move!

E-mail questions, comments to Ken Hissner

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